Meet our Speakers, Chairs & Panelists


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June 7 2021 – Global Stewardship and Sustainability
Danna Leaman

Co-Chair, IUCN SSC Medicinal Plant Specialist Group

Danna J. Leaman, PhD, a conservation biologist/ethno-botanist, is an independent consultant affiliated with the Canadian Museum of Nature as a Research Associate. Danna’s research focus is conservation and sustainable use of economically important plants, working with numerous national and international organizations. She is a founding member of the Board of Trustees of the FairWild Foundation, a member of the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Co-Chair of the Medicinal Plant Specialist Group, and IUCN Red List Authority Coordinator for medicinal plants. She was a Non-Government Science Member of the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) from 2015-2018 and is currently a member of COSEWIC’s Vascular Plant Species Subcommittee. When at home in Canada, she lives in summer in beautiful woods near Perth, Ontario, in winter in the Elk Valley, British Columbia.

Susan Murch

Professor, University of British Columbia 

Susan Murch is a Professor and Canada Research Chair in Natural Products Chemistry (2001-2015) at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada. Her research investigates the chemistry of plants and how plant chemistry affects human health. She is the recipient of several awards including UBC Researcher of the Year (2009), the G.H. Neil Towers Award (2013) and “Most Innovative Paper of 2012” from Thieme Publishers. She has published >125 research articles in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals, >20 book chapters and an edited book. Dr. Murch’s current research focuses on identifying natural neurotoxic non-protein amino acid in food webs and aquatic ecosystems, developing methods for discovery of useful new chemicals in plants, and advancing science relating to the underutilized staple food plant breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis). Her research has resulted in the creation of several companies, including Global Breadfruit LLC, which propagates and distributes elite varieties of breadfruit to tropical countries and has planted >140,000 breadfruit trees in 45 countries for food security and modern food products. Dr. Murch is a recipient of the G.H Neil Towers Award and a past president of the NHPRS.

  Plenary Speakers
Ann Armbrecht

Director, Sustainable Herbs Program, USA

Ann Armbrecht is the director of the Sustainable Herbs Program under the auspices of the American Botanical Council. She is also a writer and anthropologist (PhD, Harvard 1995) whose work explores the relationships between humans and the earth, most recently through her work with plants and plant medicine. She is the co-producer of the documentary Numen: The Nature of Plants and the author of the award-winning ethnographic memoir Thin Places: A Pilgrimage Home, based on her research in Nepal. She was a 2017 Fulbright-Nehru Scholar documenting the supply chain of medicinal plants in India. She lives with her family in central Vermont.

Antoine Bily

Director of Integrated Solutions, Givaudan, France

After more than thirteen years in various positions, including VP Science and Innovation at Naturex, Dr. Bily is Director of Integrated Solutions at Givaudan with research and development roles in the field of botanical specialty ingredients, including the development and implementation of sustainable practices and green technologies.

Bethany Davis

Director of Social Impact, Advocacy and Government Relations, MegaFood, USA

Bethany Davis is the Director of Social Impact and Advocacy for MegaFood. She is the President for the Coalition for Supplement Sustainability, a group of supplement and ingredient companies that united to support a non-GMO and sustainable supply chain. In addition to her service on the Board of Trustees for the American Botanical Council, she is also a member of the American Herbal Products Association Board of Trustees. Bethany is deeply engaged with agricultural issues including Regenerative agricultural practices, Sustainability and Transparency as they relate to the supplement industry. She holds a Masters of Science in Regulatory Affairs and Health Policy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy in Boston, MA and is a certified coach with the Conscious Leadership Group.

Connie Kehler

Executive Director, Canadian Herb, Specialty Agriculture and Natural Health Product Coalition, Canada

Connie Kehler is the executive director for both Herb, Spice and Specialty Agriculture and the Canadian Herb, Specialty Agriculture and Natural Health Product Coalition. She is a current and founding Director of the Natural Health Product Research Society, as well as the Canadian Agriculture Human Resources Council.

Ms. Kehler is a trained auditor in risk management, food safety, internal auditing and excel grains auditing, and her team’s certified Good Agriculture and Collection Practices program is recognized around the world. She has trained over 2000 people and contributed to national and international review bodies, research committees, industry associations, and government advisory groups relating to botanical and specialty crop research and development, and method validation for from the field to finished product on the shelf.

