Name: Dr. Guillaume Paré
Title: Chief Science Officer
1. What is your role with the HHS Innovation Exchange?
I’m the chief scientific officer with GeneBlueprint, a health and wellness company that uses genetic prediction to develop personalized fitness and nutrition plans. I developed a proprietary algorithm that analyzes genetic information to determine how a person’s body reacts to different types of food and exercise. We are collaborating with HHS Innovation Exchange in partnership with IBM in order to grow our business.
I am also a medical biochemist at Hamilton Health Sciences and director of the Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory at McMaster University. My academic research focuses on how genes contribute to obesity and cardiovascular disease.
2. What’s the biggest challenge in healthcare that you’d like to tackle?
The healthcare challenge I would most like to tackle is how to predict who is at risk of having very early heart attack and stroke. Early vascular disease is particularly distressing for patients and their families. We already know there is a strong genetic predisposition in these individuals, especially when no other risk factor can be identified. Our understanding of genetic risk in these patients is limited. If we could better understand that risk, we would be able to identify individuals at risk earlier and ensure we do everything possible to prevent a heart attack or stroke.
3. What is the most rewarding part of the work that you do?
The most rewarding part of what I do is knowing that we are working as a team towards a common goal: to improve the health and well-being of others. By giving people customized tools with GeneBlueprint, we are making them more likely to succeed at their fitness and nutrition goals. It’s rewarding to people who have struggled in the past to improve their health through diet and exercise finally see results that motivate them to continue on a path to health.
4. Where do you look for inspiration to help fuel your ideas and energy at work?
A lot of my inspiration comes from my colleagues at Hamilton Health Sciences, which is why I’m so glad that Gene Blueprint is part of this collaboration with HHS Innovation Exchange in partnership with IBM. We are so lucky to be surrounded by visionaries and world leaders. These are great role models. Also, students that work on my research team are a constant source of inspiration. It is difficult to remain indifferent when everyone shows such passion for research.
5. What’s the one thing you think that great innovators do differently?
Great innovators don’t fear failure. We often forget that most bold new ideas and concepts were not created with one big spark, but rather through perseverance and trials-and-errors. I think we have to embrace failures as opportunities to learn, understand and grow. When we think along these lines, failures are really just steps along the path toward successful innovation.