Meet Our Team

Philippe Gervais

Principal, Navigator; Chair of the Mitacs Board of Directors

As the Principal for the Montreal office, Philippe brings over 25 years of experience of strategic advice to politicians, corporate executives and not-for-profit sector decision makers.

Philippe has distinguished himself in the fields of government relations, strategic advice and campaign planning and execution at the national and international levels. He provides strategic advice and communications counsel to Navigator clients in sectors such as energy, environment, mergers and acquisitions and international trade.

He has played key roles in political campaigns both here in Canada and abroad, including US Presidential campaigns. During the 2006 election, he served as National Deputy Campaign Manager for the Conservative Party of Canada.

Prior to joining Navigator Philippe ran the Quebec operations of a national government relations firm for 22 years. From 1990 to 1993, he worked for the Minister of National Revenue as Special Assistant responsible for the implementation of the GST. His government service continued with positions as Executive Assistant to the Federal Minister of Public Works and Government Services and then as Political Attaché to the Deputy Premier and President of Treasury Board of Quebec.

Philippe currently is a member of the board of directors of many organizations including H2O Innovation Inc. (TSXV: HEO) where he acts as Chairman of the Board of one of Canada’s fastest growing clean tech companies.

Tony Chahine

CEO and founder of Myant Inc.

Tony Chahine is the CEO and founder of Myant Inc, a company based in Toronto, Canada, globally leading the Textile ComputingTM industry. Myant is on a mission to transform human connectedness through textile. It is changing the way people connect to themselves, their communities, and the IoT-enabled world using textiles that can sense and react to the human body, and the AI-enabled Myant Platform. Tony dreams of a future where even the most marginalized people will reap the benefits of technology, and have access, as an example, to remote healthcare.

An entrepreneur with a passion for solving problems and revolutionizing the status quo, Tony holds an unwavering belief that everyone should have the right to participate in our connected world. Myant was created with this vision in mind.

With a background in electrical engineering, Tony came to Canada in 1990 and quickly saw an opportunity to upset traditional electronics markets with new products and business strategies. In 1992, Tony founded Battery Plus, and in so doing was the first to bring innovative battery technologies to the North American market. He continued innovation in the retail sector by acquiring and transforming companies, with a focus on sustainability and ethically produced goods.

The creation of Myant builds on those two decades of experience in electronics and material science, as well as difficult personal family situations, and aims to connect the human operating system to the world around us. Myant is making this a reality with an interdisciplinary team of scientists, engineers, technicians, fashion designers and strategists, and a full end-to-end enterprise. For more information, visit and

Amiee Chan

President and CEO, Norsat International Inc.

Dr. Amiee Chan has over 15 years of experience in executive management and research & development in the telecommunications industry. Offering a rare blend of technical and corporate strength, Dr. Chan’s strategic vision has driven Norsat’s innovative product development program and resulted in consistent revenue growth since her appointment as CEO in 2006. In 2012 Dr. Chan won a Women’s Executive Network Top 100 Award, ranked third in PROFIT/Chatelaine’s list of Top Female Entrepreneurs, and led Norsat to win a BC Export Award for Advancing Technology & Innovation. Dr. Chan holds an Executive MBA from Simon Fraser University where she majored in Strategy and New Ventures and a Ph. D. in Satellite Communications from the University of British Columbia. An accomplished engineer, she has been published over a dozen times, holds three US patents, and has been involved in high-level research teams such as the NASA ACTS Terminal Program. Dr. Chan is a member of the UBC Engineering Advisory Council and serves on the Dean’s External Advisory Board for the Beedie School of Business at SFU.

Leonard Daniels

Principal of Daniels Management Consulting

Len is Principal of Daniels Management Consulting (DMC) specializing in Human Resource and Management expertise and Interim Director, Human Resources – Content (Entertainment, Factual and Sports) at the CBC. Len holds a degree in Administration from the University of Regina and is a proud member of the George Gordon First Nation.

Michelle DeBeyer

VP, Head of Human Resources, Manulife Canada

Michelle is passionate about building a strong Manulife culture that attracts the best talent, connects people with the company’s purpose, and provides an amazing colleague experience. She brings over 20 years of human resource management experience in building and executing strategies that enable innovation, drive business growth, and support leaders in achieving their career best. At Manulife, Michelle leads HR for the Canadian Segment, sits on the HR & Communications Leadership Team, and partners with leaders to meet their strategic objectives to elevate Manulife Canada as an employer of choice.