   Contributed Speakers
Abisola Kehinda

Graduate student, University of British Columbia, Canada

Abisola Kehinde is interested in foods and bioproducts to mitigate or treat metabolic disease(s). She is currently pursuing an MSc in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia. She has an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from the University of Lagos, Nigeria. Her current research focus is developing breadfruit (Artocarpus altilis) as a source of high-value starch and a key ingredient for infant formula.

Jeremy Ng

Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Ottawa, Canada

Dr. Jeremy Y. Ng, PhD is a postdoctoral fellow at the Centre for Journalology at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, as well as the publisher and journal manager of the Journal of Natural Health Product Research, the official journal of the NHPRS. His primary research interests include: complementary, alternative and integrative medicine; natural health products; and scholarly publishing.

Ron Smith

Research Scientist, University of New Brunswick, Canada

Ron worked with the Canadian Forest Service in Fredericton, NB for 28 years. He left CFS in 2005 to pursue a ‘second career’ including promoting the sustainable use of Non-Timber Forest Products, agro-forestry, permaculture, and applied crop development of medicinal plants. Ron with his friend and colleague, Dr. Stewart Cameron, have recently studied within and among population variation in Rhodiola rosea towards developing it as a new crop for New Brunswick.


NHPs in the Time of the Pandemic
John Arnason

Distinguished Professor, University of Ottawa

John Thor Arnason is Distinguished Professor of Biology (emeritus), at the University of Ottawa, a bilingual University located in Canada’s capital. His research lab has contributed research in Ethnobotany, Ethnopharmacology and Phytochemistry as well as related fields of Chemical Ecology, and Biopharmaceutical Science. The Arnason lab has published ethnobotanical and ethnopharmacological research in collaboration with local elders and other researchers on indigenous plant use in Q’eqchi’ Maya lands in Belize, Eeyou Istchee Cree territories, Kenyah Dyak traditional lands of Central Borneo, as well as various indigenous cultural lands in Brazil, Togo, Ethiopia, E Timor, and Bosnia. We completed some of the first steps in evaluating the plant medicines for efficacy and safety beyond many centuries of traditional use, with pharmacological studies and identification of active principles by bioassay guided isolation for a variety of uses including anti-diabetic, anti-anxiety, anti-malarial uses, etc. In the Natural Health Products field, the Arnason lab completed a taxonomic and phytochemical revision of the genus Echinacea and was among the first labs to document phytochemicals in herbals that caused CYP P450 mediated drug interactions. In addition, the lab has applied metabolomics to species authentication and active principle identification. Recently an anti-anxiety product was developed with Costa Rican researchers which has passed clinical testing in dogs for toxicity and efficacy and is now available for animal health use.

Sharan Sidhu

Science Officer, Numinus Wellness Inc.

Sharan has a deep understanding of the impact of regulatory directives on product development and innovation and has worked as a hub between industry, academia and government to see the realization of compliant innovative products. Sharan has been a regulatory affairs specialist for several industries including Controlled Substances and Drugs, Cannabis, Natural Health Products, Foods, Cosmetics, Pet and Pest Management Products in North America and globally. Taking everything learnt over the last decade, Sharan has a unique perspective and point of view on emergence of high growth industries, gaps and future directions. Apart from the services provided Sharan is involved in shaping regulations, contributing to industry by taking on special projects, volunteering for non-for-profit organizations and focusing on bridging the gap between science and industry.

   Plenary Speakers
Caroline Gagnon

Herboriste-Thérapeute, Directrice FloraMedicina, Canada

Caroline Gagnon has been practicing clinical herbalism for some thirty years. She has developed innovative care protocols inspired by traditional knowledge, scientific research and experiences reported by fellow herbalists both here and abroad.

She founded the FloraMedicina school in 1999, with the aim of professionalising the practice of herbal medicine. She still runs the school, which now receives hundreds of students. She supervises graduates in the clinic-school and prepares them to collaborate with other health professionals in the context of integrative medicine.

President of the Guilde des herboristes du Québec from 2016 to 2020, she was invited by the French Senate to speak at the conference « Les métiers de l’herboristerie ». Caroline is currently collaborating on various international projects and university research related to the political issues surrounding herbalism and the development of the practice.

