RCIS 2017 Science Dinner Table Hosts

Meet our fabulous Table Hosts!

Science Dinner 2017

1Ulrich WortmannGlobal Warming, or Would you Immunize your Child? The Nexus of Science, Politics and Public Opinion

Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Toronto

Ever since Galileo disproved the Ptolemaic world view that humans are at the center of the universe, humanity struggles with this loss of spiritual comfort. The resulting unease still informs how we perceive science today. This is especially true for scientific results which apply statistically (e.g., global temperature, or infection rates across a population), where anecdotal experience can contradict the overall evidence. The problem is compounded by the rapid decay of information dissemination cost, facilitating the global reach of fringe opinions exploiting our deep seated skepticism of science and our need for spiritual comfort. I am looking forward to a spirited and hopefully controversial evening exploring the gamut between the personal/spiritual, global/scientific, and political realms.Ulrich is interested in the global interplay of biology, chemistry, and physics. These so called biogeochemical cycles act over a large range of time scales, from days to tens of millions of years, and ultimately control the chemical composition of the ocean and atmosphere. Ulrich serves on the council of the Centre for Global Change Science at the University of Toronto, and on the executive committee of the Canadian Consortium for Ocean Drilling.
2Vincent Hui Taking Architects from Virtual to Reality

Professor, Design Fabrication Zone mentor & Dept. of Architectural Science, Ryerson University

Architecture is the confluence of cultural creativity and technological advances. Though a great deal of design focuses on the social and cultural factors that impact architectural aesthetics, these ambitions are only made possible with an understanding of the technologies available to communicate, develop, and ultimately produce the build environment. From advanced computer modeling in virtual and augmented reality to 3D printing and robotic fabrication tools, contemporary architectural practice and pedagogy mandates a currency in an ecosystem where science, technology, and art converge.

Vincent teaches a variety of courses within the Department of Architectural Science at Ryerson University from design studios to advanced architectural computing, and digital fabrication. He has been awarded several teaching citations while at University of Waterloo since 2001 within both Schools of Planning and Architecture. Vincent’s works with physical computing and digital fabrication have been exhibited and published internationally. His recent work with architectural appropriation of ubiquitous computing, augmented reality, and datascapes has culminated in the Arch-App, a tool that allows users to access data on any landmark in the built environment.
3Belinda KempSparkling Wine Flavour and Foam Chemistry

Senior Scientist in Oenology, Brock University

Sparkling wine production has increased across Canada in recent years. Understanding the chemistry of flavour, foam and aroma provides winemakers with the knowledge to adjust specific stages of production to specific wine styles. Sparkling wine foam quality is dependent upon the chemical composition of the grape juice and subsequent base wine used to make sparkling wine. Working with the Ontario winemakers, carrying out oenological research specifically identified by them, and communicating results aligned to practical winemaking we are seeing production changes and innovative styles emerging from Ontario wineries.Belinda studied Pinot noir tannin, flavour and sensory characteristics of wine for her PhD at Lincoln University, New Zealand. As well as a scientist, Kemp gained previous practical still and sparkling winemaking experience in commercial wineries in New Zealand and the UK. Her main research areas are wine flavour and aroma. Her research since joining CCOVI has included sparkling wine research projects investigating the effect of sugar and dosage solutions on Niagara sparkling wine flavour and influences of sparkling wine clones and soil type on flavour. She currently organizes FIZZ Club for Ontario sparkling winemakers and serves on the VQA-O Standards Development Committee and the VQA-O sparkling wine rules committee.
4Karen A. GrépinThe Role of Information Technology in Strengthening Health Systems in Low and Middle-Income Countries

Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences and the School of International Policy and Governance, Laurier University

Health systems in many low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) suffer from important information gaps due to weak health information systems and a reliance on household surveys to collect data on population level health. Over the past decade, however, there has been a rapid expansion of the use of mobile phones significant technology advancements in routine health information systems. What opportunities and challenges in global health to leverage these opportunities to strengthen health systems in LMICs?



