Academic Directors

Alain Dagher, Associate Professor of Neurology, McGill University

Alain Dagher is a Neurologist specializing in movement disorders and functional brain imaging. His research aims at understanding the function of the basal ganglia, with a particular emphasis on appetitive behaviors. This involves studying how we learn about rewards and punishments, and become motivated to engage in reward-seeking behaviors. The two main techniques used are positron emission tomography (PET) targeting the dopamine system, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The research focuses on Parkinson’s disease, stress, drug addiction (notably cigarette smoking), pathological gambling, and obesity. Dr. Dagher is funded by CIHR, FRSQ, NIDA, the Parkinson Society of Canada, the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, and Unilever PLC.

Valérie Orsat, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Bioresource Engineering, McGill University

Valérie Orsat, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Bioresource Engineering at McGill University is a leader in state-of-the-art technologies for the processing/production of functional food ingredients for human health.  She has worked internationally with major accomplishments and lasting impacts in “Millet processing in India”, “Consolidation of Food Security in South India” and “Microwave Assisted Processing in China”.  She has received accolades both nationally and internationally recognizing her engineering approaches for functional foods and food security.  She was the recipient of the 2008 Young Engineer of the Year Award and the 2015 John Clark Award from the Canadian Society for Bioengineering, both in recognition of her exceptional contribution in the area of agri-food processing and post-harvest technology. 

Vedat Verter, James McGill Professor, Operations Management, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University and Academic Director, MCCHE
Trainee representative

Professor Verter currently teaches graduate courses on Operations Management, Logistics Management and Healthcare Operations Management. Dr. Verter's research interests include supply chain design, reverse logistics, transportation of hazardous materials and healthcare operations management. He has presented his work at a number of North American and European Universities as well as international meetings. Dr. Verter has published in a variety of journals including Management Science, Operations Research, Transportation Science, European Journal of Operations Research, Computers & Operations Research, Risk Analysis, Naval Research Logistics, IIE Transactions and International Journal of Production Research. He has also contributed to several books in his fields of expertise.

Academic Members

Barbel Knauper, Associate Professor of Psychology, McGill University

Barbel Knauper is an Associate Professor of Psychology at McGill University in Montreal. Her area of research is applied social cognition with a focus on health. She studies how individuals make health related judgments (e.g., risk perception); how cognitions (e.g., health beliefs) influence health behavior; and how interventions can be used to restructure health-related cognitions and behaviors. Currently, she studies these processes mainly in the areas of sexual health and eating behavior (dieting, obesity, diabetes). Her methodological interests include the construction of psychometric scales, questionnaire design and the validity of self-reports.

David Buckeridge, Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, McGill University

David Buckeridge is an Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McGill University in Montreal where he holds a Canada Research Chair in Public Health Informatics. He is also a Medical Consultant at the Institut national de santé publique du Québec and the Direction de Santé Publique de Montréal. His research focuses on public health informatics and particularly on the informatics of public health surveillance. Current research projects include developing and evaluating systems for automated surveillance in community and hospital settings. He has an M.D. from Queen's University in Canada, an MSc. in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto, and a PhD. in Biomedical informatics from Stanford University. Dr Buckeridge is also a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with specialty training in Community Medicine.

Doina Precup, Associate Professor of Computer Science, McGill University

Doina Precup is an Associate Professor at the School of Computer Science with McGill University. Doina Precup’s research interests center around machine learning and artificial intelligence. She is most interested in reinforcement learning and in building real-life applications of machine learning algorithms. She received her graduate degrees from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, USA, where she was a Fulbright fellow.

Ji Lu, Assistant Professor of Marketing, Dalhousie University

Ji Lu is an Assistant Professor of Marketing at Dalhousie University. Dr. Lu’s research primarily focuses on food consumption and eating behaviours. In the context of healthy eating promotion, he has been studying social-cultural influences, personalities, lifestyles, and contextual, environmental factors that moderate consumers’ food choice and eating pattern. Dr. Lu’s research is rooted in psychological theories of food related decision making. He takes a “brain to society” approach to study consumers’ everyday food choice. One stream of his research has contributed to the understanding on the individual “brain” guiding food choice, including perceptions, attitudes, emotions, and motivations that related to eating behaviors. Another stream of his work studied various social factors that influence eating patterns, including culture differences, dietary beliefs, lifestyle choices, and marketing environment. Beyond the food consumption area, he is eager to extend his research to any lifestyle behaviors that related to self-control and have health or social meaning, such as, increasing physical activities and cutting back household energy consumption.

