IMHA Institute Advisory Board Members – Biographies

Monique Gignac, PhD (Chair)
Associate Scientific Director, Institute for Work and Health
Affiliate Scientist, Toronto Western Research Institute
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto

Monique Gignac is an Associate Scientific Director at the Institute for Work and Health, an Affiliate Scientist with the Division of Health Care and Outcomes Research at the Toronto Western Research Institute and Associate Professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Gignac received her MA and PhD in social psychology from the University of Waterloo, Ontario. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in social gerontology at the University of Guelph. From 2008-2014, she was Co-Scientific Director of the Canadian Arthritis Network, a Networks of Centres of Excellence. She has served as Chair of the Advisory Board of the Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis at CIHR since 2011 and previously has been a member of CIHR's Social Dimension in Aging (SDA) review committee and on CIHR Team Planning and Development grant panels. She is also an Associate Editor for Arthritis Care & Research.

Dr. Gignac's research expertise is in the areas of health and social psychology, including health models of disability. Her research examines psychosocial factors like stress, coping, and adaptation and their importance in understanding the impact of chronic conditions (e.g., arthritis, stroke, osteoporosis, lupus, diabetes, glaucoma) on the lives of adults across the life course. Of particular interest is research on facilitators and barriers faced by people with chronic diseases or injuries in maintaining their involvement in employment and other valued roles and activities.

Dr. Gignac has received recognition for her research with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award and a Distinguished Scholar Award from the Association of Rheumatology Health Professionals (ARHP) in 2013, as well as from the Arthritis Alliance of Canada and Networks of Centres of Excellence.

Jeff Dixon, DDS, PhD
Professor, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Western University

Dr. Jeff Dixon is a Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology and of Dentistry  at Western University in London, Canada.

He received his DDS from The University of Western Ontario in 1977. After 3 years in general practice, Dixon obtained specialty certification in Periodontics (1985) and a PhD in Oral Biology (1986) from the University of Toronto. He carried out postdoctoral research at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto (1985-1987). Dixon returned to The University of Western Ontario in 1987, supported by an MRC Development Grant (1987-1997).

Dixon's research focuses on cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying the formation and destruction of bone. Goals are to understand the physiological regulation of these processes and to identify therapies to inhibit bone loss and stimulate bone formation. In collaborative studies, he is investigating the mechanisms underlying mechanotransduction in skeletal cells and is developing advanced materials for bone regeneration. Dixon has supervised numerous graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists. Trainees under his supervision have won local, national and international awards for their research.

Dixon serves on the editorial board of the journals Purinergic Signalling and Bone. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the CIHR Institute of Musculoskeletal Health and Arthritis and the Scientific Advisory Committee of The Arthritis Society. Dixon is a past-president of the Canadian Association for Dental Research and has served as member, scientific officer and chair of several committees for the CIHR. Dixon was a founding member of the Canadian Arthritis Network (CAN), one of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence. From 2001-2009,  he served as Director of the CIHR Group in Skeletal Development and Remodeling - an interdisciplinary team focusing on basic and translational musculoskeletal and dental research – and, more recently, as Co-Director of the Joint Motion Program – a CIHR Training Program in Musculoskeletal Health Research and Leadership.


Debbie Feldman, PhD
Professor, School of Rehabilitation
Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal

Dr. Debbie Ehrmann Feldman is a Professor at the Université de Montréal, Faculty of Medicine, School of Rehabilitation and director of graduate studies in rehabilitation sciences at Université de Montréal. She is a member of the Institut de recherche en santé publique de l'Université de Montréal and the Centre de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Réadaptation.

Dr. Feldman is a physiotherapist who also holds MSc and PhD degrees from McGill University in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She subsequently completed a post-doctorate at Université de Montréal in health services research.

Dr. Feldman's main research interests include health services research in patients with arthritis and other chronic diseases, rehabilitation and musculoskeletal health. She conducts much of her research in conjunction with the Montreal Department of Public Health, as a member of their research team in population health and health services.