Karen’s research focuses on priority setting in health systems, institutional factors affecting the demand and supply of health services, and the politics and effectiveness of development assistance for health with a focus on maternal and child health issues in Sub-Saharan Africa. Her research work also focuses on the role of information technologies in strengthening health systems. She has a PhD in Health Policy (economics) from Harvard University, an SM in Health Policy and Management from the Harvard School of Public Health, and BSc in Immunology from McGill University. Prior to joining Wilfrid Laurier University, she was an Assistant Professor at the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service at New York University.
5Sally RutherfordDoes Canada Have Too Many PhDs?

Executive Director, Canadian Association of Graduate Students

The narrative goes something like this: PhDs solely aspire to jobs in academia and aren’t trained for anything else. If they do manage to gain employment outside a university setting, they are over-educated, unfulfilled and unsettled. In short, Canada is producing too many PhDs and those who invest in a doctorate don’t receive a return on their investment. In fact, there are numerous and inspiring examples of Canadians with PhDs working in industry, government and the arts. Some work for large companies, some are elected to office, some are self-employed, others are in the public service and more than one has been to space wearing a Canadian flag. In Canada, labour outcomes for earned doctorates have remained steady over the past 15 years, absorbing the almost doubling of PhD degrees over the same time period into diverse careers. How do we square this circle – or should we?

Sally has thirty-five years of experience in issues analysis and management gained in both the public and private sectors. She began her career on Parliament Hill working for Senate and House Committees, moving on to become Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Agriculture and from there to Agriculture and Agri-food Canada as Director General of Integrated Policy Systems in the Strategic Policy Branch. Sally established her consulting practice and provided policy advice and management services to several national associations. She has an undergraduate degree from McGill University and a Masters degree from the University of Toronto both in political science.
6Shayna Rosenbaum
How memories are represented in the brain

Associate Professor, York Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience of Memory, Department of Psychology and Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) Program, York University

Recent research in neuroscience that combines brain imaging with the study of amnesic patients has changed the way we think about memory. We will discuss how different forms of memory are represented in the brain, how they contribute to other functions from spatial navigation and decision making to social interaction, and how they break down in healthy aging and following brain damage. We will also discuss how this knowledge may be harnessed to develop strategies to help older adults and patients overcome memory loss.Shayna has published extensively on the topic of memory in the aging brain and in neurological disorders, and has received awards for her neuroimaging and patient research, most recently the Early Career Award from the International Neuropsychological Society. She is an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre. In addition to York University, Shayna is an Associate Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology and Neuroscience from the University of Toronto and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute.
7Niayesh AfshordiUnravelling the Darkness: A Cosmic Odyssey

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy, University of Waterloo & Associate Faculty in Cosmology and Gravitation, Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics

As a cosmologist, what amazes me the most about our Universe is how comprehensible it appears to be. The cosmic mysteries that persist are so fantastic, bizarre and interconnected, it is almost as if the Nature is begging to have a conversation with us. There runs a common theme, from the Black Holes, the abyss that lies at the hearts of galaxies and stellar graveyards, to the Dark Energy, the force that pulls our universe apart on cosmic scales, and to the Big Bang, the inferno that spawned our existence. It is a missing language, the common language of Quantum Mechanics and Gravity, that we have sought for over a century. But we might be closer than ever to decoding this language and unravelling what the Nature has to tell us!Niayesh dabbles in Astrophysics, Cosmology, and Physics of gravity, with a focus on observational hints that could help address problems in fundamental physics. He finished his PhD at Princeton University Observatory. He then held an Institute for Theory and Computation fellowship at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, followed by a Distinguished Research Fellowship at Perimeter Institute.
8Peter DirksStem Cells & Brain Tumours

Senior Scientist
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Principal Investigator
The Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre

