Learn about the people that are part of the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI) team.
Angela Roberts, Neuropsychology
St. Joseph's Health Care
Dr. Angela Roberts is a postdoctoral fellow with the Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care Research Center, cognitive neurology, Parkwood Institute; limited duties faculty, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Western University; and a member of the Research Policy Committee, Parkinson Society Canada. She completed her PhD in the Faculty of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at Western University and her MA and BA in Speech-Language Pathology at The University of Tennessee.
Her expertise is in cognition and language in neurodegenerative disorders. Her work focuses on Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Her interests include semantics and the coupling between motor cognition and language. One of her unique research areas is the use of spontaneous spoken language to discriminate among dementia profiles. These profiles may detect early and subtle changes in cognition, language, and motor speech that may not be discernible using traditional standardized measures of cognition and language. Her work also seeks to understand the neurological substrates of spoken language in the context of normal aging and in neurodegeneration.
Angela Troyer, Neuropsychology Co-lead
Dr. Angela Troyer is program director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health, Professional Practice Chief of Psychology, and Practicum Supervisor, Baycrest Health Sciences; Assistant Professor, University of Toronto; and Adjunct Faculty Member, York University. She obtained her PhD in neuropsychology from the University of Victoria and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Rotman Research Institute of Baycrest Health Sciences.
Her primary clinical interest is neuropsychological evaluation of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia, and memory intervention in normal aging and MCI. Her research interests focus on memory changes in normal aging, MCI, and dementia; effectiveness of memory interventions; and relationship between executive functions and memory.
Anthony Vaccarino, Brain-CODE
Ontario Cancer Biomarker Network
Dr. Anthony Vaccarino is Director of Clinical Research at Indoc Research where he oversees research programs, including the design, analysis and execution of clinical trials. Prior to joining the team, he was with the International Society for Central Nervous System (CNS) Drug Development; a non-profit independent society focused on addressing scientific challenges in drug development. He has held positions as full professor at the University of New Orleans and the Louisiana State University Neuroscience Center, where he oversaw federally-funded research programs examining the psychological and physiological organization of pain processes and addiction, and served as Chair of the Institutional Research Ethics Board.
He’s also served as Chief Scientific Officer and Director of Preclinical Development for pharmaceutical start-ups, where he oversaw the development of novel patented CNS compounds that have resulted in clinical candidates for pain, depression and anxiety. He received his PhD from McGill University and was an NSERC postdoctoral fellow in neurosciences at University of California, Los Angeles.
Bill McIlroy, Gait Co-lead
University of Waterloo
Dr. Bill McIlroy is the Chair and Professor, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo. He obtained his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Guelph. His research focuses on understanding how the brain and other parts of the central nervous system control movements of the body and translating this knowledge to help individuals improve their recovery after a neurological injury such as a stroke.
Brian Levine, Neuropsychology
Baycrest Health Sciences
Dr. Brian Levine is a Senior Scientist, Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest Health Sciences; Professor, Psychology and Medicine (Neurology), University of Toronto; Baycrest Site Leader, Canadian Partnership for Stroke Recovery; and clinical neuropsychologist.
He’s interested in the function and dysfunction of large-scale neural systems as expressed in complex human behaviours, including episodic and autobiographical memory and executive functioning. His research is focused on developing empirically supported measures of naturalistic mnemonic and executive processes and using these to inform both theory and clinical practice. Dr. Levine uses novel assessment techniques, coupled with multimodal neuroimaging in his research.
Chris Hudson, Ocular Co-lead
University of Waterloo
Dr. Chris Hudson is a Professor and Associate Director, Research, School of Optometry, University of Waterloo; Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Science, University of Toronto; and Senior Scientist, Toronto Western Research Institute.
He completed his PhD at the University of Aston, UK and post-doctoral studies at the University of Manchester, UK. Prior to moving to Canada in 2000, he was a Reader in Clinical Vision Science at the School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster, Northern Ireland, UK. His research aims to improve the patho-physiological understanding and clinical monitoring of retinal disease and also to evaluate new techniques in a clinical setting to provide sensitive, objective outcome measures of both retinal and systemic disease.