She currently holds a salary award (senior award) from the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Santé, serves on the editorial board for two scientific journals, has over 200 peer reviewed articles and abstracts and has mentored more than 25 graduate students. She has also served on several grant review committees (CIHR, NCIC, REPAR, CRIR, FRSQ).


Marc D. Grynpas, PhD
Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and
Institute for Biomaterial and Biomedical Engineering
Director, Bone and Mineral research Group
University of Toronto

Marc Grynpas, PhD is a professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and in the Institute for Biomaterial and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. He is also a Senior Scientist at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and the Director of the Bone and Mineral research Group at the University of Toronto.

Dr.Grynpas graduated from the Free University of Brussels with alicense and an aggregation in Physics. At the University of London (Birkbeck College), he did a PhD in Crystallography and Biophysics on the structure of bone. After a post-doctoral fellowship at Queen Mary College (University of London) on the relation between bone structure and bone mechanical properties, he joined the laboratory of Professor Melvin Glimcher at the Children's Hospital in Boston, part of Harvard Medical School.

Dr. Grynpas research is focused on: the nature of bone mineral, animal models of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis, the effects of drugs and trace elements on bone quality and the determinants of bone fragility and bone fatigue. In addition Dr.Grynpas is part of a research team investigating tissue engineering of skeletal tissues. He has supervised numerous graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral fellows and visiting scientists. His trainees have won national and international awards for their research.

Dr. Grynpas is a reviewer for CIHR, NIH, NSERC and FRSQ and other granting agencies. He serves on a grant panel for NSERC and has served on grant panels for CIHR and NIH.He is a member of the scientific advisory board of the International Conference on the Chemistry and Biology of Mineralized Tissues and he was a member of the Research Management committee of the Canadian Arthritis Network. He is an associate editor of Connective tissue Research and he is on the editorial board of Calcified Tissue International.


Rashmi Kothary, PhD
Deputy Scientific Director and Senior Scientist
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
University Health Research Chair in Neuromuscular Disorders
Professor, Departments of Medicine, and Cellular and Molecular Medicine
University of Ottawa

Dr. Kothary is Deputy Scientific Director and Senior Scientist at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He was originally fascinated by physics, but his interests shifted towards biology, biochemistry, embryology and ultimately neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Kothary received a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of British Columbia and pursued postdoctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Janet Rossant at the Mount Sinai Hospital Research Institute in Toronto and in the laboratory of Dr. Azim Surani in Cambridge, U.K. It was during these formative years that Dr. Kothary developed his interests in the use of transgenic mice to model disease pathology. Dr. Kothary returned to Canada to begin his independent research career at the Institut du cancer de Montréal. In 1998, Dr. Kothary joined the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute as a Senior Scientist. He holds the University Health Research Chair in Neuromuscular Disorders and is a Professor at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Kothary's current research focuses on studying the fundamental role of a cytoskeletal linker protein important for intracellular trafficking, investigating extrinsic and intrinsic factors important for oligodendrocyte mediated myelination and remyelination of the CNS, and understanding Spinal Muscular Atrophy pathogenesis and identifying novel therapeutics for this devastating children's disease.


Joy MacDermid, BScPT, PhD
Professor, Rehabilitation Science
McMaster University

Joy MacDermid is a Professor in Rehabilitation Science at McMaster University (Hamilton, ON), and is the Co-director of Clinical Research at the Hand and Upper Limb Centre (London, ON).

She is a hand therapist/physical therapist/epidemiologist and has published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, 20 chapters and two books that focus on measuring and predicting musculoskeletal disability. Her methodology expertise is in measurement, knowledge translation, clinical trials, systematic reviews, clinical practice guidelines, cohort studies/clinical prediction. She has developed outcome measures that are used internationally including self-report measures like The Patient Rated Wrist/Hand Evaluation; and impairment-based measures that assess the neuromusculoskeletal function of the upper limb. She has more than 25 years of clinical experience in treating patients with musculoskeletal pain and disability resulting from upper quadrant disorders. Dr MacDermid is co-editor of the book Evidence-based Rehabilitation which is used as a textbook internationally to teach evidence-based practice. Her research papers in open access are typically awarded "highly accessed" designation and the most downloaded /cited in print journals.

