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.
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.
Bruce MacDougall — Principal, Burcot Park Holdings Inc.
Bruce MacDougall is a tech entrepreneur with over 25 years of experience in the telecom sector. Bruce is involved in the ICT community in Atlantic Canada, focusing on startups, business strategy, and technology leadership. Bruce also consults on issues of telecom strategy and rural broadband developments.
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 liaised closely with all levels of government in the region.
Prior to joining Rogers, 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 is a board member and the past chair of Digital Nova Scotia, the industry association representing the ICT industry in the province. He has held several positions in both the private and public sectors, notably with the CBC in Ottawa and Halifax.
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.
Carol Anne Hilton — Founder and CEO, Indigenomics Institute
Carol Anne Hilton, MBA is the CEO and Founder of The Indigenomics Institute. Carol Anne is a recognized First Nation’s business leader and adviser with an international Masters Degree in Business Management (MBA) from the University of Hertfordshire, England, a partnership through Vancouver Island University. Carol Anne is of Nuu chah nulth descent from the Hesquiaht Nation on Vancouver Island.
Carol Anne currently serves on the BC Emerging Economy Task Force as an adviser to the Minister of Jobs, Trades and Technology as well as on the BC Indigenous Investment Council for the Ministry of Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation. Carol Anne was appointed as a senior advisor to the federal Finance Minister on the Canadian Federal Economic Growth Council. Carol Anne has led the establishment of a line of thought called #indigenomics- the building and strengthening of Indigenous economies. Carol Anne is currently authoring ‘Indigenomics- a Global Power Shift.’
Carol Anne’s work has been recognized with an ‘Outstanding Business Achievement Award’ from the BC Achievement Foundation, a ‘Creating Wealth Award’ from the National Indigenous Council of Elders and ‘Business of the Year Award’ from the Nuu chah nulth Economic Development Corporation and most recently the ‘Excellence in Aboriginal Relations Award’ from the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Carol Anne currently serves as Director on the McGill University Institute of the Study of Canada, the National Canadian Community Economic Development Network as well as a juror on the national Smart Cities Challenge. Carol Anne is an instructor at Simon Fraser University’s Community Economic Development Program and a faculty lead at the Banff Centre’s Indigenous Business Program where she was also a Fleck Fellow.
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.
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.
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.
Karen Mossman — Vice-President, Research, McMaster University
Dr. Karen Mossman is the Vice-President, Research of McMaster University. Prior to serving as VPR, Dr. Mossman was the Associate Vice-President (Research) for McMaster University (also served as Acting VPR from July 1, 2018 to December 31, 2018 and June 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020) and former Chair of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Mossman completed a PhD in Biochemistry and a postdoctoral fellowship in Molecular Virology at the University of Alberta, Canada. She is currently a professor with tenure and holds an appointment in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and is an associate member of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences. Dr. Mossman has made seminal contributions to the understanding of how cells sense viral infections, and in turn, how viruses evade detection by host cells. More recently, her efforts have also focused on development of “oncolytics” — therapeutic viruses used to fight cancer. She is a member of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research and the McMaster Immunology Research Center. www.mcmaster.ca/research
Marie-Hélène Labrie — Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, Cogeco
Ms. Labrie was named Senior Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications in 2018. She has more than 20 years of broad experience in government relations, public communications and marketing. Prior to joining Cogeco, she was at Enerkem starting in 2008, most recently as Senior Vice President, Government Affairs and Communications, where she built the company’s corporate image and reputation, positioning the organization as a global leader in the field of biofuels. Previously, Ms. Labrie worked with a range of companies as a communications consultant from 2006 to 2008, and from 1997 to 2006 she held roles at CAE including Director, Strategic Planning and Marketing. She began her career with the Government of Canada from 1993 to 1997, working on diverse portfolios. Ms. Labrie holds a Bachelor of Business Administration from Université Laval in Québec City, where she also completed a Masters in International Business.