David Munoz, Neuropathology Lead
St. Michael’s Hospital
Dr. David Munoz is the Adjunct Scientist, Keenan Research Centre, Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital; Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto; and Head, Division of Pathology, St. Michael’s Hospital. He completed his MD at the University of Navarra. His research interest is focused on neuropathology, particularly the mechanisms of development and progression of degenerative diseases of the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease, the non-Alzheimer dementias, movement disorders, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
David Park, Basic Science Committee Co-chair
University of Ottawa
Dr. David Park is a Professor and Director of the University of Ottawa Brain and Mind Research Institute. He obtained his PhD in biochemistry at Rutgers University, New Jersey. His research focuses on deciphering the mechanisms governing neurodegeneration/injury and development with a substantial effort focused on Parkinson’s disease and stroke.
Dennis Bulman, Genomics
Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO)
Dr. Dennis Bulman is a Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute & Newborn Screening Ontario; Affiliate Member, Regenerative Medicine Program at OHRI; and Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa. He obtained his MSc in microbiology and immunology at Western University, PhD in molecular and medical genetics at the University of Toronto.
His research interests involve the identification of genes for rare genetic disorders, the translation of these discoveries to the clinic and the implementation of new molecular testing paradigms into newborn screening. His lab uses a variety of genetic technologies from genetic mapping, candidate Sanger sequencing, comparative genomic hydridization (CGH), and exome and whole genome sequencing.
Donna Kwan, Clinical Platform Lead
Dr. Donna Kwan is the Clinical Platform Lead for ONDRI. She completed her MA and PhD in clinical neuropychology at York University, and completed her predoctoral clinical internship at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. During her PhD studies, she completed practicums at Baycrest Health Sciences, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute, and Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre.
Doug Munoz, Eye Tracking Lead
Dr. Doug Munoz is the Director, Centre for Neuroscience Studies and Professor in Biomedical and Molecular Sciences, Psychology, and Medicine, Queen’s University. He obtained his PhD in neurology and neurosurgery at McGill University followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University and subsequently the National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health.
The main goals of his research are devoted understanding the neural circuitry controlling visual fixation and the generation of saccadic eye movements and using our knowledge of this circuitry to probe a variety of neurological and psychiatry disorders such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Tourette’s Syndrome, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. He currently holds at Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, is the President of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience and Chair of the Canadian Institute of health Research (CIHR) Institute of Neuroscience, Mental Health and Addiction.
Ekaterina Rogaeva, Genomics
University of Toronto
Dr. Ekaterina Rogaeva is an Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Toronto and has a Chair position in Research on Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases (CRND). She obtained her PhD in biochemistry at Moscow State University, Russia. Since 1992, she’s been conducting molecular genetics research on neurodegenerative diseases at the University of Toronto and the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases. She’s contributed substantially to the development of effective genetic testing of different forms of dementia in clinical practice and played a central role in the discovery and characterization of the two presenilin genes responsible for the most aggressive early-onset form of Alzheimer’s disease.
Guangyong (G. Y.) Zou, Neuroinformatics
Dr. Guangyong (G. Y.) Zou is a Professor and Undergraduate Chair, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and Scientist, Robarts Research Institute, Western University. He obtained his PhD in plant science at the University of Connecticut and PhD in biostatistics at Western University. He focuses on developing and evaluating statistical methods that are useful for medical research, with an emphasis on effect estimation in clinical trials and epidemiologic studies.
J.B. Orange, Neuropsychology Co-lead
Dr. J.B. Orange’s current affiliations include Professor and Director, School of Communication Sciences and Disorders, Western University; Associate Scientist – Aging, Rehabilitation and Geriatric Care (ARGC), St. Joseph’s Health Care, Parkwood Hospital and Lawson Health Research Institute; Research Associate, Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA); and Member Academic Division of Developmental Disabilities, Department of Psychiatry Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry.
He obtained his PhD at SUNY, Buffalo and completed his postdoctoral studies in Psychiatry at McMaster University. His research focuses on adult neurogenic language and cognitive communication disorders including dementia, aphasia, right hemisphere brain damage, and traumatic brain injury.
