About Us

MANDATE & VISION (2018)

The mandate of CAPS/ACSP is to improve the lives, training, and work experience of all Canadian postdocs. The vision that guides this mandate is one of a strong community in which all Canadian postdocs are provided fair and reasonable compensation, benefits, rights, privileges, and protections, as well as a supportive social network and effective support, training, and career development opportunities.

MISSION STATEMENT (2018)

CAPS/ACSP shall work to achieve its mandate and vision by:
a. Providing Canadian postdocs with information, resources, and support services to improve their wellbeing, training, labour conditions, and career development.
b. Acting as a collective voice for Canadian postdocs on issues relevant to postdocs and postdoctoral policy.
c. Collecting data from Canadian postdocs, members of CAPS/ACSP, and external agencies for use in advocating for evidence-based reform in postdoctoral policy at the national, provincial, and institutional levels in Canada.
d. Providing platforms, tools, and meeting opportunities to facilitate communication among Canadian postdocs and maintain a healthy, supportive Canadian postdoctoral community.

GOVERNANCE

CAPS/ACSP Governing Documents

2017-2018 EXECUTIVE COUNCIL

Joseph S. Sparling, PhD

Chair

Background: Dr. Joe Sparling just completed a 3 year stint as a postdoc in the Hotchkiss Brain Institute at the University of Calgary where he studied the accumulation of misfolded proteins in neurodegenerative diseases (e.g., Alzheimer’s). Prior to his postdoc Dr. Sparling completed a BSc in Biology (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON), a BA in Psychology (Brock University, St. Catharines, ON), a Master’s in Behavioural Neuroscience (Queen’s University, Kingston, ON), and a PhD in Neuroscience (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC) - during which he studied cellular therapies for spinal cord injury as a member of International Collaboration on Repair Discoveries (ICORD). Although he remains highly interested in research related to the study and treatment of neuropathological conditions affecting the human central nervous system, Dr. Sparling is now pursuing a career in advanced post-secondary training and labour relations policy. Beyond his research, Dr. Sparling is a prominent figure in the postdoctoral community at the provincial and national levels, as he is the former (2016) President of the Postdoctoral Association of the University of Calgary (PDAC), the current spokesperson for the Postdoctoral Associations of Alberta (the group recently responsible for convincing the Alberta government to legislate employment status for postdocs), an outspoken advocate for improved postdoc training and labour relations policies, and he has served as the Chair of CAPS/ACSP since July 2016.

Agenda: As the Chair of CAPS/ACSP, Dr. Sparling hopes to build on the hard work and dedication of past members of the Executive Board to achieve meaningful and lasting improvements in postdoctoral policies at the federal, provincial, and institutional levels. He firmly believes that postdocs working in Canada deserve the protections commonly provided to employees, that minimum working condition standards for postdocs are essential, and that all postdocs should have access to similar benefits regardless of their nationality or funding source(s). Towards the implementation of such policies, Dr. Sparling plans to expand CAPS/ACSP’s advocacy initiatives during his tenure, particularly at the provincial and federal levels. In addition he hopes to increase postdoctoral engagement and involvement in CAPS/ACSP and establish affordable group health insurance for all postdocs not currently provided such coverage through their institutions or funding agencies. Dr. Sparling’s overarching goal is the enactment of uniform postdoctoral policies that guarantee fair and consistent working conditions, rights, and benefits for all postdocs working in Canada. With the dedication of our Executive Board, and the help of our members, he is confident that this is an objective that CAPS/ACSP is capable of achieving in the next few years.

Email: chair@caps-acsp.ca
LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/jsparling
Twitter: @Joe_S_Sparling

Mohamad Nadim Adi, PhD

Past Chair

Background: Dr. Mohamad Nadim Adi completed his doctoral studies in the field of virtual reality, having obtained his undergraduate degree and Master’s in architecture. Combining these two fields, he developed a passion to understand and test new buildings and building materials through the use of VR. Dr. Adi has studied how people respond to different types of built environments using various virtual platforms as a medium. He worked in several universities around the globe, in the fields of high rise wood buildings, hospital design, dementia friendly design, and interactive architecture. He joined the University of Alberta to apply his extensive knowledge of this area in the establishment of a virtual reality lab for multi-disciplinary research in construction. His research has several potential inter-disciplinary applications involving health, education, and ergonomics. He developed an interest in crypto currencies during his time as consultant in the University of Alberta which lead to him to establish one of the biggest mining farms in Edmonton. From there he went to found BitCash Inc. to provide customers with a convenient, safe and fast way to buy bitcoins.

