Meet The Team


Dr. Arlene Astell || CPSYCHOL

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. 

For more information visit:

Dr. Jennifer Boger || PHD PEng

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. 

For more information visit:

Dr. Josephine McMurray | MRT, MBA, PHD, FBTM

Dr. Josephine McMurray, PhD, MBA, MRT, is an Associate Professor at the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, Wilfrid Laurier University, in the Business Technology Management Program, Adjunct Associate Professor in the Arthur Labatt Family School of Nursing at Western University, and Associate Scientific Director at AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network. Josephine’s PhD in Health Studies & Gerontology from the School of Public Health and Health Systems at the University of Waterloo, focussed on electronic medical record adoption as a measure of health system performance. She has conducted and presented research both nationally and internationally at the intersection of healthcare, technology & management. Her current funded research explores the implementation of geo-location technologies in healthcare, the use of technology to accommodate employees diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment & dementia, and the use of AI in disability management. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally.

Dr. Catherine Burns || MASc, BASc, PhD

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. 

For more information visit:

Dr. AnneMarie Levy || PhD Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science

AnneMarie is an accomplished neuroscientist that studies the behavioural and neurobiological basis of learning and memory as it relates to addictive disorders. She earned her Master of Science and PhD in Psychology specializing in Neuroscience and Applied Cognitive Science where her research focused on standardizing methodologies for evaluating the abuse liability of sugar. She is a lecturer with the Faculty of Science and researcher with the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University. Dr. Levy oversees the research activities of Cog@Work and is pursuing her interests in the health care of aging populations and the development, evaluation, and implementation of technology to support individuals with cognitive impairment. She also coordinates and contributes to programs of research exploring interventions/technologies to support older adults with dementia living in long-term care settings through Kite Research Institute, University Health Network and Brock University.  

Highly qualified personnel

Kristina Kokorelias

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.

Nirusa Nadesar

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. 

Umar Rasool

Umar Rasool is in his third year of a BSc in Computer Science at Wilfrid Laurier University. He is currently working as a Cog@Work Research Assistant and HQP under the supervision of Dr. Josephine McMurray and Dr. AnneMarie Levy. His work at Cog@Work consists of website development, conetent creation, and social media administration

He seeks to further his understanding of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Early Onset Dementia in the workplace, and help bridge the gap between technology and healthcare.


Rosemary Leslie

Rosemary Leslie is a Cog@Work collaborator. She is a professional engineer who has worked as an environmental consultant and now works for the Federal Government on preventing pollution and protecting the environment. She spent many years completing projects for municipalities and a First Nation in Ontario. Her interests include nature, photography, international development, traveling, art, indigenous issues and science education. Her favourite pastimes are reading, biking and running.

Former collaborators

Roger Marple

A note from the Research Team:

Roger had a profound impact on the Cog@Work program of research. His personal experiences of working and living well with dementia at Alberta Health Services is an inspiration for our work, and his commitment to supporting the research team through his extensive network of collaborators was unmatched. He dedicated valuable time and expertise to Cog@Work, and we will continue to share Roger’s story and lessons through our work.

Advisory Board

Ron Beleno

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. 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

Nicole Didyk || MD

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

Krista James is a lawyer, writer, feminist, and community organizer. She is currently Policy Director for Vancouver Coastal Health. She was a Staff Lawyer with the BC Law Institute for 15 years, including 11 years in the position of National Director of the Canadian Centre for Elder Law. Krista was called to the BC bar in 1998 after articling with the Legal Services Society of BC (now Legal Aid BC). She has practiced labour and human rights law, and written and presented extensively on health law, human rights, and dementia. Over the years Krista has worked with various legal non-profits as staff, volunteer, and board member, including both more traditional lawyer positions and gigs as advocate and victim assistance worker.

You can find Krista on LinkedIn.

Ryan Thompson

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.

Daniel Dutton

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

Content Coming Soon…