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Leadership Committee

Meet the Connected Minds Leadership Team! 

Composed of Directors/Associate Directors from affiliated Research Centres, our core Leadership Team brings a wealth of experience and diverse perspectives to the Connected Minds Program. This team has been strategically designed to unite and integrate the three themes of Connected Minds and advance the strategic priorities, strengths and capacity of both York and Queen's with bold new directions of research excellence. See below to learn more about our team and the exciting work we are doing.

Pina D’Agostino

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Osgoode Hall Law School
Role in Connected Minds: Director

Dr Pina D’Agostino is a law professor, lawyer, author, public speaker, board director and internationally recognized scholar at Osgoode Hall Law School, York University specializing in intellectual property (IP), AI & emerging technologies, innovation law and policy. She joined Osgoode Hall in 2006 and is regularly called by Canadian and international governments for advice, has testified before the Canadian Parliament, is a widely published author, regularly serves as a consultant and expert witness and is a cited authority at the Supreme Court of Canada and in various media. She serves as the Editor-in-Chief for the Intellectual Property Journal and in 2022 has been recognized as the Top 25 Most Influential Lawyers in Canada by Canadian Lawyer Magazine and Top 5 in Business Law.

Dr D’Agostino brings her creativity and passion to trailblaze new initiatives and to serve in new roles as Director for the new $318M Canada First Research Excellence Fund (CFREF) Connected Minds: Neural & Machine Systems for a Healthy & Just Society; co-Founder and co-Director of the new Centre for Artificial Intelligence & Society (CAIS) for York University; Founding Director of IP Osgoode and its award-winning IPilogue, Founder & Director of the IP Intensive and the IP Innovation Clinic, the first and largest legal clinic of its kind helping inventors and start-ups in Ontario and across Canada commercialize their IP and, more recently, founded the AI-powered IP Innovation ChatBot allowing underrepresented groups and the general public greater access to IP information. She is a mentor for the Canadian Italian Business & Professional Association (CIBPA) Italia360 Initiative and works tirelessly to train our future generation of students to jump start their careers while contributing to Canada’s socio-economic and legal policy landscape

She began her legal career as a lawyer at Stikeman Elliott LLP, was a Lecturer in Law at the University of Oxford, and was later recruited into the Canadian Government by the Recruitment of Policy Leaders (RPL) as a Senior Policy Analyst working on copyright policy. She was appointed by Ministerial letter to the Board of Directors of the Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI), she serves on the Board of Directors of Alectra Inc. and is the founding Chair of its GRE&T Centre Advisory Committee advancing innovation and sustainable energy solutions. She held an Order in Council Appointment at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection where she served on its Board of Directors, and currently sits on the McMichael Art Advisory Committee.

Dr D’Agostino served as an IP expert to Canada’s First Nations Information Governance Centre (FNIGC) and served as the co-chair of the York University AI & Society Task Force culminating in the Fostering the Future of Artificial Intelligence report, was appointed to the City of Vaughan Smart City Task Force and is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI). She spent her last sabbatical as a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University. Dr D’Agostino is the recipient of various government and tri-council grants, honours and awards and is currently working on the second edition of Copyright Law (with Prof David Vaver, Irwin Law). Her peer-reviewed articles and her three books Copyright, Contract, Creators: New Media, New Rules, The Common Law of Intellectual Property: Essays in Honour of Professor David Vaver and Leading Legal Disruption: Artificial Intelligence and a Toolkit for Lawyers and the Law are widely available. Her latest book Social and Legal Challenges of Emerging Technologies will be published by Cambridge University Press in 2024.

She holds a MSt and DPhil (University of Oxford) with distinction, an LLB (Osgoode Hall Law School), an HonBA, summa cum laude, in English and Political Science and a specialization in French (York University), holds an ICD.D from the Rotman School of Management (University of Toronto) and is a member of the Law Society of Ontario (2001 call).

Shayna Rosenbaum

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Health
Department: Psychology
Role in Connected Minds: Vice Director (York)

Dr. Shayna Rosenbaum will serve as the Vice Director for Connected Minds. Dr. Rosenbaum is a Professor and York Research Chair in the Department of Psychology and Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) Program at York University and is an Associate Scientist at the Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest. She is registered as a Clinical Neuropsychologist with the College of Psychologists of Ontario. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Toronto in 2004 and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Rotman.

