Collip Winner

Joshua Giles PhD.

Collip Medal recipient driven by desire to change surgical practice

When Joshua Giles, PhD, arrived at Western University as a young undergraduate student he had fully intended to pursue software engineering. He became unexpectedly captivated by the fascinating and ever-evolving area of biomedical engineering thanks to a course taught by Dr. James Johnson.

So inspired by the unique opportunity for discovery, Giles pursued the Biomedical Engineering Graduate program.

He became a member of the Roth-McFarlane Hand and Upper Limb Centre Bioengineering Laboratory, where he worked closely with Dr. George Athwal. Together they were driven by a desire to have an impact on surgical practice, and envisioned the creation of a leading-edge system for the assessment of basic shoulder biomechanics and clinical questions related to shoulder injury and reconstruction.

With an armload full of research achievements, he recently completed his PhD and was just awarded the 2014 Collip Medal.

"It is a great honour to be awarded the 2014 Collip medal by the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, and very humbling to be added to the list of outstanding scientists who have received this award previously," he said.

Giles’ success in the field came early in his academic career. He was awarded two Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Undergraduate Summer Research Awards, which supported his research. Upon graduation from Engineering, he was awarded The Canadian Society of Mechanical Engineering Award. As a graduate trainee he was awarded the Nellie Farthing Fellowship in Medical Sciences.  

Thanks to being awarded the Michael Smith Foreign Study Supplement through my NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canadian Graduate Scholarship, this past fall, he was able to spend time at the Henry Ford Hospital Motion Analysis Laboratory in Detroit, Michigan. There he worked under the supervision of Dr. Michael Bey, PhD, who has been recognized for his work in Clinical Biomechanics.

Despite his many accomplishments, he credits the supervision he received as key to his success. “The mentorship I received from Drs. Johnson and Athwal, paired with the highly collaborative and interdisciplinary nature of the research environment allowed me to construct a unique simulator that was capable of assessing previously unaddressed clinical questions,” he said.

Giles is now setting up shop at the Imperial College London (UK) as part of a Wellcome Trust Translational project. Here he will work on a project developing a novel shoulder implant, and innovative method of delivery, with a goal to optimize functional outcomes and survivorship. His specific role in this project is to develop novel surgical guides, instrumentation, and preoperative planning capabilities that can improve the accuracy of the implanted components.