With over 11 years’ experience at Google, Michelle has held various HR business leadership roles as well as the Market HR Lead for Google Canada. She has worked in the Canadian Technology Sector with organizations such as Google, Orgtech Consulting, University of Waterloo Accelerator Centre, BlackBerry, and SAP (previously Sybase). Michelle’s board experience includes YWCA Waterloo Region and currently Mitacs. Michelle received a bachelor’s degree in psychology and business with a minor in human resources studies from the University of Waterloo and has completed The Advanced Program in Human Resources Management from the University of Toronto, Rotman School of Business.

Iain Klugman

Partner, NorthGuide Inc

Iain Klugman is Partner in NorthGuide Inc. located in Waterloo, Ottawa, and New York.  Previously he was the President and CEO of Communitech Corporation.

Before joining Communitech in 2004, Iain’s career spanned leadership roles in the private and public sectors, including Director of Global Branding and Advertising for Nortel, Executive Director of Communications with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), CEO of Ontario Tourism (provincial Crown corporation), and roles with the Privy Council Office and Industry Canada. Over the past 30 years, Iain has been involved as board member or chair of 27 different organizations, including national and regional, social and business organizations. In addition to Mitacs, he currently serves as a special advisor to the President of the National Research Council, the Digital Government Board of the Province of Ontario, Volta Labs, Lazaridis School of Business and Economics, and is a Senior Fellow with the Brookfield Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Iain has been recognized with many awards: in 2017, he was named one of the 50 most influential people in Toronto by Toronto Life, in 2016, he was named by Canadian Business Magazine as one of the 50 most powerful business people in Canada, and in 2015, he was awarded Startup Canada’s national award for Entrepreneur Support and Promotion. Iain holds an MBA from Laurier University, an MPA from Dalhousie University, a BA from Laurentian University, and has completed executive education programs at the University of Toronto.

Alex LaPlante

Vice-President of Transformation and Chief Operating Officer at RBC

Alex is Vice-President of Transformation and Chief Operating Officer at RBC and former interim Head of Borealis AI, RBC’s R&D lab for artificial intelligence, where she and her team build and deploy leading-edge AI solutions to complex business problems. Alex is a seasoned technology executive specializing in artificial intelligence, innovation, and enterprise transformation.

Wendy Luther

President and CEO, Halifax Partnership

Joining the Halifax Partnership as President & CEO in June 2019, Wendy Luther, MBA, CITP, leads the organization toward achieving the Halifax Economic Growth Plan’s ambitious goals of growing our population to 550,000 and GDP to $30 billion by 2031. She is a champion for Halifax, bringing public-private sector leadership experience in representing Halifax and Nova Scotia nationally and internationally. Wendy is passionate about building deep, collaborative relationships with the business community, our investors, and other stakeholders to support what the Partnership does best – playing a leading role in positioning Halifax as a city of the future, where businesses and people thrive. What excites Wendy most about Halifax is that it is a magnet for young people and a catalyst for vibrant businesses.

Previous roles of importance to Mitacs: CEO of EduNova; Trade Development Executive – Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI)

Bruce MacDougall

Principal, Burcot Park Holdings Inc.

Bruce MacDougall is a tech entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the technology sector. Bruce is involved in the business community in Atlantic Canada, focusing on start-ups, business strategy, and technology leadership. Bruce also consults on issues of telecom strategy and rural broadband developments and is involved in the Ocean Technology sector through COVE, the Center for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship. From 2016 to 2019, Bruce was the Regional Vice-President for Atlantic Canada at Rogers Communications. In this role he led Rogers’ enterprise business activities in Atlantic Canada and worked closely with business and government leaders in the region.

Bruce was the founder and president of Internetworking Atlantic Inc. (IAI), an Atlantic Canada-based telecommunications service provider that was acquired by Rogers in 2015. Over a period of 15 years, IAI acted as an innovative and disruptive force in the telecom sector.

Bruce was a board member and board chair of Digital Nova Scotia, the industry association representing the ICT industry in the province.

Originally from Quebec, Bruce has an engineering degree from McGill University and an MBA from Queen’s University. He lives in Halifax with his family. Bruce is a registered professional engineer in three provinces and a long-standing member of the IEEE.

John Milloy

Former Minister of Research and Innovation and former Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Government of Ontario

From 2003 to 2014, John Milloy served as a Member of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario for the riding of Kitchener Centre. During that period he held a number of Cabinet Portfolios including Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities; Research and Innovation; Community and Social Services; Government Services; and Government House Leader. Prior to that, he worked as the Director of Public Affairs for the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI), a Waterloo based Think Tank. He came to CIGI from Parliament Hill, where he worked for several senior Cabinet Ministers, including five years in the office of Prime Minister Jean Chrétien.
Upon retirement from politics, John returned to the academic world and currently serves as the Co-Director of the Centre for Public Ethics and Assistant Professor of Public Ethics at Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, and the inaugural Practitioner in Residence in Wilfrid Laurier’s Political Science Department. He is also a lecturer in the Master of Public Service Program at the University of Waterloo. As well as his work with Mitacs, John sits on a number of other boards including the Kitchener-Waterloo Community Foundation, Waterloo North Hydro, and is the Government of Ontario representative on the board of MaRs.
John holds an Honours B.A. from Carleton University, an M.A. from the London School of Economics and a Doctorate in Modern History from the University of Oxford where he was a Commonwealth Scholar. He is married to physician Sara Pendergast and has two young sons.