Dr. MacDermid is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, a past-President of the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT), has twice won its best scientific paper award, was awarded the Nathalie Barr Lecture in 2006; the Philadelphia Hand Meeting Honored Professorship in 2006 and 2012, and was awarded the IMHA/CIHR Quality of Life Award in 2007.

She is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Hand Therapy and the Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy; and on the editorial board of Open Orthopedics.

She has mentored more 3 Postdoctoral Fellows, 20 PhD students, 40 Masters students, 40 physicians/other health disciplines to complete their research training/research.


Debora Matthews, D.D.S.
Professor, Department of Dental Clinical Sciences
Faculty of Dentistry
Dalhousie University

Dr. Debora Matthews is a Professor in the Department of Dental Clinical Sciences at Dalhousie University and a Research Associate of the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre.

Dr. Matthews obtained her D.D.S degree from the University of Alberta in 1980. She practiced general dentistry for 11 years, after which she obtained her Diploma in Periodontics from the University of Toronto (1993). She has a Master's degree in Health Research Methodology from the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster University (1997).

Dr. Matthews' main research interests include: translating clinical research knowledge into clear and useful formats for clinicians and their patients, and addressing the deficit in oral health experienced by vulnerable populations. As PI of a number of projects over the past 10 years, she has worked with community collaborators, government policy advisors and researchers and has built a team at the forefront of geriatric oral health care research. Her team carried out the first epidemiologic survey measuring oral health status, quality of life and oral care needs of Nova Scotia adults, living in the community and in long-term care.

Dr. Matthews was a founding member of the Canadian Collaboration for Clinical Practice Guidelines in Dentistry, and is currently a member of the Critical Review Panel for the American Dental Association Center for Evidence Based Dentistry. She serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of the Canadian Dental Association and Evidence Based Dentistry Journal, and mentors a number of academic dentists in their writing of critical summaries of systematic reviews.

She is currently the Past President of the Canadian Association of Dental Research, and Director of the Network for Canadian Oral Health Research – both of which provide her with research networking potential crucial to advancing oral health research in Canada.


Alain Moreau, PhD
Associate Professor
Faculty of Dentistry (Stomatology Department) and
Faculty of Medicine
Université de Montréal

Dr. Alain Moreau is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Dentistry (Stomatology Department), cross-appointed to the Biochemistry Department in the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Montréal. He is the Assistant Director - Academic Affairs of Sainte-Justine University Hospital Research Centre and Co-director of the Dentistry Department. Dr. Moreau is also responsible for the development of the research program in pediatric rehabilitation at Marie Enfant Rehabilitation Center, which is part of Sainte-Justine University Hospital.

Dr. Moreau received his Bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences from the Université de Montréal in 1986, a Master's degree in Applied Microbiology from the INRS-Institut-Armand-Frappier/Université du Québec in 1989, and a doctorate in Microbiology and Immunology from the Université de Montréal in 1993. He did a first postdoctoral training at the Protein Engineering Center of University of Liège, Belgium (1992-1993), followed by a second postdoctoral fellowship at the Shriners Hospital for Children in Montreal, and affiliated with McGill University (1997). He is a recognized authority on molecular genetics of idiopathic scoliosis. He has published many peer-reviewed research articles, and his pioneer works allowed the development of the first tools for the early screening of scoliosis and design of novel therapeutic approaches to prevent and cure idiopathic scoliosis (2 patents and others pending). Dr. Moreau is the founder and scientific director of ICONS (International Consortium ON Scoliosis), an international collaborative consortium where he coordinates among others the clinical validation of innovative predictive scoliosis blood tests in Montreal (Canada), Milan (Italy) and Hong Kong (China). His research has been supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council Canada, The Yves Cotrel Foundation (Institut de France), Génome Québec and research contracts with the industry (Paradigm Spine LLC, USA). Dr. Moreau is a member of the MENTOR training program of Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and is a former member of the CIHR Dental Sciences Committee. He is past president of the Quebec Scoliosis Society, and the former Chairman of the Canadian Connective Tissue Conference of 2005.

