Our Team

CoVaRR-Net brings together some of Canada’s most eminent researchers and experts in a variety of disciplines linked to emerging variants. By connecting this country’s best variants of concern-related research labs, this network ensures a rapid and coordinated response to this complicated facet of the pandemic.

Our team is structured by theme or “Pillars” which study and analyze a different biological aspect of variants. Pillar Leads are responsible for overseeing all Pillar activities and are supported by Deputies, who are experts in varied relevant disciplines, as well as research coordinators and research associates.

We also have a team organizing shared resources and a team providing outreach, policy, and public health communication.

Our Executive Committee is comprised of the Executive Director, the Directors of Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity, the Communications Director, and the ten Pillar Leads.

We all work together

We work collaboratively with the Public Health Agency of Canada’s National Microbiology Laboratory (NML), the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN), provincial and territorial public health labs, and other national and international bodies. Each CoVaRR-Net Pillar will work intimately with research teams from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) to accelerate the pace of discovery.

To bridge the gaps in our Network ecosystem and address immediate research needs regarding variants, CoVaRR-Net will conduct open calls for multidisciplinary research proposals to tackle specific scientific questions.

Our Leadership Committee

Marc-André Langlois

Marc-André Langlois

Executive Director

Professor, University of Ottawa
Former Canada Research Chair in Molecular Virology and Intrinsic Immunity

Ninan Abraham

Ninan Abraham

Director, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI), and Indigeneity

Professor, University of British Columbia
Associate Dean, Equity and Diversity, University of British Columbia, Faculty of Science

Claire Betker

Associate Director, Equity, Diversity, Inclusion (EDI), and Indigeneity

Scientific Director of the National Collaborating Centre for Determinants of Health (NCCDH)

Cecilia Jenkins

Cecilia L. Jenkins

Network Operating Officer

Communications

Timothy Caulfield

Director of Misinformation Assessment and Response

Canada Research Chair in Health Law & Policy
Professor, Faculty of Law and School of Public Health
Research Director, Health Law Institute, University of Alberta

Fatima Tokhmafshan

Fatima Tokhmafshan

Community and Patient Engagement and Outreach Director

Geneticist, MD candidate

Pillar 1
Immunology & Vaccine Protection

Investigating how the immune system responds to emerging variants and assessing the effectiveness of vaccines against them.

Jennifer Gommerman

Jen Gommerman

Immunology & Vaccine Protection Pillar Co-Lead

Professor, University of Toronto
Canada Research Chair in Tissue Specific Immunity

Ciriaco Piccirillo

Ciriaco Piccirillo

Immunology & Vaccine Protection Pillar Co-Lead, T cell responses

Professor and Graduate Program Director, McGill University
Senior Scientist, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre

Mark Brockman

Mark Brockman

T cell epitopes

Professor, Simon Fraser University

Hélène Decaluwe

T cell studies

Associate Professor, Université de Montréal
Clinician Scientist, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center

Scott Halperin

Scott Halperin

Vaccines

Professor, Dalhousie University
Nominated Principal Investigator, Canadian Immunization Research Network

Manish Sadarangani

Manish Sadarangani

Vaccines

Director, Vaccine Evaluation Center, BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia
Sauder Family Chair in Pediatric Infectious Diseases

Pillar 2
Host-Pathogen Interactions

Exploring the interactions between SARS-CoV-2 variants and different host species to understand infection and disease, both in the laboratory and the field.

Angela Rasmussen

Angela L. Rasmussen

Host-Pathogen Interactions Pillar Lead

Research Scientist III, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan
Affiliate, Georgetown Center for Global Health Science and Security

Arinjay Banerjee

Emerging Zoonotic Viruses and Comparative Immunology

Early Career Investigator & Research Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO)
Adjunct Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Jason Kindrachuk

Jason Kindrachuk

Molecular Pathogenesis

Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Molecular Pathogenesis of Emerging and Re-Emerging Viruses
Assistant Professor, University of Manitoba

Samira Mubareka

Zoonotic and Respiratory Virus Transmission, One Health Framework

Clinician scientist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Assistant Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto

Brad Pickering

Zoonosis, virus-host interactions, One Health Framework, emerging diseases, high consequence pathogens

Research Scientist, head of Special Pathogens, National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease, Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Adjunct Professor, Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, University of Manitoba

Selena M. Sagan

Selena M. Sagan

RNA Biology, Virology, MicroRNAs, Host-virus Interactions

Canada Research Chair in RNA Biology and Viral Infections
Associate Professor, Departments of Microbiology & Immunology and Biochemistry, McGill University

Pillar 3
Virology

Evaluates the virus’ features in cells and animals. These include measuring infectivity, pathological effects, and vaccine and immune resistance in animals.