Michael Heinrich

Professor, University College London, UK

Michael Heinrich is a Professor of Ethnopharmacology and Medicinal Plant Research (Pharmacognosy) and was until 2018 the head of the research cluster / Centre ‘Biodiversity and Medicines’ at the UCL School of Pharmacy. He currently serves as the joint chair of UCL’s Research Ethics Committee (with Dr. L. Ang, Institute of Education).

The group’s research is based on a transdisciplinary perspective integrating approaches from the biomedical and social sciences with an overall aim of tackling the fast changing global health needs. Key areas of interest include the prevention and early stage management of diabetes / metabolic syndrome and cancer chemoprevention based on the use of traditional medicines as well as value chains of (herbal) medicinal products. The research integrates methodological approaches from ethnopharmacology, natural product research, public health research, and anthropology.

Currently, he is one of the two Vice-Presidents of the GA (Society for Medicinal Plant and Natural Product Research), one of the largest societies in the field. He is Specialty Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Pharmacology (Ethnopharmacology) as well as an associate editor of the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology, among a wide range of other roles.

Ossy Kasilo

Regional Advisor Traditional Medicine,     Africa Regional Office, World Health Organization, Congo

Ossy Kasilo [B Pharm (Hons), Pharm D, Toxicol., PhD in Clinical Pharmacology] is Regional Adviser for Traditional Medicine at the WHO Regional Office for Africa (WHO/AFRO) and Focal Point for the Joint UNIDO-WHO Partnership on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). She has over 30 years of experience in academia and international health development, and is an authority in the fields of toxicology and traditional medicine where she has published extensively.

She served as a Pharmaceutical Officer at the Ministry of Health in Tanzania; Director of the Zimbabwe National Drugs and Toxicology Information Service, Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Associate Professor and Full Professor at the University of Zimbabwe; Medicines Regulatory Officer at the WHO headquarters in Geneva; and Team Leader for Health Technologies at the WHO/AFRO (2012-2016). In this latter capacity, she provided technical leadership and oversight, coordinated innovative and integrated approaches, developed and delivered strategic regional policy frameworks, programmes and initiatives including interventions for impactful support to Member States on conventional medicine, traditional medicine, regulation of medical products, diagnostics and devices, laboratory services and blood and blood products and development of conceptual and regulatory framework for the establishment of the African Medicines Agency (AMA), geared towards strengthening the region’s healthcare delivery system by ensuring their alignment with regional, continental and global strategies.

Ossy has played a critical role in the development of training materials, tools and guidelines for policy development and implementation, regulation of traditional medicine practitioners, practices and products and in the protection of intellectual property rights. She has led the development of research protocols for clinical trials to generate evidence supporting the quality, safety and efficacy of herbal medicines for priority diseases, including against COVID-19, and strengthening of country capacities in these areas.

   Contributed Speakers
Paul Saunders

Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, Canada

Paul, Professor of Materia Medica and Clinical Medicine, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine, has been in private practice in Dundas, Ontario, Canada since 1991. His earned a PhD in forest ecology at Duke University, was on the faculty at Clemson University, and tenured at Washington State University. He earned his ND from Ontario (now Canadian) College of Naturopathic Medicine, and did additional training and residency at National College of Naturopathic Medicine, Portland, Oregon, earned a second ND, served as their interim Research Director, and initiated their Institutional Review Board. Paul earned a Diplomate from the Homeopathic Academy of Naturopathic Physicians (DHANP) and Certified Classical Homeopath (CCH) from the American Council on Homeopathic Certification in 1993. He completed chelation board examinations from the International College of Integrated Medicine in 1998. As Editor, The Canadian Journal of Herbalism, 2000-2002, he instituted peer-review. He does grant reviews for the NIH, NCCAM, and Sick Kids Foundation. He has honoured as Ontario Naturopathic Doctor of the Year in 1994 and 2002. In 1999 he was a member of the Transition Team that established the Office of Natural Health Products, Health Canada, served on its Expert Advisory Committee to 2006, and served as an expert on various subcommittees. He is president of NPLEX, has co-authored three books, served as an expert legal witness for the crown, conducted clinical research, published numerous papers, lectured frequently on naturopathic medicine and reviewed many scientific papers and chapters. He enjoys complex clinical cases and applying medical research to them.

