Ontario Genomics is made up of a dynamic and highly experienced team. Our staff brings deep expertise across the life sciences sector, with backgrounds in public and private sector research spanning academic settings, upstart biotechnology companies and major pharmaceutical corporations, finance and commercialization, bioethics, education and communications.
- Bettina Hamelin – President and CEO
- Camilo Acero – Web Coordinator
- Julia Bacinello – Accountant
- Elaine Corbett – Director, Sector Innovation & Programs (Agriculture & Agri-Food)
- Kathryn Deuchars – Senior Manager, Sector Innovation & Programs & Director, Ontario Personalized Medicine Network (Health)
- Koula Ferreira – Administrative Assistance
- Britney Hess – Manager, Sector Innovation & Programs (Biotechnology & Resources)
- Christy Hockley – Project Coordinator, Post-Award
- Azard Kallan – Director, Finance
- Les Kondejewski – Director, Research Operations & Program Management
- Stephanie Marquez – Project Coordinator, Pre-Award
- Polina Martins – Director, Communications
- Dennis McCormac – Associate Vice President, Science & Technology
- Ann Meyer – Advisor, Sector Innovation & Programs
- Helen Petropoulos – Director, Commercialization & Programs (Mining & Natural Resources)
- Laura Riley – Advisor, Sector Innovation & Programs
- Nezar Rghei – Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Resource Development
- Christine Scaramuzzo – Executive Assistant & Director of Administration
- Jordan Thomson – Director, Sector Innovation & Programs and Strategic Partnerships & Resource Development (Industrial Biotech & Resource)
President and CEO
Dr. Bettina Hamelin is the President and CEO of Ontario Genomics. Before assuming her current role in August 2017, Bettina served as Vice-President of NSERC’s Research Partnerships Directorate, where she was responsible for a range of programs designed to stimulate increased public/private sector collaboration and technology transfer by connecting the Canadian research enterprise to Canadian and global innovation stakeholders. Bettina has more than 15 years of experience in the biotech and international pharmaceutical industry as well as 10 years of academic experience as a tenured professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy at Université Laval.
Prior to joining NSERC Bettina held a variety of leadership positions at Pfizer Canada, most recently as Canadian Medical Lead, Vaccines, and Head, Strategic Research Partnerships, Western Canada. She is passionate about bringing together unlikely partners to attract and leverage funds from diverse sources. She is known for pioneering novel public-private partnership models, and breaking down barriers between federal, provincial and private sector stakeholders.
Early roots in biology and chemistry (Vordiplom, Universität Kaiserslautern, Germany) have led Bettina to complete a B.Sc. in pharmacy and a Doctor of Pharmacy, both from the University of Kentucky, U.S. and an EMBA in Healthcare from the University of British Columbia, Canada.
Camilo Acero joined Ontario Genomics in 2014. In his current role, he is responsible for implementing the organization’s digital strategy and supporting all internal and external communications content and design. Since joining Ontario Genomics, Camilo has implemented the development, launch, refresh and maintenance of the organization’s website, microsites and newsletters to support program execution, and information access, education, and engagement for all stakeholders.
Camilo has a bachelor’s degree in advertising and has worked in communications and marketing for fifteen years in both the corporate and not-for-profit sectors in the US and Canada. Camilo brings his experience to Ontario Genomics to successfully implement communications strategies, marketing campaigns, branding, media planning, web maintenance, content management, social media strategies and event organization.
Julia Bacinello joined Ontario Genomics in June 2018 as a part-time General Accountant. In June 2019 she transitioned into a full-time position. In her current role she supports daily operations in the finance department.
Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Julia worked as a Financial Analyst for Broadgrain Commodities. Julia holds a CMA designation, MBA Degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and HBA in Economics from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics in Moscow.