Agenda: Having been elected previously as a student union delegate and CAPS Chair in 2015, he successfully led and established several initiatives that helped in enhancing his fellow students’ experience. He aims to utilize his experience to help his fellow postdocs listening to their concerns and enriching their experience. He also plans to make postdocs more visible in the university and highlight their vital role. He was involved in completing the 3rd national postdoctoral survey and in campaigning for a nationwide clear definition for the postdoc role in higher education.

Email: pastchair@caps-acsp.ca
Research gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Mohamad_Nadim_Adi
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dr-mohamad-nadim-adi-5179283
Twitter: @mnadeemadi

Anni Hamalainen, PhD

Vice-Chair Operations

Background: Anni Hamalainen gained her MSc from the University of Jyvaskyla, Finland in 2010, and moved on to acquire a PhD in Biology (Evolutionary Ecology) from the University of Gottingen, Germany, in 2015. Continuing her work on life history evolution in wild animals, she then went on to pursue post-doctoral training at the University of Alberta, Canada, in 2015-2017. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Montreal, working in a multi-institutional, collaborative epidemiology project to study the interactive effects of sensory and cognitive aging and social participation on healthy aging in humans, using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study of Aging. Anni has previously participated in advocating for early career scientists e.g. by representing biology students on labor union committees, and most recently, serving as VP Communication on the Board of the Post-Doctoral Fellows Association of the University of Alberta.

Agenda: Canadian policy and recognition lag behind changes that have altered the average duration and importance of the post doc career phase. As a result, early career academics find themselves in the post doc limbo for extended periods of time, sometimes lacking basic benefits, and typically with minimal support to plan life in the long term (e.g. through job security, parental benefits, pension). As an increasing proportion of the country’s scientific output is simultaneously produced by post docs, this situation must change in order to ensure the well-being of individual post docs, and consequently, sustained Canadian research excellence. CAPS is working towards better recognition and appreciation of post docs as an integral part of the academic community, and as Vice-Chair Operations, Anni will support the smooth functioning of the CAPS Executive Board in conducting this advocacy work.

Email: operations@caps-acsp.ca

Emma Griffiths, PhD

Vice-Chair Communications

Background: Emma Griffiths is currently a postdoc at Simon Fraser University (Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Greater Vancouver, British Columbia), where she works with different Canadian and international health and regulatory agencies to develop frameworks (ontologies) for sharing and integrating whole genome sequencing and contextual data (clinical, epidemiological, laboratory). This goal of her work is to better enable the implementation of genomics for improved tracking and control of infectious disease outbreaks. Dr. Griffiths completed her PhD in Bacterial Phylogeny (McMaster University, Hamilton, Ont), and combines this expertise with postdoctoral experience in antimicrobial resistance analyses, as well as chemical and fungal genetics (McMaster University, and the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC) in her current research in genomic epidemiology. Dr. Griffiths has a keen interest in advocacy, and participates in different environmental and social equity efforts. As such, she co-founded and is past president of the Simon Fraser University Postdoc Association (SFU PDA). During her terms as president, Dr. Griffiths helped to establish many new initiatives such as the annual SFU Postdoc Research Day, the Brown Bags Professional Development Lunch Time Workshop Series, the Practice Job Talk Seminar Series, and the Postdoc Profile Writing Workshop.

Agenda: Communication is one of the most powerful tools for organization and advocacy, and CAPS/ACSP advocates and provides a voice for postdocs across Canada. CAPS/ACSP also works to provide a variety of resources, while engaging different partners to strengthen the postdoc community. Currently, Dr. Griffiths is serving as the Vice-Chair Communications for CAPS/ACSP where she hopes to improve communication between Canadian postdocs (at home and abroad) and educational and administrative stakeholders.

Email: ega12@sfu.ca
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emma-griffiths-a0a3383/
Twitter: @griffiemma

Sara Teinturier

Co-Vice-Chair French Communications

Background: Sara Teinturier is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Research Chair on Law, Religion and Secularism of the University of Sherbrooke (UdeS), QC. Her research interests include religion in education, everyday religion, and religion and (geek) pop culture. She earned PhDs (Political Science) from the University of Rennes 1 (France), a thesis which was awarded the annual prize from the French Society for Religious Studies (ASSR : Association des sciences sociales des Religions); in this study, she analyzes the transformations of French Catholicism during the inter-war period, through activism for faith-based schools. Continuing her work on religion and diversity, she then pursued postdoctoral fellowship at the École pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, France) in 2013-2015, and at the University of Montréal (UdeM) in 2015-2017. Dr. Teinturier was previously the first postdoctoral delegate in her French lab (GSRL, EPHE) where she helped to establish new initiatives for young careers scientists such as networks, regular workshops and conferences, and collaboration between senior and junior researchers.