Julia Solnier

ISURA, Canada

Julia Solnier has a doctorate in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Graz, Austria. After graduating she became a faculty member and Senior Lecturer at the University of Graz. Her area of expertise is the field of pharmacognosy with lecturing experience on topics related to phytochemistry and activity-guided isolation of plant constituents.  Since 2020 she is a Research Scientist at Natural Factors, one of the largest manufacturers of nutritional products in North America. She is part of ISURA, an independent, not-for-profit organization, where her current focus in research is on the design of clinical trials, the development of new herbal supplements and innovative delivery solutions.

Palak Tank

British Columbia Institute of Technology, Biotechnology, Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada

Palak is a fourth-year student pursuing a BSc degree in the UBC-BCIT joint Honours in Biotechnology program. After completing my internship at BCIT-NRG in August 2020, her passion for the use of biotechnology and natural health products became rooted. Palak wants to further learn about the use of natural health products and how they play an essential role to reinforce a shift towards sustainability.


June 9 – Indigenous Traditional Medicine
Carrie Bourassa

Professor, University of Saskatchewan

Dr. Carrie Bourassa, B.A., M.A., PhD is the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health (CIHR-IIPH) and a Professor, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan. She is the Principal Investigator for the Canada Foundation for Innovation funded Morning Star Lodge as well as the Cultural Safety, Evaluation, Training and Research lab. Dr. Bourassa has nearly 20 years’ experience as a professor in the field of Indigenous health studies. Through her role as Scientific Director of IIPH, she leads the advancement of a national health research agenda to improve and promote the health of First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples in Canada.

Mary Wilson

Resident Elder, Indigenous Institute of Health and Healing, University of Manitoba

Known to many as Grandmother Of Four Directions and Walks With Wolves. Renowned in Canada and many parts of the world as a spiritual teacher, Spirit Walker, and Healer Mary’s gentle presence has touched many lives over the past forty years helping people heal, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Mary is presently working as a Resident Elder Cultural Specialist at Manitoba Adolescent Treatment Centre and Child and Family Services. Mary has worked as an Elder at the Circle Of Life Thunderbird House co-creating programs with Elder Mary Richard. She has served as an Elder and Spiritual Care person at Neeginan Emergency Centre (First Nations Homeless Shelter), where she created addiction therapy groups, a literacy program, and a safe place for individuals to lay down their pain. Mary also taught the clientele relaxation techniques to assist in a better way of life.

Mary is finishing her Ph.D. in Philosophy with Clinical Hypnotherapy as a major. She has also been honoured with two Honorary Doctorates in Philosophy and Divinity. As the founder of Core Area Christmas, she orchestrated a dinner and gift giving for thousands of children for many years.

Recently she provided support as Elder for the movie We were Children (Residential School survival) and also with the murdered and missing series Taken. She is involved with the inquiry documentary by the federal government. She has been asked by the Province of Manitoba to support as Elder/Therapist for The 60’s Scoop (stolen Aboriginal children), among other accomplishments.

Mary also is involved with Eagle Vision the production company, famous for the movie Capote and Lovesick amongst others. Mary’s Role is to oversee that correct spiritual content is present and respected. Frequently involved as an interventionist she provides support to many as well as providing individual life coaching and healing.

   Plenary Speakers
Daniel Gallego-Perez

M.D. & Researcher, Boston University, USA

Daniel F. Gallego-Perez, M.D., PhD candidate at Boston University. He worked as a primary care physician and nutrition program coordinator in the Buduburam Refugee Camp, Ghana, between 2004 and 2008. He participated in designing and implementing a pilot project to develop complementary medicine services in public hospitals in Bogota, Colombia, between 2009 and 2013. He has been a consultant for the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO/WHO), at the Country Office in Nicaragua, and later at PAHO headquarters in Washington DC, focusing on health care systems strengthening the integration of traditional and complementary medicine. From 2017 to 2020, he was a member of the Executive Secretariat of the Virtual Health Library on Traditional, Complementary, and Integrative Medicine (BVS MTCI), serving now as an advisor. He is the current chair of the Integrative, Complementary, and Traditional Health Practices (ICTHP) Section of the American Public Health Association (APHA) and a visiting research fellow at the Australian Research Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine (ARCCIM).

