LSO Virtual Webinar Series: COVID-19 and the Future of Our Health Research and Innovation System

MayMay 28 2020 03:00pm - 04:30pm

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Life Sciences Ontario, in collaboration with Shift Health, is pleased to convene this important conversation on Thursday 28 May from 3:00 to 4:30 pm. Our speakers will share their insights as we look to learn from the COVID-19 calamity and prepare our health research and innovation system for a resilient, productive and impactful future.


While we are still at the early stages of this pandemic, we can see that COVID-19 is altering—perhaps irreversibly—the health research and innovation ecosystem, compressing into mere weeks structural and system-level adaptations that might otherwise have evolved over a multi-year, if not generational, timescale:

  • We are mainstreaming previously exploratory or avant-garde approaches to science, collaboration and interdisciplinarity.
  • We are confronting the limitations of prevailing models of data collection, information-sharing and public engagement.
  • We are revisiting regulatory and peer-review rules and conventions to enable unparalleled dexterity.


COVID-19 has proven that our research and innovation system has the potential to perform with far greater agility, alacrity, and ambition, inviting reimagination of the rules, conventions, and practices that will guide us into the future.


Is this crisis-induced response a transient ‘wartime’ improvisation, or have we let the genie out of the bottle? COVID-19 invites reflection on what our ‘wartime’ response might mean for our ‘peacetime’ innovation system.



  • Dr. Jim Tartaglia, Vice-President R&D, Global Head of Projects, Sanofi Pasteur
  • Bogi Eliasen, Director of Health, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies
  • Connie Côté, Chief Executive Officer, Health Charites Coalition of Canada
  • Charu Kaushic, Scientific Director, CIHR’s Institute of Infection and Immunity
  • Dr. Ryan Wiley, President, Shift Health



To read "COVID-19 and the Future of Health Research and Innovation", a recent report published by Shift Health, please click here 


Speaker Bios: 

Dr. Jim Tartaglia, Vice-President R&D, Global Head of Projects, Sanofi Pasteur

Dr. Jim Tartaglia currently holds the position of Vice President R&D, Head of New Vaccine Portfolio Strategy & Execution Function for Sanofi Pasteur and is based in Swiftwater, PA, USA.  Prior to this role, Jim held positions of site head for Research, site head for R&D at the Toronto site, and global head of Program/Project Leader Function. Prior to joining Sanofi Pasteur-Canada in 1999, Jim held the position of Executive Director of Research at Virogenetics Corporation of Troy, New York, a former subsidiary of Sanofi Pasteur.  While at Virogenetics, he helped develop the poxvirus vector technology as an immunization vehicle for both veterinary and human applications.

Dr. Tartaglia is an inventor on over 20 patents relating to recombinant vaccines and has authored over 130 publications in the areas of molecular virology and recombinant vaccine technology. Dr. Tartaglia has been involved in the licensure of several vaccines in the human and veterinary fields and was a key figure in the HIV Thai trial, RV144, which led to first demonstration that a vaccine regimen can reduce the risk of acquisition to HIV infection. Dr. Tartaglia participates as an associate editor/reviewer for certain peer-reviewed journals, as well as serves as an expert contributor to Faculty of 1000.


Bogi Eliasen, Director of Health, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies

Bogi Eliasen is a knowledge-broker bringing the expertise of all kinds of disciplines together. He is an expert on international politics and law and has as project director and initiator developed the first nationwide genome sequencing project in the world, with a special focus on the societal frame and utility, FarGen.

He is also an expert on the Future of Health at Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies where his focus is on cross-disciplinarity with special emphasis in genomics and data in the future of health. He has been leading the efforts of aligning the Nordics with the process Nordic Health 2030 and is also pushing boundaries in Eastern Europe with building a specific Eastern European approach to personalized health. Bogi is also the Head of Denmark Unit UNESCO Chair in Bioethics. In 2019 he got the HIMSS Future50 International Achievement Award.


Connie Côté, Chief Executive Officer, Health Charites Coalition of Canada

Connie has extensive experience in the health sector, coming to HCCC from the Canadian Lung Association, where she served as Senior Director. She has demonstrated great success in bringing varied stakeholders together, most significantly as the Senior Director of the National Lung Health Framework. She brings a strong background in public policy, very relevant to HCCC's strategic focus.

She has also worked for the Federation of Medical Regulatory Authorities of Canada, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, the Canadian Cancer Society, Hospice Kingston and the New Hope Senior Citizen's Day Centre. Connie holds a Masters of Human Systems Intervention from Concordia University and is fluently bilingual.





Charu Kaushic, Scientific Director, CIHR’s Institute of Infection and Immunity

Charu Kaushic is the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-Institute of Infection and Immunity, serving in this role since July 1, 2018. Dr. Kaushic is also a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine in McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.  In her role as the Scientific Director for CIHR-III, Dr.Kaushic is responsible for making decisions for CIHR strategic investments in the area of infection and immunity, nationally and internationally. She also represents CIHR and Government of Canada at various national and international forums related to infectious diseases. In this capacity she serves as a Co-Chair of GloPID-R, a global consortium of funders in pandemic preparedness and emergency response research. She also represents Canada on the JPIAMR Management Board. Dr. Kaushic has a PhD in Immunology and did her post-doctoral training in mucosal immunology. Since her faculty appointment in McMaster in 2002, she has done extensive teaching and training in immunology and built an interdisciplinary research program in women’s reproductive health, specifically basic, clinical and translational research
examining susceptibility and immune responses to sexually transmitted viruses, HIV-1 and HSV-2. Prior to joining CIHR, Dr. Kaushic’s research program was funded by CIHR, CFI, CANFAR and OHTN. She has received numerous national and international awards including a Rockefeller post-doctoral fellowship, CIHR New Investigator Award, OHTN Research Scholar award, OHTN Research Chair award and the 2017 American Journal of Reproductive Immunology Research Excellence Award.


Dr. Ryan Wiley, President, Shift Health

Dr. Ryan Wiley is President of Shift Health, which he has helped to grow into one of the most dynamic and trusted advisory teams in the health and life sciences arena, with footholds in North America, Europe and the Middle East. Working with global leaders in the contexts of business, healthcare, science and policy, Ryan brings a unique ability to envision and unlock the benefits of collaboration across disciplines, sectors and borders.

Over his fifteen-year consulting career, Ryan has worked with the world’s largest biopharmaceutical and life sciences companies, for which he has supported product development and market access strategies globally; non-governmental and philanthropic organizations, with which he has worked on impactful public‐private and public health partnerships in the developing world; governments, which have sought his advice on policy and funding strategies to empower health research and innovation; and academic institutions, for which he has helped to mobilize more than $1 billion to support health R&D.

Ryan received his PhD in immunology from McMaster University, where he is now Adjunct Professor. He is Policy Advisor to and Past Chair of Research Canada, Co-chair of Life Sciences Ontario’s Annual Policy Forum, and a Director on the boards of Amref Health Africa, the Canadian International Health Education Association (CIHEA) and CanHealth International.

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