Agenda: As a postdoctoral fellow in France and then Canada, Dr. Teinturier has witnessed meanings and consequences of employment situations in academia. She strongly believed that CAPS/ACSP could provide information and help for postdocs, thanks to its engagement for better resources and support in their daily work. French language is one of the working languages used in Canadian universities: as Vice-Chair of French Communications, Sara Teinturier aims to make CAPS/ACSP more visible and to improve relationships between all postdocs in Canada.

Email: sara.teinturier@usherbrooke.ca
Website: https://www.usherbrooke.ca/chaire-droit-religion-laicite/jeunes-chercheurs/collaborateurs/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sara.teinturier
Twitter: @teinturs
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/sarateinturier/

François Potus

Co-Vice-Chair French Communications

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Kalpesh Joshi

Vice-Chair Website Management

Background: Kalpesh Joshi is currently working as a post-doctoral fellow at University of Saskatchewan, Canada and has been a visiting scholar at Washington State University, WA, USA earlier. His research interests include the planning and operations aspect of sustainable energy systems with renewable energy resources and storage systems. Dr Joshi has won several fellowships and scholarships all along his post-graduate studies and research. He is also interested in reading, writing and digital content preparation specific to his needs. As a Vice Chair website management, he brings with him the experience of designing and mainlining websites while improving its visibility by coordinating with other social and professional networking platforms.

Agenda: Website – among all web-based platforms such as social and professional networking sites – is the most authentic representation of an organization on digital media. In the age of Google as a guide, the web-domain and its contents create the first impression and remain the prime source of information for new as well as returning visitors. Dr Joshi aims to keep the CAPS website live and up to date while making it more engaging and interactive.

Email: mail[at]kalpeshjoshi.co.in
Website: http://kalpeshjoshi.co.in
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/joshikalpesh/

Mohit Garg, PhD

Vice-Chair Finances

Background: Dr. Mohit Garg is a member of ASTM (voting), EGBC, IEEE, IIE and currently a Postdoctoral scholar in ‘Centre for Advanced Materials and Related Technology’ at the University of Victoria, and a 2018-2020 NSERC PDF award recipient. In addition to that Mohit has more than 5 years experience in the field of composite materials, non-destructive testing, and data analysis. Mohit wears an ‘Iron Ring’, honoured after successfully completing the requirements of ‘Bachelors in Industrial Engineering with minor in Supply chain management’ program from University of Windsor, Ontario in June 2010. It is worthy to mention that Dr. Mohit received a ‘Certificate of Distinction’ from University of Waterloo (in 2004). Mohit has published work in several high-impact factor peer-reviewed journals and also provides his comments and feedback on composites related articles as a ‘Reviewer’. Additionally, he also been the editor of ‘Operations Research’ book published by McGraw Hill. Lastly, Mohit has served as a ‘non-tenure faculty’ at two prestigious institutes in India, Thapar University and PEC University of Technology.

Agenda: Dr. Garg’s goal as CAPS Vice Financial Chair is to maintain a healthy and balanced financial budget through the year. CAPS servers a vital role and as a helping hand in addressing issues and concerns of both local and international Postdoc fellows here in Canada. It is also the goal of this association to carefully utilize the funds and resources available for the betterment of the community, as a whole. Mohit is also interested in helping his postdoc fellows in Canada to make them aware of possible financial assistance available to support themselves, boost their rights, and avail special facilities for them with the support from the local bodies or the government.

Email: finance@caps-acsp.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mgarg28
Research Gate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dr_Mohit_Garg
Twitter: @mgarg28
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/mohitgg

Jenna Haverfield, PhD

Vice-Chair Membership

Background: Dr. Jenna Haverfield is an Australian born and educated, internationally trained, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Centre for Research in Reproduction & Development at McGill University in Montreal. Dr. Haverfield is currently supported by a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship, and her research focuses on understanding the causes of neural tube defects during early pregnancy. Dr. Haverfield is an award-winning science communicator, having received numerous international recognitions for her ability to disseminate scientific information to a wide range of audiences. Dr. Haverfield is also very passionate about advocating for students and postdocs, and has held several senior leadership roles, including serving on the Board for Directors for the Society for the Study of Reproduction, the largest reproductive biology society in North America.

