OGI 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.
- Mark Poznansky - President and CEO
- Mahima Agochiya - Manager, Business Development and Research
- Farzian Aminuddin - Business Analyst
- Christine Beyaert - Manager, Corporate Communications
- Kathryn Deuchars - Senior Manager, Business Development & Research
- Sugy Kodeeswaran - Senior Manager, Business Development & Research
- Les Kondejewski - Director, Research Programs
- Dennis McCormac - Director, Platform Development
- Tina McDivitt - Manager, Business Development & Research
- Kajal Palan - Director, Finance
- Helen Petropoulos - Senior Manager, Business Development & Research
- Kimberly Riley - Manager, Events & Outreach
- Christine Scaramuzzo - Director, Operations
- Alison Symington - VP, Corporate Development and Communications
- Rhonda Tannenbaum - VP Business Development
- Sonja Wesholowski - Web Coordinator
Mark J. Poznansky PhD, O.Ont, C.M
President and CEO
mpoznansky [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Mark J. Poznansky has been at OGI since 2010.
His role at OGI draws on his substantive experience in the life sciences and in running institutes and businesses, as well as his knowledge of government affairs and business development.
Previously he ran his own consultancy group offering a range of services including program reviews, strategic planning, change management and leadership training to clients in government, hospitals, universities and the private sector. Before that, he was President and Scientific Director of Robarts Research Institute (London, Ontario), where during his tenure, from 1993 to 2007, the institute increased its staff from 100 to over 600, increased its annual research funding from $10 million to over $40 million, and developed a reputation for business development spinning out seven different companies, including Viron Therapeutics, where Dr. Poznansky served as President and CEO. He also served on the Merck USA Scientific Advisory Leadership Team for three years. Prior to that, he was Associate Dean of Medicine for Research at the University of Alberta. He has held faculty positions at University of Western Ontario, University of Alberta and was a lecturer at Harvard University.
Dr. Poznansky has published over 50 research papers. He serves as Chair of Letâ€™s Talk Science, until recently served as Chief Science Advisor to the CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute and is a board member of the Innovation Institute of Ontario. He was a founding member and past chair of the Council for Health Research in Canada, and also chaired the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund and MDS Capital Corp. He has also served as a member of numerous science-related committees including the Science Advisory Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Medical Research Council of Canada Grants panel. Dr. Poznansky was made a member of the Order of Ontario in 2004 and the Order of Canada in 2005.
Earning his bachelorâ€™s degree and PhD at McGill University, Dr. Poznansky completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
Manager, Business Development and Research
magochiya [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Mahima Agochiya joined OGI in May 2013. In her current role, she is responsible for developing partnerships between industry and academic scientists to bring new discoveries to market through various initiatives.
Mahima has a PhD in Cancer Research from University of Glasgow, Scotland and a MBA from The Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto, majoring in Healthcare and Entrepreneurship. She has over seven years of postdoctoral experience, developing expertise in the fields of molecular biology, data analysis, and bioinformatics. In addition, she developed technology commercialization experience through her position as Business Development Advisor with McMaster University, and management experience as Business Development Officer at the Foundation Fighting Blindness, a research based not-for-profit in Toronto.
faminuddin [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Farzian Aminuddin joined OGI in May 2013. As a business analyst, he provides support to the OGI Business Development team. His role includes performing research and analyses for various projects, as well as business case development and cost-benefit analyses.
Prior to joining OGI, Farzian worked as a laboratory researcher at the University of British Columbia (UBC) James Hogg Research Centre, with a research focus on the genetic basis of obstructive lung disease. He also has consulting experience working at BCâ€™s Provincial Health Services Authority, a public health authority, and InnoGuidance, a life sciences consulting firm. Farzian holds a BSc (Honors) from UBC, as well as an MBA from the Beedie School of Business at Simon Fraser University.
Manager, Corporate Communications
cbeyaert [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Christine Beyaert joined OGI in August 2012. In her current role, she is responsible for OGIâ€™s communications and media relations activities.