Brain tumours are typically comprised of diverse cell populations. Different tumours can have vastly different compositions, with accompanying variations in prognosis. But often, brain tumours that share similar characteristics can have a very different prognosis and response to treatment. Our laboratory is interested in applying the conceptual and methodologic framework of stem cell biology to the study of brain cancer. In our view, brain cancer is a caricature of normal development but with aberrant molecular regulation of self-renewal and differentiation. We study both human brain cancer and mouse models of brain cancer to ask questions about cell of origin, nature of the cells that propagate cancer growth, and explore novel therapeutic targets using genetic and small molecule approaches.Peter graduated from Queen's University Medical School, then, completed his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Pathology in at the University of Toronto, his neurosurgery training at the University of Toronto (Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons, Canada) and his Paediatric Neurosurgery Fellowship training at L'hôpital Necker Enfants Malades (Paris).
He was appointed to Neurosurgical Staff at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the University of Toronto and appointed to the SickKids Research Institute's Developmental & Stem Cell Biology Program. He established his research laboratory to study brain tumours in the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre at SickKids in 1999.
9Raymond CarlbergThirty Meter Telescope

Professor and current Chair of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics at the University of Toronto

The Thirty Meter Telescope is a next generation telescope in development, designed to image more distant galaxies and exoplanet atmospheres, amongst many other things. The Canadian government has provided $243.5M to support Canadian participation in the project.Ray is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He is the Canadian Project Director of the Thirty Meter Telescope Project. Carlberg’s research interests are largely in the study of galaxy assembly, dark matter and dark energy. He is also interested in developing a high quality site for an observatory on Ellesmere Island.
10Ellen Schwartzel Climate Change and Ontario

Deputy Commissioner of the Environment for Ontario

Ontario is expected to see an increase in annual average temperature of 3°C in the south of the province and 4°C in the Far North by 2050. Some of the projected impacts of climate change in Ontario include disruptions to critical infrastructure, lower Great Lakes water levels, and more frequent water shortages, greater risks to public health from injury, illness and premature death from climate-related events such as extreme weather, heat waves, smog and the spread of diseases. Increased risk for remote and resource-based communities, which are already severely affected by drought, ice-dam flooding, forest fires and warmer winter temperatures; and damage to Ontario’s ecosystems, through the combined influence of changing climate, human activities and natural disturbances like fire, outbreaks of insects and disease. What can we do to prepare for and prevent this?Ellen is currently the Deputy Environmental Commissioner. She has advised commissioners on a broad suite of policy areas, including climate change, urban air quality, sand and gravel extraction, water taking, environmental assessment and municipal wastewater management. One of her current priorities is to help Ontarians use their citizen engagement toolkit under the Environmental Bill of Rights. Prior to joining the ECO, Ellen spent several years in advocacy for environmental organizations and research support for Ontario’s Environment Minister. Her academic background is in botany, and she shares a small Toronto garden with her husband, two kids and an ever-changing scramble of native plants, birds and bugs.
11Michele MoscaCybersecurity in a quantum world

Co-founder and Professor, Institute for Quantum Computing, University of Waterloo

Quantum theory rewrote the rulebook for physics over a century ago. We have since moved from being curious spectators of the quantum realm to active participants, intricately choreographing quantum effects to achieve specific objectives. We harness quantum effects for precise measurement, more powerful computation, more secure communication, and many more applications yet to be discovered. However, quantum computers will be powerful enough to break many of the tools currently protecting cyberspace. If these tools are not replaced in time, information they protect (trade secrets, personal information, etc. ) will be compromised and IT systems we depend on will collapse. What's needed is a large, coordinated effort to ensure our digital information and cyber systems will remain secure in the quantum age.