Leigh Joseph

Researcher, Squamish First Nation, Canada


Leigh Joseph has been working in her home community, the Squamish Nation, to help design and teach ethnobotanical programs. She is currently part of a research team looking at the prevention and management of Type 2 Diabetes in Canadian Indigenous communities through the increased use of traditional medicinal and food plants along with culturally related exercise. She’s also been designing and teaching courses at Quest University in Squamish BC on ethnobotany, ethnoecology and local Squamish Nation culture and history.

Elizabeth Patterson

Lawyer, Dionne Schulze, Canada

Elisabeth Patterson joined Dionne Schulze law firm in 2010. She advises mostly First Nation and Inuit governments and organisations in Québec on a broad range of subjects, including Aboriginal, commercial and international law, as well as governance, environmental assessment, and the duty to consult and accommodate.

Elisabeth Patterson also assists clients by negotiating agreements, often in the context of social economy projects or economic development on Indigenous lands. She also advises concerning research ethics, privacy, and the protection of Indigenous data and knowledge.

Elisabeth Patterson frequently presents on the above subjects in a professional or community context. She is involved in legal education and human rights trials in Latin America with Lawyers without Borders Canada.

   Contributed Speakers  
Zonghua Ai

Dalhousie University, Canada

Zonghua Ai is a Chinese phytochemist and language enthusiast undertaking her master’s degree at Dalhousie University. She currently studies at Biology Professor Jonathan Ferrier Native Science and Medicine Lab and is conducting a Nishnaabeg ethnobotany meta-analyses to link community lead fieldwork and metabolomics studies.

Haley Shade

Lethbridge University, Canada

Oki/Hello, my name is Haley Shade, and I am a member of the Kainai/Blood Tribe First Nation, located in Southern Alberta (Treaty 7). I completed my Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at the University of Lethbridge during the spring of 2021. I am currently completing an NSERC URSA under the supervision of Dr. Roy Golsteyn. I will begin my studies in the Doctor of Medicine program at the Cumming School of Medicine, located at the University of Calgary (Treaty 7) in the summer of 2021.

My research focuses on the integration of Indigenous traditional knowledge with western sciences, specifically cell biology and natural product research. My research utilizes common cell biology techniques alongside the use traditional medicines and knowledge. It is important within our laboratory setting that this process is done respectfully and in consultation with community elders. The goal of my research is to bridge the gap between western science and Indigenous traditional knowledge.

I believe it is important to recognize that Indigenous peoples have established and possess knowledge and connections to the land we now call Canada since time immemorial. It is critical that Indigenous students such as myself can conduct meaningful research in which we have the opportunity to maintain our cultural ways and understandings while also moving forward with western science. I acknowledge Indigenous researchers who have come before me and celebrate future Indigenous scholars in the years to come.


  • Leigh Joseph
  • Daniel Gallego-Perez
  • Élisabeth Patterson
  • Ossy Kasilo (Day 2 Plenary Speaker)
Councillor Veronica King-Jamieson

Mississauga Nation Coordinator at Mississauga Nation, Canada

Veronica King-Jamieson is the Lead Councillor and Coordinator of the Mississauga Nation Pillar 4 Education and Awareness and the Chair of the Education and Wellness Committee. Veronica is an experienced Councillor with a demonstrated history of working in the political organization industry. As a community leader, she has diverse skills and experience in Nonprofit Organizations, Government, Program Evaluation, Conflict Resolution, and Volunteer Management. Veronica is a strong business development professional with an Aboriginal Teacher Education Program focused in Aboriginal from Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute.

June 14 – Global Advances in NHP Research
Roy Golsteyn

Professor, University of Lethbridge

Dr. Roy Golsteyn is the Principle Investigator of the Cancer Cell and the Natural Product Laboratories at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. He undertook his PhD in biochemistry at the University of Cambridge. Roy completed his studies as a research fellow in at the Institute Curie in Paris. Prior to joining the University of Lethbridge, he was a senior research scientist with a pharmaceutical company in France. He has published more than 80 scientific papers and holds 5 patents. His laboratory focuses on natural products from prairie plants, ethnobotany, and cell biology.

Pamela Ovadje

Scientist & Consultant, Canada

An impressive combination of 11 years of hands-on research and development experience supported by a bachelor of science in Biology and Biotechnology, as well as a Doctorate in Biochemistry, both from the University of Windsor, where Pamela focused her thesis on the use of natural health products in cancer cell signalling. In 2015, She was awarded the Mitacs Postdoctoral award for outstanding innovation for her work on the use of dandelion root in clinical hematological cancers. Pamela excels at the implementation, management and monitoring of research and compliance projects. She brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise as it relates to natural health product regulatory affairs, ensuring product and organizational compliance. Her background as a biochemist provides rigorous support to the critical scientific review of regulatory submissions, scientific writing, and medical writing. When Pamela isn’t working she enjoys spending time with her family and two dogs which she has adopted.

