Speaker Bios

Elijah Bisung

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.15.38 PMElijah Bisung is a post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management at the University of Waterloo and a visiting scholar at the United Nations Institute of Water, Environment
and Health (UNU-INWEH), Hamilton. His broad areas of research interest include access to water and sanitation, social capital and health, health intervention research and measuring population well-being.

Kitty Corbett

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.20.28 PMKitty Corbett, PhD, MPH, is a medical anthropologist and professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. She has been a Fulbright Scholar in Mexico and Taiwan, has also had projects in Argentina, Mongolia, and Russia, and at last count, has supervised students’ research and practicum work in 21 countries. She has participated in diverse knowledge translation, health communication, environmental health, health promotion, and advocacy projects.

Heather Douglas

Screen Shot 2015-08-13 at 3.38.15 PMHeather Douglas is the Waterloo Chair in Science and Society in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. She received her Ph.D. from the History and Philosophy of Science Department at the University of Pittsburgh in 1998. She is the author of Science, Policy, and the Value-Free Ideal (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2009) as well as numerous articles.  Her work focuses on the role of values in science, science and policy, and science in democratic societies and has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada. She is a Fellow of the Institute for Science, Society, and Policy at the University of Ottawa and a Professor of the Balsillie School of International Affairs, where she convenes the Science & Health Policy Research Cluster.

Lucie Edwards  

 Lucie_EdwardsLucie Edwards is an instructor in International Affairs at the University of Waterloo. Lucie’s primary research interest is the use of science and technology for the poor, with a particular focus on initiatives to support the “bottom billion” in Africa and South Asia. She is completing a doctorate in Global Governance, exploring the use of intergovernmental science panels as policy instruments in such fields as climate change, biodiversity and food security.

She moved to academe in 2009 following a long and distinguished career in the Canadian Foreign Service. She served as Canada’s High Commissioner to Kenya, South Africa and India, and as Ambassador to the UN Environment Program. Her last assignment in the Canadian Foreign Service was as Chief Strategist, integrating policy and service delivery across the Ministry. In 1995, she received the Public Service Award of Excellence for her humanitarian work during the genocide in Rwanda. She also received a merit award for her human rights work combatting Apartheid at the Canadian Embassy in Pretoria, from 1986 to 1989. She was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award of Excellence by the Department of Foreign Affairs in 2009.

Lucie has served as a consultant and adviser on rural development for a number of international organizations, notably within the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research. She served as Chair of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) from 1999 to 2003. She was also elected as a Trustee of the Centre for International Forest Research and the African Centre for Insect Science. She currently serves as Chair of the Canadian Board of Partners in Health, a member of the Advisory Board of the Bhutan-Canada Foundation and as a Governor of Trent University.

Denielle Elliott

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 4.26.35 PMDenielle Elliott is a cultural anthropologist in the Department of Social Science at York University, with graduate appointments in Social Anthropology, Development Studies, and Science and Technology Studies. Her work engages primarily with theories of the state, subalternity, space, and value, as a way to think through bioscientific and humanitarian practices in colonial and postcolonial settings. Her current project examines scientific collaborations and controversies in the history of medical research in East Africa and includes a postcolonial life history project with retired Kenyan scientist Davy Koech.

Evan Fraser

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.27.23 PMEvan started thinking about agriculture and food systems while spending summers working on his grandfather’s fruit farm in Niagara. There, he watched his stock-broker grandmother rake in an unconscionable amount of money on commissions from her clients’ investments while the farmers around were letting their crops rot because the cost of harvesting was higher than the cost of importing from the Southern US and Mexico. He decided, however, it was easier to write and talk about farming than actually try to make a living on it so passed on inheriting the family farm, opting instead for grad school.  He did degrees in forestry, anthropology and agriculture at the University of British Columbia and the University of Toronto.  After graduating, he worked in a policy institute with the Hon. Dr. Lloyd Axworthy, and began his academic career in 2003 in the UK where he worked on farming and climate change at the University of Leeds. He is the author of over 70 scientific papers or book chapters on these topics, has written for the Guardian.com, CNN.com, ForeignAffairs.com, the Walrus and the Ottawa Citizen, and has two popular non-fiction books about food and food security including Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations that was shortlisted for the James Beard Food Literature Award in 2010; in late 2014, he self-published a graphic novel called #foodcrisis that depicts a global food crisis hitting North America in the 2020s as a way of reaching 18-24 year-olds. His web video series on “feeding nine billion” has been watched over 135,000 times and used in classrooms around the world. Currently, he is a professor of Geography in the Department of Geography at the University of Guelph, where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security. He is also is a Fellow of the Pierre Elliot Trudeau Foundation, a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geography Society, and a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s college of new scholars.