Michele Mosca is an award-winning researcher whose cutting-edge work on quantum computing has been published widely in top journals and textbooks. Prof. Mosca obtained his doctorate in Mathematics on quantum computer algorithms (Oxford, 1999). He is co-founder of the Institute for Quantum Computing (University of Waterloo) and a founding member of the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics. He co-founded evolutionQ Inc. to help organizations evolve their quantum-vulnerable systems and practices to quantum-safe ones. His research interests include quantum computation and cryptographic tools designed to be safe against quantum computers. He is globally recognized for his drive to help academia, industry and government prepare our cyber systems to be safe in an era with quantum computers.
12Karen MaxwellThe Phage Renaissance: New Advances in Human Health

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto

A hundred years ago Canadian scientist Felix d’Herelle discovered phages, the group of viruses that infect and kill bacteria. While there was great hope that phage therapy could be used to treat bacterial infections, the work was largely abandoned with the development of antibiotics in the 1930s. Now phage research is experiencing a renaissance. There is an increasing appreciation for the roles that phages play in myriad human diseases, including cholera, botulism, and chronic inflammatory bowel diseases like Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. In addition, with ever-increasing rates of antibiotic resistant infections, there has been greatly renewed interest in developing phage-based therapies to treat bacterial infections. An understanding of the fundamental biology of phages and their contributions to human diseases is critical as we teeter on the edge of the post-antibiotic era.

Karen’s research program focuses on determining how phages contribute to human diseases. Her team is also actively pursuing several engineering projects, including the use of phages for rapid point-of-care diagnosis of bacterial infections, and the application of phage genes for control of CRISPR-Cas genome editing. Karen completed her BSc at the University of Waterloo and her PhD at the University of Toronto.
13Muhammad YousafCardiac Tissue Engineering

Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biology, York University

Tissue and organ failure due to injury or other forms of damage is a major health issue. Collaborations from cell biology, polymer chemistry and regenerative medicine have resulted in artificial tissue prototypes that have revolutionized transplantation medicine and drug delivery research. But generating 3-D functional cardiac tissue remains a challenge. The heart has a high cell density and comprises three different types of cells that must be in contact to facilitate synchronized beating. Cardiac tissue assembled using polymer scaffolds was a huge advancement, but poses several limitations, including that the scaffold reduces the formation of cell junctions, a critical part of intercellular communication. Cardiac tissues use cell junctions to send electrical signals to far away cells so that all cells beat in synchrony. Professor Muhammad Yousaf of York University and his team of graduate students recently created the first scaffold-free 3-D cardiac tissue model that beats in harmony through the combination of liposome fusion, cell surface engineering and bio-orthogonal chemistry.Muhammad grew up in Toronto. He studied inorganic chemistry at York University as an undergraduate. He then moved to the US and pursued his PhD studies in surface chemistry and material science at the University of Chicago followed by a cell biology postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University. Muhammad has recently returned to his hometown of Toronto and his alma mater. He is currently a Professor and recent past Chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biology at York University. He previously was a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (USA). His research interests are in interfacing organic, bioanalytical, bioengineering and cell biology research to study fundamental cell behaviour and to develop new biomaterials and tools for regenerative medicine applications.
14Margaret McCuaig-JohnstonChina's Science, Technology and Innovation

Senior Fellow in the Institute for Science, Society and Policy at the University of Ottawa

National Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) strategies and funding have played a key role in China's rise from rural communes to an emerging international force in STI and an aspiring economic superpower. We will explore China's STI strategies and their impacts, and describe the major changes in STI governance and programs. Margaret served in senior management positions in the Governments of Canada and Ontario. Most recently she was Executive Vice-President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council. She has also had management positions at Industry Canada, the Prime Minister’s National Advisory Board on Science and Technology, the Ministry of State for S&T, and the Privy Council Office. She was a member of the Canada-China Joint Committee on S&T and had close relations with China on matters such as energy, manufacturing and industry. She recently edited the first English translation of China’s National Innovation Index for the Ministry of Science and Technology. Margaret is Vice Chair of the Board of the Sudbury Neutrino Observatory – SNOLAB.
15Chris HouserRip Currents: Using Science to Improve Beach Safety

Dean of Science, University of Windsor
Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Windsor