Previously, she was with Cystic Fibrosis Canada in communications, and community and government relations roles. Prior to this role, she worked as a consultant for small businesses, biotech and IT organizations, in political communications for campaigns, and on Parliament Hill.
Christine holds a B.A. in History and Political Science from Carleton University, and a Postgraduate Certificate in Public Relations from Humber College.
Senior Manager, Business Development & Research
kdeuchars [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Dr. Deuchars joined OGI in September, 2011.
Previously Dr. Deuchars was President and CEO of Attodyne Inc., a start-up medical/industrial device company based on technology from the University of Toronto.
Before that Dr. Deuchars was Chief Operating Officer of University Medical Discoveries and MedInnova Partners, technology development corporations that focused on the development and commercialization of early-stage biomedical innovations. She joined UMDI/MedInnova in 2000 and garnered experience at all stages of the investment process including acting on the boards of several 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, Dr. Deuchars spent 6 years in the biotechnology industrial sector as a research scientist at NPS Allelix Inc., where she supported or led various drug discovery programs.
Dr. Deuchars earned her Ph.D. from the Ontario Cancer Institute, The University of Toronto, in the area of the molecular biology of cancer chemotherapy resistance.
Senior Manager, Business Development & Research
skodeeswaran [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Sugy Kodeeswaran joined OGI in June of 2013. In her current role she develops new business initiatives and helps scientists and companies find paths to the marketplace for their discoveries through various programs and initiatives. Her years of experience in research program management and working with stakeholders in the hospital, academic and industry sectors helps her to develop successful funding applications, monitor project progress and impact, seek project investments, and to aid in the translation of scientific discoveries to the market place.
Prior to joining OGI, Sugy was at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research where she was Director of the Ontario Tumour Bank, and managed a province-wide biorepository and data bank. Prior to that, Sugy worked at Apotex Inc. within the departments of Quality and Regulatory Affairs.
Sugy earned her BSc in Chemistry from McGill University and her MHSc in Health Administration in the Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto.
Director, Research Programs
lkondejewski [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Les Kondejewski joined OGI in April 2013 where he is responsible for all research programs. His experience in management of cross-functional scientific teams, both in academia and industry, helps him to manage OGI-funded programs, seek project investments, and monitor projectsâ€™ accountability and progress. Les also aids in the identification of commercialization avenues for scientific discoveries.
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.
He received his BSc from Carleton University and his PhD in biochemistry from Dalhousie University. Les carried out postdoctoral research and a research fellowship at the Protein Engineering Network of Centres of Excellence at the University of Alberta.
Director, Platform Development
dmccormac [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Dennis McCormac joined OGI in June 2006. His role promoting OGI-funded genomics and proteomics Science and Technology Innovation Centres (STICs) benefits from his extensive experience with product marketing at several start-up companies. Dr. McCormacâ€™s current focus is on marketing â€śomicsâ€ť and informatics services to both academic and commercial researchers, acquiring these leading-edge technologies, and expanding the support base in Ontario.
Previously, he was a marketing manager with San Diego-based Stratagene, which acquired Iobion Informatics (Toronto) during his tenure there. Dr. McCormacâ€™s relationships with opinion leaders in both industry and academe and his approach to educating researchers on pathway analysis expanded the companyâ€™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.
Recently, Dennis has become interested in the intersection of science and art. You can usually find him running around fostering art collaborations to promote his passion for life science and genomics.
He 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.
Manager, Business Development & Research
tmcdivitt [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Tina McDivitt joined OGI in March of 2012 as a Research Program Manager. Her past experience in research and business allows her to assist stakeholders with the development of successful funding applications, to monitor the progress and impact of funded projects, to seek project investments, and to aid in the translation of scientific discoveries to the market place.
Prior to joining OGI, Dr. McDivitt was a Consultant with SHI Consulting, a life sciences-based management consulting firm, where she focused on business case development, business planning for new ventures and creation of research, corporate, communication and partnership strategies.