Agenda: Dr. Haverfield’s overarching goal as Vice Chair of Membership is to raise the profile of CAPS/ACSP within academic environments across Canada, to ultimately increase our postdoctoral membership so that we can better understand and address the needs of all Canadian postdocs. Dr. Haverfield strongly believes that postdocs deserve the same working conditions as university employees, including parental leave, sick leave, health insurance and pension benefits, and throughout her appointment on the CAPS/ACSP Executive Council will do everything in her power to drive change in postdoc policies within Canadian Universities.

Email: membership@caps-acsp.ca
Twitter: https://twitter.com/DrHaverfield
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jhaverfield/

Mohamed Elgendi, PhD

Vice-Chair External

Background: Dr. Mohamed Elgendi is a senior IEEE member and currently a Mining for Miracles Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. In addition to his 10+ years of experience in the field of data analysis, he received training on Big Data Analysis and Leadership in Education from MIT. Elgendi's experience in the area of data analysis and visualization includes his work in Global Health with the PRE-EMPT Initiative (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), and at the Institute for Media Innovation at Nanyang Technological University (Singapore). Elgendi specializes in bridging the areas of engineering, computer science, psychology, neuroscience and medicine for knowledge translation.

Agenda: Dr. Elgendi immensely understands that for the growing number of postdocs, there are fewer and fewer opportunities and employment options in academia. A main focus will be to explore the joint planning of fairs and conferences for all postdocs in Canadian Universities with sister and partner organizations. Moreover, he will work to establish work network opportunities with industries through his current diverse network in engineering, medicine, computer science, and digital health. Collaboration with other post-doc associations across Canada will also be pursued to raise awareness of common issues Canadian post-docs face, in addition to establishing strong bonds with industry leaders. Exploring the planning of national social events for broad outreach will also be on the agenda with the aim of involving post-docs in events and opportunities.

Email: external@caps-acsp.ca
Website: www.elgendi.net
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/moe.elgendi
Twitter: @MoeElgendi
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/elgendi/

Yun Zhang, PhD

Vice-Chair International

Background: Dr. Yun Zhang is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the department of Psychiatry at The University of British Columbia (UBC). She received her MD degree with speciality of neurology in China then moved to Vancouver to pursue her graduate studies. She completed her PhD studies within four years from UBC. Based on her clinical background in neurology and research expertise in diabetes area gained during her PhD study, Dr. Zhang is doing her postdoctoral research project encompassing aspects of both diabetes mellitus (DM) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). For her achievements in scientific research, Dr. Zhang is awarded the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (MSFHR) postdoctoral fellowship.

Agenda: As Vice-Chair International, Dr. Zhang aims to establish a great community of international postdocs within Canada as well as Canadians working as postdocs abroad. She will promptly convey important information to international postdocs and address their concerns to help international postdocs enjoy their lives and work in Canada. She will also serves as a liaison between CAPS/ACSP and other international associations and affiliate organizations. Dr. Zhang believes that with our joint efforts, CAPS/ACSP will be like a family of international postdocs.

Email: international@caps-acsp.ca

Yan Yan, PhD

Vice-Chair Career Development

Background: Dr. Yan Yan is currently a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Computer Science of the University of Saskatchewan (UofS), with research focus on Bioinformatics. She received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at UofS in 2015, and worked as a postdoc fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Western Ontario for a year, before coming back to UofS for her current appointment. Dr. Yan has been actively involved in career development for graduate students and postdocs through all these years. She's worked at the Student Employment and Career Centre (SECC) at UofS during her PhD. Her role included conducting regular programs of resume help and mock interviews for students and alumni, facilitating networking events with industry, on campus career fairs and info sessions, and developing online resources for student career development.

Agenda: Career development is crucial for postdocs but currently insufficient resources and support have been provided. Dr. Yan aims to raise the awareness of this issue to the academic community, develop various resources for postdocs on career development, and collect both academic and industry opportunities to share with postdocs. With ongoing efforts, she believes that the CAPS/ACSP could provide intensive information and help for postdocs seeking career development, and she aims to provide that support.

