Meet The Team


Arlene’s research lies across the intersections of psychology, computer science, engineering and healthcare. Specifically, her focus is on developing interventions to maximize people’s cognitive abilities as they age and minimize the impact of impairments associated with conditions such as dementia. This involves working closely with older adults as users of technology, as well as their families, formal caregivers and organisations that support ageing. Arlene’s research involves transdisciplinary collaboration and user-centred design practices to create and implement usable and useful solutions in real world situations. She is current Chair of the US Alzheimer’s Association Technology Professional Interest Area, leads AGEWELL’s Work Package 1 on User needs and has extensive national and international partners and networks, including CCNA and AGE-WELL. 

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Jennifer’s research focuses on state-of-the-art computer science, engineering, rehabilitation science, and human factors methodologies to create internationally renowned intelligent assistive technologies for supporting aging by promoting independence, wellbeing, and quality of life. Her research involves transdisciplinary collaboration and user-centred design practices to apply artificial intelligence and machine learning in creating usable and useful solutions to difficult problems. She is the Co-lead of AGE-WELL’s Work Package 2.3, was the PI on the cross-network DATCares workshop, and continues to collaborates extensively across AGE-WELL on multiple projects. 

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Dr. Josephine McMurray is a Canadian researcher using mixed methods to explore critical societal issues at the nexus of business, technology and health/aging. She was awarded tenure in 2018 and is an Associate Professor at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economic in the Business Technology Management program. She received her PhD in Health Studies and Gerontology from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo in 2013. Previously she worked in the private and not-for-profit sectors for over 20 years, primarily as a front line clinical technologist and manager in the primary and acute healthcare sectors. She is a Co-Investigator on the AgeWell National Centre of Excellence project, and her research as co-lead on the AgeWell DRiVE initiative investigates the critical factors that support the development of regional health innovation ecosystems. Dr. McMurray’s current research includes funding for a clinical trial and economic analysis of a novel technology that screens older adults for mild cognitive impairment from the OCE Health Technologies Fund, and SSHRC Insight Development Grants exploring the use of smartphone-enabled survey applications and geo-location data to determine situational context impacts the willingness to share in-situ patient experience data, the influence of intelligent non-human agents on human behavior in domestic environments, and the adoption of intelligent assistive devices by older adults. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally.

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Catherine M. Burns is Professor in Systems Design Engineering at the University of Waterloo, Canada where she directs her research lab, the Advanced Interface Design Lab and holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Human Factors and Healthcare Systems. Catherine is well known for her work in Cognitive Work Analysis, Ecological Interface Design and the development of decision support systems.  In this area she has contributed over 250 publications and is the co-author of seven books.  She is a Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.    Catherine’s recent research projects have been exploring how naval crews work with data fusion systems, how people might work with artificial intelligence systems, interactions with automated vehicles, and support for improved medical decision making. 

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AnneMarie is an accomplished researcher that studies the behavioural and neurobiological basis of learning and memory as it relates to mood and addictive disorders. She earned her Master of Science and PhD in Psychology specializing in Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science where her work focused on standardizing methodologies for evaluating the abuse liability of foods. She has developed novel surgical and experimental procedures to improve the evaluation of foods with addictive potential. She is a postdoctoral fellow with the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University pursuing her interests in the health care of aging populations, and particularly those coping with cognitive decline. She is responsible for overseeing research activities for the Developing Regional Health innovation Ecosystems (DRiVE) project funded by the AGE-WELL National Centre of Excellence, is an HQP with AGE-WELL, and manages the implementation of an Ontario Centres of Excellence (Health Technologies Fund) grant evaluating a novel technology that screens for cognitive impairment in older adults. AnneMarie also co-created and contributes to the Delirium Care Network, a not for profit that raises awareness of the consequences of delirium in the elderly where she curates research for an active twitter account and website. 

Highly qualified personnel

Kristina Kokorelias is in the 4th year of her PhD program in the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Dr. Jill Cameron. Her primary research interest is to understand how family caregivers use services to support their caregiving role across the disease trajectory. Kristina’s PhD research includes a study of family caregivers to individuals with Alzheimer ’s disease to understand caregiving phases and caregivers’ corresponding needs for support across the disease trajectory.

She is currently serving as the policy analyst for the Cog@Work study focusing on an analysis of current legal and policy frameworks/legislations and lex ferenda policy recommendations to motivate organization commitments to support people with MCI and Dementia in the workplace.

Logan Reis is a full-time health studies undergraduate student with a minor in gerontology. His research experience includes working for multiple research centers and programs in the fields of health studies, systems design engineering, and co-operative education. Through these positions he has garnered experience in writing manuscripts for peer review and research grants for project funding, performing quantitative and qualitative analysis, conducting observational field notes and interviews with research participants. His areas of expertise are in health of older adults, with a focus on dementia and other mild cognitive impairments. His systems design research has also sparked interest in what assistive technologies exist to improve health and prevent functional decline in the aging population.

Agasan Thiyagasoruban is a full-time business administration student with a concentration in marketing. His experience includes social media marketing, content creation, and advertising which he hopes to leverage in order to spread awareness for MCI and Dementia in the workplace. By creating awareness, he plans to garner interest, spread information, and ultimately be a part of a solution which helps people. Through gaining experience in multiple firms and organizations, he has also developed an understanding of creating systems, programs, and regulations from an employer perspective. With an aging population and workforce, he plans to utilize his skillset to help workers and businesses succeed.

