Find Your Pulse


Toronto 2017 Panelists


University Panel


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Jessie MacAlpine

Keynote Speaker and University Panelist

“One of Canada's Top 20 Under 20, Jessie is a fourth year student studying molecular genetics at the University of Toronto. Since the age of 12, she has investigated climate change, genetics, agriculture, global health and electrical engineering in basements and laboratories around the world. Over the past five years, she has developed both a bioherbicide and antimalarial drug currently under review for international patent. This research has been presented internationally and won Best in Category for Medicine and Health Sciences at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. Jessie is passionately invested in youth scientific literacy and volunteers with a variety of local and national charities to promote student involvement in fundamental research.”


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Mary Zhu

University Panelist

Mary Zhu is a student at Queen’s University in the Accelerated Route to Medical School (QuARMS) program, and a Chancellor’s Scholar. Motivated by her passion to make a difference, she has worked with numerous organizations, including the Ontario Ministry of Education, the University Health Network, and the Ontario Science Centre. Mary is also the co-founder of the Midtown Toronto Youth Council, a platform for youth to voice their opinions and implement solutions to issues that they face, and actively involved in translational and clinical research. She has a wide range of interests, and hopes to adopt an interdisciplinary approach to problem solving in the medical field.


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Bronte Johnson

University Panelist

Bronte is currently in her third year at McMaster University in the Bachelor of Health Sciences Program (BHSc.), taking a variety of courses such as anatomy and pathophysiology, biochemistry, and mathematics. Bronte has always been interested in science and has had the opportunity to study cell culturing regarding structural biology and is currently researching the effect of immunization on the maternal microbiome. Outside of the classroom, Bronte is a member of the McMaster Triathlon Club, a competitive rower, and participates and organizes a variety of BHSc community activities. She also enjoys volunteering at McMaster Children’s Hospital in the NICU in the cuddling program and is a tea fanatic. Health Sciences has always been an interest of Bronte’s, which was accelerated by having the opportunity to represent Canada in the National Youth Leadership Forum in Advanced Medicine at Johns Hopkins University. Medical school and graduate school is frequently discussed within the sciences, and Bronte is excited to educate students about the application process and to share her university experiences!


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Taaha Muhammad

University Panelist

Taaha Muhammad is a first year medical student studying at University of Toronto. He completed his Bachelor of Health Sciences at McMaster University. Three years ago he self-published a book entitled, “GoalCatcher” with the aim of instilling a sense of motivation and inspiration in readers, and he maintains a blog in which he carries forward the legacy of his book. He hopes to transfer his understanding of the importance of empowerment and his knowledge of psychology toward positive change in the field of medicine. Moreover, as current Vice-Chair of a budding NGO known as Overcome the Gap, and past Registration Manager for MIST, a large-scale annual Tournament in Toronto, Taaha carries a rich history of experiences that have shaped him to be a civically engaged citizen. In his free time, Taaha loves writing, photography, and serving as a mentor for others to help them achieve their greatest potential.

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Vanessa Kay

University Panelist

Vanessa Kay graduated from McMaster University with a Bachelor of Health Sciences in 2013. She is currently in her fifth year of an MD/PhD program at Queen’s University. Her research focuses on blood vessel development in the context of reproduction. She is interested in women’s health and is considering a future career as a clinician investigator in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

Jeremy Ho

University Panelist

Jeremy is a first year dental student at the University of Toronto. He completed his Bachelor's of Science in Medical Sciences at Western University in 2017. He has served as the Vice President External of Science Expo Youth Empowerment Group (Canada's largest youth-run not-profit empowering STEM education), the Student Coordinator of Western's Leadership and Academic Mentorship Program (linking 200 to 300 upper year mentors with first and second year students), and co-founded the Museum of Western Artists (a silent auction of undergraduate art for local charities). He has also received two summer NSERC awards at York University, completed a research internship in Orthodontics and Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology at the University of Hong Kong, and has been published in the International Journal of Oral and Maxillofacial Implants (IJOMI) and in a textbook chapter in clinical orthodontics. He currently serves as national Managing Director of the youth not-profit Pledges for Change, running programs to empower volunteerism, class Vice President, and continues his research work with the University of Hong Kong. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys reading business books, playing badminton, watching all types of sports, spending time with family and friends, cooking, filmmaking, and travelling.


Professional Panel

Andrea Tricco

Keynote Speaker and Professional Panelist

Since finishing her MSc in Epidemiology at the University of Toronto, and her PhD in Population Health at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Andrea Tricco has continued her work to advance the science of knowledge synthesis at labs around the world. She has conducted knowledge synthesis at the international (World Health Organization), national (Health Canada), provincial (Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-term Care), and local (Toronto Central Local Health Integrated Network) levels.

