Oct. 27, 2021

Founding member of UCalgary spinoff proud of positive impact on patients globally

2021 Top 40 Under 40: Dr. Victoria Hodgkinson-Brechenmacher, PhD
Victoria Hodgkinson-Brechenmacher Jared Sych, Avenue magazine

Once a formidable professional hockey player, Dr. Victoria Hodgkinson-Brechenmacher, PhD, is now an international leader in patient data that’s used to improve life for those with rare and devastating diseases. But the 38-year-old is also mad about stinky raclette cheese, Ticket to Ride (a board game) and is currently devouring Anderson Cooper’s latest book.

Dr. Hodgkinson-Brechenmacher is director, Patient Registries and Real-World Evidence, Lumiio Inc., and scientific director of the Canadian Neuromuscular Disease Registry at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, UCalgary.

Of your many career highlights, which one makes you most proud?

Probably the development of our company, Lumiio Inc. I’m extremely proud to have been a founding member of a company spun out of our work and experience at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary. The impact we’re having on patients all around the world, and the contribution we’re making to Calgary’s growth as a global leader in health research and digital health technology, is immensely gratifying.

Before you became a scientist, you played professional hockey in the U.S. and then Switzerland. What role has hockey played in your life?

It instilled a strong work ethic and passion for success in me that has served me well throughout my career. It also gave me the opportunity to learn to work, and build relationships, with individuals of diverse backgrounds that has transitioned into the workplace enabling me to be a leader with a strong team mentality. Lastly, I think balancing academic and athletic obligations allowed me to learn skills that have helped me succeed throughout my career in multitasking, prioritizing and balancing various commitments, both personal and professional.

What is the most satisfying thing about your job?

Global interaction and being able to impact so many health communities. It brings a lot of excitement and unique perspectives to be able to work with researchers, clinicians, industry partners and patients from all over the world. It’s grounding and humbling to experience the hard work that our colleagues and patients are undertaking to try to achieve better outcomes; it instils a desire to do whatever one can to help. 

What do you wish you knew more about?

Coding/computer programming. In much of my work, I often find myself thinking I could make quicker and bigger impacts if I knew a bit more programming language.

Any advice for students or new grads? 

Get involved! Seek growth opportunities and try new things. The soft skills developed and diverse relationships you’ll build will support you throughout your career.

A guilty pleasure?

Wine and cheese. (Especially raclette and fondue!)

When you are not working, what do you do? 

Spending time with my family, enjoying how fortunate we are to live in such a beautiful place. Hiking, biking, skiing, skating …

What’s your favourite board game?

I have many, but can get quite competitive, so my short answer is: anything I win! We’ve always enjoyed Ticket to Ride.

What are you reading these days?

Vanderbilt: The Rise and Fall of an American Dynasty by Anderson Cooper and Katherine Howe.

 

With files from Avenue Magazine.