Jian-Yun Nie, Full Professor, Departement d’informatique et de recherche operationnelle, Universite de Montreal

Jian‐Yun Nie is a professor in University of Montreal, which he joined as assistant professor in 1991. He holds a PhD in computer science from University Joseph Fourier of Grenoble under the supervision of Yves Chiaramella. His research interests cover several aspects of IR: theoretical models, query expansion, CLIR and so on. During the recent years, he has carried out experiments on IR and CLIR with several languages, including Chinese. Jian‐Yun Nie is on board of 5 international journals and on program committees of a number of conferences.

Louise Thibault, Associate Professor of Dietetics and Human Nutrition, McGill University

Louise Thibault is an Associate Professor of Dietetics and Human Nutrition at McGill University. Dr. Thibault’s research activities are in the general area of nutrition and behaviour, focusing in understanding the underlying neuroendocronological events involved in the nutritional modulation of feeding behaviour. Significant research contributions include the elucidation of sensory-specific learned eating, a widely assumed but under-researched form of dietary learning. Such learnt coordination of metabolic effects of foods with their sensory characteristics in determining choices of what foods to eat and how much to eat of them is of growing interest to the scientific community. These findings are also central to the intake of energy that contributes to obesity.

Mehmet Gumus, Associate Professor, Operations Management; Bensadoun Faculty Scholar; Academic Director, Master of Management in Analytics, McGill University

Dr. Mehmet Gumus is Associate Professor of Operations Management at the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University. He joined McGill in 2007 from the University of California at Berkeley where he completed his Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering and Operations Research and M.A. in Economics. In his research, Dr. Mehmet Gumus explores the impact of customer behavior and information asymmetry on supply chain management, dynamic pricing, and risk management. His papers are accepted for publication in Management Science, Operations Research, Manufacturing and Service Operations Management, Marketing Science and Production and Operations Management.

Nathan Yang, Assistant Professor, Marketing, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Nathan Yang is an Assistant Professor in Marketing at McGill Desautels Faculty of Management. His main research interests are in big data and machine learning, health and wellness, behavioral science, retail, and empirical industrial organization. Much of his earlier work aims to gain a better understanding about market expansion strategies in various retail sectors (e.g., convenience stores, fast food restaurants, fast casual restaurants), whereby market expansion is a key instrument to grow a retailer's brand, and ultimately, sales. In addition to retailer expansion strategies, he has worked on (or is currently working on) projects that focus on various aspects of customer relationship management in a diverse set of industries, including appliances, bike sharing, car rentals, electronic health platforms, fast fashion, loan markets, social media, large international commercial weight loss programs, mobile weight loss apps, and video games. His most recent research attempts to blend together behavioral science, big data, and machine learning to help nudge people towards healthier lifestyles.

Nick Drager, Professor of Practice, Public Policy and Global Health Diplomacy, McGill University

Nick Drager M.D. PhD, is the TuBerculosis Vaccine Initiative (TBVI)'s Executive Director. He is the former Director of the Department of Ethics, Equity, Trade and Human Rights and Senior Adviser, Strategy Unit, Office of the Director-General at the World Health Organization. Besides his current position at TBVI he is also Honorary Professor, Global Health Policy, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine; Professor of Practice, Public Policy and Global Health Diplomacy, McGill University; Adjunct Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Community Medicine, University of Ottawa; Adjunct Research Professor, Norman Paterson School of International Affairs, Ottawa; and Senior Fellow, Global Health Programme, The Graduate Institute, Geneva.

Patricia Pelufo Silveira, Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University

Dr Silveira is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at McGill University, a researcher at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute and a Primary Investigator at the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics & Mental Health. She is an early career researcher who has recently relocated from Brazil and, fortunate for us, has decided to make Montreal her home. A paediatrician and neuroscientist with extensive research, teaching and clinical experiences, Dr Silveira is one of our most promising researchers. Part of a select but uniquely qualified group of transdisciplinary researchers, we believe she will significantly advance our understanding of the underlying causes of both physical and mental illnesses.

