Geoff Fernie, CM, PhD, PEng, CEng, FCAHS, is a Senior Scientist at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute–University Health Network and Professor in the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto. He is cross-appointed to the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering and the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto.
A biomedical engineer by training, Dr. Fernie’s passion is the search for practical solutions to the common problems of daily living for an aging population, people with disabilities and their caregivers. Geoff has maintained a focus on the reduction of falls through the development of innovative mobility products, non-slip winter footwear and improvements to accessibility and building codes. He has made significant advances in preventing hospital acquired infections by improving hand hygiene. His recent involvement in the development of a disposable instrument for home diagnosis of sleep apnea has the potential to significantly reduce the prevalence of cardiovascular complications resulting from untreated sleep apnea. Geoff has been responsible for many products that assist people’s independence, including innovative wheelchairs and bathroom aids. Many of his inventions have reduced the physical burden of caring for people, including the prevention of back and shoulder injuries in professional nurses and family caregivers caused by lifting and moving people.
As Institute Director of Research, Dr. Fernie led the growth of TRI to be the #1 rehabilitation research centre in the world. He has a track record of taking inventions from the laboratory to market. He currently has 8 commercialized products and 4 currently in clinical trials and has helped to launch several companies.
Dr. Fernie has served on numerous committees to inform and advance public policy pertaining to persons with disabilities and has chaired several influential conferences related to disability and aging. Dr. Fernie has over 140 peer-reviewed journal papers/ book chapters, 22 awarded patents and an additional 13 patent filings.
Dr. Fernie has been recognized for his advancements in the field of rehabilitation engineering and the development of therapies and products designed to assist individuals with limited mobility; his awards include the Colin McLaurin Distinguished Lecture Award (2018), Order of Canada (2017), Lister Prize (2017), Samuel McFarland Award (2016), Honourable David C. Onley Award (2014), the Canadian Society for Biomechanics (2014), QE II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), to name a few.