Dr. Rosenbaum has published extensively on the topics of memory and decision-making, and has received awards for her neuroimaging and patient research, including a Sloan Research Fellowship and early career awards from the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, Canadian Society for Brain Behaviour and Cognitive Science (CSBBCS), and International Neuropsychological Society. She is an elected member (emerita) of the Royal Society of Canada College of New Scholars, Artists, and Scientists and is a past member of the Board of Trustees of the Ontario Science Centre.

Gunnar Blohm

Home Institution: Queen’s University
Faculty: Queen’s University School of Medicine
Department: Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
Role in Connected Minds: Vice Director (Queen's)

Dr. Blohm is a Professor in Computational Neuroscience at Queen’s University, best known for his work in eye movement coordination and sensory-motor control of arm movements. His research combines experimental techniques (behaviour, psychophysics, HD-tDCS, EEG, MEG, patients) with mathematical modeling, computer simulations and machine learning approaches. He is interested in planning, decision making, emergent behaviours and network control among others.

Dr. Blohm is also recognized as an award-winning educator and founder, co-director and instructor of Neuromatch Academy. He is passionate about democratizing science and education through improving accessibility and equity in science, e.g. by co-founding and co-directing the Neuromatch Open Publishing initiative.

Dr. Blohm brings extensive experience to the position of Vice-Director (Queen’s University) of Connected Minds.

Sean Hillier

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Health
Department: School of Health Policy & Management
Role in Connected Minds: Associate Director

Dr. Sean Hillier will serve as the Associate Director for Connected Minds. He is a queer Mi’kmaw scholar and a registered member of the Qalipu First Nation. He is an associate professor and York Research Chair in Indigenous Health Policy & One Health in the Faculty of Health of York University. He is also the Interim Director of the Centre for Indigenous Knowledges and Languages. Sean sits on the National Interagency Panel on Research Ethics & Chaired the creation of the Indigenous Research Ethics Board at YorkU. Additionally, Sean is a Board Member of the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto and the AIDS Committee of Toronto (ACT). His collaborative research program spans the topics of community engagement, aging, living with HIV and other infectious diseases, and antimicrobial resistance, all with a concerted focus on policy affecting health care access for Indigenous Peoples in Canada. Dr. Hillier has been successful in receiving funding from each of the three federal granting agencies, with more than 10 external grants.

Rob Allison

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Lassonde School of Engineering
Department: Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Role in Connected Minds: Director, Centre for Vision Research

Robert Allison is the Director of Centre for Vision Research and brings extensive experience with York’s current CFREF program, VISTA, to the leadership of Connected Minds. He is a Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at York University and director of the Centre for Vision Research. He is also appointed to the graduate program in Psychology at York. He received his BASc in Computer Engineering from the University of Waterloo in 1991. After graduation he worked as an Electrical Engineer at Atlantis Aerospace in Brampton, Canada, where he designed electronics for flight training devices. Following this he completed a MASc in Electrical Engineering (Biomedical Engineering) from the University of Toronto before obtaining his PhD specializing in stereoscopic vision from York University in 1998. He was on the experimental team for the 1998 Neurolab space shuttle mission and did post-doctoral research at York University and the University of Oxford. His research enables effective technology for advanced virtual reality and augmented reality and for the design of stereoscopic displays. He is recipient of the Premier’s Research Excellence Award and a York Research Chair in recognition of this work. He is a Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers and also a member of the IEEE Computer Society and the Association for Computing Machinery.

