Gabriella Chan, PhD, JD Founder and Principal Lawyer


Dr. Gabriella Chan is a lawyer, scientist, educator, and startup mentor.

Gabriella’s clients benefit from well-rounded legal counsel, underpinned by her varied background, technical knowledge, and practical experience.

In particular, her scientific background and teaching experience ensure that she understands her clients’ inventions and product needs and that she can convey difficult legal concepts clearly. Above all, as the founder of Yocto Law® Professional Corporation and a former VP of Legal Affairs, Gabriella is intimately familiar with every aspect of running a business.


  • Law degree (J.D.) with a focus in business law and intellectual property (IP) from Osgoode Hall Law School, Toronto;
  • Doctorate (Ph.D.) in molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases from the University of Toronto;
  • Honours Bachelors of Science (HBSc, Magna Cum Laude) in biology from Loyola University, Chicago;
  • Honours Bachelor of Arts (HBA, Summa Cum Laude) in art history from Loyola University, Chicago; and
  • Regulatory Affairs Certificate in Medical Devices from the Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS).


While working for a biotech startup and liaising with the company’s lawyers in her role as an Intellectual Property and Technology Manager just after she completed her scientific training, Gabriella identified a gap. Scientists don’t speak legalize and lawyers don’t necessarily understand the science behind their clients’ products. So she decided to become a lawyer and help close that gap by providing more informed counsel to her clients. After completing law school,  Gabriella trained at a national Bay Street law firm in Toronto and then worked as a Vice President of Legal Affairs at another Toronto-area nanotechnology startup.

In law school, Gabriella provided legal advice to small business owners in the Toronto area as part of the Small Business Clinic at Osgoode Hall Law School.

However, her interest in startups was developed while she was a graduate student at the University of Toronto. Gabriella and her team participated in the Biotechnology YES Program in Oxford, United Kingdom, where they received intensive training in founding life sciences and technology companies.

Her interest in helping others dates to her undergraduate program at Loyola University in Chicago. There, Gabriella honed her bedside manner and ethical review skills while working with lung transplant patients on a five-year longitudinal study of their quality of life. The R01 study was funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Legal Practice

All her training and experiences now coalesce in her legal practice, which focuses on science and technology in the Life Science, Health Science, Biotechnology, Health Technology, and Medical Technology sectors.  Gabriella primarily acts as external general counsel for her clients. In that role, she advises individuals and startups, including world-renowned scientists from Canada’s premier teaching institutions, on how to form and run a business, protect and commercialize intellectual property, and negotiate a variety of agreements. She also serves as external legal counsel to commercialization offices at leading research institutions.

Scientific background

Gabriella’s Ph.D. work focused on molecular diagnostics for infectious diseases, particularly malaria and SARS-CoV. As a post-doctoral researcher, she developed nanotechnology-based hand-held medical diagnostic devices. Her graduate work was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Doctoral Research Award and the University of Toronto’s prestigious Connaught Scholarship.

She published extensively and presented her work at national and international conferences.


As a faculty member in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Gabriella developed and teaches short courses on intellectual property, privacy, regulatory affairs, and commercialization in the Translational Research Program at the University of Toronto.


Gabriella is the Lead-Legal Mentor at the Health Innovation Hub  (H2i) where she prepares and delivers legal education seminars and advises entrepreneurs and health startups on various aspects of commercialization.


  • Called to the Ontario Bar in 2010
  • Law Society of Upper Canada
  • Regulatory Affairs Professionals Society (RAPS)
  • Licensing Executives Society (USA & Canada)

Select Presentations

  • The Intellectual Property Roller Coaster: A Primer (WeWork Labs – December 18, 2019)
  • The Commercialization Toolkit: From idea to commercialization (Mini-MBA Program, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – November 18, 2019)
  •  Intellectual Property for Medical Devices: Navigating the complex path from idea to commercialization (CRANIA Conference – September 16, 2019)
  • The business of startups: the good, the bad, and the ugly (The Hospital for Sick Children – October 30, 2017)
  • Navigating the Patent World (Medventions, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre – October 5, 2017)
  • Essentials toolkit: patents, licensing, and commercialization strategy (Training Program in Organ-on-a-Chip Engineering & Entrepreneurship (TOeP) Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering Faculty of Engineering, University of Toronto – November 21, 2016)
  • The Business of Software (The Department of Computer Science Innovation Lab (DCSIL), University of Toronto – March 30, 2016)
  • Protecting corporate assets: IP management strategies (Velocity Science, University of Waterloo – September 29, 2015)
  • Contract basics: understanding legal agreements and boilerplate clauses  (George Brown College – August 28, 2015)
  • Beyond the great idea: essential agreements for every start-up (Startup Toronto – November 20, 2014)

 Lecture Series

  • Legal Education 3-part Series: Business Structures, Shareholder Agreements, and Key Contracts; Protecting and Managing your Intellectual Property; Funding Your Business (Health Innovation Hub (H2i)  – March, April, May 2019)
  • Fundamentals of Intellectual Property (6-week seminar) (Translational Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 2014-2020)
  • Applied Intellectual Property (6-week seminar) (Translational Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 2015-2020)
  • Privacy, Procurement and Regulatory Affairs in Biotechnology (6-week seminar) (Translational Research Program, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 2017-2020)
  • Intellectual Property Protection and Licensing with Penner M, and Lenfesty H. (Centre for Imaging Technology Commercialization (CIMTEC) webinar series – March 11, 2015)


Contact Gabriella Now

Call: (437) 836 3089


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