EDI Advisory Group

Fareeda Lakhani, SOSCIP
Programs Officer & Member of the EDI Working Group
Chair, SOSCIP EDI Advisory Group

Fareeda brings 10 years of not-for-profit experience including 5 years in the innovation ecosystem supporting industry-academic collaboration at Ontario Centres of Excellence. She is passionate about breaking down barriers for the next generation of innovators from equity-seeking groups.

Angella Mignon-Smith
Senior Engineer at Candu Energy, Board President at STEMHub Foundation, Public Speaker

Angella Mignon-Smith is an engineer, volunteer and life-long learner. She’s an experienced public speaker who has appeared at over a dozen events and is currently serving as the Board President of STEMHub Foundation, a charity that is focused on bringing high-quality STEM programs to underserved communities in the GTA. Angella is not only dedicated to giving back, but also to showing her two daughters the importance of education, and that it’s possible to take a less-traditional path. Angella is the daughter of immigrants and is also very interested in history, social justice, personal finance and health and wellness. She’s a strong believer that education and business are the keys to advancing the black community. Angella believes that our society would be better off when the status of ALL women is elevated in all aspects of life and that it truly takes allyship with men to see this through. When she’s not climbing around reactors, you can find her training for her next distance race.

Viraj Mane, PhD
Chief Scientific Officer / Co-Founder at Lactiga, Inc.

Viraj earned a Ph.D. in Human Genetics from Baylor College of Medicine then completed two postdoctoral fellowships at the U.S. FDA and the University of Maryland spanning immunology, virology, drug delivery and nanotechnology.

Viraj then transitioned into portfolio management roles in medical countermeasures for the U.S. Department of Defense followed by technology development and portfolio management roles in Toronto.

His leadership of Lactiga’s research and intellectual property programs has led to 3 issued patents, registered trademarks, an NIH Emergency Award, several additional awards, and Sponsored Research Agreements with multiple research institutions. Lactiga’s mission is to deliver transformative therapeutics to protect immunodeficient patients from severe and recurring infections.

Dr. Mehdi Kargar
Assistant Professor at Ryerson University, SOSCIP SAC Member

Dr. Mehdi Kargar is an Assistant Professor at Ted Rogers School of Information Technology Management at Ryerson University and an adjunct assistant professor at the Department of Management Sciences at the University of Waterloo (since 2017). He is also a member of SOSCIP Scientific Advisory Committee representing Ryerson University (since 2019). From 2016 to 2018, he was an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at the University of Windsor. His research concerns data management, business intelligence, big data analytics, and sustainability. He is awarded multiple research grants since 2017, including NSERC DG and SOSCIP TalentEdge. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from York University (2009-2013). He is specifically interested in designing and developing search systems over enterprise databases for business users. His research is published in data management top-tier venues like VLDBJ, PVLDB, ACM SIGMOD, IEEE ICDE, IEEE TKDE, IP&M, ACM CIKM and SIAM SDM. He holds an M.Sc. and a B.Sc. in Software Engineering from Sharif University of Technology in Iran and was ranked 7th in Iranian National Scientific Olympiad for university students in Computer Engineering in 2006.

Pallavi Roy, PhD
Policy Advisory at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

Pallavi Roy is a Policy Advisor at Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada working on issues related to clean technology and innovation. A strong champion of equity, diversity and inclusion she has extensive experience working with diverse groups to co-create inclusive solutions, providing gender-based analysis and designing inclusive frameworks.  Before working for the Federal Government, Pallavi was a Senior Associate at MaRS Discovery District, working on issues related to the energy transition. Pallavi has also worked as a community animator and facilitator with numerous not-for-profit environmental organizations in Toronto. She previously spearheaded a project at CultureLink Settlement and Community Services, to increase environmental focus in settlement work, with the aim of creating a more diverse environmental sector in Toronto. Pallavi was a member of Earth Day’s Tapestry Leadership Program’s first cohort which focused on supporting diverse environmental leadership in Toronto and Canada. An enthusiastic champion of environmental values, she believes in the power of people and communities to create an inclusive, sustainable and better future for all.

Dr. Yohai Meiron
Scientific Applications Analyst, SciNet High-Performance Computing Consortium, University of Toronto

Yohai is a scientific applications analyst at SciNet, the supercomputing centre of the University of Toronto and a sister organization of SOSCIP. He is an expert on parallel and GPU computing and Linux system administration, and consults our project teams on the SOSCIP GPU Platform, especially on issues related to machine learning. Yohai’s background is in physics and astrophysics, especially stellar dynamics and black holes. As a postdoc, he has been developing GPU-accelerated simulation software and analysis tools. Beyond his research focus, he is interested in other scientific disciplines such as biology and paleontology, as well as social issues. He is a strong believer in the importance of high-quality education and academic opportunities for all.

Dr. Juna Kollmeier
Director, Canadian Institute for Theoretical Astrophysics (CITA)

Prior to her current position as founding Director of CITA, Professor Kollmeier was on faculty and served as the founding director of the Carnegie Theoretical Astrophysics Center at The Observatories of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Pasadena, California. An observationally oriented theorist in astrophysics, director of the Sloan Digital Sky Surveys (SDSS-V) and a scientist committed to public outreach, Juna Kollmeier studies how structures grow and evolve in the universe, focusing on supermassive black holes, the Milky Way and the intergalactic medium.

She holds a Bachelor of Science in physics with honours from the California Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science and PhD in astronomy, both from The Ohio State University, where, in addition to her thesis work, she designed, built and deployed instrumentation parts for two telescopes as part of the Ohio State Astronomy Instrumentation Lab team.

She was named a Fulbright Scholar, was an Institute for Advanced Study Visiting Professor in 2015-16, and received Hubble and Carnegie-Princeton Fellowships. She is a CIFAR Fellow and most recently, has been selected the 2022 International Solvay Chair in Physics.

**SOSCIP’s EDI Advisory Group as of December 12, 2021