Email: careerdev@caps-acsp.ca
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yanstacyyan/

Maartje Wouters, PhD

Vice-Chair Data Management

Background: Dr. Wouters received her MSc training in biomedical sciences from the Radboud University Nijmegen in the Netherlands. Getting some experience abroad, she performed parts of the MSc training at the University of Antwerp in Belgium and Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. Subsequently, she moved on to Ph.D. training in tumor immunology at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands. Currently, she researches the role the tumor microenvironment plays in the immune response towards cancer as a postdoctoral researcher at the BC Cancer Agency in Victoria, BC.

Agenda: As CAPS is growing as an organization; we want to make sure that CAPS represents all postdocs in Canada. As the VC surveys and data management, Dr. Wouters has as a primary goal to inform the organization about the postdoc population that is reached by current approaches, increase the number of memberships in all postdoc target populations, and find ways to extend the reach in order to improve the impact of CAPS. Furthermore, Dr. Wouters will analyze surveys conducted by CAPS to evaluate current conditions at which postdocs in Canada operate, and to obtain opinions and ideas of the postdoc population about pressing matters.

Email: survey@caps-acsp.ca

Michael Kyweriga, PhD

At-Large Member (ULethbridge; AB)

Background: Dr. Michael Kyweriga is currently a postdoc at the University of Lethbridge working on mouse models of sensory perception, auditory disorders, and decision making. His research interests have an underlying focus on the neural circuits driving perception and behavior. Unlike most Canadian postdocs he has a rather unique career path. Born in Winnipeg, MB he became a permanent resident of the United States before completing high school in Montana. He then served five years as a Hospital Corpsman with the US Navy. His primary training was to deliver battlefield aid to wounded infantry Marines. Other duties included preventative care, including hearing tests. This began his interest in hearing disorders, specifically tinnitus which affects a disproportionate number of service members. Following his military service, he obtained his BA in Psychology (with Honors) and a minor in Biology from the University of California, Santa Cruz. He next received his PhD in Biology (Systems Neuroscience) from the University of Oregon in 2014. There he discovered a sound localization circuit in the rat auditory cortex. His future goals are focused on continued work to understand the underlying source of tinnitus, to better treat those who suffer from the disorder.

Agenda: Dr. Kyweriga is currently the president of the University of Lethbridge Postdoc Association. His goal as an At-Large Member of CAPS is to contribute to changing the lives of Canadian postdocs for the better and is an active participant in the monthly online meetings. His major advocacy accomplishment was co-authoring, along with the other Alberta Postdoc Association Presidents, a letter to the province of Alberta requesting changing the status of Alberta postdocs from “trainees” to employees. Much to his surprise, the Alberta legislature acted rapidly and within months passed An Act to Enhance Post-secondary Academic Bargaining (Bill 7). He is currently working with the Presidents of the other Alberta Postdoc Associations to update their constitutions to reflect the changes implemented by Bill 7. Due to this collaborative work, Alberta postdoc can now contribute to Employment Insurance and Canada Pension Plan and have recognized collective bargaining rights.

Email: mkyweriga@gmail.com
Website: http://lethbridgebraindynamics.com/michael-kyweriga/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/michael.kyweriga
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/michael-kyweriga

Dr. Jean-François Bruxelle

At-Large Member (SFU; BC)

Background: Dr. Jean-François Bruxelle is a microbiologist specialized in host-pathogen interactions and vaccine development. His research focuses on the mechanisms of induction of both mucosal and systemic immune responses in vaccine strategies against mucosal infections. He accomplished his PhD in France in University Paris-Saclay on the development of a mucosal vaccine strategy targeting colonization factors of Clostridium difficile. Dr. Bruxelle currently holds a postdoctoral position in Simon Fraser University (SFU) in Pantophlet lab where he is studying the elicitation of broad neutralizing antibody response against HIV in mucosal and systemic immune compartment by targeting a conserved patch of oligomannose on the virus spikes.

Agenda: As vice-president of external communication of SFU Post-Doctoral Association, Dr. Jean-François Bruxelle is the communication link between CAPS and our University. He strongly believes that postdocs are the backbone of research. He is committed to promote our community, help organize campaigns that improve our rights, recognition and benefits.