Louis Flamand

Louis Flamand

Virology Pillar Lead
Interim Chair, CCABL3

Professor, Université Laval

Stephen Barr

Stephen Barr

Reverse Genetics and In Vivo Characterization of VOC

Associate Professor, Western University

Jennifer Corcoran

Jennifer Corcoran

In Vitro Characterization of VOC

Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Darryl Falzarano

Darryl Falzarano

VOC Pathogenesis and Vaccine Development

Research Scientist, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization, University of Saskatchewan

Denis Leclerc

Denis Leclerc

Vaccine Protection Against VOC

Professor, Université Laval

Silvia Vidal

Pathogenesis of VOC

Professor, McGill University
Canada Research Chair in Pathogenesis of Infection and Inflammation

Pillar 4
Functional Genomics & Structure-Function of VOCs

Studying different areas of the viruses & how they interact with cells, investigating viral protein structures and functions & how they interact with human proteins.

Anne-Claude Gingras

Anne-Claude Gingras

Functional Genomics & Structure-Function of VOCs Pillar Lead

Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System
Professor, Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto
Canada Research Chair in Functional Proteomics

Etienne Caron

Systems Immunology, immunopeptidomics, HLA, T cell epitopes

Assistant Professor, Université de Montréal
Director, Mass Spectrometry Platform, CHU Sainte-Justine Research Center

Jason Moffat

Jason Moffat

High-throughput Genetic Interaction Network Mapping in Human Cells

Professor, University of Toronto
Canada Research Chair in Functional Genomics of Cancer

James Rini

James Rini

Structural Investigation of Cell Membrane and Secreted Proteins and Glycoproteins

Professor, Departments of Molecular Genetics and Biochemistry, University of Toronto

Nozomu Yachie

Cell Engineering, Genome Editing and Computational Biology

Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
Canada Research Chair in Synthetic Biology

Pillar 5
Viral Genomics & Sequencing

Reads each variant’s genetic code and looks at the relationships between the sequences of the parent virus and the variants.

Ioannis Ragoussis

Ioannis Ragoussis

Viral Genomics & Sequencing Pillar Lead
Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Professor, McGill University
Head of Genome Sciences, McGill Genome Center

Robert Delatolla

Viral Genomics & Sequencing Pillar Deputy
Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa
Associate Director, Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Environmental Engineering

Caroline Quach

Caroline Quach

Infectious Diseases, Epidemiology

Professor, University of Montreal
Pediatric Infectious Diseases Specialist, Medical Microbiologist, CHU Sainte-Justine

Terrance P. Snutch

Terrance P. Snutch

Genomics, Sequencing Technology

Professor, Michael Smith Laboratories
Director of Translational Neuroscience, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, University of British Columbia

Jeff Wrana

Genomics, Functional Genomic Technology

Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), Sinai Health Systems, Toronto
Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto

Members

Marc Desforges
CHU Sainte-Justine

Ryan Ziels
University of British Columbia

Pillar 6
Computational Biology and Modelling

Using computer modelling and calculations to evaluate the genetic evolution of variants and how quickly they propagate in the Canadian population.

Sarah (Sally) Otto

Sarah (Sally) Otto

Computational Biology and Modelling Pillar Co-Lead

Killam University Professor and Canada Research Chair, University of British Columbia

Jesse Shapiro

Jesse Shapiro

Computational Biology and Modelling Pillar Co-Lead
Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Associate Professor, McGill University & Genome Center

Fiona Brinkman

Bioinformatics

Distinguished Professor, Simon Fraser University

Caroline Colijn

Caroline Colijn

Modelling

Professor, Simon Fraser University
Canada 150 Research Chair in Mathematics for Infection, Evolution and Public Health

Jörg H. Fritz

Jörg H. Fritz

Immunogenomics

Associate Professor, McGill University

Morgan Langille

Bioinformatics

Associate Professor, Dalhousie University
Canada Research Chair in Human Microbiomics