Matthew Harsh

Matt_Harsh_photo Matthew Harsh is an Assistant Professor in the Centre for Engineering in Society at Concordia University in Montreal. He holds a BSc in Materials Science and Engineering from Northwestern University. As a Marshall Scholar, he earned an MSc and PhD in Science and Technology Studies from the University of Edinburgh. Much of his research is about how new and emerging technologies can improve livelihoods in Africa. His current research topics include: capacity building for computer science research in East Africa; civil society involvement in policy making for genetically-modified crops in Kenya; equity implications of nanotechnology applications for water, energy and agri-food in South Africa; and the affects of political unrest on research and education in Kenya. He is Senior Producer of ‘Brother Time’, a documentary about political unrest after the 2007 Kenyan election. His work can be found in many academic journals including Development and Change, Engineering Studies, Geoforum, Journal of International Development, and Science and Public Policy.

Götz Hoeppe

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.28.55 PMGötz Hoeppe (PhD Freie Universität Berlin) is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the University of Waterloo. He has written the books Why the Sky is Blue: Discovering the Color of Life (2007, Princeton University Press) and Conversations on the Beach: Fishermen’s Knowledge, Metaphor and Environmental Change in South India (2007, Berghahn Books). He works on collaborative uses of digital scientific data and on practices of knowledge-making in the environmental sciences, with a focus on South Asia.

Craig Janes

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.31.17 PMDr. Janes is a Professor and Director, School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Trained as a medical anthropologist (PhD UC Berkeley-San Francisco 1984) he is interested in and committed to social science approaches to public health and global health policy. Janes has research strengths in human-environment interactions, social inequities and health, global health governance, and maternal and child health. Current research topics include a study of vulnerability to climate change among herding households in rural Mongolia, and the public health impact of global resource extraction activities, in Mongolia and beyond. With his former doctoral student Oyuntsetseg Chuluundorj, he has recently completed a book documenting some of these interests: Making Disasters:  Climate Change, Neoliberal Governance, Livelihood Insecurity on the Mongolian Steppe (In Press: School for Advanced Research, Santa Fe, New Mexico). In recognition of his many years of work in Mongolia, in 2011 he was awarded the “National Medal of Honour” by the Government of Mongolia for his contributions to developing the health sector.

Jennifer Liu

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.33.50 PMJennifer Liu is Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology and cross-appointed in the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. She holds a PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of California (Berkeley and San Francisco 2008) and works at the intersections of medical anthropology and science and technology studies. Her research focuses on emerging biomedical technologies and bioethics (esp.Taiwan and the US), and global health and health equity. She is a Fellow at the Balsillie School of International Affairs where she is a member of the Science and Health Policy Research Cluster and previously was the Freeman Postdoctoral Fellow in Chinese Science and Technology at the University of Illinois (UIUC).

Isaac Luginaah

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.35.33 PMDr. Isaac Luginaah is a Full Professor and a Canada Research Chair in Health Geography at the University of Western Ontario, London, Canada. He is also a member of the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars. His broad area of research interest involves understanding of the broad determinants of population health and research on environment and health linkages. His recent work in this area involves examining the links between environmental exposure and health, HIV/AIDS and Maternal Health. Dr. Luginaah was honoured as a Paul Harris Fellow by Rotary International in 2011. In 2008, he was recognized by the Canadian Association of Geographers with the Julian M. Szeicz Award for Early Career Achievement, and in 2009, he was also recognized by the University of Western Ontario with a Faculty Scholar Award. He has been editor African Geographical Review. His research has been funded by the Canada Research Chairs Program, Social Science and Humanities Research Council, IDRC, Canada Institutes of Health Research, World Bank, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation and Ontario Research Fund.

Gordon McBean

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.36.49 PMProfessor Gordon McBean, CM, OOnt, PhD, FRSC is President of the International Council for Science and Co-Chair of the Governing Council for Future Earth: Research for Global Sustainability and a Professor at Western University, London, Canada. He was Chair of the World Climate Research Programme (1988-94), START International (2009-15) (environmental capacity enhancement in Africa and Asia) and the Scoping Group, Planning Committee and then Science Committee for the Integrated Research on Disaster Risk Program (2005-2011). He is Principal Investigator of the Coastal Cities at Risk: Building Adaptive Capacity for Managing Climate Change in Coastal Megacities (Vancouver, Bangkok, Manila and Lagos), SSHRC Insight Grant on Integrated Strategies for Risk Reduction Research Project and an investigator with Marine Environmental Observations Prediction and Response (MEOPAR-NCE).