Raphael Lencucha, Assistant Professor, School of Physical and Occupational Therapy, McGill University

Raphael Lencucha is an Assistant Professor in the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University. His research focuses on two aspects of public health policy: 1) the international political economy of public health policymaking and implementation (specific to tobacco and food) and 2) ethical issues pertaining to mental health policy in Canada. His research has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the American Cancer Society and the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. His research projects have been conducted in Brazil, the Philippines, Zambia, Kenya, Malawi and Canada. Dr. Lencucha received a PhD in Health Promotion at Western University and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute of Population Health at the University of Ottawa. 

Reut Gruber, Assistant Professor of Psychology, McGill University

Reut Gruber is a Professor of Psychology at McGill University. Her research looks at how sleep deprivation has consequences for our health and daytime functioning. Reut Gruber, PhD, is examining the association between sleep and attention in infants, toddlers, children and adolescents, the role of sleep in attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and the genetics of sleep. It has been previously established that, although children with ADHD are hyperactive, they are actually hypo-aroused (more tired, less alert) during the day. Treatment of sleep problems may improve the cognitive functioning and regulation of behavior of these children. Reut Gruber is testing this hypothesis, with the aim to demonstrate a positive impact of sleep on the children’s concentration and behavior. She is also involved with the Douglas’ sleep intervention programs and the day camp for children with ADHD.

Richard Gold, Professor of Law, McGill University

Richard Gold is the President of The Innovation Partnership and previously was the Founding Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy at McGill University. His research centers focus on understanding the links between innovation, intellectual property and development. He led the International Expert Group on Biotechnology, Innovation and Intellectual Property, a transdisciplinary research team that issued a ground-breaking report on the policies and law of innovation and intellectual property. He consults frequently with national governments and international agencies such as the World Health Organization, World Intellectual Property Organization, UNITAID and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development. He publishes widely in legal, political science, science and other journals around the world.

Saibal Ray, Vice Dean (Research & Faculty), Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University

Dr. Ray joined the Operations Management area of the Desautels Faculty of Management in 2001, after finishing his Phd from the University of Waterloo (1998-2001). Dr. Ray holds a bachelor degree in Production Engineering, and a master's degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering. In addition, he worked for about five years in India in supply and project management.

Dr. Ray's research interest can broadly be categorized as supply chain management. He is specifically interested in studying supply chain risk management, coordination issues in supply chains, retail and agri-food supply chains, capacity and inventory management and dynamic pricing. Most of his research is at the interface of operations and marketing. Dr. Ray's teaching interests are also related to operations and supply chain management. He teaches the core operations management course at the MBA level as well as a supply chain strategy course and a technology/process implementation course at the graduate level. Dr. Ray has been twice awarded the Desautels Faculty Scholar Award for his research achievements and the Quebec Teaching Scholar for his teaching achievements. Moreover, Dr. Ray is presently the Associate Dean in charge of Research and International Relations for the Desautels Faculty of Management as well as the Director of the Global Master in Manufacturing and Supply Chain Management program. Dr. Ray has held/holds grants from both provincial (FQRSC) and federal (NSERC, SSHRC) governments and other non-governmental organizations.

Sara Ahmed, Associate Professor of Physical & Occupational Therapy, McGill University

Dr. Ahmed conducts research aimed at improving health outcomes for individuals with chronic disease. Her research includes studies that 1) address the challenges of using patient reported outcomes (e.g. health-related quality of life, self-efficacy) in chronic disease management programs, and the use of advanced psychometric approaches for improving the precision and efficiency of outcome evaluations, 2) develop and evaluate the impact of chronic disease computer-enabled self-management interventions integrated into electronic personal health records (e.g. web-based asthma and COPD self-management applications), and 3) knowledge exchange and transfer related to best practices for chronic disease management.

Shawn Brown, Chief Software Architect of CBRAIN; Associate Director of Research Software Development for the McGill Centre for Integrative Neuroscience

Learn more about Shawn Brown

Spencer Moore, Associate Professor of Public Health, University of South Carolina

Spencer Moore is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Promotion, Education and Behavior at the Arnold School of Public Health at University of South Carolina. Dr. Moore's research examines how people’s social connections and social relationships affect health. He places a particular focus on risk factors surrounding cardiovascular disease, such as smoking, obesity, inactivity, and how those network connections affect people’s health behaviors and choices. Based on this knowledge, he aims to design interventions that facilitate different kinds of connections to reduce these risks or aim to improve the behavior of whole groups of people, rather than just individuals.