Nirusa Nadesar is in her second year of the MSc program at the Rehabilitation Sciences Institute at the University of Toronto under the supervisor of Dr. Arlene Astell and Dr. Behdin-Nowrouzi Kia. Her research focuses on understanding the role of Occupational Therapists who maintain the presence of individuals with Mild Cognitive Impairment and Early Onset Dementia in the workplace. This research can also be helpful in understanding the workplace experiences of these populations leading up to, during, and after their diagnosis. One of Nirusa’s main research interests include return to work outcomes for varying population types. 


Roger Marple lives in Medicine Hat, Alberta and is the proud father and grandfather of 3 grown children and one grandson. He is an avid sports enthusiast, enjoys playing tennis and golf, loves to travel and knows his way around the kitchen with a real appetite for baking. Roger worked for Alberta Health Services and has worked in supply management in the south zone for over 23 years. He also has young onset Alzheimer’s disease.  Roger was invited to join the Alzheimer Society of Canada’s advisory group to help raise awareness of the needs of people with dementia, including the specific needs of people living with young onset and/or early stage dementia. Roger also serves on the board of directors of the Alzheimer’s society of Alberta and North West Territories and is active in supporting dementia research in Canada.

Since his diagnosis in the summer of 2015, Roger has made it his mission to dispel myths about the disease and the stigma associated with dementia. He is a firm believer that you can live well with this disease regardless of challenges and is passionate about sharing his message of hope.  


Ron is an active advocate in the dementia, caregiving, aging, and research communities. As a caregiver to his father who lived with Alzheimer’s for 10+ years to age in place at home until January 2018, Ron utilized technology, community, creative strategies and access to research to support his family’s life to live well and as best as possible. In recent years, Ron has been invited to do presentations locally and internationally for Alzheimer’s Societies, communities, police, educators, innovators and corporations. He shares his knowledge on caregiving as we age, ways to use technology for caring, and living safely with dementia, especially for those at risk of wandering and going missing. He is an active member, advisor, and mentor to numerous organizations and educational institutions such as AGE-WELL NCE, Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation (CABHI) at Baycrest, City of Toronto’s Seniors Strategy, SE Health (formerly known as Saint Elizabeth Health Care) and the Translational Research Program (TRP) at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine.

In his past, Ron has a background in Computer Sciences, Space and Communication Sciences, Marine Aquaculture, Life Coaching and Culinary Arts. He was the Founder and Executive Director of a Youth Career and Employment Centre that served over 30,000 young people, immigrants and career changers in the Toronto area during its’ operation.

Twitter: @rb33canada

Dr. Didyk has been a geriatrician/internist in Kitchener-Waterloo since 2004. Prior to that, she worked in Calgary and Hamilton, after completing medical training and residency at McMaster University. Nicole is an associate clinical professor at McMaster and has been involved in medical education at the Waterloo Regional Campus.

Dr. Didyk’s passion for education has led to the launch of The Wrinkle, an online educational resource for older adults, their care partners, and health professionals. Catch up with her at!

Krista James is the National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law, and a staff lawyer with the British Columbia Law Institute. Krista’s work is focused on legal and policy issues related to aging. Her practice includes legal research, policy analysis, and public legal education, involving stakeholders from healthcare, labour, finance, justice and other sectors. She has written and spoken on topics such as abuse and neglect of older adults, mental capacity, discrimination, and caregiving policy. Before joining the CCEL, Krista practiced labour law with a focus on human rights and disability issues. Over the years, Krista has worked with women’s centres and various non-profit community organizations serving low-income people in BC.

Ryan is an experienced healthcare leader with excellent interpersonal and communication skills, his passion is using data analytics to develop service delivery models that improve quality of care. He has created sustainable, positive working relationships with diverse stakeholders inside and outside of the health sector. Ryan is a mentor to many, and successfully supported an employee with MCI/dementia from the time of diagnosis to the last days of work. His experience with this employee has driven him to learn more about this neurological condition and how employers can better support staff with MCI/dementia. Ryan has a Master’s degree in Health Services Administration from Dalhousie University, and received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Lethbridge in Agricultural Biotechnology.

Ryan is currently the Director, Contracting, Procurement and Supply Management Support Services – South Zone for Alberta Health Services. He has previously held the positions of Provincial Director, Research Administration, and Site Manager of the Chinook Regional Hospital, in Lethbridge, Alberta. He started his administrative career in 2006, as the Manager of Genetic Services at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta.

Daniel J. Dutton is as assistant professor in Community Health & Epidemiology at Dalhousie University. Most of his work is quantitative, utilizing large data sets and modeling strategies from economics and epidemiology. His primary interests are population-level exposures and their impact on poverty and health, how governments can address those exposures, and the distributional impacts of addressing those exposures. Currently that work focuses on homelessness, low income, and governmental policy. 

Dan is also the Scientific Director of APPTA, an AGE-WELL hub designed to bridge the gap between researchers and policymakers, with a focus on policy changes that improve the quality of life for older adults. 

Interest group and partners

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