He has been appointed a Member of the Order of Canada (2008) for “contributions to the advancement of climate and atmospheric sciences in Canada and for leadership in national and international scientific organizations” and is a Member of the Order of Ontario and a Fellow of the: Royal Society of Canada; Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society; International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics; and American Meteorological Society. As a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, he shared in the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

From 1994 to 2000, he was the Assistant Deputy Minister in Environment Canada with responsibilities for climate, weather and air quality sciences and services and advising the government on related issues. Before that he was a Professor of Atmospheric-Oceanic Sciences at the University of British Columbia. He received his PhD in Physics and Oceanography from the University of British Columbia.

Carrie Mitchell

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.38.14 PMDr. Carrie Mitchell is a specialist in environmental planning in cities. After completing her PhD in geography at the University of Toronto, she worked as a senior program officer at Canada’s International Development Research Centre, funding and managing a portfolio of projects on adaptation to climate change in South and Southeast Asia. Dr. Mitchell’s current research program focuses on the impacts of climate change adaptation planning in cities, and the gendered effects of urban services delivery in the Global South. She is an assistant professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo.

Romain Murenzi

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.40.31 PMRomain Murenzi serves as the executive director of TWAS, The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries, based in Trieste, Italy. He directs a secretariat that administers some 500 PhD and postdoctoral fellowships per year for scientists from developing countries, plus USD$1.7 million in research grants for individuals and research groups in developing countries. Murenzi also plays a key role in global science diplomacy and science policy initiatives.

Murenzi joined TWAS in April 2011. Before that he served from 2001 to 2006 as Rwanda’s Minister of Education, Science, Technology and Scientific Research, and from March 2006 to July 2009 as Minister in the President’s Office in Charge of Science, Technology, and Scientific Research, with responsibilities including Information and Communications Technology. In 2009 he was a senior scholar at the Center for Science, Technology and Sustainable Development at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS); he served as director from 2010-2011. He also was visiting professor at the University of Maryland.

Murenzi was born in Rwanda in 1959 and raised in Burundi. He graduated from the National University of Burundi in 1982. He received his master’s degree (1986) in physics and his PhD (1990) from Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium. He was a physics professor at Clark Atlanta University (USA) from 1993 to 2001, serving as physics department chair from 1999 to 2001. In 2013 he earned a Master of Law degree in Information Technology and Telecommunication from the University of Strathclyde (UK). His major areas of research include multidimensional continuous wavelet transforms to quantum mechanics, image and video processing, and science and technology policy.

Murenzi was elected a fellow of TWAS in 2005 and a fellow of the African Academy of Sciences in 2012. He serves on the board of directors for the Global Research Council (GRC), on the board of the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International and on the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solution Network (SDSN).

In November 2014 he was appointed by the UN Secretary-General as the Chair of the High-level Panel of Technology Bank and Science, Technology and Innovation Supporting Mechanism for the Least Developed Countries; in June 2015 he has been appointed Member of the ITU/UNESCO Broadband Commission for Digital Development. He is also Member of the Carnegie Mellon University President’s Global Advisory Council.

Jatin Nathwani

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.41.58 PMProfessor Nathwani is the founding Executive Director, Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy (WISE). The vision of the Institute is simple: clean energy, accessible and affordable for all.

Dr. Nathwani holds the prestigious Ontario Research Chair in Public Policy for Sustainable Energy, established by the Ontario Council of Universities as part of a unique initiative by the Government to help make Ontario a leading innovation based economy. His current focus is on implementing a ‘Global Change Initiative – Affordable Energy for Humanity.’ The goal is to drive the social and technological innovations required for transition to a low carbon energy system that also delivers affordable energy to the vast proportion of humanity that remains deprived of access to electricity and modern fuels for basic needs. As the Executive Director, Professor Nathwani leads the Institute’s research activities to foster the development of large-scale multi-disciplinary research projects involving strong collaboration with business, industry, government agencies and civil society groups.

Prof. Nathwani serves on several Boards at the provincial and national levels and has appeared frequently in the media (print, TV, radio) and has over 100 publications related to energy and risk management, including seven books. He holds a PhD in Engineering from the University of Toronto and is a Registered Professional Engineer in the Province of Ontario.