Members

Paul Gordon
University of Calgary

Julie Hussin 
Université de Montréal

Rees Kassen
University of Ottawa

William Hsiao
Simon Fraser University

Jeffery Joy
University of British Colombia

Art Poon
Western University

Indigenous Involvement

Indigenous communities in Canada have disproportionately borne the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. CoVaRR-Net’s Pillar 7, Indigenous Engagement, Development, and Research (CIEDAR), works to build strong partnerships with and be relevant to Indigenous communities from coast-to-coast-to-coast. CIEDAR’s goal is to actively collaborate with Indigenous community collaborators to develop potential solutions to halt the spread of COVID-19 VOCs. We aim to answer questions about how health, socioeconomic, and cultural factors either reduce or increase the spread of VOCs and communicate that information widely so that Canada’s Indigenous communities can make informed decisions. We focus on success stories, as well as support grassroots efforts and policies. We will also work collaboratively with other VOC Indigenous Networks, as they are created, in multiple areas.

Pillar 7
Indigenous Engagement, Development, and Research

Building partnerships with Indigenous communities and working collaboratively with the upcoming Indigenous Network for VOC in multiple areas.

Kimberly Huyser

Kimberly R. Huyser

Indigenous Engagement, Development, and Research Pillar Lead

Associate Professor, University of British Columbia

Michelle Johnson-Jennings

Michelle Johnson-Jennings

International Indigenous Engagement

Adjunct faculty, University of Saskatchewan
Professor, University of Washington

Katherine Collins

Katherine Anne Collins

Culture, Language, and Identity

Assistant Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Pillar 8
Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impacts

Studying the impacts of the variants on public health, our healthcare system, and on social policy and reporting these findings to decision-makers and government officials.

Nazeem Muhajarine

Nazeem Muhajarine

Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impacts Pillar Co-Lead
Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Cory Neudorf

Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impacts Pillar Co-Lead

Interim Senior Medical Health Officer, Saskatchewan Health Authority
Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Cheryl Camillo

Cheryl A. Camillo

Social Policy, Public Administration, Governance

Assistant Professor, Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy, University of Regina

Doug Manuel

Doug Manuel

Public Health and Health Systems, Modelling
Director, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Distinguished University Professor, University of Ottawa

Andrew Morris

Infectious Disease Physician

Medical Director, Sinai Health-University Health Network Antimicrobial Stewardship Program

Brenda Andreas

Brenda Andreas

Patient Representative

Patient Partner, Saskatchewan

Members

Sara Allin
University of Toronto

Wendie Marks
University of Saskatchewan

Pillar 9
Knowledge, Implementation and Training Team (KITT)

Connecting all activities from the other nine Pillars and quickly and efficiently sharing findings in order to best advance discoveries and inform decision and policymakers.

Melissa Brouwers

Melissa Brouwers

Knowledge, Implementation and Training Team (KITT) Pillar Co-Lead

Professor and Director, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa

Jeremy Grimshaw

Jeremy Grimshaw

Knowledge, Implementation and Training Team (KITT) Pillar Co-Lead

Professor, University of Ottawa
Canada Research Chair in Health Knowledge Transfer and Uptake

John Lavis

John Lavis

Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact

Professor, McMaster University
Canada Research Chair in Evidence-Informed Health Systems

Justin Presseau

Justin Presseau

Health Systems

Associate Professor, School of Epidemiology and Public Health, University of Ottawa
Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Members

Paul Bonnar
Dalhousie  University

Joyce Dogba
Université de Laval

Lori-Ann Linkins
McMaster University

Menaka Pai
McMaster University

Janet Curran
Dalhousie University

Alfonso Iorio
McMaster University

Julian Little
University of Ottawa

Pillar 10
Antiviral Strategies and Antiviral Therapeutics

Identifying and profiling effectiveness of leading antivirals alone or in combination against emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants and other human viruses with pandemic potential.

