2017 Speakers

Tom Gee


Tom Gee is the manager of the Neuroinformatics Group at the Rotman Research Institute, and the manager of Software Development at Indoc Research. He has 30 years of experience in systems development for research, starting his career with the Defence Research & Defense Canada creating real-time, safety-critical, distributed embedded data acquisition and control systems for high altitude and acceleration protection.

Most recently over the last seven years, Tom has been helping design, implement, deploy and maintain informatics systems for large scale collaborative projects involving multiple imaging modalities, clinical and molecular data flows, and significant amounts of sensitive health information from research and clinical domains.

The Brain-CODE platform of the Ontario Brain Institute is one such key project, which supports five major programs with hundreds of researchers across 35 different institutions across Ontario and beyond. Tom is also involved in the deployment of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance database, a "research embedded in clinical care" system with novel privacy and security elements to be installed at five major research hospitals across Toronto.

Tom on Twitter: @twgee

David Rotenberg

David Rotenberg

David Rotenberg is the Manager of Scientific Computing / Research Informatics at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH).

With a background in medical physics, David’s research focuses on the development of novel MRI acquisition methods and the exploration of metrics and biomarkers of neuropsychiatric disorders.

In his role as Manager of Scientific Computing, David leads a team of informatics specialists with inter-disciplinary and cross-platform expertise, dedicated to supporting CAMH Research programs. The Research Informatics team administers CAMH’s high performance computing and storage environments, including the CAMH Neuroinformatics Platform, a secure managed database infrastructure to store, organize and analyze multi-modal research data. These platforms support advanced neuropsychiatric research analytics across multiple research domains, including imaging (MRI / PET / EEG), ‘omics (genetics, epigenetics, proteomics, transcriptomics) and clinical data.

Carl Virtanen


Carl is the Associate Director and co-founder of HPC4Health, a high-performance computing (HPC) centre focused on healthcare, and the Manager of the Bioinformatics and HPC Core at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. He has more than 20 years of experience researching and managing data in the “omics” field and has worked in the pharmaceutical sector, software development, consulting and systems administration.

At the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Carl built and currently manages the Princess Margaret’s computational and bioinformatics core, which is a platform that researchers from across the hospital can access for their scientific work. His team is also responsible for overseeing the development and validation of data processing pipelines associated with clinical genetic testing within the hospitals Molecular Pathology Lab.

At the HPC4Health, Carl works with the Scientific Director to support the strategic direction and vision of the HPC4Health operation, which is to make secure access to HPC resources available for research hospitals within Ontario and to spearhead new initiatives in sharing health related data. The HPC4Health works closely with its partners within Compute Ontario and Compute Canada to achieve its aims.

Find Carl on Twitter @HPC4Health

Patrick McCurdy


Patrick McCurdy (PhD, LSE) is Associate Professor in the Department Communication at the University of Ottawa.

His research draws from media and communication, journalism as well as social movement studies to study media as a site and source of social struggle and contestation. Most recently, Patrick’s work has studied the evolution of oil/tar sands advertising and campaigning from 1970 to present day with his project Mediatoil.

Mediatoil offers the public an online, searchable database of oil/tar sands promotional material and in August 2016 won first in prize in Compute Canada/SSHRC’s national competition The Human Dimensions Open Data Challenge. Patrick’s work has been published in several academic journals and he is the co-author of Protest Camps and the co-editor of three books Protest Camps in International Context: Spaces, Infrastructures and Media of Resistance (Policy Press 2017), Beyond WikiLeaks: Implications for the Future of Communications, Journalism and Society (Palgrave 2013) and Mediation and Protest Movements (Intellect 2013).

He may be found on Twitter as @pmmcc

Richard Pietro


Richard Pietro socializes open government and open data by creating civic engagement as art through his company OGT Productions. Some of his projects include the 2014 Open Government Tour and "Open" - the world's first short film on open government, open data, and open source.

He also worked collaboratively with the Ontario Ministry of Housing to develop a new way for creating, publishing, and activating Open Data sets, a process he calls “Open Data in Reverse.” This initiative even helped the government win a nationally recognized award for engagement.

Most recently, his Open Data Iron Chef workshop has garnered attention due to its innovative way for introducing open government and open data to students at both the secondary and university levels.

Find Richard on Twitter @richardpietro

Mita Williams


Mita is a science librarian at the Leddy Library of the University of Windsor.