Ginna Ng

VP, Finance, Zynik Capital Corporation

Ginna is the Vice President, Finance of Zynik Capital Corporation, a Private Equity with offices in Vancouver and Toronto. She manages the Vancouver office and works closely with the executive management to support a wide range of special projects and alternative investments at Zynik and its portfolio companies. Ginna has over 13 years of experience working with entrepreneurs and supporting start-up companies in Canada, Silicon Valley, and Europe throughout their lifecycles. Prior to Zynik, Ginna was the Controller at a Canadian technological start-up that was eventually acquired by a major tech company in Silicon Valley. She managed all financial aspects of the start-up and led the clinical trials to evaluate the wearable health tracker developed by the company.

Outside of work, Ginna has been an active volunteer for over two decades. She was a long-term volunteer at local hospitals and tax clinics. Since 2009, she serves on the Board of Richmond Music School Society and was appointed Board President in 2018. Ginna guided the registered charity through the pandemic and under her leadership, Richmond Music School Society was awarded the Arts Education Award by the City of Richmond, B.C., in 2020. Ginna also serves on the CPABC Investigation Committee since 2018 and is a frequent panelist to ACCA webinars and contributor to ACCA’s financial research.

Ginna is a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CGA) and a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountant (FCCA) in UK. She holds two master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering (M.A.Sc.) from the University of British Columbia and in Investigative and Forensic Accounting (MFAcc) from the University of Toronto. Ginna is also a trained Paralegal in Canadian Corporate Law and holds the diplomas of Associate of the Royal Conservatory of Toronto (ARCT), Licentiate of the Royal Schools of Music (LRSM), and Licentiate of the Trinity College London (LTCL), all in piano performance.

Mario Pinto

Vice-President Research, University of Manitoba

Mario Pinto is Vice-President Research at the University of Manitoba. Mario has extensive experience in research commercialization, as one of the founding members of the Centre for Drug Research and Development, Zone Start-Ups India, VentureLabs® and Venture Connection. He champions global connectivity and equity, diversity, and inclusion in research and innovation.

Thao Pham

Senior Fellow, University of Ottawa

Thao Pham is Senior Fellow at the University of Ottawa’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs and a former senior civil servant of the Canadian government with extensive leadership, governance, and management experience. She last served as Deputy Minister, COVID-19 Recovery, and Deputy Secretary to the Cabinet (Operations) in the Privy Council Office. Thao is passionate about sustainability, innovation, and women in leadership.

John Hepburn


John Hepburn studied at the University of Waterloo (BSc, 1976) and the University of Toronto (PhD, 1980), followed by two years as a NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. He began his academic career back at the University of Waterloo, where he was appointed an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Physics in 1982, and ultimately Chair of Chemistry in 1998.
In 2001, he moved to the University of British Columbia as Head of Chemistry and Professor of Chemistry with a joint appointment to Physics & Astronomy. He became Dean of Science in 2003, and Vice-President, Research in 2005. The international portfolio was added to his list of responsibilities in August 2009. In June 2016, he became Vice-President, Research and Partnerships at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) and served in that role until January 2020. He began as CEO and Scientific Director of Mitacs in February 2020.
John Hepburn has served on numerous boards and advisory committees, both nationally and internationally. He is currently on the Boards for WestGrid (as Chair), Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping, and BrainsCAN (a CFREF-funded research centre of excellence), and is on the advisory committee for the France-Canada Research Fund.

Ridha Ben Mrad

Chief Research Officer and Scientific Director

Ridha Ben Mrad, P.Eng., is the Chief Research Officer and Associate Academic Director of Mitacs, Director of the Mechatronics and Microsystems Group and a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. He joined the University of Toronto in 1997, having previously held positions at the National Research Council of Canada and the Ford Research Laboratory. He joined Mitacs in 2016 and is also currently Chair of the Mitacs Research Council. He is also currently President and Chief Technology Officer of Sheba Microsystems Inc., a Toronto based manufacturer of cameras for the smart phone and automotive industries.
Ridha Ben Mrad’s research interests are micro-actuators and sensors, MEMS, microfabrication, and development of smart materials based devices. He led a large number of collaborations with industrial partners from across Canada working on developing a number of new technologies. His research has led to 20+ US, Canadian, European and Chinese patents and more than 200 refereed research publications. He has supervised the work of more than 20 PHD students, 38 Master’s students, 14 researchers, three Postdoctoral Fellows, and 64 senior undergraduate students.

