BSc, Molecular Biology & Biochemistry, SFU 2006
PhD, Chemistry, SFU 2012
JD, University of Alberta, 2012
Lawyer & Patent Agent, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP
Mike Damiani completed his BSc and PhD at Simon Fraser University. For his PhD thesis, completed in 2012 under the mentorship of the late Dr. Melanie O’Neill and Dr. B. Mario Pinto, Mike explored the mechanism under which Photolyases and Cryptochromes tune their semiquinone stability and reactivity, and correlated these properties with function. While completing his research, Mike also attended law school at the University of Alberta. Following graduation from law school and defence of his thesis, Mike was called to the British Columbia bar in 2013 and passed the Patent Agent exams in 2015.
Currently, Mike utilizes his science background working as a lawyer and patent agent in the Intellectual Property Group at Borden Ladner Gervais. His work involves advising on patent protection, including (1) Drafting and prosecuting patent applications in fields related to biotechnology, life sciences, pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, medical devices, chemistry, and oil and gas; (2) Advising on patentability, validity, infringement and freedom-to-operate issues; (3) Advising on international patent strategies and portfolio management; (4) Negotiating patent licensing agreements; and (5) Assisting technology Start-up companies with their legal structures to help them grow.
Why did you choose to go to SFU?
SFU’s academic reputation, particularly in the sciences. I also toured SFU when I was in high school and remember thinking that I could really see myself here for four years.
Where did you spend the most amount of time on campus?
Studying and conversing with friends on the couches close to the engineering wing, working out at the gym, and socializing at the pub.
What is your favorite memory from your time at SFU?
Meeting my future wife during undergrad.
Who was your favorite SFU professor and why?
The late Dr. Melanie O’Neill. I volunteered in her lab during undergrad and was instantly attracted to her dedication to research. After taking a year off after undergrad, I commenced my graduate studies under her supervision. Melanie was brilliant, kind, and a wonderful mentor.
How has your SFU degree impacted your career?
After graduation, I received plenty of compliments on my SFU degrees. Especially in B.C., an SFU degree is well respected.
What is your favorite SFU snow story?
Walking home, down the mountain, after spending all day in class.
If you could give advice to students today, what would you tell them?
Take classes in disciplines outside your major. For example, I took classes in poetry, prose, mythology, religious studies, and business. Sure, it will extend your time in undergrad, but it will also help develop your critical thinking and communication abilities, both written and oral.
What is the one thing about SFU that must not change?
SFU’s close-knit learning environment.