Conference Speaker Bios
Emma Allen-Vercoe obtained her BSc (Hons) in Biochemistry from the University of London, and her PhD in Molecular Microbiology through an industrial partnership with what is now Public Health England. Her lab at the University of Guelph focuses on trying to culture the so-called ‘unculturable’ microbes of the human gut in order to better understand their biology. To do this, she developed a lab specializing in anaerobic bacteriology along with a model gut system (dubbed ‘Robogut’) to emulate the conditions of the human gut and allow communities of microbes to grow together, as they do naturally. Emma is a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair and her lab currently runs many projects that are broad in nature, but united under the banner of human microbiome research. In 2013, Emma co-founded NuBiyota, a research spin-off company that aims to create therapeutic ecosystems as biologic drugs, on a commercial scale. The research enterprise for this company is also based in Guelph.
Lynne Briggs is currently the Manager-Recreation Services for the City of Guelph. Within this portfolio is Senior Services. Lynne has spent most of her 21-year career with the City of Guelph advocating for services for seniors and was fully involved with the early efforts towards Guelph becoming an Age Friendly Community.
Alison Duncan is a Professor and a Dietitian and Associate Director of Research at the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit, in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Guelph and also currently serves as the Research Program Director for the Food for Health theme of the Ontario Agri-Food Innovation Alliance. Following an undergraduate degree in Applied Human Nutrition from the University of Guelph, she completed training to become a Registered Dietitian in Toronto, a M.Sc. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Toronto and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Minnesota. Her current research interests relate to the biological effects of functional foods on chronic disease-related endpoints evaluated in human intervention studies, with a particular focus on the agri-food-health continuum. Her teaching is in the area of functional food and natural health products, at the undergraduate and graduate level. Alison has served on grant review panels in Canada and the United States, reviews manuscripts for several journals on a regular basis and currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Nutrition and on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer for the Canadian Nutrition Society.
Evan Fraser started thinking about agriculture and food systems while spending summers working on his grandfather’s farm in Niagara. There, he watched his stockbroker grandmother make way more money than his grandfather who produced strawberries, melons and sweet corn for local markets. Therefore, it was perhaps unsurprising when he decided it was easier to write and talk about farming than actually try to make a living on it. He passed on inheriting the family farm, opting instead for grad school. Today, he holds the Canada Research Chair in Global Food Security and is a full professor of geography at the University of Guelph. He is also the director of the Arrell Food Institute at the University of Guelph. He has written for the Globe and Mail, the Guardian.com, CNN.com, ForeignAffairs.com, the Walrus and the Ottawa Citizen, and has two popular non-fiction books about food and food security including Empires of Food: Feast, Famine and the Rise and Fall of Civilizations that was published by Simon and Schuster and shortlisted for the James Beard Food Literature Award. Evan’s web video series on “feeding nine billion” has been watched over 450,000 times, he has self-published a graphic novel called #FoodCrisis about a fictitious food crisis that hits North America in the 2020s. Evan has also created a card game about global food security. The videos, the graphic novel and the card game have been pulled together in a series of teacher-friendly high school lesson plans that are used in classrooms around the world.
Manon Germain is a consultant on age-friendly initiatives, as well as founder and social entrepreneur with Pi Network Inc. She is passionate about community development and creating collaborative frameworks that support the development of age-friendly communities. Manon seeks to steward initiatives that are inclusive, value respect, celebrate diversity, and create safe spaces for people to age-well and be healthy. She believes that capacity building can lead to positive social impact, by shifting paradigms, changing norms, stereotypes and stigma associated with aging.
Kris Gies is Outreach Coordinator, OVC Pet Trust, working with veterinary hospitals, students, industry and community groups, and members of the general public to build awareness of and participation in OVC Pet Trust initiatives, most notably the Pet Memorial Program. Kris has a PhD in history from the University of Guelph and while completing his degree worked as the coordinator of the University’s Centre for Scottish Studies.