Vic Neufeld

Vic_Neufeld_photo Dr. Vic Neufeld is Professor Emeritus in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada, where for 27 years he served as a general internist, educator and researcher. He was the founding director of McMaster’s Centre for International Health. With a growing interest in health research for development, he left McMaster in 1997 to work as a senior advisor with the Geneva-based Council on Health Research for Development (COHRED), focusing on health research priority setting in low and middle-income countries. In  2003, he became the founding national coordinator of the Canadian Coalition for Global Health Research (CCGHR), and now serves as a CCGHR Special Advisor. Professor Neufeld continues to have a special interest in health research capacity strengthening, including leadership development, particularly in low and middle-income countries.

Gemma Oberth

Gemma_OberthDr. Gemma Oberth is a Visiting Research Scholar at the Centre for Social Science Research (CSSR) at the University of Cape Town. Her work focuses on AIDS governance, particularly HIV policy and financing for key and marginalized populations in Africa. She also consults with a number of large international organizations on HIV funding and program design, including UNAIDS, Hivos and the International HIV/AIDS Alliance. She holds a BA in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toronto, an MA in Political Science from York University, and a PhD in Political Studies from the University of Cape Town.

Thomas M. Powers

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.43.49 PMThomas M. Powers is the founding director of the Center for Science, Ethics, and Public Policy (CSEPP) at the University of Delaware. He holds appointments as Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and in the School of Public Policy and Administration, and resident faculty at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute. His research concerns ethics in science and engineering, the philosophy of technology, and environmental ethics, and his publications range from topics in artificial intelligence and robotic ethics to the ethical aspects of design. Powers received a B.A. in philosophy (College of William and Mary) and a Ph.D. in philosophy (University of Texas at Austin) for a dissertation on Immanuel Kant. He has been a DAAD-Fulbright dissertation-year fellow at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich, and a National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow in the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Virginia.

Ismat Shah 

Shah_Ismat-01_GIF Ismat Shah is a Professor in the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, and Materials Science and Engineering (joint appointment) at the University of Delaware, USA. He is also a senior policy fellow at the Center for Science, Ethics, and Public Policy (CSEPP) and Center for Energy and Environment Policy (CEEP) at the University of Delaware. Prof Shah received his PhD from University of Illinois at Urban Champaign in Materials Science in 1987. His research focuses on designing new materials for energy and environment. He continues to work with scientists from several developing nations including Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, etc. Prof. Shah has NSF and USAID grants to work on various projects in these countries. He also spent a year as a Fulbright fellow at Baku State University, Baku, Azerbaijan and as a TUBITAK fellow at Hacettepe University, Turkey.

Eric Torto

Eric TortoDr. Torto recently graduated in Sociology from the University of Waterloo.  He also holds an MPhil degree in Development Studies from the University of Cambridge. His main areas of research interests include political sociology; international political economy; critical conflict and security studies; international development, and rural development. Finally, Dr. Torto’s area of geographical expertise is the Sub-Sahara Africa in particular, and the Global South in general.

Ross Upshur

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.56.53 PMRoss Upshur is the Head, Division of Clinical Public Health at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health and the Assistant Director of the Lunenfeld Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System. Dr. Upshur is the Canada Research Chair in Primary Care Research. At the University of Toronto he is a Professor at the Department of Family and Community Medicine and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, Adjunct Scientist at the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences, an affiliate of the Institute of the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and a member of the Centre for Environment. He is a member of The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the College of Family Physicians of Canada.

His current interests include managing complex chronic disease in aging adults, clinical measurement, the concept of evidence in health care, philosophy of medicine including medical epistemology and the integration of ethics and clinical reasoning, public health ethics, global health ethics, empirical approaches in bioethics, primary care research methods, time series applications in health services research, communicable disease and environmental epidemiology.  He has over 300 publications including more than 200 peer reviewed publications spanning these domains. 

Margaret Walton-Roberts

Walton-RobertsMargaret Walton-Roberts is a professor at Wilfrid Laurier University and associate Dean of the School of International Policy and Governance at the Balsillie School of International Affairs, Waterloo Canada.  She is a human geographer with research interests in gender and migration, transnational networks, and immigrant settlement. Her current research focuses on gender and the international migration of health care professionals in the context of India. She has been awarded several external grants for her research, and has published over 18 book chapters, and more than 20 journal articles. Her latest co-edited book The Human Right to Citizenship: A Slippery Concept  will be published by University of Pennsylvania Press.

Alan Whiteside

Screen Shot 2015-08-24 at 3.58.33 PMAlan Whiteside is an internationally recognized academic and CIGI Chair in Global Health at the Balsillie School of International Affairs and Wilfrid Laurier University.  His main research interest is the economic and development impact of health and HIV/AIDS.  Currently, Alan is part of the “2030+ group” investigating relationships between health, poverty, climate change and development in the global south.


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