Nicole Janssen — Co-Founder and Co-CEO, AltaML
Nicole Janssen is the Co-Founder and Co-CEO of AltaML, a Canadian artificial intelligence scaleup that designs and implements applied AI solutions for businesses. In her role, Nicole is responsible for overseeing the growth of AltaML’s business, which spans multiple sectors including agriculture, financial services, health, and energy.
Nicole is actively involved in helping Canadian business leaders understand the importance of ethical AI and has been recognized by AI Global for this work. Prior to AltaML, Nicole co-founded Janalta Interactive Inc., an online media company, as well as Stratus Holdings Inc., a private real estate investment firm. Nicole is active in her local community and currently serves as a Director at Innovate Edmonton. Nicole holds a B.Comm. in international business from the University of Alberta.
Michelle DeBeyer — Market HR Lead, Google Canada
Passionate about building an organization that attracts the best talent and fosters innovation, Michelle brings focus to developing a culture that enables the achievement of the strategic business plans and supports leaders in achieving their career best. She brings over 20 years of human resource management experience and is passionate about building a strong culture that connects people with the organization’s purpose in support of an amazing employee experience. With over 10 years at Google, Michelle has held various HR business leadership roles within the company and is currently the Market HR Lead for Google Canada. Michelle is responsible for leading HR for Canada and bringing the best of Google to Canadian talent and partnering with Canadian Google Leaders in achieving their business goals. As a mentor and coach, Michelle supports leaders to realize their full potential.
Michelle has worked in the Canadian Tech Sector throughout her entire career with organizations such as Google, Orgtech Consulting, University of Waterloo Accelerator Centre, Blackberry and SAP (previously Sybase). Michelle’s previous board experience includes YWCA Waterloo Region. 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.
Tony Chahine — CEO and Founder, 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 www.myant.ca and www.skiin.com.
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)
John Hepburn, CEO
Before becoming CEO of Mitacs in 2020, John Hepburn was the Vice-President of Research and Partnerships at CIFAR (the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), a Canadian-based global research organization. For almost two decades, John advanced the capacity of UBC’s research portfolio, creating new institutional partnerships in China, India, and around the world. His previous positions at UBC include Vice-President, Research and International, Dean of the Faculty of Science, and Head of the Department of Chemistry. Before moving to UBC, he was at the University of Waterloo, as a professor of Chemistry and Physics. Prior to that, he was a NATO postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley.
With a PhD in Chemical Physics from the University of Toronto, John is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the American Physical Society, and a former Canada Council for the Arts Killam Research Fellow, and Sloan Foundation Fellow. He has served on numerous national and international advisory committees and boards, and is currently on the boards of the Clear Seas Centre for Responsible Marine Shipping and WestGrid (Board Chair), the executive committee for the France-Canada Research Fund, C.D. Howe Human Capital Policy Council, the expert panel on the Future of Work for the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, the National Killam Program Advisory Board, and award selection panels for the National Research Council Canada (NRC), Falling Walls Foundation (Berlin), Gairdner Foundation, and the Canadian Science Policy Centre (CSPC). As CEO of Mitacs, John has expertly navigated the organization through a period of tremendous growth as well as helped it thrive despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anne-Marie Thompson, Chief Programs and Policy Officer
Prior to joining Mitacs, Anne-Marie Thompson was the Associate Vice-President of Research Grants and Scholarships at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC), a federal organization that funds science and innovation in Canada. For almost a decade, Anne-Marie advanced discovery and partnership research across the country at all levels of post-secondary education. Her previous experience includes positions at Environment and Climate Change Canada, Natural Resources Canada, and the Department of National Defence. She has represented the Government of Canada on numerous occasions at global events such as the London Convention and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and has overseen the creation of countless national and international research initiatives within the public and private sectors. As the Chief Programs and Policy Officer at Mitacs, Anne-Marie brings over 20 years of expertise in public sector leadership in research and innovation in Canada.