Email: jean-francois_bruxelle@sfu.ca
Twitter: @jeffbrux
Researchgate: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Jean-francois_Bruxelle

Krishnamoorthy Hegde, PhD

At-Large Member (INRS-ETE; Quebec)

Background : Krishnamoorthy Hegde is a postdoctoral researcher at Institut national de la recherche scientifique (Centre Eau Terre Environnement; INRS-ETE), Québec, Canada. He holds Ph.D. in biotechnology from Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati. He has a demonstrated history of working in industry and academia in the field of environmental engineering, biotechnology, oil and renewable energy for 8 years. He worked as a lead researcher for nearly 4 years’ in different industrial sectors in the field of sustainable biocatalyst development for bioremediation and effluent waste treatment for petrochemical wastes, technology transfer and field trials of the ‘in-house’ techniques developed at laboratory scale in petroleum refineries, metabolic pathway engineering for production of therapeutic recombinant proteins. His research contribution is credited with more than 20 peer reviewed research and review articles, 3 patents (published/filed), 2 edited books and more than 15 book chapters. He also received several prestigious fellowships and awards, such as FRQNT Postdoctoral Fellowship, TWAS-CONACYT Postdoctoral Fellowship, and TUM Post-Doc Mobility Fellowship. His research interest lies in the development of advanced biosensors for environmental applications, treatment of emerging contaminants in wastewater and drinking water, bioremediation of petroleum crude wastes, green synthesis of functionalized polymers, metabolic engineering of microorganisms for conversion of biomass residues and industrial waste into biofuels and value-added products. In addition to research activities, he is also involved in co-teaching of courses to postgraduates, co-supervising PhD students and short-term trainees at INRS-ETE. Apart from research, Dr. Hegde is keenly interested hosting/participating in social and scientific events and networking.

Agenda: As an At-Large Member, Dr. Hegde wants to make CAPS platform more vibrant by sharing academic and non-academic career opportunities with postdoctoral researchers across Canada. He also wants to strengthen career opportunities for Canadian postdoctoral researchers through various professional networking activities, such as scientific events, events on career development and industry-academia symposiums.

Email: hegde@ete.inrs.ca
Twitter: @Hegde217
LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/in/krishnamoorthy-hegde-46a49419

Edel Perez Lopez

At-Large Member (USask; SK)

Background: I am a plant pathologist. By the end of my Bachelor's in 2011 I had discovered my passion - the study of the microorganisms that affect plants, and particularly those that harm economically important crops, which can threaten the entire economy of countries. My path started in Cuba working with HLB (Huanglonbing), a devastating disease affecting citrus plants. From there I went to Mexico and did a PhD studying MBS (Maize bushy stunt), a disease affecting Mexico's native corn. During my PhD I had the chance to visit Saskatoon for the first time, and I fell in love with the city, the scientists working there, and even the weather. After a year as a postdoc at Auburn University in the US, working again with HLB and the bacteria associated with the disease, I returned to Saskatoon, this time as a postdoc in the Biology Department of the University of Saskatchewan. My new project, which is funded by the Government of Saskatchewan, aims to identify and characterize effector proteins produced by the soil-borne protist, Plasmodiophora brassicae, which is responsible for the devastating condition known as clubroot disease.

Agenda: At present, there are exciting changes in postdoctoral policy occurring at the UofS and I intend to serve as a bridge between the local and national postdoctoral communities as an At-Large Member of CAPS/ACSP.

Allison Tscherner

At-Large Member (UOttawa; ON)

Background: Dr. Allison Tscherner is a Lalor Postdoctoral Fellow at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, with a research focus in mammalian oocyte maturation and preimplantation embryo development. She completed her doctoral training in the department of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Guelph. Through her roles as an At-Large member of CAPS and as VP External Affairs of the UOttawa Faculty of Medicine Postdoctoral Association, Dr. Tscherner aims to support her peers throughout their postdoctoral training, and to augment the situation for postdoctoral researchers in Canada.

Twitter: @atscherner

Fiona Zhang

At-Large Member (UBC; BC)

Fiona Zhang is currently a postdoc fellow in the Department of Urology in UBC. Before moving to Canada, Fiona received her Bachelor of Engineering in Biological Engineering in China. Then, she studied and received her MSc in Environmental Toxicology from University of Alberta. She received her PhD in Neuroscience from UBC in 2015 where she focused her research in the molecular linkage between stroke and Alzheimer’s disease. After graduation, Fiona joined a start-up company aiming in branding a health product. She was responsible for formulation design and quality control of the products. After the very first product of the company entered the market, Fiona returned to the research field where she can maximize her contribution in the area of life science with her solid interdisciplinary skills. Now, Fiona is focusing on translational studies including drug formulation and therapeutic strategy development for cancer therapy.