   Plenary Speakers
Lillian Barros

Researcher, Politechnic Institute of Bragança, Portugal

Lillian Barros is an assistant researcher at the Centro de Investigação de Montanha (CIMO), Instituto Politécnico de Bragança and vice-coordinator of CIMO. She obtained her degree in Biotechnology Engineering (2002) at the Institute Polytechnic of Bragança and obtained her PhD “Doctor Europeus” in Pharmacy (Nutrition and Bromatology) at the University of Salamanca (2008). She has published more than 470 indexed papers, within the highest impact factor journals in Food Science and Technology area and has a 57 h‐index. She has edited 4 books and has written several book chapters, registered national and international patents, and is principal investigator of several research projects, and she is also an associate editor of the Food & Function journal from RSC. Her scientific work has raised interest and has led to the supervision of several post-doc, PhD and master students. She has received awards from several different organizations. L.B scientific production has been very relevant and has reached top positions in the world rankings (Highly Cited Researcher in 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020 Clarivate). Her research targets are mainly in the identification, separation and recovery of functional molecules from different natural products.

Rudolf Bauer

Professor, University of Graz, Austria

Rudolf Bauer studied Pharmacy at the Ludwig-Maximilians Universität in Munich where he also obtained his PhD and wrote his habilitation. From 1993 until 2002 he was Professor at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany, before moving to Austria, where he is now Head of the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Graz. His research focuses on Traditional Chinese Medicine, inflammation processes, plant metabolomics, screening and structure elucidation of plant active ingredients, quality control for herbal medicine, and activity and phytochemistry of Echinacea species. He has published more than 370 research papers and several books. He has been awarded, among others, the Egon-Stahl-Award of the Society for Medicinal Plant Research, the International Award of the Belgian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences and the Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award of the American Botanical Council.

Nadja Cech

Professor, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, USA

Dr. Nadja B. Cech is Patricia A. Sullivan Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at UNC Greensboro. She supervises a dynamic research group engaged in developing novel mass spectrometry metabolomics approaches to solve challenging problems in natural products research. Dr. Cech is the recipient of the 2011 Jack L. Beal Award from the Journal of Natural Products and the 2017 Thomas Norwood Award for Undergraduate Research Mentorship. She is a Principal Investigator for the NCCIH-funded Center for High Content Functional Annotation of Natural Products, Co-Director of the Analytical Core for the Center of Excellence for Natural Product Drug Interaction, and Co-Director of the Medicinal Chemistry Collaborative.

Rachel Mata (from online)

Professor Emetirus, National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM)

Prof. Mata obtained her Ph.D. from Purdue University in 1979. Following a postdoctoral stay at the Institute of Chemistry at UNAM, she became an Assistant Professor in 1985 then was promoted to Full Professor (1992) of the School of Chemistry at the same university. Prof. Mata served as Head of the Department of Pharmacy from 2003 to 2012, and has since been a member of the Advisory Board of the School of Chemistry. She has served on several National and International Advisory Boards, including the National Center for Natural Products Research at the University of Mississippi (2003 to 2007), is a Past-President of the Phytochemical Society of North America (1996-1997), and was named as a Fellow of the American Society of Pharmacognosy in 2014. Her work has contributed significantly to knowledge of Mexican traditional medicine by establishing the chemical composition and biological properties of many widely used herbal drugs. She has published over 200 original papers as well as several book chapters and books on medicinal plants from Mexico. These contributions have earned her both national and international recognition, including being named as an Emeritus National Researcher from CONACyT-Mexico in 2015, and in receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, Purdue University (1998), the National Chemistry Research Award from the Mexican Chemical Society (2013), the Norman Farnsworth Research Achievement Award from the American Society of Pharmacognosy (2014), and the American Botanical Council Norman R. Farnsworth Excellence in Botanical Research Award (2019).