Catherine Donnelly

Home Institution: Queen’s University
Faculty: Health Sciences
Department: School of Rehabilitation Therapy
Role in Connected Minds: Lead of Performance Monitoring Committee

Catherine Donnelly will serve as Lead of Performance Monitoring Committee for Connected Minds. She is the Director of the Health Services and Policy Research Institute and Associate Professor at the Queen's School of Rehabilitation. As a health services researcher, she is focused on team-based primary care with an emphasis on understanding how interprofessional primary care teams can support older adults and individuals with chronic conditions to live in their neighbourhoods and communities. A key focus is working with Oasis Supportive Living (Oasis) - a program designed by older adults to support aging in community. Other focuses include integrated health systems, program evaluation and interdisciplinary education and practice. She employs mixed-methods in her research and work closely with communities and health systems. She is cross-appointed to the Department of Family Medicine and member of the Centre for Studies in Primary Care.

James Elder

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Health/Lassonde School of Engineering
Department: Psychology/EECS
Role in Connected Minds: Lead of Infrastructure and Facilities Committee

Dr. James Elder is the Lead of Infrastructure and Facilities Committee for Connected Minds. Dr. Elder is a Professor and York Research Chair in Human and Computer Vision, Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science (Lassonde School of Engineering), Department of Psychology (Faculty of Health) and Co-Director of the Centre for AI & Society at York University, Toronto, Canada. His research seeks to improve machine vision systems through a better understanding of visual processing in biological systems.  Dr. Elder’s current research is focused on natural scene statistics, perceptual organization, contour processing, shape perception, single-view 3D reconstruction, attentive vision systems and machine vision systems for dynamic 3D urban awareness.

Over his career, Dr. Elder has spearheaded and led numerous successful collaborative research projects with funding from federal, provincial and industry sources totalling more than $13M. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed papers in leading international journals and conferences in both computer and biological vision, and these have been cited more than 8,200 times (Google Scholar).  He holds three patents on attentive vision technologies. 

Dr. Elder’s research has won a number of awards and honours, including the Premier’s Research Excellence Award and the Lassonde Innovation Award. He is appointed to the Editorial Boards of three major international journals.

Denielle Elliott

Home Institution: York University
Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Role in Connected Minds:
Deputy Director, Institute for Technoscience & Society (ITS)

Denielle Elliott is the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion team lead for Connected Minds. She is the Deputy Director of the Institute for Technoscience and Society and the Director of the Science and Technology Studies Graduate Program at York University.

A medical anthropologist by training, her current research focuses on the social study of neurosciences, specifically altered neuro states and embodiment. She is the author of Reimagining Science and Statecraft in Postcolonial Kenya (Routledge), co-editor of A Different Kind of Ethnography (Toronto), and co-editor of the forthcoming Naked Fieldnotes: A rough guide to ethnographic writing (Minnesota).

Laura Levin

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Arts, Media, Performance and Design
Department: Theatre and Performance Studies
Role in Connected Minds: Lead of Community Partnerships

Laura Levin will serve on Connected Minds’ Leadership Committee, offering direction on artistic research initiatives and mobilizing arts-based resources and partnerships. Dr. Levin is Associate Dean, Research in York’s School of the Arts, Media, Performance, & Design, Associate Professor of Theatre & Performance, and incoming Director of Sensorium: Centre for Digital Arts & Technology (July 2023). Levin brings to Connected Minds many years of experience leading collaborative research-creation projects on intersections of art, politics, space, and immersive media. She will also contribute expertise in digital, immersive, and community engaged research-creation, and in studying political impacts of VR/AR/XR, networked, and disruptive technologies on diverse communities and the arts sector.

She is Director of the Hemispheric Encounters Network, a SSHRC Partnership Grant that gathers artists, activists, and scholars to study how performance can be used to address shared human rights and environmental justice emergencies across the Americas, and how digital tools facilitate building transnational activist networks. Other recent projects include interactive gallery installations (TALIXMXN, 2019; Jess Dobkin’s Wetrospective, 2021); and experiments with VR technologies to stage political performance for/with virtual audiences (You Should Have Stayed Home, SpiderWebShow, 2022-23).