Agenda: As the VP External of UBC Post-Doctoral Association, my primary goal is to maintain a good communication between UBC PDA and the CAPS. By doing this, I hope the voices from UBC postdocs can be heard by the rest of the postdoc society and the policy makers. As a member of the CAPS, I will work with the rest of the team members to promote the role of the CAPS in the society and let the society recognize the contribution from the postdoctoral fellows.

Email: fizhang@bccrc.ca

Chris Corkery, PhD

Advisor

Background: Chris completed an MSc in Polymer Chemistry at the University of Manitoba in 2006 and then earned a PhD on Optical Materials at the Australian National University in 2010. He spent two years as a postdoc at the University of Western Ontario, working on water-repelling coatings. The three years folliwing were as a CREATE postdoctoral fellowship in Neuroengineering at McGill University, where he designed surfaces for brain-machine interfaces. Currently, he is the Chief Project Engineer at Sensoreal Inc. and a part-time Workshop Facilitator at McGill University. Sensoreal (www.sensoreal.com) is a small company specializing in point-of-care health testing. They design capillary microfluidic devices that rapidly and economically make health measurements within 20 minutes, allowing for prompt assessment and treatment. Chris has been involved with postdoctoral fellows in Canada from 2010, holding various positions, chronologically: VC external of the Postdoc Association at Western (PAW, 2010-2011), Chair of the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS, 2011-2012), the Past-Chair of CAPS (2012-2013), and the Chair of the Association of Postdoctoral Fellows at McGill (APF, 2012-2016). Chris has served as an executive member of CAPS from 2010 to present, and represented CAPS at several national and international conferences and meetings.

Agenda: Both as the Chair of CAPS and in his other postdoctoral representation positions, Chris' main agenda has been to increase the reputation of postdoctoral positions in Canada. More attractive postdoctoral appointments will result in higher quality postdocs and improve the level of research coming out of Canada. Successes have been many, with the largest achievement being the completion of the first third-party national survey of postdoctoral scholars and a resulting white paper. This survey data has been used and reported widely by the tri-councils, scholarly journals, media, Mitacs, universities, and national and international postdoctoral associations. He was pleased to be involved in the 2016 Canadian National Postdoctoral Survey as well, and was a co-author on the official report from that survey released Nov 21st, 2016.

Silvia Vilches, PhD

Advisor

Background: Silvia Vilches is a Mitacs Elevate postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Health Leadership and Research in the School of Leadership Studies at Royal Roads University in Victoria, BC. She is studying in capacity development and leadership in the health system with the Canadian College of Health Leaders and Fenwick Leadership Explorations. Her academic studies centre on social planning issues, and have evolved from an interest in the contribution community makes to well-being (psychology) to studies in policy and practice and the difference early childhood education makes in communities, to mental health community partnerships planning (urban planning) at UBC. These studies have involved her in community research and capacity development partnerships with First Nations, explorations of GLBTTQ equity and inclusion in the academic setting, and investigation of the impacts of welfare policy reform. She has worked in the nonprofit sector on community social issues, and she has more than 22 years of experience on non-profit boards. In these various capacities she has worked on organizational development and change theory, fundraising, incorporation, and with agency and board volunteers.

Monica Sesma-Vazquez, PhD

Advisor

Background: Dr. Monica Sesma-Vazquez was born in Mexico City. She pursued studies (Bachelor, Master and Ph D) in Psychology, and has several specializations as an individual, couple, and family therapist. She was a professor in three Universities in Mexico City (Universidad de Londres, Universidad de las Americas, and Alliant International University), teaching Narrative, Brief, Solution Focused, Reflecting Teams, and Collaborative Therapies, as well as Qualitative Research Methods, in graduate programs. She worked several years at the Eating Disorders Clinic at Hospital Medica Sur in Mexico City as an individual and family therapist. Dr. Sesma-Vazquez’s research primarily focuses on examining families’ and professionals’ discourses, conversations, and interactions around food, weight, and appearance; she also investigates the implementation of family therapy treatments for people with eating concerns in Canada. She studies Western DSM diagnostic culture and how discourses on mental health and medicalization impact individuals and families. Her research focuses on how people perform mental illness understandings in social interactions, and how these performances shape their relationships and experiences. She is the Spanish Translator Editor for the International Journal of Collaborative Practices, a Taos Institute council member and associate, and President of the Postdoctoral Association of the University of Calgary (PDAC).

Agenda: Monica served as the Vice Chair Communications for CAPS/ACSP from 2014 to 2017 and played a key role in the development and implementation of our new website. She became an Advisor to the CAPS/ACSP in July 2017.

