Dr. Katharina Forster, MD, PhD

Associate Project Lead at Cancer Care Ontario

Dr. Katharina Forster recently left the academic world to apply her skills and knowledge working for a government agency. She obtained her MD and PhD degrees at Friedrich-Schiller- University in Jena, Germany. Following graduation she pursued a postdoctoral fellowship in Transplant Immunology with the Multi-Organ transplant research group, University Health Network, Toronto. During her second fellowship in Mucosal Immunology at the University of Toronto she decided that despite her track record of success a change was in order. To satisfy her longing to get back in touch with the clinical side of things and be involved in influencing health outcomes and patient care she recently joined Cancer Care Ontario. In her role as Associate Project Lead for the Disease Pathway Management Secretariat she works with clinicians and other stakeholders to define evidence based best practices and describe the ideal for a standard of care throughout the illness trajectory. She enjoys the creativity and strategic thinking she gets to exercise in her daily work, as well as the amazing and diverse group of people she works with. In her spare time, Dr. Forster is leading the Toronto Chapter of BioTech Annecto, an organization that hosts monthly networking events targeted towards different interest groups including pharmaceutical, healthcare, biomedical, finance, intellectual property, entrepreneurship, agribusiness, cleantech. She unwinds and rests her mind through walks with her dog, cooking and reading.

Dr. Cory Mulvihill, PhD

Chief of Staff to the Minister of Research and Innovation, Government of Ontario

Cory Mulvihill currently serves as Chief of Staff to Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation. His previous roles in the government include Senior Policy Advisor to the Ministers of Economic Development and Innovation, and Research and Innovation. Prior to this, Cory completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto with a focus on cystic fibrosis. During this time, Cory was a director with the Graduate Management Consulting Association and an associate with the Hart House Investment Fund. Additional education includes completion of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams and an Hon. B.Sc. in Chemistry.

Dr. Jane Mitchell, PhD, RAC

Associate Director, Regulatory Operations, Strategic Regulatory and Safety, OptumInsight

E. Jane Mitchell grew up in Toronto and attended the University of Toronto for both her BSc and PhD in Cell Biology and Biochemistry. From 1984 – 1987 she held a MRC Fellowship from Canada to study at the Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK. There, her interests were focussed on protein-protein interaction, specifically mapping intermolecular binding sites using biochemistry and then-novel site-directed mutagenic techniques. Dr. Mitchell returned to Canada to NRC’s then brand new Biotechnology Institute in Montreal where she continued her research focussed on receptor-ligand interactions, specifically on Transforming Growth Factor-&Beta. She was cross-appointed to McGill’s Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics and instructed medical students and mentored a successful master’s student. After moving, with her growing family, in 1993 to Edmonton, she joined AltaRex Inc, a young Biotechnology Company, as a regulatory affairs project manager for anti-cancer monoclonal antibodies that headed into Phase I and II trials in the US and Canada during her tenure. Jane returned to the Toronto area in 1999 and has worked in pharma/biotech regulatory sciences consulting. She joined CanReg Inc/now Optum Canada. 8 years ago and manages for. a variety of projects including: New Drug submissions, a major HC regulatory policy amendment switch to Rx drug. As Assoc. Director, Regulatory Operations, Jane also directs the development of online portals for client access to e-RA records adherent to FDA 21CFRPart 11, enabling multiple office world-wide access, and in this capacity directs a cross-functional team including: clients, records, regulatory, web development and systems staff. A particular interest in new drug development and pharmacogenomics and its new role in regulatory sciences. Jane plays classical piano and has two daughters and a Westie dog.

Mr. Anthony Palma, MSc

Manager, Research Facilities Planning & Safety, UHN; Consultant, Laboratory Services, MedRIST

Anthony Palma is Manager of Research Facilities Planning & Safety at UHN, a teaching hospital of the University of Toronto, and is a Consultant for Laboratory Services with MedRIST, a UHN entity that is committed to providing support services to academic institutions, research organizations and life science companies. His scientific roots started at the University of Toronto, receiving both an Honours B.Sc. in Biochemistry/Chemistry and a M.Sc. in Clinical Biochemistry, focusing on protein biochemistry and structural characterization. Anthony is a member of the Research Support Services Management team at UHN. In his current role as Manager, Anthony oversees a dynamic 12- membered team of Project Managers that plan and execute on infrastructure projects across a combined 809,090 SQFT of research environments. The nature of the projects include space planning, installation of specialized equipment, laboratory redevelopment, building construction, capital equipment procurement, infrastructure-related corporate grant administration and domestic/international relocations. As of November 2012, the team’s collective portfolio highlights 676 projects totaling $518M.

Dr. Laura Rendl, PhD

Grants Officer at University of Ontario Institute of Technology

Dr. Laura Rendl received her Bachelor of Science and Doctorate in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto. Her thesis focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of mRNA decay employed by sequence-specific RNA-binding proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. As Grants Officer in the Office of Research Services at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology, Laura supports faculty in the development and management of competitive research grant applications. In her role she maintains a strong liaison relationship with external granting agencies, supports faculty research interests and promotes the University research culture.

Panel Discussion