Kathryn Harvey has been the Head of Archival and Special Collections (ASC) at the University of Guelph since 2009. She holds a PhD in English from the University of Alberta and an MLIS from Dalhousie University and has taught a wide variety of courses from English to event planning to Archives and the Digital Humanities at the University of Alberta, Mount Saint Vincent University, Dalhousie University, and the University of Guelph. A former President of the Association of Canadian Archivists, she has presented and published on a variety of subjects including the role archives and archivists play in society, archival outreach, Canadian theatre archives, ASC’s culinary collections, and ASC’s Scottish collections. She was invited to be guest editor of the “Archives” issue of Canadian Theatre Review (Fall 2013) and co-edited The Johnson Family Treasury: A Collection of Recipes and Remedies, 1741-1848 with Nathalie Cooke, a manuscript receipt book from ASC's collections. She continues to seek opportunities to share the richness of the University of Guelph’s Archival and Special Collections through teaching and publishing.
Tuuli Kukkonen is a licensed Clinical Psychologist, Associate Professor and the Director of the Psychophysiology of Sexual Health (POSH) lab in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. Dr. Kukkonen’s research focuses on the measurement of sexual response across the adult lifespan, with a particular interest in aging and sexual arousal. She currently serves as an Associate Editor for the Archives of Sexual Behavior and is on the Executive Council for the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.
Doug and Nathan Larson
Doug Larson retired from the University of Guelph 10 years ago after a 35 year teaching and research career. He is best known for the discovery of the ancient forests of the Niagara Escarpment. Nathan Larson started working at the University of Guelph 10 years ago after graduating in Microbiology. While not teaching and conducting research, Doug was heavily involved with instrument building, songwriting, and recording. Doug and Nathan formed a band called Kid Coma in 1999 and also produced five albums between then and 2009. Complete Metamorphosis is still available on iTunes. Material in those records covered many environmental and political topics. Most recently Doug has recorded an album (Things that need to be said, see www.larsonknox.com) with Steve Knox of the Kramdens. Doug and Nathan frequently perform songs from that album. Doug’s best-known post-retirement project was the building of the Storyteller Guitar and the writing of a book of the same name (Dundurn, 2011). Nathan’s working projects are involved with increasing the safety of the global food supply system. Doug and Nathan show that both in retirement and in work limits are things you impose on yourself.
Peggy Pritchard is an award-winning educator, academic librarian (retired), and member of the St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog (TD) Program. She and her löwchen, “Taksim,” are Hospice Wellington’s first TD team (2015) and weekly visitors to the residence. She mentors all new TD teams, and piloted HW’s TD program for community palliative clients (Fall 2018). Instrumental in introducing TDs to the University of Guelph (2016), she continues to work with campus partners to expand the stress-buster program. Over 4,000 students have benefitted to date. The program, protocols, risk management strategies, and more, are discussed in her recently published book chapter.
David Scott-Thomas holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Guelph, a B.Ed. from Queens University, and a Diploma of Coaching from the University of Victoria. David has served as a national team coach and has coached Olympic and world champion athletes. He has been recognized for his contributions as a coach, being named three times as Ontario University Athletics (OUA) Coach of the Year for all sports, U Sport (Canadian University) National Coach of the Year over thirty times, and in 2018, David was inducted into the Guelph Sports Hall of Fame.
Maryanne's interest in socio-economic, health and housing related trends and issues faced by adults as they age has spanned much of her academic and working career. In 1986, she graduated with a Masters Degree from the University of Guelph College of Social Sciences with a research focus on the residential moves made by seniors in post-retirement. Throughout her career, she has worked in the fields of social housing development and management, medical sociology, health promotion and advocacy for older adults.
Since 2007, Maryanne has been employed with the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association in various roles and is currently their Manager of Community Support Services. In addition, she represents the GWSA on the Wellington Seniors Services Network, the Wellington Community Consultation Team for Seniors at Risk and the Suicide Awareness Council of Wellington Dufferin.