Online Profile (UCalgary): http://werklund.ucalgary.ca/educ_info/profiles/monica-sesma-vazquez
Twitter: @monicasesma
LinkedIn: https://ca.linkedin.com/pub/monica-sesma-vazquez-ph-d/7/758/ba8

Peter Clark, DPhil

Advisor

Background: Dr Peter Clark is a CREATE ChemNET Postdoctoral Fellow at Simon Fraser University researching the development of chemical probes and drug-targeting technologies under the supervision of Professor Robert Young. Originally from New Zealand, he completed both a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, majoring in Molecular Pharmacology and Medicinal Chemistry, and Master of Science, in Chemistry, at Victoria University of Wellington. A recipient of the prestigious Woolf Fisher Scholarship, Peter completed his Doctorate of Philosophy in Organic Chemistry at the University of Oxford in 2015 before commencing his fellowship. As part of his fellowship program, he has also completed an internship as a Research Associate at the biotechnology company Mesentech Inc. Outside of the academic arena, Dr Clark has served as both the Vice-President (External Communications) and Acting President for the Simon Fraser University Postdoctoral Association, and is both an organiser and lead author of the Future of Research Vancouver 2017 workshop.

Agenda: Peter’s agenda is to identify deficiencies in how the world does operate, and strategize ways towards how it should operate. Through a lack of awareness, a lack of remediation, and/or self-interests, many current systems are detrimental to the groups they are meant to assist: Dr Clark seeks out such situations, and enjoys both analysing the issues and strategizing a range of solutions to address these. Postdoctoral fellows in Canada are just such a group. Peter recently prepared a report exposing the issues they face, and identified a range of action items to try and amend these; he is currently pursuing these items towards a positive change for some of the affected postdoctoral fellows.

Email: peter.clark.dphil@gmail.com
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/peter-g-k-clark-4b152a44/

PAST EXECUTIVE COUNCILS

2016-2017

Chair: Joseph S. Sparling, PhD
Past Chair: Mohamad Nadim Adi, PhD
Co-Vice-Chair Communications: Monica Sesma-Vazquez, PhD
Co-Vice-Chair Communications: Emma Griffiths, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Nafisa Jadavji, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Caitlin Forsey, PhD
Vice-Chair Finance: Pengwei Wang, PhD (2016); Mohit Garg, PhD (2017)
Vice-Chair International: Lauren Drogos, PhD
Advisor: Chris Corkery, PhD
Advisor: Silvia Vilches, PhD
At-Large Member: Michael Kyweriga, PhD
At-Large Member: Peter Clark, PhD
At-Large Member: Grace Iyirhiaro, PhD
At-Large Member: Stefanie Vogt, PhD

2015-2016

Chair: Mohamad Nadim Adi, PhD
Past-Chair: Raj Kannan, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Jiro Inoue, PhD
Vice-Chair Finance: Joe Sparling, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Monica Sesma-Vazquez, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Nafisa M. Jadavji, PhD
AGM Co-Chair and CAPS/ACSP Advisor: Silvia Vilches, PhD

2014-2015

Chair: Raj Kannan, PhD
Past Chair: Silvia Vilches, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Mohamad Nadim Adi, PhD
Vice-Chair Finance: Abdi Ghaffari, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Wei Wei, PhD (2014); Monica Sesma-Vazquez, PhD (2015)
Vice-Chair External: Supriya Syal, PhD (2014); Hein Min Tun, PhD (2015)

2013-2014

Chair: Silvia Vilches, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Chinyere (Chi chi) Nwafor-Okoli, PhD
Vice-Chair Finance: Abdi Ghaffari, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Kalin Penev, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Supriya Syal, PhD
Vice-Chair International: David Kent, PhD

2012-2013

Chair: Chris Corkery, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Chinyere (Chi chi) Nwafor-Okoli, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Maya Boudiffa, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Alexandra Merkx-Jacques, PhD
Vice-Chair Finance: Abdi Ghaffari, PhD
Vice-Chair International: David Kent, PhD

2011-2012

Chair: Jeremy Mitchell, PhD
Vice-Chair Operations: Angela M. Crawley, PhD
Vice-Chair External: Daniel Preece, PhD
Vice-Chair Communications: Alexandra Merkx-Jacques, PhD
Vice-Chair Finance: Lucie Low, PhD
Vice-Chair International: David Kent, PhD