   Contributed Speakers
Lauren Erland

Dr. Lauren Erland completed her PhD at the University of Guelph, and is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Susan Murch’s Lab at UBC (Kelowna). Her research uses interdisciplinary approaches such as plant tissue culture, metabolomics, analytical chemistry and quantum dot microscopy to understand the role of phytohormones, particularly the indoleamine neurotransmitters melatonin and serotonin, in plant perception and response to changes in their environment.

Robert Laprairie

Dr. Robert Laprairie is an Assistant Professor and GSK-CIHR Research Chair in Drug Discovery and Development in the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition, USask. He is the Director of Education and President of the Canadian Consortium for the Investigation of Cannabinoids (CCIC). Robert’s lab studies the molecular pharmacology of the cannabinoids in neurodegenerative disease, epilepsy, and pain. He has published more than 45 papers on cannabinoids.

Siyaram Pandey

Siyaram Pandey is a Professor of Biochemistry at the University of Windsor. He obtained his B. Sc. Hons (Chemistry) and M. Sc. In Biochemistry from Banaras Hindu University, India, PhD from JNU (Delhi) and CCMB Hyderabad, India, did postdoctoral training at McGill university, worked at NRC as associate and Research Officer before joining the University of Windsor in 2000. Dr. Pandey’s research is focused on apoptosis (cell suicide), which is central to various aspects of human health including neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. He has published more than 95 research articles and has 3 patents. He was the President of the Natural Health Product Research Society of Canada from 2013-1015, was the Founder Director and CSO of the Windsor Botanical Therapeutics Inc. Toronto (2015-2017).

Matthew Tcheng

Matthew Tcheng is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph. Under the supervision of Dr. Paul Spagnuolo, he studied acute myeloid leukemia (AML) mitochondrial metabolism. His project demonstrated the pre-clinical efficacy of avocadyne by targeting a unique metabolic vulnerability in AML, resulting in the selective elimination of malignant blasts but the sparing of normal blood cells.

June 15 – NHPs in Clinical Practice and Research
Kieran Cooley

N.D. & Director of Research, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

Kieran’s experience in CCNM’s department of research and clinical epidemiology includes conducting pragmatic, whole-practice clinical trials on naturopathic care, evaluating the quality and impact of both naturopathic and integrative medicine, fostering student and faculty research and critical appraisal skills, as well as collaborating with various institutions to evaluate natural health products. Currently, he is investigating cannabis and integrative approaches for chronic pain, interprofessional collaboration and education, CAM therapies in the underserved, and naturopathic approaches to various chronic diseases. Kieran is Co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Natural Health Products, the society journal for the Natural Health Products Research Society. He is Past Chair of the Canadian Interdisciplinary Network of Complementary and Alternative Medicine Researchers (INCAM) and holds adjunct appointments at Pacific College of Health Sciences, Southern Cross University, and the Australian Research Centre for Complementary and Integrative Medicine, University of Technology, Sydney through the International Naturopathy Research Leadership and Capacity Building Program.

Jerry Yager

M.D. & Professor, University of Alberta

Dr. Yager is a professor and clinician-scientist in the area of Pediatrics and Neonatal Neurology. His education started in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he was fortunate to have exceptional mentorship and guidance. Following a residency in Pediatrics, Jerry went to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he was trained in the applied basic sciences, under the tutelage of one of the forefathers of our modern understanding of neonatal brain development and brain injury. Following three fabulous years in the land of chocolate (a bonus), Jerry was hired to the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Saskatchewan. This province, a true Diamond in the Rough, provided an exceptional environment for independence and growth, helping Jerry become a successful researcher and lead the Founding and Establishment of the Childrens Health Foundation of Saskatchewan (now the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan). In 2003, he transferred to the University of Alberta, where he is the Director of Research for the Department of Pediatrics, and continues to run a translational research laboratory currently focusing on the prevention of perinatal brain injury and stroke utilizing and developing natural health products.


   Plenary Speakers
Andrew CharretteDirector of Regulatory Affairs, KGK Science

Leading the regulatory affairs division of KGK Science, Andrew Charrette brings extensive experience in human clinical research and in-depth knowledge of the dietary supplement, natural health product, and cannabis regulations in North America. Since joining KGK in 2013, Andrew has led over 75 submissions to Health Canada and consulted on numerous product claims, self-affirmed GRAS conclusions and NDI notifications to the U.S. FDA. Andrew received his undergraduate degree in Pharmacology and Physiology from the University of Western Ontario and later obtained a Master’s degree in Neuroscience from the University of Ottawa.

