Research and Innovation Committee

The Fields CQAM Research and Innovation Committee (RIC) is composed of diverse leaders from the worlds of business, public policy and academia.


RIC members assess and approve funding for Fields CQAM labs and select start-ups to participate in our year-long incubation program.


RIC members also advise the Fields CQAM Director and staff on key decisions pertaining to courses, workshops and training programs.

Ian Ainsworth

Extreme Venture Partners Inc.

Ian Ainsworth is a Managing Partner of EVP and one of Canada’s top asset managers, with particular expertise investing in technology. Ian was previously the Managing Director and Chief Investment Officer of Altamira, where he was responsible for over $10 billion in assets, including $3 billion of dedicated public and private tech assets.

Under his management, tech funds outperformed all other funds in North America, resulting in his unique selection as Fund Manager of the Year over two consecutive years. More recently, Mr. Ainsworth led the growth investing team at Mackenzie Financial - a large investment management firm - as the Senior Vice-President, Investments, and serves as the Chairman of, a publicly traded software company.

Shiva Amari

Zymergen Inc.

Dr. Shiva Amari is the Director of Data Science at Zymergen Inc. Prior to joining Zymergen, she held positions as the CEO of BioSymetrics Inc., Chief Product Officer of Real Time Data Solutions Inc. and led the Informatics and Analytics team at the Ontario Brain Institute, where they developed Brain-CODE, a large-scale neuroinformatics platform for the management, processing, and analytics of big data in neuroscience across the province of Ontario. Shiva also previously led the British High Commission’s Science and Innovation team in Canada where she facilitated research, innovation and commercialization between UK and Canada. She is the President and CEO of Modecular Inc., a Computational Biochemistry start-up company developing next generation drug screening methodologies. Shiva holds a PhD from the University of Oxford in Computational Biochemistry, and is involved with several organizations, including Let’s Talk Science and Shabeh Jomeh International.

C. Lindsay Anderson

Cornell Engineering

Dr. Lindsay Anderson received her doctorate in Applied Mathematics at Western University in 2004, holding an Assistant Professorship at Western (Civil and Environmental Engineering) before joining the faculty at Cornell University. She is currently an Associate Professor and the Kathy Dwyer Marble and Kurt Marble Faculty Director for Energy at the Cornell Atkinson Center for Sustainability. Lindsay's research interests are in leveraging stochastic optimization approaches for integration of renewable and distributed resources in electric power systems.

Alyson Bailey-Flynn


Alyson Bailey-Flynn is the Vice-President, Enterprise Risk for Scotiabank.  She has 17 years of experience in capital markets, with work in interest rate derivatives, credit derivatives, equity finance, counterparty credit risk, and CVA. Prior to her current role, Alyson worked as the Regional Chief Auditor, Europe for Scotiabank, taking responsibility for audit coverage of all of Scotiabank’s activities in the UK, Ireland, and the rest of Europe and the Middle East. Prior to moving to London, she managed the Counterparty Credit Risk (CCR) and Credit Value Adjustment (CVA) projects and analytics for the trading floor. She was responsible for the roll-out of a new counterparty credit risk system across the Bank for Potential Future Exposure (PFE), CVA and Capital. She holds a MA in Mathematical Finance from the University of Toronto, and a BSc in Physics & Math from Saint Mary’s University.

Alison Begley

Alison is an executive with over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Most recently she was the Vice-President of Non-par Insurance Solutions and Reinsurance for London Life / Great-West Life / Canada Life. In this role, she was responsible for the product development and pricing of Non-par Individual Insurance Products, as well as negotiating and administering reinsurance for Individual Insurance products. Prior to moving to this role, she was the Vice-President of Individual Insurance Product Development and Pricing, where she implemented changes to individual life insurance products, illustrations and admin systems to comply with the new tax exempt test legislation that was effective January 1, 2017. Alison worked for London Life / Great-West Life / Canada Life for 22 years with the majority of that time working in either the Product Development and Pricing or Financial Management areas focused on Individual Insurance. She also has experience working for a Life Reinsurance Company. Alison is a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Actuaries (CIA) and a Fellow of the Society of Actuaries (SOA). She holds an HBSc in Actuarial Science from Western University. In recent years, Alison has served on the CIA's Committee on Life Insurance Financial Reporting (CLIFR) and the CIA's genetic testing task force.

Grace Castillo-Soyao

Self-Care Catalysts

Grace Castillo-Soyao is the Founder & CEO of Self-Care Catalysts, where she leads a high-performing team of software engineers, scientists, health researchers, commercial marketers, and patient advocates. Prior to founding Self-Care, Grace was a consultant for Johnson & Johnson Canada and the Director of Marketing for Novartis, accumulating over 20 years of commercial marketing and strategy experience from major pharmaceutical and CPG companies. Grace holds a BSc from the University of the Philippines and a certificates from the Executive Development Program from the Rotman School of Management and the Wharton School.

Mark Lewis

University of Alberta

Dr. Mark Lewis received his doctorate in Mathematics from the University of Oxford in 1990, holding assistant professorships at the University of Utah and the University of Washington before joining the faculty at the University of Alberta in 2012. He is currently the Senior Canada Research Chair in Mathematical Biology, and the Director for the Centre for Mathematical Biology at the University of Alberta. His research applies mathematical modelling to biological problems, including predicting population spread in biological invasions, calculating optimal strategies for biocontrol, and assessing the effect of habitat fragmentation on species survival.