Rip currents (often called “rips”) are a global hazard that is considered a major health problem in the United States, Australia, Costa Rica and many other countries. Estimates of annual rip current related deaths in the United States alone range from 35 to 100 per year, and In Australia, rips are believed to be responsible for approximately 9-10,000 beach rescues per year. A beach users’ vulnerability to being caught and potentially drowning in a rip depends on a combination of beach hydrodynamic and bathymetric conditions, personal and group behaviors, and the rip current and beach safety knowledge of the individual. Recent evidence suggests that even if someone is aware of the dangers posed by rips and warnings are posted, they can still put themselves in danger by making decisions based on the behaviors of others on the beach or within their group. We will discuss how physical and social sciences are being combined to improve beach safety around the world. Through his research he examines the resiliency of barrier islands by examining the response and recovery of beach and dune systems to storms and sea level rise. After preventing 2 children entering a rip current at Pensacola Beach, Florida, his research has expanded to include the social and physical dimensions of rip currents as a natural hazard around the world. Before joining the University of Windsor in July 2016, Chris was as Associate Dean and Professor in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University.
16Melissa SariffodeenCanada Learning Code: Transforming Education

CEO, Ladies Learning Code

Coding education in schools can no longer be considered a unique competitive advantage -- it must be understood as the minimum standard. While some may consider this to be a radical position, it is already a widely-accepted fact in much of the Western world. Countries like Estonia, the UK, and Australia have already made strides to embed computer coding and computational thinking into curriculums from an early age. As educators and policy makers, it is our responsibility to act now to ensure that every Canadian child has access to the critical 21st century technical skills that will allow them to thrive personally, professionally, and economically as they move through their lives.
Co-Founder of Ladies Learning Code and Canada Learning Code, Melissa is a celebrated digital literacy advocate who is dedicated to ensuring that women and youth have the critical skills, confidence, and opportunities that they need to thrive in our increasingly digital world. She is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business and is currently pursuing her Master’s in Education Policy at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.
17Chantal BarriaultBeyond Facts: What does it mean to have a science literate society?

Master Lecturer, Laurentian University

According to the report Science Culture Canada (Council of Canadian Academies,2014), Canadians in general have a very positive attitude toward science and technology. With 42% of us having a basic level of scientific literacy, Canada is first among 35 countries! However, the methods used to measure science literacy are often criticized over the strictly knowledge-based questions that make up most surveys (“Does the Earth go around the Sun or the other way around?”, for example). Many experts argue that science literacy means understanding how science is done, how evidence is accumulated, and how this is applied to your everyday life. In this time of ‘alternative facts’, is it more important than ever to engage citizens in the understanding of the scientific process by which facts are established? Join me for a stimulating discussion about science literacy!Chantal spent most of her early career working at Science North where she led many science communication projects including teacher training, education programmes, live theatre science shows and exhibit development. She also led visitor studies and learning impact research for the science centre’s programs and travelling exhibits. Dr. Barriault has been leading the Science Communication Graduate Program, the only one of its kind in Canada, offered jointly by Laurentian University and Science North in Sudbury. Now a master lecturer in the School of the Environment at Laurentian University, she remains passionate about teaching the next generation of science communicators as the Director of the Science Communication Master’s program. She recently completed her PhD in Science Education at Curtin University in Perth, Australia. Her research interests focus on understanding and assessing the impact of science communication strategies through the application of learning theories and cognitive science.
18Andrea KirkwoodBiotechnological Potential of Algae for Carbon Sequestration and Bioproducts

Associate Professor of Biology, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Most experts deem algae as the biomass factories of the future. In addition to their clear potential in pharmaceutical and nutraceutical production, there has been growing interest in developing algae as feedstock for biodiesel and bioethanol production. If algae can be sufficiently grown in industrial or municipal wastewater, the economic and environmental sustainability of algal biofuels would exceed that of terrestrial biofuel crops such as corn. The Kirkwood lab has isolated and characterized algal strains from wastewater and degraded systems to determine their potential in algal biofuel production.Andrea she has established a research program in aquatic ecology and algal biotechnology. Her service activities include an appointment to the International Joint Commission’s binational Science Advisory Board, as well as serving as a science advisor to local municipalities, conservation authorities and community groups. Andrea completed a joint-honours degree in Environment and Resource Studies & Biology at the University of Waterloo, a Master's degree in Aquatic Ecology at McMaster University, and a doctoral degree in Environmental Microbiology at the University of Toronto. Postdoctoral experience includes diverse research projects on microbial extremophiles (Oklahoma State University) and aquatic invasive species (University of Calgary).
19Scott WeeseZoonotic Disease

