Mitacs welcomes new members to the Research Council

New technology and research experts join the Mitacs Research Council

Vancouver, B.C. – Mitacs, a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering Canadian innovation, is pleased to welcome Dr. Di Jiang and Solmaz Shahalizadeh to its Research Council. The Mitacs Research Council (MRC) is a sub-committee of the Mitacs Board of Directors committed to maintaining the research integrity of Mitacs programs. Consisting of 18 members and a committee Chair, the MRC provides research expertise and strategies; and safeguards the research, innovation, and scholarship policies set out by the Board.  

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 in close collaboration with healthcare professionals and industry. Dr. Jiang holds a PhD and MSc in Computer Science from the University of Montréal.  

Solmaz Shahalizadeh is a founding partner of Backbone Angels, a collective of women in tech committed to providing funding and opportunities to women-run businesses. Most recently as the Vice President and head of Shopify’s Data team, Shahalizadeh built the company’s entire portfolio of data and machine learning, overseeing a team of over 500 data scientists, engineers, and product managers. Shahalizadeh has worked as a data scientist and analyst for Morgan Stanley and McGill University, contributing to cancer research using AI methods to build outcome predictors, and in 2020 she was named one of Canada’s 50 best executives by The Globe and Mail


John Hepburn, Chief Executive Officer, Mitacs 

“We are honoured to have Dr. Di Jiang and Solmaz Shahalizadeh join the Mitacs Research Council. Their extensive experience and expertise will bring additional value to a team dedicated to upholding the quality and standards of Mitacs research.”  

Ridha Ben Mrad, Chief Research Officer and Scientific Director, Mitacs 

“On behalf of Mitacs, I am delighted to welcome Dr. Di Jiang and Solmaz Shahalizadeh to the Mitacs Research Council. Their skills, talent, and rich experiences will make a valuable contribution to Mitacs research.”   

Dr. Di Jiang 

“It is an honour to join a dynamic group of leaders committed to supporting innovation and fostering collaborative research. I look forward to sharing my passion and experience with the other members of the Mitacs Research Council.” 

Solmaz Shahalizadeh 

“Canadian researchers are global leaders in the development of groundbreaking discoveries that improve lives, and we need to transform the benefits of their scientific advancements into products and services that people can access every day. Mitacs has championed collaborations between industry and academia for decades, and I’m thrilled to share my experience and passion for research with the rest of the Mitacs Research Council.”  

About Mitacs: 

  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from academic institutions. 
  • Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada along with the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.