Scientific Advisory Committee Chair

Dr. Paul Burton, MD, MRCP(UK), CStat, FFPH
Dr. Paul Burton, MD, MRCP(UK), CStat, FFPHSAC Chair
Paul Burton is Professor of Data Science for Health at the University of Newcastle.

Professor of Data Science for Health

Institute of Health and Society,

University of Newcastle,

United Kingdom

His current research program concentrates on infrastructural development in contemporary population bioscience. This includes the theory and practice that underpins the design, set-up and harmonization of major biobanks and cohort studies. He also has a particular focus on the challenges and opportunities to be addressed if streamlined access is to be enabled to large-scale data and samples in a manner that broadens the user-base while maintaining reliable information security.

He leads the international DataSHIELD project (EU FP7, MRC, WT) which provides a novel approach to secure utilisation of data based on parallelized mathematical modelling and distributed computing. He is PI of 58-READIE (MRC and WT) that maintains and enhances the infrastructural platform underpinning data and biosample release from the Biomedical Resource of the 1958 Birth Cohort and is lead of the technical group METADAC (MRC, ESRC, WT) that now oversees access to the biomedical components of 1958, 1970 and Millennium Cohorts and Understanding Society. He is co-PI (leading on infrastructural development) of ALSPAC (the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children, also MRC and WT). He sits on the Expert Advisory Group on Data Access (WT, MRC, ESRC, CRUK) and chairs the Scientific Advisory Committee of Alberta’s Tomorrow Project, and the International Steering Committee of P3G (the Montreal-based Public Population Project in Genomics in Society).

Scientific Advisory Committee Member

Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD
Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhDSAC Member
Bartha Maria Knoppers, PhD, is Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University, Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine 2001-present and the holder of Chaire d’excellence Pierre Fermat (France) (2006-2008).
Director of the Centre of Genomics and Policy

Canada Research Chair in Law and Medicine

Faculty of Medicine, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University

She was named Distinguished Visiting Scientist (Netherlands Genomics Initiative) (2009-2012). Formerly, Professor at the Faculté de droit, Université de Montréal (1985-2009) and Senior Researcher at the Centre de recherche en droit public (C.R.D.P.) (1996-2009). Graduate of McMaster University (B.A.), University of Alberta (M.A.), McGill University (LL.B., B.C.L.), Cambridge University, U.K., (D.L.S.), Sorbonne Paris I (Phd.). She was admitted to the Bar of Québec in 1985.

Professor Knoppers was the former Chair of the International Ethics committee of the Human Genome Organization (HUGO) (1996-2004), and member of the International Bioethics Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) which drafted the Universal Declaration on the Human Genome and Human Rights (1993-1997). Co-Founder of the International Institute of Research in Ethics and Biomedicine (IIREB) (2000 – 2009), she founded the Population Project in Genomics (P3G) and CARTaGENE in 2003. From 2000-2006 she served on the Board of Genome Canada, became Chair of the Ethics Working Party of the International Stem Cell Forum, Co-Chair of the Sampling/ELSI Committee of the 1000 Genomes Project (2007-) and a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Cancer Genome Consortium (ICGC) (2009-). In 2013, she became Chair of the Regulatory and Ethics Working Group and Member of the Steering Committee (TSC) of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health.

Professor Knoppers received a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from the University of Waterloo (2001), a Doctor of Medicine Honoris Causa from Université de Paris V (René Descartes) (2002), a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from McMaster University, Ontario (2007) and a Doctor of Laws Honoris Causa from the University of Alberta in 2008. In 2002, she was elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, selected as one of the 50 Nation Builders in Canada by the Globe and Mail, and named Officer of the Order of Canada. In that same year, she was elected Fellow of The Hastings Center (Bioethics), New York, member of the International Ethics Committee of the World Anti-Doping Agency and in April 2005, Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS). She was elected Governor of the Quebec Bar in 2006 and in 2007 was elected Advocatus Emeritus. In 2011, she received the ACFAS Prix Jacques Rousseau for interdisciplinarity. In April 2012 she was name Officer of the Ordre national du Quebec and in June received an award “Prix Montreal In Vivo: Secteur des sciences de la vie et des technologies de la santé”. In 2013, she was named “Champion of Genetics” by the Canadian Gene Cure Foundation. In 2014, she was named “Great Montrealer”, Scientific Sector, Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.