Professor, University of Guelph/Ontario Veterinary College & Canada Research Chair in Zoonotic Diseases

Whether we realize it or not, virtually everyone experiences some degree of human-animal interaction every day. The close relationship that we have with animals, include companion animals, food animals and wildlife, creates ample opportunity for exchange of infectious microbes (in both directions). Antibiotic use in animals raises concerns about antibiotic resistance in people (and, though often overlooked, vice versa).
Infectious diseases continue to challenge, and new threats are continually being identified. It has been estimated that approximately 75% of emerging infectious diseases of humans originate in animals (zoonotic infections). Yet, the use of animals for companionship, work and food has shaped human evolution. Therefore, understanding the dynamics and implications of cross-species movement of microbial pathogens is critical to maintain human health while optimizing animal health and welfare, and to try to stay ahead (or at least not very far behind) continually emerging problems.
Scott is a veterinary internist and microbiologist. As a Professor at the University of Guelph, Chief of Infection Control at the Ontario Veterinary College Health Sciences Centre and holder of a Canada Research Chair in zoonotic diseases, he works at the interface of human and animal disease. He studies a range of diseases, particularly bacterial diseases, antimicrobial resistant organisms and emerging diseases. With a research program ranging from pets to pigs to polar bears, he works to understand current and emerging risks, and to limit the impact of infectious diseases on both human and animal populations.
20Eric BrownBad Bugs, No Drugs

Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and member of the M.G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research at McMaster University

The healthcare burden due to drug resistant bacterial infections is increasing worldwide. Complications and mortality are rising in both the community and hospital settings due to bacterial infections that are resistant to existing antibiotics. Indeed, routine treatments and procedures in hospital such as caesarian section, joint replacement and cancer chemotherapy, all of which require antibiotics, are at risk. Meanwhile, modern industrial drug discovery efforts have failed to provide new antibiotics. In fact, there have been no truly new antibiotics discovered in more than 30 years. Thus, there is an alarmingly lean antibiotic drug discovery pipeline and great concern for a dwindling effectiveness existing antibacterial drugs. Dr. Brown’s research aims to take new and unconventional approaches to the discovery new antibacterial therapies.Eric's research program is directed at understanding complex biology that underlies bacterial survival strategies. Eric went to high school in Dundas Ontario, received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Guelph and trained as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Harvard Medical School before working as a Senior Scientist at AstraZeneca in Boston in the area of infectious disease research. He returned to Canada some years ago to join McMaster’s department of Biochemistry Biomedical Sciences and has since established a sizeable research effort that is focused on new and innovative approaches to antibacterial drug discovery. Eric has taken on a variety of leadership roles at McMaster. Among them, he is a former department Chair and currently serves as the Director of a new educational offering at the nexus of science and business called the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program.
21Jeremy Burton
Can you fix a microbiome?

Assistant Professor, University of Western Ontario

The collection of microbes associated with our bodies should be considered an organ in its own right. There is an intricate and incredibly important relationship between commensal bacteria and human health. We are interested how the microbiome influences urological conditions such as kidney stones, prostate and other cancers, urinary tract infection and other conditions. If the microbiota is important can we change it through diet, probiotics, the use of antibiotics and other treatments?Jeremy obtained his PhD from the University of Otago in Dunedin, New Zealand. He currently holds the Miriam Burnett Chair in Urological Sciences within the Division of Urology, Department of Surgery and is cross-appointed to the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Western Ontario (Western University) in London, Ontario.
22Philip Sherman, MD, FRCPC


Funding strategic health research in Canada

Staff Professor of Paediatrics, Microbiology, Nutritional Sciences & Dentistry at the Hospital for Sick Children

