Cafe X

Café X will bring together faculty, staff, students and the broader community, to cultivate and develop “blue sky” thinking about topical issues and leading edge ideas. Invited speakers will share experiences in exciting innovative areas that will spark discussion, provoke debate and elicit thoughtful ideas.




Featuring ...

Raffaella De Vita

Raffaella De Vita
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics, Virginia Tech.

"Taking the (female pelvic) floor to talk about bioengineering"

Thursday, September 17, 2015
3:30 - 4:30 pm

McMaster University
Engineering Technology Building, Room 535


Café X will be open for business for one hour, starting with a presentation, followed by questions and answers. Refreshments will be available at the start and conclusion of the event.

Free admission, however seating is limited. Registration required.

Watch here:

Bioengineering as an independent discipline is relatively new, although engineering principles have been applied to medicine and biology since ancient times. Unlike other disciplines, advances in this fast-growing engineering field have a direct impact on human health. Unfortunately, the communication barriers that exist between engineers and clinicians still represent real roadblocks to translating basic research quickly into clinical applications. When, within such barriers, engineers and clinicians have to talk about topics that are considered taboo in many cultures across the world, the communication barriers become even higher. Take, for example, the female pelvic floor. One out of three women are affected by pelvic floor disorders such as urinary incontinence, fecal incontinence, and prolapse. Yet, there are scant few engineers who are working to address these common health problems. Why? Is it because we are uncomfortable talking about the pelvic floor? Or is it because women are still under-represented in engineering?

About Dr. Raffaella De Vita:

Dr. De Vita is an Associate Professor in the Biomedical Engineering and Mechanics Department at Virginia Tech. She is affiliate faculty in the Mechanical Engineering Department and core faculty in the School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences at Virginia Tech and Wake Forest University. She is also a member of the Interdisciplinary Center of Applied Mathematics.

She has been recognized for her research focusing on characterizing the mechanical properties of biological structures ranging from cell membranes to ligaments and tendons in vertebrates and tracheal tubes in invertebrates.

The common theme of De Vita’s research is the study of the relationship between complex structures and mechanical behavior of biological systems, using approaches that combine physically sound theoretical models with novel experimental methods. Recently, she received the prestigious NSF CAREER award to study the mechanical properties of the utero-sacral and cardinal ligaments supporting the uterus. Her research will serve in establishing science-based guidelines and specific protocols for the treatment of pelvic floor disorders in order to provide better care for millions of adult women affected by these disorders.

Upcoming ...

Nicholas Brathwaite,
October 29th

Greig Mordue, ArcelorMittal Dofasco Chair in Advanced Manufacturing Policy
November 25


Past ...

Dr. Ann Cavoukian, Executive Director of the Privacy and Big Data Institute, Ryerson University - April 2015

Dr. Karim Lakhani (B.Eng.M '93 Electrical Eng) Associate Professor, Technology & Operations Management Unit, Harvard Business School - April 2015

Dr. J. Paul Santerre (PhD '90 Chemical Engineering), Professor, Faculty of Dentistry and Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering, University of Toronto - March 2015

Dr. Tim J. Nohara, President & CEO, Accipiter Radar Technologies Inc. - January 2015

Danielle Zyngier, Optimization Specialist, Hatch - October 2014

Sanjeev G. Shroff, Distinguished Professor of Bioengineering, University of Pittsburgh - September 2014

Jay Gore, Reilly University Chair Professor of Engineering, Purdue University - March 2014

John Bandler, McMaster University and Bandler Corporation - February 2014

Eugene Roman, Chief Technology Officer, Canadian Tire Corporation, Limited - January 2014

Jordan Banks, Managing Director and Head of Global Vertical Strategy Facebook Canada - November 2013

For event information, please contact Terry Milson,, 905-525-9140, ext. 27391.