Dr. Tricco holds a Canada Research Chair at Knowledge Synthesis, and her research includes projects, such as extending the PRISMA Statement to scoping reviews and a prospective quasi-experimental study to compare the results from rapid reviews and systematic reviews on the same topic. She also co-leads projects related to enhancing methods for network meta-analysis, such as individual patient data network meta-analysis, incorporating dosages into network meta-analysis, and applying network meta-analysis to complex interventions.


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Lee Mark Schofield

Keynote Speaker and Professional Panelist

Lee has his clinical sport and exercise medicine fellowship from the University of Toronto (2010). He completed his undergraduate medical training at the University of Toronto, and graduated from family practice residency (CCFP) at St. Michael’s Hospital in 2009, where he continues to practice part time. Before medical school, Dr. Schofield received a Bachelor of Science and Honours Bachelor of Kinesiology (minor in Business) degree from McMaster University, where his interest in sport medicine began. Dr. Schofield is also working to complete his Masters of Health Science degree in medical education, remaining involved in academic family/sport medicine.

Lee’s interest are in both sport medicine and family medicine with obstetrics and he has a particular interest in fitness and injuries during pregnancy. Dr. Schofield was a member of the core Canadian medical team for the 2015 Pan Am Games and a host medical venue lead doctor for the Para Pan Ams. He has worked with Skate Canada, Diving Canada and Triathlon Canada over recent years and is certified in Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS), and Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS).

Dr. Schofield is the Chief Medical Officer for the Canadian delegation traveling to the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China and was a member of the 2013 World University Canadian Medical team in Kazan Russia (2013). Dr. Schofield Works with University team athletes regularly at the UofT David Macintosh sports clinic and teaches at the University of Toronto in the department of Family & Community medicine.


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Andrew E. Simor, MD, FRCPC

Professional Panelist

Chief, Department of Microbiology

Chief, Division of Infectious Diseases at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute;

Professor, Departments of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology, and Medicine, University of Toronto


Dr. Simor graduated with a medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1976, and completed Royal College fellowship training in internal medicine, infectious diseases, and medical microbiology. He has worked at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre since 1993, where he is the Head of Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. Dr. Simor is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the field of hospital epidemiology. He has received research funding from peer-reviewed and industry-based granting agencies. He has published a large number of papers in scientific journals, and he is on the Editorial Board of the journal, Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology. His primary research interests include: antimicrobial resistance and hospital-acquired infections. Dr. Simor has received several teaching award from the university, and was selected to receive the Distinguished Service Award from the university’s Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology. He has also received a Canadian Hospital Infection Control Association Award of Merit for service in the advancement of infection prevention and control. Dr. Simor has also worked as a medical volunteer in Africa, in Zimbabwe and in Sierra Leone.



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Mary Lou Smith

Professional Panelist

Mary Lou Smith is Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga, and a Senior Associate Scientist in the Neurosciences & Mental Health Program of the Research Institute at the Hospital for Sick Children. She is a member of several International League Against Epilepsy task forces, including Neuropsychology (Diagnostic Strategies Commission), Pediatric Surgery (Commission on Pediatrics), and Comorbidities (Commission on Pediatrics). She is Chair of the American Epilepsy Association Psychosocial Comorbidities Committee, and Secretary of the Board of Directors of the Canadian League Against Epilepsy. Her main research program examines the cognitive and behavioural co-morbidities associated with pediatric epilepsy, with emphasis on the long term cognitivwe and psychosocial outcomes of epilepsy surgery in childhood, and the key psychosocial, family, cognitive and neurological variables that determine quality of life in children with epilepsy.  The work also contains important implications for clinical treatment decisions and expectations for the impact of treatments.  In addition, she researches neurodevelopment in children who are HIV-positive, or who have been exposed before birth or early in development to anti-retroviral medications.


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Humayun Ahmed

Professional Panelist

Humayun is a second-year Master's student at the Institute of Medical Sciences (IMS) at the University of Toronto. Graduating summa cum laude (3.97 cGPA) in biology and neuroscience from Drake University, he has since contributed to 22 peer-reviewed papers, reports, international and regional research presentations and book chapters, and has another 8 publications pending. These publications span ten disciplines, including pediatric radiology, breast cancer genetics and epidemiology, health policy, microbiology, angiogenesis, and respiratory medicine. He has also won national and provincial grants (specifically, the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science & Technology, the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and the Dream of a Cure Summer Studentship in Inherited Bleeding Disorders) for his research. Finally, Humayun tries his best to translate his research work to others via the 50+ educational talks he has given, and is involved in other fields, like entrepreneurship, consulting, teaching, the physical and mathematical sciences, economics, finance, political science, philosophy, and foreign language-learning.