Scientific Advisory Committee Member

Nancy Pedersen, PhD
Nancy Pedersen, PhDSAC Member
A graduate of the University of Minnesota (B.A. Magna cum Laude) and the University of Colorado (M.A., Ph.D.), Professor Pedersen has been at Karolinska Institutet (KI) for 35 years. She has served as the vice chair and chair of the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, and as the vice dean of research at KI. She is a member of the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, which awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Professor of Genetic Epidemiology at the Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Research Professor of Psychology at the University of Southern California

As PI of the Swedish Adoption Twin Study of Aging, which has been ongoing for 30 years, and co-PI on other twin studies of aging and the Study of Dementia in Swedish Twins, she has demonstrated how genetic influences decrease in importance late in life for some cognitive abilities whereas genetic influences for Alzheimer’s disease remain substantial. Her current research efforts are focused on both gene-environment interplay in healthy aging as well as on the etiology of chronic diseases of the elderly including dementia, Parkinson’s disease, late onset depression and other diseases with neuropsychiatric components in midlife such as chronic fatigue. Key to her research is the study of comorbidity and the extent to which there are pleiotropic and epistatic effects explaining these cormobidities and associations. She is currently identifying the mechanisms by which changes in methylation patterns in the brain and blood are reflected in cognitive decline, dementia and cardiovascular disease.

Pedersen has over 520 peer-reviewed publications in scientific journals and has been supported by funds from the NIH since the 1980’s (NIA, NIEHS, NIDDK, NINDS). She has mentored 22 PhD students and 15 postdocs.

Through Nancy Pedersen’s efforts, the Swedish Twin Registry has been rejuvenated and expanded to include essentially all twins born in Sweden since 1886 and with prospective information that has and will continue to be a foundation for numerous research efforts in the field of genetic epidemiology. She is now the Scientific Director of LifeGene, a prospective cohort study that will collect phenotype, exposure, and biobanking materials on 250,000 Swedes.

Scientific Advisory Committee Member

Dr. Kim Raine, PhD, RD
Dr. Kim Raine, PhD, RDSAC Member
Dr Raine’s research program, Promoting Optimal Weights through Ecological Research (POWER), explores the social and environmental determinants of the emerging obesity epidemic
Professor, School of Public Health, University of Alberta
Her team’s research explores the ways in which social conditions and people’s behaviours (particularly food and eating behaviours) interact to transmit obesity and chronic diseases through social means.

Although her expertise is primarily in qualitative methods, such as ethnography, she collaborates with colleagues who bring diverse quantitative methods to the team, so that they are able to explore how social factors such as policies, commercialization of food, and the built environment of communities where people live may invisibly structure people’s choices.

With knowledge of how social forces may be shaping the health of people and communities, her current research priorities are on intervening on the social conditions contributing to obesity and chronic diseases. Her contribution to intervention development and evaluation includes conducting large-scale, community-based and population policy-level health promotion initiatives to address chronic disease prevention.

Her philosophy has always been to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and this can best be accomplished if stakeholders are made aware of the relationships demonstrated through research initiatives and stimulated to act on them. Therefore, a priority of all of her research endeavours is an integration of practitioners and policy decision-makers into the research/ intervention team to facilitate rapid action.