He has received the Faculty Early Career Teaching Award and the Connaught Innovation Award and sits on several committees, including the Steering Committee of the IEEE Journal on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems and the IEEE IES Publication Committee. He has also served as editor on various publications including the IEEE Industrial Electronics Tech News, Mechatronics, and the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics. He was the founding Director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the University of Toronto and was Associate Chair of Research of his department.

Rajat Sharma

Chief Operating Officer

Rajat provides strategic leadership to Mitacs and holds executive responsibility as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) for financial and corporate performance strategy, management, and reporting, as well as holding the position of Chief Privacy Officer and serving as the Corporate Secretary. Rajat’s focus is to drive financial and operational excellence through his leadership to key Mitacs services including Finance, Accounting, Corporate planning, Corporate administration and Governance, Risk, Privacy, Grants management, Human Resources and Information and Technology Services.

He is a strategic, innovative senior leader. Rajat utilizes his Canadian and international education and experience to support organizational success. He has succeeded in progressively complex leadership roles in the areas of finance, health care, housing, business process improvements, and innovation. With a focus on financial sustainability and optimizing resources, Rajat has successfully led the development of effective financial plans and supported the development and funding of major health care infrastructure in BC. More recently, in his role as the CFO for the City of Abbotsford, Rajat led the development of various long-term plans valued at over $1.9 billion and played a significant role in shaping the future of the city’s growth and infrastructure needs.

Rajat has provided leadership to large, diverse, multi-faceted teams and stakeholders aimed at delivering exceptional customer service and innovation. He is especially known to promote transparency, build resiliency, and drive accountability. Rajat successfully creates a legacy of stewardship in his roles supporting the success of an organization beyond his tenure. Rajat holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Mumbai and a Master of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco in California and is a Chartered Professional Accountant.

Michelle Aguayo

Vice-President, Programs, Policy and Evaluations

Michelle Aguayo is the Vice-President, Programs, Policy and Evaluations. Michelle is responsible for driving policy and evidence-based programming that aligns with corporate strategy, market needs and demonstrates expertise in the innovation policy landscape. The role is also accountable for program and training design/development, delivery, and participant experience including overseeing evaluation measures to ensure the achievement of outcomes for Mitacs offerings.

Before joining Mitacs, Michelle worked in hospitality, the public safety sector, and financial services, before transitioning to the skills training, and development arena with a focus on equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI). During her graduate studies, Michelle has presented and authored/co-authored work on EDI as well as media and communications-related topics. She is passionate about giving back and has volunteered for the Canadian Hispanic Congress as well as local community organizations.

Michelle holds a BA from Concordia University, Montreal, Canada, and an MSc. from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), England. She speaks French, Spanish, and Italian.

Sylvain Giguère

Vice-President, Business Development, Communications and Marketing

Sylvain Giguère is Vice-President, Business Development, Communications and Marketing. Sylvain is responsible for ensuring that Mitacs stimulates innovation and productivity in Canada by building partnerships between industry and research, providing talent and supporting R&D. He shapes strategies to enhance Mitacs impact on the economy and leads his teams accordingly. Sylvain oversees a department responsible for major accounts, strategic partnerships, strategic development, delivery operations, communications, marketing as well as regional teams across the country.

Prior to joining Mitacs in 2023, Sylvain was Chief Economist and Head of Economic Development at the Montreal Metropolitan Community. Up until 2019 he was a senior official of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, leading a division responsible for economic development, skills and innovation.

A Canadian and French national, Sylvain has a PhD in economics from Université Paris 1 (Panthéon-Sorbonne). He also studied economics at Queen’s University and Université du Québec à Montréal where he earned his BA and MSc degrees.

Charles Achampong

Vice-President, International Partnerships (Toronto)



Simon Bousquet

Vice-President, Quebec

Ivan Ilic

Vice-President, Technology (Vancouver)



Henry Ling

Vice-President, Research (Vancouver)

Patrice Mulvihill

Vice-President, Finance (Vancouver)



Winnie Sin

Vice-President, Human Resources (Vancouver)

Angelin Soosaipillai

Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Toronto)

Prateek Sureka

Vice-President, National Partnerships

Jean-François Bousquet

Dalhousie University

Jean-François Bousquet joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Dalhousie University in July 2013. He is a graduate of Ecole Polytechnique de Montréal where he completed his B. Eng. in Electrical Engineering in 2001. He also completed his MSc and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering at the University of Calgary in 2007 and 2011 respectively, where he focused on the implementation of low-power integrated circuits applied to wireless communication. Between 2009 and 2011, he was employed as a high-speed analog IC designer at Ciena for the development of coherent fibre optics communication networks. Since joining Dalhousie University, he has developed a research program on underwater communications and technology. He is particularly interested in enabling underwater networks, using low-power electronics systems. He is passionate about the use of highly integrated circuits to enable reconfigurable communication systems. Since 2019, he has acted as Head the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. He is currently Associate Editor for the Canadian Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Michelle Chrétien, PhD