Anne-Marie holds a master’s degree in Environmental Engineering from Carleton University as well as a Third Party Neutral Certificate from the Canadian Institute for Conflict Resolution.
Rajat Sharma, Chief Operating Officer
As Chief Operating Officer at Mitacs, Rajat Sharma is focused on driving financial and operational excellence, and improving board and corporate governance. Rajat provides strategic leadership and creates corporate performance strategies that Mitacs can leverage to help develop the next generation of Canadian researchers for a knowledge-based economy.
As a proven leader with over 15 years of experience in the areas of finance, health care, housing, business process improvements, and innovation, Rajat utilizes his international education and professional background to support organizational success. With a focus on financial sustainability and the maximization of resources, he has successfully led the development of effective financial plans and supported the development and funding of major health care infrastructure in BC. In his role as 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. A critical member of the Executive Management Team (EMT), Rajat has been invaluable in optimizing key Mitacs departments and services including Finance, Accounting, Corporate Planning, Corporate Administration and Governance, Grants Management, and Human Resources, ensuring the success of the organization even beyond his tenure.
Rajat holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Mumbai, a Master of Business Administration from the University of San Francisco in California and is a Chartered Professional Accountant of Canada.
Tashmia (Tash) Ismail-Saville, Chief Business Development Officer
For the past 15 years, Tashmia has been building experience and expertise in the innovation ecosystem, with a special focus on inclusive and impactful innovation for economic development. Tashmia was appointed as the CBDO at Mitacs in 2022. She came to Mitacs following her role as the Vice-President in the Partner Solutions Group at MaRS (the largest urban innovation hub in North America).
For five years prior to that, Tashmia served as the founding CEO of the NPO YES (the Youth Employment Service) in South Africa. There she worked on innovative policy design and implementation, delivering a digitally driven, high impact, national employment program, which produced 65,000 youth jobs under her leadership. She has also worked as a consultant for multinational firms, as Founding and Managing Partner at Boundless World Consulting, where her focus was on innovation management and inclusive business model research, strategy, and design.
Tashmia has held academic posts, at Kelley School of Business, Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management, and as the Innovation Faculty member and Head of the Inclusive Markets Programme at the highest rated business school in the African continent, the Gordon Institute of Business Science (GIBS), where she now serves on the Advisory Board. She has held leadership roles, researched, written, consulted, and taught on policy, global innovation networks, and inclusive business model design in countries across the globe.
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, 3 Post-Doctoral 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.
Angelin Soosaipillai, Vice-President, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (Toronto)
Charles Achampong, Vice-President, International Partnerships (Toronto)
Gail Bowkett, Vice-President, Programs (Ottawa)
Henry Ling, Vice-President, Research (Vancouver)
Ivan Ilic, Vice-President, Technology (Vancouver)
Jacqueline Wallace, Vice-President, Marketing and Communications (Montréal)
Joe Belfontaine, Vice-President, National Partnerships (Toronto)
Patrice Mulvihill, Vice-President, Finance (Vancouver)
Winnie Sin, Vice-President, Human Resources (Vancouver)
The Mitacs Research Council (MRC) is a committee of the Mitacs Board and is dedicated to maintaining the research integrity of Mitacs programs. The role of the MRC is to provide research expertise to the Board and to advise the Board on strategies, initiatives and issues related to Mitacs research. The duties and responsibilities of the MRC are to safeguard standards for research and innovation and scholarship consistent with policies of the Board.
The MRC consists of the Chair and 18 members. MRC members provide a broad representation of research in Canada across regions, disciplines, and sectors from academia, industry, and the public sector.
Ridha Ben Mrad — Mitacs Associate Academic 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).
Jean-Paul Boudreau — Mount Allison University
Dr. Jean-Paul Boudreau is a proud Acadian with strong Maritime roots. A graduate of the University of New Brunswick and Laurentian University, he earned his PhD in experimental psychology from Tufts University in Boston.