Director, Sector Innovation & Programs
Agriculture & Agri-Food Sector
Dr. Elaine Corbett joined Ontario Genomics in July 2014. In her current role, she is responsible for providing overall leadership to sector development and stakeholder engagement that enables and ensures implementation of strategic initiatives aimed at bringing new genomic-derived solutions to Canadian and international markets. Among her many accomplishments, Elaine led the development and implementation of Ontario Genomics’ Strategy for the Agriculture & Agri-Food sector launched in 2018, including consultations and engagement with over 100 stakeholders from across the province as an integral part of the development, launch and execution processes.
Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Elaine was a Project Manager at SQI Diagnostics, a Toronto-based biotech company, where she managed multidisciplinary programs for advanced microarray diagnostics. Previously, she was a Senior Field Application Scientist at Axela, a biotech company which develops diagnostic platforms and applications, where her focus was on client management, technical sales and product development.
She received her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta and completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the Cell Biology Program at the Hospital for Sick Children. Elaine received her Honors BSc in Biomedical Science from University College Cork, Ireland.
Senior Manager, Sector Innovation & Programs and Director, Ontario Personalized Medicine Network (OPMN)
Program Lead: Large Scale Applied Research Program (LSARP)
Dr. Kathy Deuchars joined Ontario Genomics in September, 2011. In her current role, she is responsible for leading and implementing strategies, building relationships and connecting academic and diverse partners/partner organizations to bring genomics-based solutions to the Health sector. Kathy implements and actively leads funding competitions and programs, and works with the team to develop innovative strategies to source, secure and optimize project co-funding from key external partners. She is the main point of contact and responsible for monitoring programs/projects to assess their progress and maximize outcomes.
As Director of the OPMN, Kathy has been instrumental to advancing province-wide recognition of the need for and benefits of the development of new health technology assessment processes adapted to the rapidly evolving field of personalized medicine. In 2017, based on the input of OPMN members and other stakeholders, Health Quality Ontario established the Ontario Genetics Advisory Committee to advise on which genetic and genomic services and devices should be publicly funded.
Previously Kathy was President and CEO of Attodyne Inc., a start-up medical/industrial device company based on technology from the University of Toronto. Prior to that, Kathy was Chief Operating Officer of University Medical Discoveries (UMDI) and MedInnova Partners, where she garnered experience at all stages of the investment process including acting on the boards of several early-stage biomedical companies. While at UMDI, Kathy was a member of the Technology Investment Group of MDS Capital, where she participated in the research and analysis of later stage investment opportunities. Previously, Kathy spent 6 years in the biotechnology industrial sector as a research scientist at NPS Allelix Inc., where she supported and led various drug discovery programs. She is a current member of the Board of Cystic Fibrosis Canada.
Kathy earned her PhD from the Ontario Cancer Institute, The University of Toronto, in the molecular biology of cancer chemotherapy resistance.
Koula Ferreira joined Ontario Genomics in October 2015. She supports the Director of Administration in the day-to-day running of the Ontario Genomics office as well as assists the Director of Finance with the accounts payable/receivables. Koula’s prior work in the retail industry and recruitment/payroll services expanded her abilities in accounts payable, accounts receivable and collections. Koula has a HR certificate from George Brown College and has studied business administration.
Manager, Sector Innovation & Programs
Biotechnology & Resource Sectors
Britney Hess joined Ontario Genomics in 2016. In her current role, she supports the implementation of strategic initiatives aimed at bringing new genomic-derived solutions to the Industrial Biotechnology and Natural Resource sectors. Britney helps build effective relationships by connecting, enabling and working with leading academics and diverse partners/partner organizations to advance collaborative investment opportunities, and she is the main point of contact for funded projects dedicated to the Industrial Biotechnology and Natural Resource sectors. Since joining Ontario Genomics, Britney has supported the development of numerous project business cases to successfully secure funding. She has also been instrumental in assisting with the planning and implementation of several strategic initiatives including stakeholder consultations in the development of Ontario Genomics’ Agriculture & Agri-Food Sector Strategy, and the launch and execution of the CanadaSynBio conferences.