Dr. McDivitt received her Bachelorâ€™s degree at the University of Waterloo and completed her Ph.D. in Infectious Disease in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto.
kpalan [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Kajal Palan joined OGI in July of 2013. He oversees accounting and finance, and monitors the compliance of funded projects with the financial terms of the agreements. He has 12 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, and an extensive background in finance and project management.
Kajal is a member of the Certified General Accountants of Ontario, and most recently earned an Executive MBA from Queenâ€™s School of Business.
Senior Manager, Business Development & Research
hpetropoulos [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Helen Petropoulos joined OGI as a Research Program Manager in 2005 and transferred to Business Development in 2006. In her current role, she develops new business initiatives and helps scientists and biotech companies find paths to the marketplace for their discoveries through various programs and initiatives.
Before joining OGI, she 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).
Manager, Events and Outreach
kriley [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Kimberly Riley joined OGI in May 2003. Her role organizing events and facilitating OGIâ€™s participation in external workshops, trade shows and symposia, draws on her many years of experience managing special projects and maintaining clear commercial communications. She currently manages OGI's Summer Research Fellowship program and the Genomics Teaching Prize.
Ms. Riley spent nine years with the Arthritis Society, managing a variety of programs, including peer-review research and training, and stakeholder relations.
cscaramuzzo [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Christine Scaramuzzo joined OGI in November 2007, and has over 20 years experience as a senior administrator in both the corporate and the not-for-profit sectors. Supporting OGIâ€™s President and CEO, her duties also include; to develop, implement, integrate and maintain policies, processes and systems that support the overall corporation, including: facility management, information technology, human resources, administrative and contract management and board governance.
Christine has a secretarial diploma in business administration and has studied administrative management, human resources, communications, and time management. Prior to joining OGI Christine worked in broadcasting, investment management and consulting.
VP, Corporate Development and Communications
asymington [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Dr. Alison Symington joined OGI in June 2010. She brings a wealth of educational outreach experience to her role as VP, Corporate Development and Communications, where she is responsible for OGIâ€™s relationships with external stakeholders, corporate communications and educational outreach programs.
Most recently, Dr. Symington was Executive Director of Biotechnology Education Canada (BEC), where she led the organization through a substantive rebranding and refocusing, and sponsored a number of events that created national impact in Canada and international visibility for Canadian science education, including projects such as the Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge, the York Biotech Toolbox and several laboratory courses for high school teachers.
Prior to that, Dr. Symington was a professor and program coordinator at Seneca Collegeâ€™s School of Biological Sciences and Applied Chemistry. Before joining Seneca College, she was a development scientist at sanofi pasteur, Canadaâ€™s leading vaccine research and manufacturing company.
She earned her BSc at University of Toronto, where she also earned her PhD in Cell Biology, during which she was awarded an NSERC post-graduate fellowship.
VP Business Development
rtannenbaum [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Rhonda joined the Ontario Genomics Institute in 2003. She currently spearheads the commercialization of OGI-funded projects, provides seed funding to pre commercial investments and identifies strategic initiatives in the biotech sector. Rhondaâ€™s years of experience in business development and development of strategic alliances in the high tech and biotech sectors are key to her current role at OGI.
Previously she was a consultant with a biotech company where she worked with the scientist founders to close a series A financing. Prior to that, Rhonda worked in a business development capacity for a start up Internet Company during the dot com boom.
swesholowski [at] OntarioGenomics [dot] ca
Sonja Wesholowski joined OGI in March 2008, bringing a wealth of experience in website management, programming, and marketing. She maintains and promotes the OGI website and the Ontario Genomics Sector Innovation Network (G-SIN) portal.
Most recently, she managed a for-profit website in maternity apparel. This involved online marketing to increase traffic, content management, optimizing search engine rankings, and managing e-mail-based customer relations. She has also held positions in diverse areas of marketing, including agency-side direct marketing, geographically-based market research, and sales support.
She studied business, German, and psychology at the University of Toronto and obtained a BComm in Marketing Management from Ryerson University. She has taken courses in HTML programming and computer graphics.