Dr. Boudreau began his career at the University of Prince Edward Island, where he founded the UPEI Infant Cognition Lab. He then served as chair of the Department of Psychology at Ryerson University, establishing Canada’s first interprofessional Psychology Training Clinic within a hospital, a partnership with St. Michael’s Hospital. He also served as the university’s dean of arts and special advisor and executive lead, social innovation.
A developmental scientist, Dr. Boudreau’s research focuses on the dynamic interaction between mind and action during infancy. He has published and presented his work internationally. He was the founder and director of Ryerson’s Children, Health, Infancy, Learning, and Development (CHILD) Lab and is a fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association.
Dr. Boudreau became Mount Allison University’s 15th President and Vice-Chancellor on July 1, 2018.
Dr. Kevin Leyton-Brown — University of British Columbia
Kevin Leyton-Brown is a professor of Computer Science at the University of British Columbia and an associate member of the Vancouver School of Economics. He holds a PhD and M.Sc. from Stanford University (2003; 2001) and a B.Sc. from McMaster University (1998). He studies the intersection of computer science and microeconomics, addressing computational problems in economic contexts and incentive issues in multiagent systems. He also applies machine learning to various problems in artificial intelligence, notably the automated design and analysis of algorithms for solving hard computational problems.
He has co-written two books, "Multiagent Systems" and "Essentials of Game Theory," and over 100 peer-refereed technical articles; his work has received over 11,000 citations and an h-index of 41. He is a Fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI; elected 2018). He was a member of a team that won the 2018 INFORMS Franz Edelman Award for Achievement in Advanced Analytics, Operations Research and Management Science, described as "the leading O.R. and analytics award in the industry." This award recognizes a "completed, practical application that had significant, verifiable and quantifiable impact on the performance of [a] client organization," in his case the Federal Communications Commission. Leyton-Brown also received UBC's 2015 Charles A. McDowell Award for Excellence in Research, a 2014 NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship—previously given to a computer scientist only 10 times since its establishment in 1965—and a 2013 Outstanding Young Computer Science Researcher Prize from the Canadian Association of Computer Science. He and his coauthors have received paper awards from JAIR, ACM-EC, AAMAS and LION, and numerous medals for the portfolio-based SAT solver SATzilla at international SAT solver competitions (2003–15).
He currently advises Auctionomics, AI21, and Qudos. He is a co-founder of Kudu.ug and Meta-Algorithmic Technologies. He was a scientific advisor to UBC spinoff Zite until it was acquired by CNN in 2011. His past consulting has included work for Zynga, Trading Dynamics, Ariba, and Cariocas.
Soumaya Cherkaoui — Université de Sherbrooke
Dr. Soumaya Cherkaoui is a Full Professor at Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering of Université de Sherbrooke, Canada. Since 2005, she is also an Adjunct Full Professor at Lulea University, Sweden and has been the Director of INTERLAB, a research Laboratory which conducts research funded both by government and industry. Before joining U. Sherbrooke as a faculty member, Pr. Cherkaoui worked for industry as a project leader on projects targeted at the Aerospace Industry. Pr. Cherkaoui was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering of the University of Toronto. In 2006, she was a Visiting Professor at the Centre of Distributed Systems and Software at Monash University, Australia and a Visiting Professor at Bell Laboratories, Toronto. In 2012, she was an invited visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley.
Pr. Cherkaoui has more than 100 publications in reputable journals, conferences and workshops in the area of communication networks. She has participated as a General Chair, Editor, Member of Technical Committee, Session Chair, or Program Committee Member of numerous conferences or referenced journals.
In 2010, she was appointed member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Network of Centres of Excellence Auto21, Canada and member of the Expert Advisory Panel of Precarn, Canada
Her research and teaching interests are in Wireless Networks. Particularly, she works on V2V and V2I communications, Cyberphysical systems, Machine-to-Machine Communications, IoT.
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.