She is also director of Hackforge, a hackerspace based in Windsor. It is a collective of technology enthusiasts, software engineers, hardware hackers, librarians, and expatriates from the automotive industry. Hackforge is community-oriented, focused on team projects that bring people together and pointed in the same direction.

Also, Mita leads Open Data Windsor Essex. ODWE is Hackforge’s special interest group dedicated to supporting and encouraging efforts in open data. Funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, ODWE advocates for open data and assists organizations in our community share their work in a manner that’s accessible and open for everyone.

Browse her past projects as speaker, event organizer, and gamer on her website and find Mita on Twitter @copystar

Pavel Richter


Pavel Richter is Chief Executive Officer of Open Knowledge International, a worldwide non-profit network of people passionate about openness, using technology to unlock information, and enabling people to take action on pressing social problems. OKI's mission is to empower Civil Society Organisations to use Open Data to improve people's lives. Their current projects, including Frictionless Data, OpenTrials, School of Data, and many more, provide citizens and organisations with the tools and skills to use data to change the world.

Before joining OKI, Pavel was Executive Director of Wikimedia Deutschland for five years, and pioneered the internationally acclaimed Wikidata project which is now the fastest growing project for open structured data. Pavel is in on the Advisory Board of Transparency International Germany and Code for Germany. He holds a Masters Degree in Political Science, History and Constitutional Law. He worked for 12 years as a management consultant in the IT and banking industry, before he started to focus on managing non-profit organisations.

Find Pavel on Twitter @pavel

Embriette Hyde


Embriette is the Project Manager for the American Gut Project, one of the largest crowd-sourced citizen science project in the USA. She established the American Gut Project as a key force in microbiome research, highlighted through the White House's National Microbiome Initiative and expanded the project into Asia. She is passionate about bringing specific cohorts into the project, including fermented foods consumer and athlete focus groups.

Academically, Embriette joined the laboratory of Dr. Joseph Petrosino, director of the Alkek Center for Metagenomics and Microbiome Research at Baylor College of Medicine, where she deepened her work analyzing microbial communities. At the University of California, San Diego, she joined Dr. Rob Knight's lab to study both the environmental and human microbiomes, how the intricate ways the microbiome can affect our health, -- and what it means to be human. Collectively, her work garnered recognition in the 2016 Forbes 30 Under 30 in Science.

Follow Embriette @embriettehyde

Nik Piepenbreier


Nik Piepenbreier is a Senior Business & Solutions Consultant at the Ontario Public Service since 2013.

At the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, he was instrumental in working on various data initiatives, including leading the release of open data data sets for the Ontario Affordable Housing Program.

Michael Jones


Michael Jones is Professor and Program Coordinator at Sheridan College for their joint Communication, Culture, Information and Technology program with the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Michael’s primary research interest is applied project-based learning pedagogy, particularly in engineering and information technology domains. He is also interested in the political economy of new media, business information technology solutions and online advertising/marketing.

Jennifer Hollett


Jennifer Hollett is a smashup of digital, journalism, and politics. She is the head of news and government for Twitter Canada.

Jennifer has worked in digital since the late ’90s, when she became the youngest manager ever at Sony Music Canada, developing new media strategies for the label’s top artists. Jennifer co-founded a startup and developed Super PAC App, which debuted #1 in its category in the App Store, helping make political TV ads more transparent.

An award-winning TV reporter and producer, Jennifer has over a decade of experience at CBC, CTV, and MuchMusic. She won a Canadian Online Publishing Award for her work hosting CBC’s G20 Street Level blog during the 2010 G20 Summit in Toronto, and was recognized by Amnesty International Canada with a Media Award for her CBC radio reporting from Israel and Palestine.

Jennifer was a candidate in the 2015 federal election in University-Rosedale, one of Canada's top races to watch. She studied public policy at Harvard University, obtaining her MPA, and was the digital director on Olivia Chow's 2014 Toronto mayoral campaign. She starts and ends her day by checking Twitter, something she did before she started working for the company.

Follow Jennifer @jenniferhollett

Nosa Ero-Brown


Nosa Ero-Brown is the acting Director of the Open Government Office, Ontario’s Treasury Board Secretariat.

Nosa is responsible for the implementation of the Ontario government’s Open Government Strategy.  In this role she is working to provide access to high-value data and information that supports innovation and strengthens public policy – and testing new public engagement methods to involve Ontarians in decisions regarding the issues that impact their lives. In addition, Nosa is responsible for leading the implementation of Ontario’s commitments and action plan as part of the subnational pilot project of the Open Government Partnership.

