Chief Administrative & Scientific Officer
Canada’s Genomics Enterprise
Dr. Naveed Aziz serves as the Chief Administrative & Scientific Officer of CGEn, Canada’s national platform for genome sequencing & analysis with nodes in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver. Dr. Aziz oversees all administrative and financial operations of CGEn and work with scientific and technical personnel to oversee the identification, acquisition and implementation of the newest genomic technologies as they become available, including the identification of new opportunities for technology partnerships and scientific collaborations. Prior to joining CGEn, Dr. Aziz served as the Director of Technology programs at Genome Canada. In this role, he led Genome Canada’s portfolio of technology programs with the primary goal to help create opportunities that promote innovation and develop new national capacity in genomics, big data, and related sciences. His previous roles include serving as the Head of Genomics at University of York, UK and as a Research Fellow at the S.R. Noble Foundation in Oklahoma, USA.
Dr. Aziz has a keen interest in the role of genomic-based leading edge technologies in providing solutions to pressing global challenges. His experiences of working in various capacities within the field of Genomic over the past 15 years has led him to strongly believe in the notion of convergence – especially when it originates from divergent fields. In 2018, Dr. Aziz was named as one of Canada’s emerging executive leaders as a member of the first cohort of CDRD and Pfizer Canada's Executive Institute training program, focused on executive development of senior-level life sciences professionals in Canada.
Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness
Currently, Bev is the Chair of the Canadian Coalition for Genetic Fairness and has worked with key stakeholders to see the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (GNDA) passed into law in 2017, ensuring that the genetic test information of all Canadians is protected. Bev remains an active member of the Governing Council of the Neurological Health Charities of Canada (NHCC) and serves as a director on the boards of Clinical Trials Ontario (CTO) and Dying With Dignity Canada (DWDC).
Bev joined the Huntington Society of Canada in 2010 as Chief Executive Officer and retired from that position in July of 2018. Bev was an Executive member of the Board of the International Huntington Association (IHA) acting as Vice President. Bev was also a founding member of HD-COPE – a globally coordinated knowledge sharing mechanism to ensure the HD Community voice is shared, in a timely manner, with regulators, industry and researchers.
In 2015 Bev received the Health Charities Coalition of Canada Award of Distinctionin recognition of leadership and outstanding support to the charitable health sector. In 2016 Bev received the American Society of Human Genetics, Advocacy Award, together with Senator James Cowan. This award is in recognition of facilitating public awareness of genetics issues and for work done to move the protection of genetic test information forward in Canada.
North York General Hospital
Clare Gibbons received a Master of Science degree in Genetic Counselling from Sarah Lawrence College in 1996, following which she joined the Genetics Program at North York General Hospital in Toronto as a genetic counsellor and became the manager of Clinical Genetics in 2016. She has been involved in a variety of clinical research projects including studies on computerized cognitive rehab for people with Huntington disease, how parents talk to their children about their risk for Huntington disease and genetic counselling expectations for patients referred for consanguinity. She has been a research coordinator for clinical drug trials for the treatment of Huntington disease, as well as, laboratory test development studies for non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and the use of cell free DNA for cancer detection. She has served twice as President of the Canadian Board of Genetic Counsellors.
University Health Network
Mount Sinai Hospital
Dr. Siminovitch is a Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, holds an MD from the University of Toronto, and is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology. She serves as the Director of the Fred A. Litwin Family Centre of Genetic Medicine at the University Health Network (UHN) and Mount Sinai Hospital and also founded and directs the UHN/MSH Clinical Genomics Centre.
Dr. Siminovitch’s research programme is directed at identifying the molecular factors which regulate normal immune responses and which, when disrupted, result in immune deficiency or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and other autoimmune inflammatory conditions. Using both basic research tools and clinical sample sets, Dr. Siminovitch has made many seminal contributions to defining the genetic variants predisposing to these diseases and the molecular pathways which couple these lesions to cell dysfunction and disease. Over the past few years, she has initiated a personalized healthcare platform at MSH, aimed at integrating advanced molecular information with clinical data so as to identify gene variants influencing disease risk and genetic/immunologic predictors of disease course and treatment responses.
Dr. Siminovitch has been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association of Physicians and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and she holds a Canada Research Chair in Immunogenomics.
University of Toronto
Nesrin Vurgun is a post-doctoral fellow in biological chemistry at the University of Toronto. Her research is focused on the synthesis and biological evaluation of mass cytometry probes. She is an academic liaison for the Chemical Institute of Canada Toronto Section (CICTor) and is passionate about mentorship and teaching. In her free time, she enjoys podcasts, sampling craft beers and ciders, and taking care of her large collection of houseplants.