Dr. Moreau's main research interests also include the genetic causes of osteoarthritis and the molecular mechanisms implicated in inflammation and pain as well as the normal and pathological regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues.


Marc Pouliot, PhD (Vice Chair)
Professor, Centre de recherche en rhumatologie et immunologie
Faculty of Medicine
Laval University

Dr. Marc Pouliot is a professor in the Department of Microbiology-Infectiology & Immunology at Laval University. He also serves as a member of the Scientific Advisory Committee at The Arthritis Society.

Pouliot received his PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Laval University (1994). He conducted post-doctoral studies in Australia at the University of Adelaide (1994-1996), then pursued specialization in inflammation and pain at Harvard Medical School (Brigham & Women's Hospital, Boston) supported by an MRC Centennial Fellowship (1997-1999).

In 2005, Pouliot became co-chair of the Training and Education Committee and a regular member of the Research and Management Committee at the Canadian Arthritis Network (CAN), one of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence. He is a member of the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) Leading Edge and New Initiatives Funds review committee. He has also served as a member of CIHR's Biological and Clinical Aspects of Aging (BCA) review committee (2005-09), and of Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Senior Scholarship review committee (AHFMR; 2007-2010).

Pouliot has supervised numerous graduate, undergraduate students and postdoctoral trainees. He publishes papers in the area of arthritis, inflammation and pain; current focus includes the development of biomarkers for chronic conditions and the delineation of pro-resolution properties of adenosine. He is a member of the editorial board of: Journal of Immunology; International Immunopharmacology; Prostaglandins, Leukotrienes & Essential Fatty Acids and Mediators of Inflammation.


Dawn Richards, PhD
Science and Patient Consultant
Patient Advisor, Canadian Medical Association’s Wait Time Alliance
Vice President, Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance

Dawn Richards is a science and patient consultant. She helps clients write grants, edit manuscripts, and translate research findings in to lay language so the public can understand outcomes. As a person who lives with rheumatoid arthritis, she also brings the patient perspective to academic and pharma teams.

Dawn received her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Alberta, and has spent the past 15 years in various roles as a: bench scientist, project and operations manager, technology transfer and commercialization manager, and business development officer. She has worked in biotech as well as in the not-for-profit and academic sectors. Her scientific training, on the job experience in business-related roles, and her experience as a person who lives with a chronic disease put her in a unique position to both inform and help researchers, clinicians, and pharma to translate discoveries and products into meaningful outcomes from which the public will benefit.

Since being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis nearly a decade ago, Dawn has become a vocal advocate for arthritis awareness, access to treatment, the inclusion of patients in decision-making and as research collaborators, and the importance of research. She is currently Vice President of the Canadian Arthritis Patient Alliance and Patient Advisor to the Canadian Medical Association’s Wait Time Alliance.


Stephen Robinovitch, PhD
Professor, Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology
Professor, School of Engineering Science
Simon Fraser University

Dr. Stephen Robinovitch is a Professor in the Department of Biomedical Physiology and Kinesiology, and the School of Engineering Science, at Simon Fraser University. He currently holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Injury Prevention and Mobility Biomechanics. As Director of the CIHR-funded Technology for Injury Prevention in Seniors (TIPS) program, his research focuses on the cause and prevention of falls and fall-related injuries, especially hip fractures in older adults.

Robinovitch received his B.App.Sc. in mechanical engineering from the University of British Columbia (1988), his M.Sc. in mechanical engineering from M.I.T. (1990), and his PhD in medical engineering from the Harvard/M.I.T. program in Health, Science, and Technology (1995). Between 1995-2000, he was an Assistant Professor, In-Residence in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco.

Robinovitch is a past recipient of a New Investigator Award from CIHR (2001), and a Scholar Award from the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2001). He has been principal investigator on operating grants from CIHR, NSERC, NIH, and CDC, and has served as a member on various peer review panels for CIHR. He has supervised numerous graduate students, several of whom are now successful faculty members at universities in Canada and abroad.

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