Conestoga College

Michelle Chrétien is the Associate Vice-President of Research at Conestoga College. She was previously the Director of the Centre for Advanced Manufacturing and Design Technologies at Sheridan College. Prior to joining Sheridan College, Michelle spent 12 years at the Xerox Research Centre of Canada in various roles including Global Program Manager (Electronic Materials), Senior R&D Manager (Materials Science), and Program Manager (Strategic Partnerships). Michelle is focused on leading and enabling applied research in advanced manufacturing including 3D printing, automation, robotics, computer-aided design, printed and flexible electronics and more.

Michelle is passionate about the commercialization of innovation, public engagement in science, and equity and diversity in research. She has extensive experience in working with entrepreneurs and companies to help them achieve their business and technology goals. She has tackled challenges such as developing new materials and processes for 3D printing and wearable electronics as well as building new capability and infrastructure to support innovation in Advanced Manufacturing.

Michelle received her BSc in Chemistry from Dalhousie University and PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Ottawa. Her PhD thesis was nominated for the Governor General’s Medal and was awarded the IUPAC Prize for Young Chemists. Michelle was an NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Centre for Biological Applications of Mass Spectrometry in Montréal. Michelle has published 23 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and holds 82 US patents on novel materials and manufacturing technologies. She has been recognized with numerous awards including the Xerox Certificate of Excellence and the intelliFLEX Innovation Award for Women in STEM.

Michelle serves on the Board of Directors of the NSERC Green Printed Electronics Network, the Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre, IntelliFLEX Innovation Alliance, and the Erindale Minor Hockey Association. She is also an advisor and mentor for both RIC Centre and EDGE, Sheridan’s entrepreneurship hub.

Ian D. Gates

University of Calgary

Ian D. Gates, P.Eng., Ph.D., FCAE, is a Professor in the Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering at the University of Calgary. He worked for seven years in industry prior to joining the University in 2004. Prof. Gates received a B.Sc. from the University of Calgary, an M.A.Sc. from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, all in Chemical Engineering. Since 2016, he has been the Director of the University of Calgary’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) program, the $75 million Global Research Initiative (GRI) for Sustainable Low-carbon Unconventional Resources program, where he has provided leadership in energy research (>80 research projects funded, >200 faculty members involved from across the university, and >500 graduate students involved in GRI research projects).

Prof. Gates’ research spans heavy oil and oil sands technology, hydrogen (in situ gasification of heavy oil and methane pyrolysis), methane emissions, and material science of energy systems. Since he joined the university, he has supervised 37 Ph.D., 35 M.Sc., and 8 M.Eng. (thesis-based) graduate students and 29 undergraduate summer researchers, as well as 32 Research Engineers, Research Associates, and Post-Doctoral Scholars in his research group. His research has led to over 230 peer-reviewed journal papers published and 65 patents (33 awarded, 24 pending, and 8 abandoned) with several of them patented in more than 10 countries. He is a serial entrepreneur, having co-founded several companies including Gushor (sold to Schlumberger in 2013), Proton Technologies (hydrogen from heavy oil), Solideum (solid bitumen), Molten Alloy Technologies, TOSSA, and several consulting companies.

Since joining the University of Calgary, Prof. Gates has received awards including 12 teaching awards, a Killam Innovation in Teaching Award (2016), an ASTECH award (Innovation in Oil Sands Research, 2016), a Killam Annual Professor Award (2018), and an APEGA Frank Spragins Summit Award (2019).

Randy Herrmann

University of Manitoba

Randy is the Director of the Engineering Access Program (ENGAP) at the University of Manitoba. ENGAP is a support program designed to assist First Nation, Metis, and Inuit students seeking an engineering degree. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1988 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Geological Engineering. For 10 years he worked as a geotechnical engineer, technical services advisor, and a project manager before taking on his current role. Over the years Randy’s work with Canadian Indigenous communities and within the engineering field has shown him the lack of engineers of First Nation, Metis, and Inuit ancestry and the obstacles faced by these students to obtain a degree. His desire to help change these factors and make it easier for Indigenous students to pursue an engineering degree led him to become Director of ENGAP, a position he has held since 1998. He is a Fellow of Engineers Canada, and a member of the Canadian Academy of Engineering. He is also a member of Engineers Geoscientists Manitoba and the Manitoba Metis community.