Daniel Mulet

Radical Ventures

Daniel Mulet is an Associate on the Investment Team at Radical Ventures, where he prospects, screens, performs due diligence and completes investments. He was formerly an Associate Director at the Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) where he oversaw expansions and operations of the CDL network. Most recently built an incubator program focused on the intersection of quantum computing and machine learning that has produced forty projects across the QC stack. Prior to this, he worked with startups in life sciences and manufacturing that use deep learning in their core technologies. Before joining CDL, he led a sales team in the solar industry and worked on governance projects in Latin America for the United Nations Development Program. He holds an M.S. from New York University and a B.A. from the University of Guelph.

Fahima Nekka

McGill University

Dr. Fahima Nekka received her doctorate in Mathematics from the Uiversité de Montréal. Since 2014, she has served as the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Pharmacometrics at the Université de Montréal, and is a member of the Centre for Applied Mathematics in Bioscience and Medicine at McGill University. Fahima served as the MITACS Scientific Director for Quebec from 2007 – 2012, and currently is a member of the MITACS Research Council (MRC). Her current research focuses on the efficient integration of different drug-related aspects and mechanisms, aiming to enrich our capacity in understanding and explaining the complex interrelationship between drugs and living systems.

Nilima Nigam

Simon Fraser University

Dr. Nilima Nigam received her doctorate in Applied Mathematics from the University of Delaware in 1999. Prior to joining the Department of Mathematics at Simon Fraser University as a Professor in 2013, Nilima was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McGill University.  She also served as the Associate Scientific Director for MITACS Canada from 2008 – 2010, and was the Canada Research Chair in Applied Mathematics from 2008 – 2014. Her current research interests lie in the areas of PDE and numerical analysis, with applications in computational electromagnetics and micromagnetics.

Joseph Orozco

The Hatchery, University of Toronto 

Joseph Orozco is the co-found and Executive Director of the Entrepreneurship Hatchery at the University of Toronto. He has founded and led serval companies, including  C.R. a logistics ompany on contract with Dow; Telequote, which was ultimately sold to Reuters; Latam trade, an agnostic trading platform for the Latin American community and ‘POP’ system for brokerage firms; and Simeon International, a Canadian company that provides soundfield amplification systems for the classroom. He was also an angel investor in Medipattern Corporation in 2010.  Orozco holds a Bachelors of Industrial Engineering from Javeriana University and a MA in Marketing from Andes University. Orozco has also studied at The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania in its Mergers and Acquisitions Executive Program; and at the Rotman School of Management.

George Papanicolaou

Stanford University

Dr. George Papanicolaou received his doctorate in Mathematics from New York University in 1969.  After completion of his degree he served in a number of positions on the faculty of the Courant Institute until 1993. He joined the Mathematics Department at Stanford University in 1993, where he was appointed the Robert Grimmett Professor in Mathematics in 1997. Over the course of his academic career George has published over 200 papers and four books, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a member of the U.S National Academy of Sciences. His current research focuses on assessing multiple scattering effects in imaging and communications systems.

Dan Rosen

d1g1t Inc.

Dr. Dan Rosen is CEO and co-founder of d1g1t Inc., a new wealth management platform powered by advanced analytics that provides transparent portfolio management services to financial advisers and their individual investors. Dan was the co-founder and CEO of R2 Financial Technologies, acquired by S&P Capital IQ in 2012. Prior to this, he had a successful career over a decade at Algorithmics Inc. (acquired by IBM). In addition to working with numerous financial institutions around the world, he lectures extensively on risk and portfolio management financial engineering, and Fintech innovation. Dan was inducted in 2010 a Fellow of the Fields Institute for his “outstanding contributions to the Fields Institute, its programs, and to the Canadian mathematical community”. He holds a MASc and PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Toronto.

Elliot Shiffman

Generation Ventures

Elliot Shiffman has served as the Vice-President Operations for Generation Ventures since 2016 after almost two decades of working in industry. Prior to joining Generation Ventures, Elliot was a Divisional Vice-President for Sears Canada, running a $100 M product and services division, and a Senior Manager, Partner Development, for Research in Motion.  He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business.

Abdullah Snobar

DMZ, Ryerson University

Abdullah Snobar is the Executive Director of the DMZ, responsible for the strategic direction and continued growth of the DMZ in Toronto, nationally and internationally. Under his leadership, the DMZ has successfully expanded into the U.S. with its first office in New York City’s financial district, launched a leading revenue and sales growth accelerator program for high-potential startups, and created a world-class Entrepreneurs-in-Residence program, which matches some of the best leaders in tech with DMZ entrepreneurs. Abdullah has also spearheaded a new Advisory Council comprised of the top business and tech minds in North America as well as played an instrumental role in launching the DMZ’s Sandbox, the city’s first free skills development space for aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs. Prior to his current position, Abdullah served as the Director, Community & Business Development for the DMZ and as a Manager, Undergraduate Student Relations and Development, for Ryerson University.  He holds a B.Comm and a MBA degree from Ryerson University.

Salim Teja


Salim Teja has served as the President, Venture Services, for MaRs since 2013, where he leads the overall strategic direction of MaRS venture services areas: Energy & Environment, Finance & Commerce, Health, and Work & Learning. Prior to joining Mars, Salim served as the Vice-President of Corporate Development at Indigo Books & Music, where he drove the formation of the company’s Digital Innovation Lab. Prior to Indigo, Teja held the position of COO at CX Digital, a leading online ad network. He has also held roles as COO of b5media and partner with early-stage VC firm Brightspark Ventures, where he was the driving force behind investments, including Radian6 (recently acquired by He was also co-founder and vice president of sales and business development for San Francisco-based MobShop Inc., a pioneer in online group-buying funded by GE Capital, Visa International, Mayfield Fund and Marc Andreessen. He is a graduate of the University of Western Ontario’s Richard Ivey School of Business.

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