team alberta

DiscoveryLab Team

The people involved in running DiscoveryLab and Science Capital events include the following who have experience in launching and growing companies and supporting entrepreneurs.

Michael Overduin

Michael Overduin, Executive Director, DiscoveryLab; CEO, Science Capital, aims to connect innovators and investors, also founded and directs the SMALP Network, Molscreen, Edmonton River, and Geopowr. Executive Director, NANUC. Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Alberta.


Tina Rinker, Scientific Director; Co-Founder & CSO of Syantra. Professor, Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, University of Calgary; Physiology and Pharmacology Dept., Cumming School of Medicine; Lead, Early Cancer Detection Initiative.


Trushar Patel, Scientific Director, Lethbridge; Co-Founder and Co-Director, Shree Hospitality Group Inc.; Canada Research Chair, Associate Professor and Associate Dean (Acting) at the University of Lethbridge.


Marcella Erskine, Managing Director, DiscoveryLab; Founder and Director of Music Shakers. Previously co-Director, Science Capital. MSc from Hunter School of Social Work and BSc from Colorado State University.

Richard Miner

Richard Miner, Financial Director and CFO, Science Capital. Director at Enterprise FD Limited. Previously Non Executive Director, The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and ; Regional Director, FD Solutions.


Rakesh Bhat, Operations Manager, DiscoveryLab. Previously Senior Manager, Manufacturing and and Procurement, Entos Pharmaceuticals; Director, Precision Bio Laboratories; Director of Laboratory Science, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation; Adjunct Professor, University of Alberta.

Students including Troy Kervin, Zachary Klarenbach, Trixie Rae Adra, Brittany Wiseman, Cameron Smithers, Caitlyn Ledohowski, Aishee Saha and Rameen Sikandar have provided assistance and chaired sessions at our meetings.

Background on DiscoveryLab

DiscoveryLab is an open forum for academics, start-ups and SMEs to explore opportunities to commercialize new technologies and develop their plans to launch new products and services.

Michael Overduin founded DiscoveryLab in 2016 in Alberta based on his experience in running Science Capital as a nonprofit company in the UK since 2010. He also leads NANUC and a structural biology lab at the University of Alberta. His research group studies proteins involved in Alzheimer's, cancer and prion diseases, and develops polymer-based nanoparticles and lead molecules for drug discovery.

DiscoveryLab was initiated in order to share investment, business, and industry expertise and contacts to help innovative teams and individuals launch and scale new ventures and high growth companies. Our facilities and initial events were supported by awards from the John R. Evans Leaders Fund from the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Alberta Innovates, Department of Economic Development and Trade, and the Province of Alberta, as announced at NANUC by the Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan in 2016. DiscoveryLab was subsequently incorporated in Alberta and runs as a company with nonprofit aims.

We organize events each quarter where anyone can pitch their business plan at no cost in private to a panel of legal, business, marketing, financial and investment experts who give independent feedback. Teams are welcome to return to present as many times as they wish as they make progress and develop new needs.

Our >220 independent advisors offer >$4 billion to invest, and there is the potential to attract significant support as well as business advice and strategic guidance to start and scale companies.