Nada Jabado

McGill University

Dr. Nada Jabado is a Professor of Pediatrics at McGill University and pediatric neuro-oncologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital. She completed her residency in pediatrics with a specialization in hemato-oncology. She also obtained a PhD in Immunology in Paris, France, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship in biochemistry at McGill. She began her career as an independent investigator at McGill in 2003, pioneering a research program in pediatric brain tumors which is now unparalleled. Her group uncovered that pediatric high-grade astrocytomas (HGA) are molecularly and genetically distinct from adult tumors. More importantly, they identified a new molecular mechanism driving pediatric HGA, namely recurrent somatic driver mutations in the tail of histone 3 variants (H3.3 and H3.1).

Dr. Jabado’s groundbreaking work has created a paradigm shift in cancer with the identification of histone mutations in human disease which has revolutionized this field, as the epigenome was a previously unsuspected hallmark of oncogenesis, thus linking development and what we now know are epigenetic-driven cancers. She has over 190 peer-reviewed publications to her credit, with an impressive number of senior-author, high-impact publications in such prominent journals as Nature Genetics, Nature, Science and Cancer Cell, to name a few. She has over 23,000 citations and an h-index of 78 and many of her publications are considered landmark papers. Nada is an international leader in the field of neuro-oncology/cancer, honored by invitations as a keynote speaker at top-ranked symposia and universities.

Dr. Jabado has received numerous national and international honors while garnering prestigious salary support awards throughout her career. She is one of the best-funded investigators in Canada, with grants from CIHR, Genome Canada, Genome Quebec, NIH as well as philanthropic organizations. She has been inducted as a Fellow to the Royal Society of Canada and appointed as member of the CIHR Governing Council as well as the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She was recently presented with the Pediatric Academic Leadership, Clinician Investigator Award from the Pediatric Chairs of Canada and was awarded a Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Oncology.

Di Jiang

National Research Council of Canada

Dr. Di Jiang is a team lead and senior researcher at the Medical Devices Research Centre of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). From 2020 to 2022, Dr. Jiang was appointed as the President’s Science Advisor and Secretary to the President’s Research Excellence Advisory Committee (PREAC) working with NRC’s senior executives and research communities to promote research excellence. Dr. Jiang joined the NRC’s Life Sciences Division in 2008. She currently leads research and development efforts in virtual care, including continuous remote patient monitoring using medical sensors and contactless assessment for physiological and cognitive health. During her career, Dr. Jiang has led multiple large-scale projects in close collaboration with academia, industry clinicians, such as real-time simulations for medical applications and remote interactive care augmented by AI/ML. She has worked as a consultant for numerous organizations. Dr. Jiang holds a Ph.D. and MSc in Computer Science from the Université de Montréal. She also has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics.

Elicia Maine

Simon Fraser University

Elicia Maine is the W.J. VanDusen Professor of Innovation & Entrepreneurship at the Beedie School of Business, Academic Director of the Invention to Innovation (i2I) Program, and Special Advisor on Innovation to the VPRI at Simon Fraser University. Within the SFU VPRI, she has oversight of the SFU Innovates strategy, including the TLO. Her research interests are in science innovation, science entrepreneurship, and the translation of inventions from university research labs. She is founding Academic Director of the Mitacs i2I Skills Training program, a national program developing entrepreneurial mindset and innovation skills in PhD scientists and engineers.

Professor Maine was the founding educational coordinator for New Ventures BC, was awarded the 2017 TD Canada Trust Distinguished Teaching Award, recognized as one of BC’s Most Influential Women 2018: STEM Stars, and honoured at the 2021 BC Cleantech Awards as the Top Cleantech Educator. She serves on the Boards of Directors of Innovate BC, the Foresight cleantech accelerator, the Composites Knowledge Network, and the Digital Health Circle, and is actively involved in innovation initiatives and in mentoring scientist-entrepreneurs.

Maine is a scientist-advisor for the CDL-Climate stream, leading interdisciplinary research in climate innovation and in biomedical innovation, and serves on the Scientific Advisory Committee of 4POINTO, Princeton University’s Dean for Research Innovation Advisory Council, and on the Jury of the Women in Cleantech Challenge. An interdisciplinary scholar and engaged educator, Maine holds a PhD in Technology Management & Materials Engineering from the University of Cambridge, Master’s degrees in Technology & Policy and Materials Engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a BSc in Materials Engineering from Queen’s University. Professor Maine has published her innovation management research in Research Policy, R&D Management, Journal of Cleaner Production, Technovation, Nature Nanotechnology, and Nature Materials.