Manuel Montero-Odasso, Gait Co-lead
St. Joseph's Health Care
Dr. Manuel Montero-Odasso is the Associate Professor of Medicine, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Western University and Internist and Geriatrician, St. Joseph’s Health Care London Parkwood Site, London Health Sciences Centre. He completed his MD and PhD at University of Buenos Aires and postdoctoral fellowship at McGill University. His areas of research are the relationship between cognition and mobility in the elderly, gait as an early predictor of frailty and dementia and falls prevention in older people with cognitive impairment.
Moyez Dharsee, Brain-CODE
Ontario Cancer Biomarker Network
Moyez Dharsee is CIO and Director of Informatics at Indoc Research where he leads bioinformatics and software development operations. In collaboration with a consortium of informatics groups from Baycrest, Queen’s University, and the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario, he manages the development of high-performance tools and platforms to support regional and international research programs, including the Ontario Brain Institute’s Brain-CODE platform. He also oversees the development of algorithms for genomics data processing, data mining, and pathway analysis. He obtained his BSc in computer science from the University of Toronto.
Paula McLaughlin, Neuropsychology Lead
Dr. Paula McLaughlin’s current appointments and affiliations include Clinical Neuropsychologist, ONDRI, Western University. She obtained her PhD in clinical psychology at York University, internship in clinical neuropsychology at Emory University – School of Medicine, and postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research focuses on attention, memory, and executive processing, as well as compensatory methods for cognitive decline in healthy aging and individuals with neurodegenerative conditions.
Rob Bartha, Neuroimaging Co-lead
Dr. Rob Bartha is a Scientist, Robarts Research Institute and Assistant Professor, Department of Diagnostic Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, Western University. He completed his PhD in medical biophysics at Western University. His research is focused on the development of high-field magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and spectroscopy techniques for early diagnosis of disease and monitoring of treatment response. A major goal is to validate new imaging biomarkers of disease progression and build novel MRI tracers that highlight pathological aspects of a disease process.
Rob Hegele, Genomics Lead
Dr. Rob Hegele is an endocrinologist with an interest in genetics and vascular disease risk. He’s a Scientist, Western University and the Director of the Blackburn Cardiovascular Genetics Lab and London Regional Genomics Centre. He obtained his MD at the University of Toronto with specialty training in internal medicine and endocrinology and followed with postdoctoral training at Rockefeller University and Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
Sean Symons, Neuroimaging Co-lead
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Dr. Sean Symons current appointments include Associate Professor of Medical Imaging and Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, University of Toronto; Deputy Radiologist-in-Chief and Head Division of Neuroradiology, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; and Affiliate Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute. He completed his MD at the University of Toronto, residency in diagnostic radiology at Queen’s University, and fellowship in neuroradiology at Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital.
His research focuses are neurodegenerative, head and neck imaging for cancer and otology, stroke imaging, brain tumour imaging, and neurovascular imaging by computed tomography and magnetic resonance.
Stephen Strother, Neuroinformatics/Brain-CODE Lead
Dr. Stephen Strother is a Senior Scientist, Rotman Research Institute, Baycrest and Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto. He obtained his PhD at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University. His research is directed at developing and testing a set of optimal experimental planning and analysis tools for neuroimaging researchers that are coupled with his own, and others’, state-of-the-art neuroimaging research databases.
Wendy Lou, Neuroinformatics
University of Toronto
Dr. Wendy Lou is a Professor of Biostatistics and Statistics and Head of the Division of Biostatistics, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto. She’s a Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA) and holds the Canada Research Chair in Statistical Methods for Health Care. She’s been the principal investigator or a co-investigator on numerous statistical methodology grants and interdisciplinary research projects, funded by government agencies in Canada and the United States. Her research work focuses on the development of statistical methodology for the study of chronic conditions and quality improvement, as well as on biomedical applications of the distribution theory of runs and patterns.
Ying Chen, ONDRI Scholar
Dr. Ying Chen is an ONDRI Scholar and a postdoctoral fellow at Queen’s University working with Dr. Doug Munoz. Her research focus is studying neurodegenerative diseases using saccadic tasks along with other assessments to identify the eye-tracking behavioral biomarkers. She was a neurologist in China where she obtained her clinical experience.