François Jean

Antiviral Strategies & Antiviral Therapeutics Pillar Lead

Associate Professor of Virology, University of British Columbia
Founder of UBC’s Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER)

Nathalie Grandvaux

Antiviral Strategies & Antiviral Therapeutics Pillar Deputy

Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Université de Montréal
Associate Scientific Director of Students and Postdoctoral Affairs and Principal Investigator,
Centre de recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM)
Co-founder and past-president, Canadian Society for Virology (CSV)
Co-director, Quebec COVID-Pandemic Network (QCPN)

Deanna Santer

Antiviral Strategies & Antiviral Therapeutics Pillar Deputy

Assistant Professor and GlaxoSmithKline Research Chair in Immunology of Infectious Diseases University of Manitoba

Natalie Strynadka

Antiviral Strategies & Antiviral Therapeutics Pillar Deputy

Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia
Canada Research Chair in Structure-based Antimicrobial Discovery on the Bacterial Membrane

CoVaRR-Net Biobank

Angela M. Crawley

Biobank Director

Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa
Adjunct Professor, Carleton University

Don Vinh

Biobank Clinical Associate Director

Associate Professor, McGill University
Medical Microbiologist, McGill University Health Centre

Curtis Cooper

Biobank Clinical Associate Director

Professor of Medicine, University of Ottawa
Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Data Platform

Amy Hsu

Data Platform Director

Chair in Primary Health Care in Dementia, uOttawa Brain and Mind-Bruyère Research Institute
Assistant Professor, University of Ottawa

Guillaume Bourque

Guillaume Bourque

Data Platform Associate Director

Professor, McGill University
Canada Research Chair in Computational Genomics and Medicine

Wastewater Surveillance Group

Doug Manuel

Doug Manuel

Director, Wastewater Surveillance Group
Public Health and Health Systems, Modelling

Senior Scientist, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Distinguished University Professor, University of Ottawa
Clinical Research Chair, Precision Medicine for Chronic Disease Prevention, University of Ottawa

Robert Delatolla

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group
Viral Genomics & Sequencing Pillar Deputy

Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Ottawa
Associate Director, Ottawa-Carleton Institute for Environmental Engineering

John P. Giesy

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in the Division of Earth, Ocean and Atmosphere of the National Academy of Science of Canada
Former Canada Research Chair in Environmental Toxicology

Chrystal Landgraff

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Research Scientist, Surveillance, Outbreak Detection and Response, Enteric Diseases Division, National Microbiology Laboratory (NML)
Adjunct Professor, Department of Food Sciences, University of Guelph

Chand Mangat

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Head of the Wastewater Surveillance Unit in the One Health Division at the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC)

Nazeem Muhajarine

Nazeem Muhajarine

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group
Public Health, Health Systems and Social Policy Impacts Pillar Co-Lead

Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Ioannis Ragoussis

Ioannis Ragoussis

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group
Viral Genomics & Sequencing Pillar Lead

Professor, McGill University
Head of Genome Sciences, McGill Genome Center

Jesse Shapiro

Jesse Shapiro

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group
Computational Biology and Modelling Pillar Co-Lead

Associate Professor, McGill University & Genome Center

Peter Vanrolleghem

Member, Wastewater Surveillance Group

Professor, Department of Civil and Water Engineering, Université Laval
Canada Research Chair on Water Quality Modelling

Bioethics

Raphael Saginur

Raphael Saginur

Bioethics Co-Director

Chair of the Ottawa Health Science Network Research Ethics Board

James Robblee

Bioethics Co-Director

Cardiac anesthesiologist, University of Ottawa Heart Institute

The Canadian Consortium of Academic
Biosafety Level 3 (CCABL3) Laboratories

Provides rapid guidance and recommendations to Canadian authorities when facing new emerging biological threats.

Louis Flamand

Louis Flamand

Interim Chair, CCABL3
Virology Pillar Lead

Professor, Université Laval

Bintou Ahidjo

Member, Canadian Consortium of Academic Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories (CCABL3)

Research Platform Manager, Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research, University of British Columbia
Honorary Assistant Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, The University of British Columbia

Mariana Baz

Member, Canadian Consortium of Academic Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories (CCABL3)

Senior Research Scientist and Head of the Antiviral Drug Sensitivity Division at the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza
Adjunct Professor and Associate Director of the BSL3 laboratory, Université Laval

Marcel Behr

Member, Canadian Consortium of Academic Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories (CCABL3)

Associate Program Leader, Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program (IDIGH), Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC)
Co-Director, McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity (MI4)

Volker Gerdts

Member, Canadian Consortium of Academic Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories (CCABL3)

Director and CEO, Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO)

David J. Kelvin

Member, Canadian Consortium of Academic Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories (CCABL3)

Canada Research Chair in Translational Vaccinology and Inflammation
Professor, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dalhousie University