Andrew Csinger — Entrepreneur in Residence, McGill EnginE
Andrew Csinger is a seasoned technology entrepreneur and advises high technology startup firms including Tanka Technologies and Blockchain Intelligence Group. Andrew actively pursues university technology transfer opportunities and industry-academic research collaborations. He is director of several non-profits including the Centre for Innovation in Mineral Resource Engineering. Dr. Csinger was Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of British Columbia, and Adjunct Professor in the Cognitive Systems Group.
Andrew was EVP Research and Managing Director at MineSense Technologies. He was on the Board of Advisors of ISSNet, an NSERC funded research network focused on computer and network security. He was a founding member of the Steering Committee for the Vancouver Institute of Visual Analytics, and a Technical Expert for Eurostars, a joint program between Eureka and the European Commission to support international R&D projects. Dr. Csinger holds several patents in internet security, mining technology, and related areas.
Andrew was EVP of Product Strategy at Seattle-based Dategrity, and CIO of Group Telecom during its successful initial public offering in March 1999. In 1996, he founded Xcert Software, a technology leader in Public Key Infrastructure (PKI); the company was acquired by RSA.
Andrew received his Ph.D. and M.Sc. Degrees in Computer Science from the University of British Columbia and a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering from McGill. His work on artificial intelligence techniques has been published in journals and conferences around the world. He is a recent graduate of the INSEAD International Corporate Governance Program.
Dr. Csinger is regularly invited to speak at conferences and events, about technology and its effects on society and business. Andrew has been both mentor and reviewer for the New Ventures BC business plan competition since 2007 and participated in other initiatives such as the Ontario Research Fund review panel for the Premier’s Catalyst Award.
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.
Prof. 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 the President’s Science Advisor and Secretary to the President’s Research Excellence Advisory Committee at the National Research Council of Canada (NRC). Dr. Jiang joined the NRC’s Life Sciences Division as a Research Officer in 2008. In her current position as Team Lead, Connected Health, at the Medical Devices Research Centre, she leads research and development efforts in virtual care, including continuous remote patient monitoring and management, as well as contactless detection of biosignals with consumer-level devices, in close collaboration with healthcare professionals and industry.
During her career, Dr. Jiang has worked as a consultant for numerous organizations. She has collaborated on multiple research projects on real-time simulations for medical applications and remote interactive care augmented by artificial intelligence.
Di Jiang holds a PhD and MSc in Computer Science from the Université de Montréal (2008; 2003). She also has a BA 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.
Cory Mulvihill — MaRS
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.
Annett Rozek, PhD — Terramera
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.
Maryam Sadeghi — MetaOptima Technology
Maryam Sadeghi, the CEO and Co-Founder of MetaOptima Technology, completed her PhD in Computing Science at Simon Fraser University in the Medical Image Analysis lab. In 2012, she co-founded MetaOptima Technology in Vancouver, Canada, where MoleScope and DermEngine were developed for intelligent skin analytics, imaging and management. The company was one of ten that were shortlisted for the 2013 BCIC New Ventures Competition and won a $40,000 Wavefront Wireless prize package. In 2014, Dr. Sadeghi also won the Venture Prize from Coast Capital Savings.
From 2013-2015, Dr. Sadeghi was director of the Digital Health Hub (Innovation Boulevard), where she was actively involved in R&D and commercialization activities. She also worked closely with the Gerontology Research Center (GRC) at SFU on innovative health solutions for senior care and independent living.
In 2016, Dr. Sadeghi made the Business In Vancouver’s Forty Under 40 Awards List for her innovative work and successful commercialization of DermEngine (an intelligent dermatology platform) and MoleScope (a mobile dermoscope). Recently, Maryam was appointed as a Mitacs Research Council member, was credited as one of BC’s most influential women in BC Business Magazine, and her company was listed as a “Ready To Rocket” business in the area of digital health.
Since its development, MetaOptima has become one of the fastest growing digital health technology companies in Canada and continues to strive to empower physicians and patients for better care outcomes.
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.