PhD, Dalhousie University, 1993

MA, Mount Saint Vincent University, 1988

RD, Victoria General Hospital, 1983


Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (FCAHS), 2012

Applied Public Health Chair, Canadian Institutes of Health Research / Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, 2008 – 2013

Health Senior Scholar, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 2005 – 2010

Health Scholar, Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, 2000 – 2004

Scientific Advisory Committee Member

Stephen Robbins, PhD
Stephen Robbins, PhDSAC Member
In addition to his role as Scientific Director of the Institute for Cancer Research at CIHR, Dr. Robbins is a Professor in the Departments of Oncology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary.
Scientific Director, Institute of Cancer Research, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Professor, Departments of Oncology, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, University of Calgary

He joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary in 1996 after training at the University of California, San Francisco in the laboratory of Nobel laureate Dr. J. Michael Bishop. His research activities include deciphering how extracellular signals are recognized by cells to control cellular proliferation and differentiation. During his research career, he favoured a more translational approach, which led to defining new therapies for malaria, the discovery of a novel class of anti-inflammatory agents and new therapeutic targets for brain tumours. He has also developed and fostered the use of the Microarray Technology to define molecular blueprints of various childhood cancers. He has served on and chaired several national grant panels including the National Cancer Institute of Canada, Cancer Research Society and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He currently serves on the Advisory Committee on Research for the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute and the Scientific Advisory Committee for the Terry Fox Research Institute.

Scientific Advisory Committee Member

Richard P Troiano, PhD
Richard P Troiano, PhDSAC Member
Richard (Rick) Troiano, PhD, is a Program Director in the Risk Factor Assessment Branch of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), and is currently serving on a detail to the Office of the Surgeon General.
Risk Factor Monitoring and Methods Branch, Applied Research Program

US National Cancer Institute

Richard (Rick) Troiano, PhD, is a Program Director in the Risk Factor Assessment Branch of the Epidemiology and Genomics Research Program in the Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences at the US National Cancer Institute (NCI), and is currently serving on a detail to the Office of the Surgeon General. He received his master’s and doctoral degrees in nutrition from Cornell University. His research interest is improved understanding of the relationship between health and physical activity, with a particular focus on the measurement of physical activity. Dr. Troiano promotes the use of accelerometer-based devices in the assessment of physical activity in research and population surveillance and improved understanding of the information obtained from devices and self-reports.

In 1993, Dr. Troiano entered government service and the Commissioned Corps of the US Public Health Service as an Epidemic Intelligence Service Officer with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He joined the Division of Health Examination Statistics of the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics, where he helped design the body composition, physical activity and physical fitness components of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Since moving to the NCI, Dr. Troiano has extended his work with the NHANES by implementing the use of devices to obtain measures of participants’ physical activity, sleep, and body strength. Captain Troiano is the author of more than 70 publications and has been a member of the Interagency Work Group for the Healthy People 2010 and 2020 Nutrition and Overweight Focus Area and the Healthy People 2020 Physical Activity and Fitness Focus Area. During an earlier detail to the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Dr. Troiano was the Coordinator of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) development of 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.

Scientific Advisory Committee Member

Shelley Tworoger, PhD
Shelley Tworoger, PhDSAC Member
Dr Tworoger’s research focus is to enhance ovarian cancer prevention, using an integrative approach involving collaborations with biostatisticians, pathologists, and oncologists; this constitutes a powerful method for improving understanding of ovarian carcinogenesis.
Associate Epidemiologist, Brigham and Women’s Hospital

Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School

She leads the ovarian cancer research efforts in the Nurses’ Health Studies (NHS/NHSII) and NHS P01 Ovarian Cancer Project. Additionally, she co-leads a new international, NCI-sponsored research effort, the Ovarian Cancer Cohort Consortium. Her work in ovarian cancer falls into three primary areas: (a) identifying new risk factors, (b) evaluating disease heterogeneity, and (c) elucidating early carcinogenic changes. Most known risk factors for ovarian cancer are not easily modifiable; however, this cancer’s poor prognosis makes it important to identify methods for prevention. Her interests in this area include diet (flavonoids, acrylamide) and novel risk factors, such as beta-blocker medications, stress, and inflammation.

A common thread in her research is a strong interest in optimal integration of biologic markers into epidemiologic studies through her role as Director of the BWH/Harvard Cohorts Biorepository. This core (annual budget ~$1.5 million) maintains the scientific integrity of and uses nearly two million biospecimens from over 120,000 NHS/NHSII women. Her primary responsibilities include assisting investigators with the scientific aspects of incorporating biomarkers into their studies, managing laboratory and data management personnel, overseeing new sample collections, and investigating new technologies.