Previously as Manager of Policy and Partnerships in the Open Government Office, Nosa was responsible for leading the development and implementation of Ontario’s Data Directive as part the province’s Open Government Strategy.  In this role she worked to provide access to high-value data and information that supports innovation and strengthens public policy – and testing new public engagement methods to involve Ontarians in decisions regarding the issues that impact their lives.

Nosa holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from University of Toronto; she is also a graduate of the Lester B. Pearson United World College, Victoria BC.

Andrés L. Dorado

Andrés L. Dorado

Andrés Dorado is the Business Analytics Program Manager for the City of Edmonton’s Analytics Centre of Excellence and is responsible and accountable for setting the vision and strategy for data warehousing and business intelligence in the City as well as the development of data driven solutions that lead to improved corporate business outcomes.

Edmonton is a leader in the advancement of the principles of open government and open data. Through their Open City Policy, endorsed by City Council in April 2015, they have repeatedly shown that they are a City that believes in the concept that data is ‘Open by Default’. In addition, they have been nationally recognized on three separate occasions for the innovative work that we are doing to enhance the lives of citizens through the operational practices that they are embracing to be transparent, inclusive and collaborative.

The City of Edmonton fully believes in the value of Open Data and the benefits that it can bring to numerous stakeholders including Citizens, Businesses, Academia, Researchers and Entrepreneurs. Through their Open Lab and Open Science programs as well as through the creation and facilitation of the Metropolitan Edmonton Open Data Committee, they have led the way in Canada in the number of innovative methods that that they have released, used, and showcased Open Data.

Ben Mack-Crane

Ben Mack-Crane

Ben Mack-Crane is a Principal Architect at Corsa Technology focusing on high performance SDN applications using open protocols. Ben has experience with automated control across a broad spectrum of network technologies, from optical to packet and L0 through L7. He has been involved in behavioral specification and modeling of a wide variety of network elements over his career including packet switches and routers, transport systems, cable telephony, flexible multiplexers, and telephone switches. His current focus is on SDN and virtualization. Ben has been instrumental in numerous standards development efforts, including work in the ONF, MEF, IEEE, ITU, IETF, OIF, and ATIS. He is currently the ONF Specification Area Director, encouraging the application of open SDN principles across the networking spectrum from optical to packet and from fixed transport to mobile applications. He is leading the ongoing development and evolution of the OpenFlow protocol in the ONF Open Datapath Working Group.

Lewis Wynne-Jones

Lewis Wynne-Jones

Lewis Wynne-Jones is the head of data acquisition for ThinkData Works, a Toronto-based startup with a core focus on the aggregation and distribution of public data. Their external data management platform Namara is connected to every open data portal in Canada and the USA, providing everyone from civic hackers to business leaders immediate access to over 100,000 standardized data sets.

For two years Wynne-Jones has been finding, monitoring, and managing updates to over 1000 data portals, an activity that has exposed him to the best and worst of the open data movement. A relative newcomer to digital research, he is energetically committed to demystifying data for luddites such as himself.

You can contact ThinkData on Twitter @thinkdataworks

Hadi Bannazadeh

Hadi Bannazadeh

Hadi is the Chief Architect of the Canadian SAVI multi-tier cloud testbed which is based at the University of Toronto. Hadi has more than 15 years of experience in computer and telecom networks and in cloud computing. He received the PhD degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from University of Toronto where he developed novel concepts for network architectures that leverage virtualized infrastructure to enable rapid application and creation.


In the NSERC Strategic Network for Smart Applications, Hadi led the design, implementation and deployment of the SAVI national testbed which integrates computing, networking, radio and other resources into a platform that supports at-scale experimentation in cloud computing, software-defined networking, future internet, IoT, and large-scale distributed applications.  The SAVI testbed works closely with ORION, CANARIE, and other research networks, and is federated with the U.S. GENI, Chameleon and CloudLab testbeds.  Hadi is CTO and co-founder of Janus Cloud Systems, a startup company offering products for network security and operations management.

Lena Patterson

Lena Patterson

Lena has been a part of the eCampusOntario team since the organization opened shop in August 2015. As a policy analyst at Council of Ontario Universities, Lena lead the online and technology-enabled learning file and helped steer the development of the ecampusontario.ca portal. Now in her role as Operations Director, Lena is keen to see eCampusOntario grow and support institutions to promote access, collaboration and innovation in online and technology-enabled learning.