Ridha Ben Mrad

Mitacs Chief Research Officer & Scientific Director

Ridha Ben Mrad, P.Eng., FCSME, Director of the Mechatronics and Microsystems Group and a Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto. He joined the University of Toronto in 1997, having previously held positions at the National Research Council of Canada in Vancouver, BC, and the Ford Research Laboratory in Dearborn, Michigan. R. Ben Mrad received a PhD in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor in 1994. He also received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering with Honors and with Distinction from Penn State, a Master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering both from the University of Michigan.

R. Ben Mrad’s research interests are micro-actuators and sensors, MEMS, microfabrication, and development of smart materials based devices. He led a large number of collaborations with industrial partners from across Canada working on developing a number of new technologies. His research led to a number of patents and inventions including 10 US, Canadian, European and Chinese patents and more than 160 refereed research publications. He supervised the work of more than 16 PHD students, 38 Master’s students, 14 researchers, 3 Post-Doctoral Fellows, and 64 senior undergraduate students. He received the Faculty Early Career Teaching Award in 2002 and the Connaught Innovation Award in 2013 and in 2014.

R. Ben Mrad chairs the IEEE IES Committee on MEMS and Nanotechnology (2015-2016), is a member of the Executive Board of the CanSmart Group, is Associate Editor of the IEEE Industrial Electronics Tech News (2013-current), serves on the Steering Committee of the IEEE Journal on Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (2010-current) and is a member of the IEEE IES Publication Committee (2013-current). He was a Technical Editor of the IEEE/ASME Transactions on Mechatronics (2010-2014) and a guest editor of the IEEE Transactions on Industrial Electronics (2010-2012). He was the founding Director of the Institute for Robotics and Mechatronics at the University of Toronto (2009-2011), served on the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) Mechanical Engineering Grant Committee (2008-2011), and was Associate Chair of Research of his department (2009-2012).

Cory Mulvihill


Cory leads innovation hub ecosystem development work at MaRS, helping position the MaRS Centre and future sites to be globally recognized generators of positive socioeconomic impact. Additionally, he leads relations for MaRS with top national and global jurisdictions of innovation. Cory previously led policy and public affairs at MaRS, where he coordinated relationships with government stakeholders, and aligned the organization and its network with government policies. Cory’s continued service at MaRS is an expression of his passion for the life sciences sector, and the implementation of strong innovation policy across Canada.
Prior to MaRS, Cory served as Chief of Staff to the Government of Ontario’s Minister of Research, Innovation and Science. His other previous roles in the government included Chief of Staff to the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, as well as Senior Policy Advisor to the Ministers of Economic Development and Innovation. Cory completed his PhD in biochemistry at SickKids and the University of Toronto with a focus on cystic fibrosis. He is also a chartered financial analyst (CFA) charter holder and possesses an BSc in chemistry.

Claudiane Ouellet-Plamondon

École de technologie supérieure

Claudiane Ouellet-Plamondon is a professor in the Department of Construction Engineering at the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) in Montreal, a member of the Université du Québec network, since 2014. She holds the Canada Research Chair in Sustainable Multifunctional Construction Materials. She received a bachelor’s degree in biological engineering from Dalhousie University, a master’s degree in biological sciences from Université de Montréal, and a Ph.D. in engineering from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. She was a postdoctoral fellow at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, and a visiting scholar at the University of California, Berkeley during her sabbatical leave.

She is passionate about her research on functional materials, robotic 3D printing of low carbon mortars, bio-based materials, wood and earth construction, valorization of industrial by-products in cement, concrete and other value-added materials, sustainable materials for a circular economy, and modeling of materials with artificial intelligence. She enjoys interdisciplinary research on the sustainability of buildings and cities, materials and arts, adaptation and mitigation of climate change, and the ecological transition. Her team includes Master’s and Ph.D. students, research assistants, and postdoctoral fellows.

Claudiane chairs the report on 3D Printing with Cementitious Materials of the Committee 564 of the American Concrete Institute (ACI). She is a member of the International Energy Agency EBC Annex 89 Ways to Implement Net-Zero Whole Life Buildings. She is a member of technical committees of the RILEM and a member of other associations.

Michel Pioro-Ladrière

Director of Partnerships and Strategy, Nord Quantique Inc.

Michel Pioro-Ladrière serves as the Director of Partnerships and Strategy at Nord Quantique, a quantum computing company that originated from his laboratory within the innovation ecosystem he contributed to establishing in Sherbrooke, Québec, Canada. Previously, he held the position of Professor at the Université de Sherbrooke. One of his research accomplishments was selected among the Top 10 Discoveries of the Year by Québec Science magazine in 2020. He also served as the Co-Scientific Director at the Institut quantique of the Université de Sherbrooke, the Chair for the Deployment of Quantum Technologies, the Scientific Director of DistriQ Quantum Innovation Zone in Sherbrooke – one of the initial Innovation Zones recognized by the Government of Québec, and the Founding Director of the Bachelor in Quantum Information Sciences program at the Université de Sherbrooke. With a background in physics, he obtained a Ph.D. in collaboration with the National Research Council of Canada and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the NTT Basic Research Laboratories in Japan.

