Research Advisory Committee Members

Dr. Kevin Vessey
Chair

Dr. Charmaine McPherson
Vice Chair

Dr. Ben Rusak
Committee Member

Ms. Lindsay Peach
Committee Member

Dr. William Marshall
Committee Member

Ms. Lisa Underwood
Committee Member

Dr. Cheryl Kozey
Committee Member

Mr. Brad Osmond
Committee Member

Dr. James Fawcett
Committee Member

Dr. Christa Brosseau
Committee Member

Ms. Christine Gibbons
Committee Member

Dr. Patrick McGrath
Commitee Member

 

Dr. Kevin Vessey
Chair

Kevin Vessey, who received his PhD from Queen’s University, is the Dean of the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research at Saint Mary’s University. His teaching and research area is plant physiology, and he has published multiple articles and been awarded several regional and national research awards.

Kevin has served or is currently serving on the grant selection committees of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council; advisory committees for the NSHRF-CIHR Regional Partnership Program, the Nova Scotia Research and Innovation Trust, Petroleum Research Atlantic Canada, and TRIUMF the Tri-University Meson Facility; and the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Environmental Sciences Network, Offshore Energy Technology Research Association, and Plant Inoculants Canada.

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Dr. Charmaine McPherson
Vice Chair

Dr. Charmaine McPherson completed her PhD at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and her Master’s of Science with a Clinical Nurse Specialty in Psychiatry at Boston College, Massachusetts.

She is a public health systems and health policy expert specializing in interorganizational and cross-sectoral network partnerships to advance population health.

Dr. McPherson brings a unique blend of 20 years of administrative and clinical practice in community mental health, NGO community-based residential care, and regional interorganizational child health networks to her applied health research program. She has contributed to many rural social justice and health efforts through organizations such as Family Services of Eastern Nova Scotia and the United Nations Association-Canada. Dr. McPherson has conducted more than 100 invited and peer-reviewed presentations at local, national and international levels. She also advances innovative organizational planning and development through her private practice, ENS Consulting.

Dr. McPherson is currently a professor and CHSRF/CIHR Post-doctoral Fellow at St. Francis Xavier University in partnership with Calgary Health Region, Dalhousie University, and Guysborough Antigonish Strait Health Authority GASHA. The focus of the fellowship is on the roles of context and interprofessional relationships in primary health care models.

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Dr. Benjamin Rusak
Committee Member

Benjamin Rusak, who received his PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, is an expert in biological rhythms and sleep. He has been at Dalhousie University since 1975, and is currently a University Research Professor in Psychiatry, Psychology and Pharmacology. Ben also serves as the Research Director in the Department of Psychiatry and directs Capital Health’s Chronobiology and Sleep Program.

Ben has published more than 100 refereed journal articles, 22 book chapters, 103 abstracts, and given more than 115 presentations. He founded the Journal of Biological Rhythms and has served on multiple editorial and grant-review panels. He has also served on the Executive of several scientific societies and on a number of advisory boards, including those of the Institute of Circulatory and Respiratory Health and the Canadian Space Agency. In recognition of his work, Ben was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1999.

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Ms. Lindsay Peach
Committee Member

Lindsay Peach received her Masters of Health Services Administration in 2001 from Dalhousie University. Since then she has worked for the Cape Breton District Health Authority in several capacities. Most recently, she is the Vice President of Population Health and Continuing Care. Prior to this position she worked as the Acting Vice President of Population Health and Research and the Director of Rural Health. She has worked with the Scientific Review Committee for conferences held by the Canadian Association for Health Services and Policy Research.

Lindsay is the Recipient of the Nova Scotia Association of Health Organizations’ Award for Academic Excellence and is a Certified Health Executive. Lindsay was also a member of the inaugural graduation class of the Executive Training for Research Application Fellowship EXTRA through CHSRF. She has both published and presented on the topic of primary health care and population health.

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Dr. William Marshall
Committee Member

William S. Marshall, b. Victoria BC 1951, obtained BSc Honours in Biology from Acadia University 1973, a Ph.D. in Zoology from U.B.C. 1977 and took an NSERC and Killam postdoctoral fellowship to University of California Berkeley for two years of postdoctoral research in the Department of Zoology and Cancer Research Laboratory. After three years at the Ophthalmology department researching corneal physiology at Louisiana Steate University Medical Center, he became NSERC University Research Fellow at St Francis Xavier University in 1982, becoming Full professor in 1994, Chair of Department in 1999, Dean of Science in 2005 and was awarded the University Research Award in 2006.

Along the way he has served on numerous NSERC committees, as Chair of CCAC site visits and as President of the Canadian Society of Zoologists.

He currently researches cellular level regulatory mechanisms of ion transport in epithelia using a teleost fish model, has more than 65 publications and trained more than forty undergraduate honours and masters research students.