Previously, Britney worked at Bioenterprise Corporation as a Junior Analyst in Agricultural Technologies. She performed needs-based-analysis and provided entrepreneurs with market, industry and competitor data specific to their innovative technology. She assisted with strategic relationship development, business plan evaluation, and the identification of public funding opportunities.
Britney earned her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from the University of Western Ontario. During her Master of Management of Applied Science (MMASc) she focused on an interdisciplinary approach to technology commercialization.
Project Coordinator, Post-Award
Christy Hockley joined Ontario Genomics in September 2013. In her current role, she is responsible for coordinating and managing all research projects to ensure that projects stay on target and meet the timely execution and reporting needs of all stakeholders. Christy’s organizational skills, coupled with her work ethic are invaluable to the project team. She monitors and tracks scientific and financial reports, develops reports and reviews proposals for external and internal teams. Since joining Ontario Genomics, Christy has implemented many processes to alleviate administrative requirements for both research and industry project team members.
Previously, Christy was Administrative Coordinator of Bioscience Education Canada (BEC), where she was the point of contact for all regional coordinators on the Sanofi BioGENEius Challenge Canada competition. She has also coordinated and supported administrative duties on projects including lectures, workshops, and the Lab Tools for Schools program. Prior to that, she worked at Experchem Laboratory Inc. as a pharmaceutical analyst. With over seven years of laboratory experience, she has worked extensively on gas chromatography, QA/QC, method development, and analytical testing.
Christy studied chemistry, biology, philosophy and abnormal psychology at Trent University and obtained a Diploma in Chemical Laboratory Technology – Pharmaceutical Co-op Program at Seneca College.
Azard Kallan joined Ontario Genomics in November 2014. He oversees accounting and finance, and monitors the compliance of funded projects with the financial terms of the agreements. Azard is also responsible for Information Technology and Risk Management. Azard has introduced and implemented new processes that have streamlined operational requirements while mitigating project risks, increased reporting efficiencies, and helped enable the organization to manage significantly more active projects without any increase in overhead. Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Azard was the National Director of Finance for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation of Canada (JDRF) and the Chief Finance Lead for JDRF CCTN (Canadian Clinical Trial Network). He brings his finance, human resources, and information technology management experience from diverse industries such as health and fitness, radio and television, manufacturing, plumbing and heating.
Azard is a member of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario, and is currently enrolled in the Laurentian University MBA program.
Director, Research Operations & Program Management
Dr. Les Kondejewski joined Ontario Genomics in April 2013. He is responsible for research operations and program management. His experience in management of cross-functional scientific teams, both in academia and industry, helps him to manage Ontario Genomics-funded programs, seek project investments, and monitor projects’ accountability and progress. Since joining Ontario Genomics, Les has identified and implemented numerous operational efficiencies to support the organization’s ability to manage more than a 300% increase in active projects while lowering costs and maintaining overhead.
Les has an extensive background in research and project management, particularly in personalized medicine. Previously, he held research and program management responsibilities at Caprion Proteomics. Later, at Diaceutics Inc., he worked with client teams to facilitate the creation of integrated development and commercialization plans for targeted therapies.
Les received his BSc from Carleton University and his PhD in biochemistry from Dalhousie University. He carried out postdoctoral research and a research fellowship at the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence at the University of Alberta.
Project Coordinator, Pre-Award
Stephanie Marquez joined Ontario Genomics in 2019. In her current role, she is responsible for coordinating and managing research projects to ensure that projects stay on target and meet the timely execution and reporting needs of all stakeholders. Stephanie’s technical skills, coupled with her organizational skills are invaluable to the project team. She monitors and tracks scientific and financial reports, develops reports and reviews proposals for external and internal teams.
Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Stephanie has held progressive positions at the educational art publisher ImageneeringArt.com Inc. since 2015 – both as a Scientific Art Editor and most recently as a Project Manager. Stephanie earned her Honours BSc with a major in biology from the University of Toronto.
Polina Martins joined Ontario Genomics in 2019. In this role, she is responsible for leading and implementing the Ontario Genomics communications strategy, supporting government and stakeholder engagement priorities, and executing events and other public relations initiatives.
Previously, Polina served as Senior Communications and Operations Advisor to several Ontario Government Ministers in Economic Development and Growth, Health and Long-Term Care, and Indigenous Relations and Reconciliation portfolios. She brings a unique blend of communications, government relations, stakeholder engagement, and events planning experience to this role.
Polina earned her Master of Arts degree at the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
Associate Vice President, Science & Technology
Program Lead: Genomics in Society Interdisciplinary Research Teams (GiSIRT)
Dr. Dennis McCormac joined Ontario Genomics in June 2006. Dennis supports all teams to guide program development and strategic partnerships. As Ontario Genomics’ subject matter expert, he focuses on cross-sectoral synergies and opportunities for genomics-based solutions to advance Ontario’s priority bio-economic sectors. In addition to developing Ontario Genomics’ Bioinformatics strategy, Dennis’ early insights into the enormous potential of microbiome research resulted in the successful development and execution of the 2016 SPARK Microbiome Competition to advance opportunities and outcomes for Ontario. Dennis has a keen interest in merging art with science to help educate and engage the public on the power of science. His interest in this area will expand as he begins building a network of researchers focused on genomics-related economic, environmental, ethical, legal, and social issues (GELS) in Ontario. Dennis’ current role benefits from his extensive experience with product marketing at several start-up companies.
Previously, he was a marketing manager with San Diego-based Stratagene, which acquired Iobion Informatics (Toronto) during his tenure there. Dr. McCormac’s relationships with opinion leaders in both industry and academe and his approach to educating researchers on pathway analysis expanded the company’s product user base. He had also been product manager with Imaging Research in St. Catharines, where he helped its profitable genomics software business to grow, ultimately leading to its acquisition by GE Healthcare.
Dennis received his BSc, MSc, and PhD at the University of Waterloo in plant-cell and molecular biology. He undertook related postdoctoral research at the University of Oregon, the State University of New York (Buffalo), and Arizona State University. His work has resulted in a number of scientific publications.
Advisor, Sector Innovation & Programs
Dr. Ann Meyer joined Ontario Genomics in 2019. In her current role, she supports the implementation of strategic initiatives aimed at bringing new genomic-derived solutions to Ontario’s key sectors. Ann helps build effective relationships by connecting, enabling and working with leading academics and diverse partners and partner organizations to advance collaborative investment opportunities, and she is the main point of contact for several funded projects.
Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Ann worked as Manager, Knowledge and Research Exchange focused on Adaptive Oncology at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Ann has also held the position of Chair, Outreach and Promotion, for the Global Organisation for Bioinformatics Learning, Education and Training since November 2016. During her graduate studies at the University of Guelph, Ann took part in the Hub Incubator program and co-founded BioDatAlign Inc.
Ann has a PhD in Plant Agriculture, Crop Breeding and Genetics and a BSc Honours in Biological Science from the University of Guelph. She held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Pathobiology at the University of Guelph.
Director, Commercialization & Programs
Mining & Natural Resources Sectors
Program Lead: Genomics Applied Partnership Program (GAPP)
Dr. Helen Petropoulos joined Ontario Genomics as a Research Program Manager in 2005 and transferred to Business Development in 2006. In her current role as Director, Commercialization & Programs, she develops new business initiatives and helps scientists and biotech companies find paths to the marketplace for their discoveries through various programs and initiatives. Helen provides overall sector leadership for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives aimed at bringing new genomic-derived discoveries to Canadian and international markets. Through ongoing collaborations with companies and key stakeholders, Helen led the development and implementation of Ontario Genomics’ strategy to bring genomics-derived solutions to industry-identified challenges for the Mining sector. As a senior advisor, her guidance has also been instrumental to successfully securing over 50% of funding and projects awarded across the country for multi-million dollar GAPP projects in Ontario.