Annett Rozek, PhD


Terramera Chief Scientific Officer Annett Rozek, PhD is an accomplished scientist and visionary leader with a passion for creating technologies for a healthier world, from food to the environment. Alongside the Founder and CEO, she developed Terramera’s revolutionary Actigate Targeted Performance Technology and launched the company’s inaugural Proof and Cirkil products, leading technology development and cultivating an energetic and supportive interdisciplinary team environment.

Terramera is tackling audacious goals of reducing global synthetic pesticide loads 80%, increasing global farm productivity 20% and increasing soil organic carbon 100% by 2030 to protect plant and human health and ensure an earth that thrives and provides for everyone. The global AgTech leader is fusing science, nature and artificial intelligence to transform how food is grown and the economics of agriculture in the next decade.

Annett’s experience in her previous role as Senior Scientist at Inimex Pharmaceuticals (2003-2011) includes the discovery and development of a first-in-class Innate Defense Regulator IMX942 (Dusquetide), an anti-inflammatory drug now in Phase III clinical development by Soligenix. She is an author on 28 publications, inventor on 18 unique patent applications and granted patents, has a MSc from the Department of Chemistry at Humboldt University, and a PhD from the Department of Chemistry and Institute of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at Simon Fraser University.

Solmaz Shahalizadeh

Backbone Angels

Solmaz Shahalizadeh is an executive, investor and advisor in the technology and data space. She is a founding partner of Backbone Angels, an angel investing collective focused on funding more diverse and women-founded businesses making change. Most recently as the Vice President and head of Shopify’s Data Team, Solmaz built the company’s entire portfolio of data and machine learning, overseeing a team of over 500 data scientists, engineers, and product managers who help leverage data to ensure Shopify merchants get the most from the company’s scale. In her role at Shopify, she also built the company’s financial data warehouse, played a critical role in their successful IPO, implemented and scaled the company’s machine-learning products, and led multiple cross-functional teams. Solmaz is the winner of a Globe and Mail Report on Business Best Executive Award, recognizing her leadership and work in the technology field. In 2021, Solmaz was also named a recipient of a Forty Under 40 Award by the Ottawa Business Journal. Before her time with Shopify, Solmaz had an extensive career as a data scientist, working as an analyst at Morgan Stanley and at McGill University, where she contributed to cancer research using AI methods to build predictors of outcome for breast cancer.

Christopher Yip

University of Toronto

Professor Christopher Yip began his term as Dean of the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering on July 2, 2019, after serving two years as Associate Vice-President, International Partnerships in the University’s Office of the Vice President, International.
Dean Yip is a leading scholar in the field of single-molecule biophysics and a faculty member with the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, the Department of Biochemistry and the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering. He is a Principal Investigator with the Donnelly Centre for Cellular & Biomolecular Research at the University of Toronto.

As a former director of the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME), he provided leadership to more than 100 research engineers and scientists engaged in discovery and product development in the areas of neuroscience and sensory stimulation, biomaterials and tissue engineering, molecular systems biology and nanotechnology, as well as medical device and drug delivery system design.

He has been a strong advocate and creator of international research opportunities for students and scholars. Through the Wildcat Voyager Scholarships, IBBME encourages its PhD students by providing funds for international research partnerships. Professor Yip and IBBME have also played important roles in the development and implementation of the Lyon Sachs Collaborative Research Fund. This fund rapidly scales up research collaborations by enabling joint symposia and workshops, funding student and faculty travel between Haifa and Toronto, and enabling sabbatical visits and short-term graduate student exchanges. The fund has sparked cutting-edge research and enabled two-way flow of immense talent between the Technion Institute of Technology and the University of Toronto.

Dean Yip serves on the CIHR Institute of Genetics Advisory Board and has served on grant panels at NSERC, CIHR and NIH. He was the first recipient of the Molecular Imaging’s Outstanding Young Biological Scanning Probe Microscopy Investigator of the Year award, and since that time has been honoured with a Premier’s Research Excellence Award (1999), Faculty Teaching Award, (2000) and Graduate Faculty Teaching Award for Sustained Contribution to Excellence in Graduate Teaching (2008). He was named a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009), a Fellow of the Engineering Institute of Canada (2014) and held a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Molecular Imaging (2000-2010).

Dean Yip received his B.A.Sc. in Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry from the University of Toronto in 1988 and his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Minnesota in 1996. He joined the Department of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry in 1997 and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2002 and to Full Professor in 2007.