Claude Laguë — University of Ottawa
Dr. Claude Laguë, P.Eng., ing., FCAE│MACG, FEC│FIC, is a tenured Professor in the Faculty of Engineering. An agricultural engineer holding degrees from Université Laval and from the University of California, Davis, Dr. Laguë specializes in the engineering of agricultural machinery and manure management systems and in the assessment and mitigation of the environmental impacts of agricultural activities. He is a registered Professional Engineer in Ontario and in Québec.
He began his professional career as a project engineer for the consulting engineering firm Urgel Delisle et Associés. From 1989 to 1999 he held a faculty position at Université Laval, where his teaching and research activities focused on agricultural machinery engineering. While at Université Laval, Dr. Laguë also served as Vice-Dean (Research) of the Faculté des sciences de l'agriculture et de l'alimentation and he was the founding chair of the Département des sols et de génie agroalimentaire. In January 2000, Dr. Laguë was appointed to the Sask Pork Chair in Environmental Engineering for the Pork Industry industrial chair at the University of Saskatchewan's College of Engineering and he served as Dean of the College between 2002 and 2006.
Dr. Laguë was appointed Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Ottawa in August 2006 and he completed his 10-year tenure on June 30, 2016. As the Chief Executive Officer of the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Laguë's responsibilities extended to all academic and resource matters within the Faculty. A member of the National Council of Deans of Engineering and Applied Science (NCDEAS|CCDISA) from 2002 to 2016, Dr. Laguë chaired that organization between 2008 and 2011. In that capacity, he represented Canadian engineering schools at the Canadian Engineering Leadership Forum (CELF|FLGC) and served as an Advisor to Engineers Canada's Board of Directors. Between 2011 and 2013, Dr. Laguë served as Chair of the Council of Ontario Deans of Engineering (CODE).
He is passionate about the importance of entre/intrapreneurship and innovation in engineering education. As a Fulbright Canada Scholar, he studied the “entrepreneurial ecosystems” in place in four major engineering schools in California in 2016-17. Between February and May 2019, Dr. Laguë was a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.
Jimi Tjong — Ford Motor Company
Dr. Jimi Tjong is the Technical Leader and Manager of the Ford Powertrain Engineering, Research & Development Centre (PERDC). It is a result oriented organization capable of providing services ranging from the definition of the problem to the actual design, testing, verification, and finally the implementation of solutions or measures. The Centre is currently the hub for Engineering, Research and Development that involved Canadian Universities, Government Laboratories, Canadian automotive parts and equipment suppliers. The Centre includes16 research and development test cells, prototype machine shop, PHEV, HEV and BEV development testing which occupies an area of 200,000 sq ft. The Centre is the hub for Production / Design Validation of engines manufactured in North America and an overflow for the Ford worldwide facilities. It also establishes a close link worldwide within Ford Research and Innovation Centre, Product Development and Manufacturing Operations that can help bridge the gap between laboratory research and the successful commercialization and integration of promising new technologies into the product development cycle.
His principal field of Research and Development encompasses the following:
- Optimizing Automotive Test systems for cost, performance and full compatibility. It includes the development of test methodology and cognitive systems.
- Calibration for internal combustion engines.
- Alternate fuels, biofuels( including DME/OME), lubricants and exhaust fluids
- Lightweight materials with the focus on Aluminum, Magnesium, biomaterials.
- Battery, Electric motors, supercapacitors, stop/start systems, HEV, PHEV, BEV systems.
- Nanosensors and actuators.
- High performance and racing engines.
- Surface Coating for friction reduction, thermal barrier and light-weighting
- Non-destructive monitoring of manufacturing and assembly processes.
- Advanced gasoline and diesel engines focusing in fuel economy, performance and cost opportunities.
He has published more than 120 Technical papers and presented in the above field internationally. Dr. Tjong is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of Windsor, McMaster University and University of Toronto. He continuously mentors graduate students in completing the course requirements as well as career development coaching.
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.