Susan Boehnke

Home Institution: Queen's University
Faculty: Health Sciences
Department: Biomedical and Molecular Sciences
Role in Connected Minds: Lead of Training Committee

Dr. Susan Boehnke will serve as the Lead of Training Committee for Connected Minds. Dr. Boehnke has extensive teaching experience at Queen’s University. In addition to her BHSc online course - Neurobiology of Learning and Memory (NSCI483), she currently teaches the Neuromarketing and Neurolaw sessions of Controversies in Neuroscience (NSCI444) and the Autism session of Disorders of the Nervous System (NSCI429).  She has also taught Sensory Physiology (PHGY214, 215) and Cognitive Neuroscience (LISC391). She has been the Course Director and Lecturer for the Brain and Behaviour I course in the Department of Psychology at Queen’s, and was also the Course Director and Lecturer for the Statistics course offered through the Behavioural Psychology program at St. Lawrence College. 

Dr. Boehnke also has extensive research experience in the fields of sensory, motor and cognitive neuroscience, and is currently focusing on Alzheimer’s Disease 

Ian Stedman

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Liberal Arts & Professional Studies
Department: School of Public Policy and Administration
Role in Connected Minds: Lead of Knowledge Mobilization Committee

Ian Stedman will serve as the Lead of Knowledge Mobilization Committee for Connected Minds. Ian Stedman is an Assistant Professor, Canadian Public Law and Governance in the School of Public Policy and Administration. He is cross-appointed to the graduate programs at Osgoode Hall Law School, Science and Technology Studies and in Socio-Legal Studies. Professor Stedman serves on the Executive of both the Centre for AI & Society and Connected Minds (CFREF) at York University.

After being called to the bar of Ontario in 2009, Professor Stedman practiced law in the private sector before moving to the public sector where he advised public officials about their ethical and legal obligations. His expertise in public sector governance, particularly in relation to ethics and accountability, accordingly, underscores much of his academic work. Professor Stedman's research program is focused both on the law of public sector governance and accountability and also on bringing that literature to bear on the regulation of innovative and emerging technologies (with a particular focus on healthcare).

Vincent DePaul

Home Institution: Queen's University
Faculty: Health Sciences
Department: Rehabilitation Therapy
Role in Connected Minds: Lead of EDI Committee

Dr. DePaul will serve as the Lead of EDI Committee for Connected Minds. Vince DePaul is an Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy. His research focuses on the development, testing, and translation of interventions for the recovery of walking in individuals with stroke, other neurological conditions, and in older adult populations. This work specifically explores how individuals optimally learn and re-learn gait and balance-related skills; and how therapeutic strategies such as such as instruction, feedback, guidance, and supervised and unsupervised practice impact motor learning. This research also explores the use of wearable technology as a tool for the measurement and promotion of gait and walking activity in rehabilitation populations. Research is conducted in the Motor Performance Lab at Queen's University, and through collaborations with researchers and frontline clinicians in Kingston and South-eastern Ontario, Hamilton, Toronto and Waterloo, Ontario.

Doug Crawford

Home Institution: York University
Faculty: Health
Department: Psychology
Role in Connected Minds: Senior Advisor

John Douglas (Doug) Crawford led the ‘Connected Minds’ grant proposal and contributed his knowledge and leadership experience toward the successful launch of this program as the inaugural Scientific Director, and now serves as a Senior Advisor.

Dr. Crawford is the Distinguished Research Professor in Neuroscience at York University, where he holds the York Research Chair (formerly Canada Research Chair) in Visuomotor Neuroscience. Crawford completed his PhD in Physiology at Western University in 1993 and then spent two years as an MRC Fellow at the Montreal Neurological Institute, before joining York University in 1995. He has authored over 160 papers in publications such as Nature, Science and Annual Review of Neuroscience, and has garnered numerous research awards, including the 2004 Steacie Prize and the 2016 Canadian Physiological Society Sarrazin Award. Crawford has also been acclaimed for both graduate and post-doctoral supervision, having graduated over 60 trainees to successful careers in academia, medicine, and industry. Crawford founded / led the Canadian Action and Perception Network (CAPnet), the York Neuroscience Graduate Diploma Program, and the York Centre for Integrative and Applied Neuroscience (CIAN).

Dr. Crawford was principal investigator for the NSERC Brain in Action Program, the CIHR Strategic Training Program in Vision Health, and the CFREF-funded Vision: Science to Applications (VISTA) Program, which he directed for seven years. He is also a member of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy Conference of Leaders.