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Ms. Lisa Underwood
Committee Member

As the Director of Research Services at Capital Health, Lisa is accountable for the organization, administration, management and promotion of research at Capital Health. She and her team provide support services to 240 researchers and 260 research personnel, to ensure that the financial, legal, ethical, regulatory and infrastructural requirements are met, for all research conducted at Capital Health.

She is committed to creating an environment where research in all health care disciplines can flourish and where researches can fulfill their potential, both as individual investigators and as interdisciplinary team members.

Prior to joining the health centre in 1992, Lisa worked as a high school English teacher, a lawyer and as research contracts coordinator for Dalhousie University.

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Mr. Brad Osmond

Committee Member

Brad obtained a Business Degree from Acadia University and then graduated from Dalhousie University with a Masters in Applied Health Services Research which was a program sponsored by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. As an intern in the Master’s program, Brad worked for the Atlantic Health Promotion Research Centre and Rural Communities Impacting Policy Project to conduct research for local communities. He was then employed by Annapolis Valley District Health Authority (AVH) as a Community Health Board Coordinator and later moved into his current position as the Community Health Planner. Within this position, Brad is charged with supporting the organization around population health planning and decision making. Brad also helps to foster research capacity within the district and with partners in the community. Brad has facilitated the community health planning process for the Community Health Boards within AVH and has created a valid local approach to community consultation to shape recommendations for the district that were based on the Ottawa Charter priority action areas. Brad is a member of the Research Ethics Board at AVH where he provides a social science perspective to the committee and is a board member for the Health Promotion Clearinghouse.

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Dr. James Fawcett
Committee Member

James Fawcett is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and the Department of Surgery at Dalhousie University. He is a Tier II Canadian Research Chair in the Molecular Biology of Brain Repair. The focus of his laboratory is to explore the fundamental processes that underlie the formation of individual neurons and synapses, and of the complex spinal circuits that control walking.

Dr. Fawcett, originally from Dundas, Ontario, completed a B.Sc. in biology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He then went on to complete his M.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences at McMaster. He then turned his attention to global health issues, spending time exploring the education system in Botswana while obtaining an MSc(T) in education through McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences. From there, he went to the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University to pursue a PhD. Funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research launched Dr. Fawcett’s postdoctoral studies at the University of Toronto’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, where he trained with Dr. Tony Pawson. In 2006, he was awarded a Tier II Canada Research Chair in the Molecular Neurobiology of Brain Repair at Dalhousie University, and made the move to Halifax. Dr. Fawcett has received other awards including the Barbara Turnbull Award for Spinal Cord Research, a CHIR Maud Menten New Principal Investigator prize, a Dalhousie Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) New Investigator Award and is the recipient of an EJLB Foundation Research Scholar award.

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Dr. Christa Brosseau
Committee Member

Dr. Brosseau received her Ph.D. from the University of Guelph in 2007, and is currently an assistant professor of chemistry at Saint Mary’s University. Her expertise is in the area of electrochemistry and surface vibrational spectroscopy. Specifically, Dr. Brosseau's research is aimed towards understanding the nature of interactions between aggregated protein and cellular membranes as it relates to protein aggregation disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. She and her team are also working on developing a portable hand-held biosensor for the rapid detection of disease pathogens at the point-of-care as part of a Grand Challenges Canada initiative. Their research program is supported by NSERC, CFI, NSRIT, GCC and SMU-FGSR.

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Dr. Cheryl Kozey
Committee Member

Dr. Kozey is a professor in the School of Physiotherapy, Dalhousie University, with cross appointments in Biomedical Engineering and Health and Human Performance. She is presently the Director of the BioMedic NSERC CREATE training program in Biomedical Engineering and is the Associate Dean of Research in the Faculty of Health Professions.

Dr. Kozey's research is focused on keeping people mobile and physically active so they can maintain health throughout their lifespan, specifically those with bone and joint (musculoskeletal) problems. She is a world leader in clinical biomechanics and neuromuscular control and is trying to unravel the relationshiops that musculoskeletal disorders have on joint function and mobility as well as the effect that mobility and joint function have on bone and joint disorders. She does this through state of the art human movement analysis of fundamental movements such as walking, where she examines the motion, forces and muscle function using a comprehensive approach. This work is leading to developing better measures to assess disease severity that will improve clinical decision-making based on objective metrics as well as to developing prediction models of disease progression and risk of impairment that can be used to imiprove therapeutic outcomes.

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Ms. Christine Gibbons

Committee Member

Ms. Gibbons is the Acting Chief, Policy and Intergovernmental Affairs, Nova Scotia Health and Wellness.

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Dr. Patrick McGrath

Committee Member

Dr. McGrath is the Vice President, Research, Innovation and Knowledge Translation of the IWK Health Centre and the Nova Scotia Health Authority.