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is Canada’s health research investment agency. Approximately three-quarters of the ~1 B/year budget supports investigator- initiated research (also known as "curiosity-driven" or "open" research). This research refers to projects created by individual researchers and their teams. Strategic research (also known as “priority-driven” or “targeted” research) refers to research initiatives created to investigate pressing health issues that are of strategic importance. Strategic health research topics are identified by the Government of Canada, health charities, and by CIHR’s 13 virtual institutes in consultation with Institute Advisory Boards and a variety of relevant stakeholders. For both the investigator-initiated and strategic research, CIHR issues a call for research proposals, the proposals are peer reviewed, and the top applications receive funding. Using the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Nutrition as an example, discussion of strategic health research and its impact on the health of Canadians and the Canadian health care delivery system will be considered and discussed.Philip is Professor of Paediatrics, Microbiology, Nutritional Sciences & Dentistry at the Hospital for Sick Children, University of Toronto where he has been on faculty since 1984. Sherman is a Past-President of the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition and a Past-President of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. He is the recipient of a Canada Research Chair (tier 1) in Gastrointestinal Disease (2001-22). His research interests focus on epithelial signal transduction responses to pathogenic, commensal and probiotic bacteria. Dr. Sherman is Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.
23Hélène LeBlancA Bug’s Life of Crime: Using Forensic Entomology to Determine Time Since Death

Undergraduate Program Director of the Forensic Science Program, Associate Professor, University of Ontario Institute of Technology

After 48 to 72 hours, traditional methods used to determine time of death become unreliable. Insects – namely blow flies – can help. Chinese lawyer and death investigator Sung Tźu writes of how forensic entomology was used in a 13th century murder case. Today the immature stages of blow flies are used to calculate an approximate time of insect colonisation on human remains, therefore providing a minimum post-mortem interval (minPMI). To further improve this calculation, we now consider gasses, or volatile organic compounds, and microorganisms associated with decomposing remains. We will explore how insects can be used to help solve crimes and how the environment has an effect on the outcome of the PMI.Hélène has been doing casework for nearly 20 years and worked for La Police Scientifique in France, LGC Forensics in Oxfordshire, and the Derbyshire Constabulary in the Peak District before returning to Canada. She teachers at the Ontario Police College (OPC) and is a forensic entomology consultant for the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP). Her research interests include forensic entomology and integrated pest management and her research group focuses on the analysis of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and analysis of behaviour modifying compounds for certain species of flies using electroantennography. Along with her research labs, Hélène directs the Forensic Ecology Research Facility (a.k.a. decomposition facility) where her team conducts field research. Originally from the east coast New Brunswick Hélène did her MSc in Scotland and PhD in England where she conducted her studies at Rothamsted Research and the University of Derby. She received specialised training at the University of Oxford and the University of Cologne in Germany.
24Anne Snowdon
The Future of Global Health Systems and the Innovation Agenda

Professor and Chair of World Health Innovation Network, Odette School of Business

Global health systems are facing unprecedented challenges to deliver health care services. An aging population and a significant increase in chronic illness both contribute to growing pressures on health systems to deliver services with few resources to meet the demand. We will discuss the global trends, what other countries are doing to be innovative in health systems and the progress Canada is making in this area. Specifically, we will investigate work focused on addressing the third leading cause of death, Medical Error.



At the World Health Innovation Network, the first Canadian health innovation center with formal ties to the United States, Anne works to build collaborative partnerships between the two countries that will accelerate health system innovation and achieve sustainability, economic value, and productivity. The World Health Innovation Network provides support for innovators and entrepreneurs to successfully bring their discoveries to the Canadian, U.S., and world markets. Snowdon leads over 15 innovation research initiatives across seven Canadian provinces that collaborate with government, health professionals, private industry, foundations and families. She is a member of the Institute for Health System Innovation of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, is a Board Member of Alberta Innovates and Ontario Centres of Excellence.
Table Hosts 2017 Gala