Before joining Ontario Genomics, Helen worked as an analyst with SHI Consulting, a life sciences strategy consulting firm based in Toronto.
She holds a PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario, and completed an industrial postdoctoral fellowship at Wyeth Research in Cambridge, Massachusetts (now part of Pfizer).
Advisor, Sector Innovation & Programs
Dr. Laura Riley joined Ontario Genomics in 2019. In her current role, she supports the implementation of strategic initiatives aimed at bringing new genomic-derived solutions to Ontario’s key sectors. Laura helps build effective relationships by connecting, enabling and working with leading academics and diverse partners and partner organizations to advance collaborative investment opportunities, and she is the main point of contact for several funded projects.
Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Laura worked as a project manager in Igor Stagljar’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. There, she managed a number of large research projects, including three from Genome Canada.
Laura has a PhD in Molecular Microbiology from the University of Liverpool, UK, and she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Ontario.
Vice President, Strategic Partnerships & Resource Development
Nezar Rghei joined Ontario Genomics in 2018. He serves as the V. P. Strategic Partnerships & Resource Development. Nezar has over 25 years of Business and Genomics’ applications experience and has served in commercial and operational roles in various life sciences companies, in Business Development, Marketing & Sales, Product Management and Operations.
Prior to joining OG, Nezar served as the Vice President, Business Development at Norgen Biotek Corp where he commercialized a number of products and services and was responsible for business development and commercial operations. Prior to that, he had progressive management positions with Imaging Research Inc. (acquired by Amersham Biosciences) as a Product Manager and Senior Business & Product Development Manager. Nezar was a Program Manager when Amersham Biosciences was acquired by GE Healthcare.
Nezar received a B. Sc. degree in Biology from the University of Victoria, BC and a M. Sc. degree in Biological Sciences from Brock University, ON.
Executive Assistant & Director of Administration
Christine Scaramuzzo joined Ontario Genomics in November 2007 and has over 25 years of experience as a senior administrator in both the corporate and the not-for-profit sectors. Christine provides administrative leadership and support to the CEO office and provides administrative support to the Board of Directors. She supports the HR function and oversees Office Services to ensure the efficiency of operations, and she develops, implements, integrates and maintains policies, processes, systems and records that support the effective administration of the Corporation. Christine has a secretarial diploma in business administration and has studied administrative management, human resources, communications, and time management.
Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Christine worked in broadcasting, investment management and consulting.
Director, Sector Innovation & Programs and Strategic Partnerships & Resource Development
Industrial Biotech & Resource Sectors
Dr. Jordan Thomson joined Ontario Genomics in April 2015. In his current role, he supports the organization in developing strategic plans and partnership opportunities for the synergistic advancement of genomics solutions across Ontario’s priority bio-economic sectors. Jordan is also responsible for providing overall sector leadership for the development and implementation of strategic initiatives aimed at bringing new genomic-derived solutions to the Industrial Biotech market. Jordan has initiated and led the development of several important strategic initiatives in collaboration with our partners across the province and the country. This includes the development and execution of the inaugural CanadaSynBio conference, as well as the mapping of Ontario’s rich ecosystem, with the objective of connecting stakeholders and organizations to solve industry-identified challenges and drive economic growth through the application genomic innovations.
Prior to joining Ontario Genomics, Jordan led a technology development program in wastewater treatment at DuPont Canada where he gained experience in stakeholder management and business case development. He has also led seminal industry/academic collaboration projects for PARTEQ Innovations and GreenCentre Canada.
Jordan received his Bachelor’s degree in the Arts and Science programme at McMaster University and completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Toronto where he studied nanotechnology and synthetic chemistry.