Srivardhini K. Jha, Visiting Professor, Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore

Srivardhini K. Jha is a Visiting Professor at the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore, and a former Research Scientist at the MCCHE. She has a keen interest in the strategic management of innovation and her current research areas include social entrepreneurship, collaborative strategies for societal transformation and innovation strategy of Multinational Enterprises (MNEs) in emerging markets. She has published in several peer reviewed international journals such as MIS Quarterly, Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences and has been a regular presenter at the Academy of Management, Academy of International Business and Strategic Management Society Conferences. She obtained her PhD in Corporate Strategy and Policy from the Indian Institute of Management, Bangalore. She has an MS in Management Science and Engineering from Stanford University and a BS is Information Science and Engineering from Bangalore University. Prior to turning an academic, she has held several senior managerial positions at companies like Microsoft, Sun Microsystems and Infosys.

Thomas Shultz, Professor of Psychology, McGill University

Thomas Shultz is a Professor of Psychology and Associate Member of the School of Computer Science at McGill University. He teaches courses in Computational Psychology and Cognitive Science. He is a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association, and a founder and former Coordinator of McGill Cognitive Science. Research interests include connectionism, cognitive science, cognitive development, evolution and learning, and relations between knowledge and learning. He has over 200 research publications in these areas. He is a Member of the IEEE Neural Networks Society Autonomous Mental Development Technical Committee and Chair of the AMD Task Force on Developmental Psychology. He earned his PhD at Yale in Psychology. In collaboration with Laurette Dubé (Management, McGill), Yu Ma (Management, Alberta), David Katz (Medicine, Yale), Len Epstein (Medicine, SUNY Buffalo), he has immediate plans for a grant application to assess the impact of food labeling on dietary choices and subsequent weight changes. His skills and experience in computational modeling and psychological experimentation will be applied to this and other projects.

Yu Ma, Associate Professor of Marketing, University of Alberta

Yu Ma is an Associate Professor of Marketing at the University of Alberta. His research focuses on retailing and food marketing. Using scanner panel data, he studies how consumers react to marketing activities, such as pricing/promotions/displays. He also examines broader retailing issues such as the influence of food marketing on population health.

Board of Directors

Alain Dagher, Associate Professor of Neurology, McGill University

Alain Dagher is a Neurologist specializing in movement disorders and functional brain imaging. His research aims at understanding the function of the basal ganglia, with a particular emphasis on appetitive behaviors. This involves studying how we learn about rewards and punishments, and become motivated to engage in reward-seeking behaviors. The two main techniques used are positron emission tomography (PET) targeting the dopamine system, and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). The research focuses on Parkinson’s disease, stress, drug addiction (notably cigarette smoking), pathological gambling, and obesity. Dr. Dagher is funded by CIHR, FRSQ, NIDA, the Parkinson Society of Canada, the Institute for Research on Pathological Gambling and Related Disorders, and Unilever PLC.

Anne McKinney, Associate Vice-Principal, Research and International Relations (AVP-RIR)(Research & Faculty), McGill University


Isabelle Bajeux-Besnainou, Dean, Desautels Faculty of Management, McGill University


Jacques Hendlisz, CEO, Jacques Hendlisz Health Consultant; Partnership Lead for Transformational Research in Adolescent Mental Health, ‎CIHR and Graham Boeckh Foundation


Laurette Dube, Chair and Scientific Director, MCCHE


Valerie Orsat, Associate Professor and Department Chair, Bioresource Engineering, McGill University and Academic Director, MCCHE


Strategic Advisory Board

Alain Poirier, Associate Expert, Quebec National Public Health Institute, Montreal


Aldo Uva, Chief Operating Supply Officer, Ferrero


Frédéric Blaise, Managing Director at Trussbridge Investments


Joanna Castellano, CEO, Q:Quest


Louis Frenette, CEO, Parmalat Canada


Phil Donne, Former President & CEO, Campbell Company of Canada


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