Dugald Seely

N.D. & CEO, Centre for Health Innovation, Canada

Dugald Seely is a naturopathic doctor and clinician scientist whose focus is on the application and evaluation of integrative oncology. Embodying a synthesis of evidence based complementary medicine with conventional medicine, integrative oncology offers a path for improved clinical care that is obvious to the conscientious practitioner and that best supports patients in the way they most need. Dr. Seely seeks to build a richer integration of this medicine within the health care system as a respected path for practitioners and researchers and ultimately for patients to be best served.

Dr. Seely, ND is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Health Innovation (formerly the Ottawa Integrative Cancer Centre (OICC)) and executive director for the department of research & clinical epidemiology at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. Dr. Seely is an affiliate investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute; Adjunct Professor with the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa; Integrative Oncology Section Editor for the journal Current Oncology; and President of the Oncology Association of Naturopathic Physicians. In research, Dr. Seely has led numerous clinical studies and synthesis reviews having published over 75 peer-reviewed papers. Seely is a frequent speaker and is actively engaged in the research community through a number of associations. In clinic, Dr. Seely sees patients three days a week at the CHI and is thrilled to be able to combine his passion for research and in the service of the patients he cares for.

Asmita Wele

M.D. & Professor, Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University, India

Dr. Asmita Wele is the professor and head of the department of Rasashastra and Bhaishajyakalpana Vigyan [Ayurveda pharmacology] at College of Ayurveda Bharati Vidyapeeth Deemed University in Pune, India. She is also Honorary Professor, University of Debrecen, Hungary. Her expertise lies in designing and execution of end to end research projects of Ayurvedic formulations. Apart from standard formulations of asavarishtas, tailas and herbo-minerals she has experience of making parpati, sindura, pottali and abhrakasatva as well. She has been the Principle investigator of DST project, AYUSH projects, and member of AYUSH-International Co-operation committee, of scientific advisory committee of Gujarat Ayurveda University, Jamnagar and of BoS and Academic Council of BHU, Varanasi. She has delivered about 125 lectures as a resource person in several interdisciplinary workshops and conferences and on public platforms. She has guided 15 M. D. students and 2 Ph. D. students. She has published over 40 research papers, articles, chapters and also authored a book on research methodology. She is a reviewer for some indexed journals from Elsevier, Scopus and PubMed databases. She has completed GCP Training by CDSCO and EC-IRB training by DAIDS supported by NIH. She was the Ayurveda Expert and co-rapporteur for the historic working group meeting for development of WHO Benchmark documents on Panchakarma, Ayurveda Practice and Training. She is an active member of many organizations. She has travelled to Europe, USA, Mexico, Africa, Nordic countries, Middle East, UK etc on professional assignments. Consistent with her family legacy of ‘Vaidya’ tradition from Goa, Dr. Asmita has earned her B. A. M. S. and M. D. degrees from the University of Poona. She is also a practicing physician of Integrative lifestyle management for Cancer, Respiratory Diseases, Sleep disorders, and PCOD.

   Contributed Speakers
Elena Argento (recorded presentation)

University of British Columbia, Canada

Elena Argento PhD, MPH is a postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Medicine at UBC and the BC Centre on Substance Use. She is the co-PI with Drs. Mackay and Christie for two open-label compassionate access trials investigating psilocybin- and MDMA-assisted psychotherapies for substance use disorders and PTSD. Dr. Argento is currently supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research postdoctoral awards

Erin Prosk

Santé Cannabis, Canada

As President of Santé Cannabis, Erin Prosk leads the ground-breaking clinical model of care that is changing how patients access medical cannabis. Noting the need for better and more formal training for healthcare professionals, she has spearheaded training programs in medical cannabis and championed the rigorous data collection required to develop evidence-based treatments. Under her leadership, Santé Cannabis has become Canada’s most respected medical cannabis clinic and an international leader in research and training in the field. Ms. Prosk earned her BSc in applied mathematics from McGill University in 2007 and her MSc in bioinformatics from the University of British Columbia in 2009. She has co-authored a number of publications on medical cannabis and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences and events.

June 16 – Regulation, Policy and Commerce 
Bob Chapman

Chief Scientific Director, Dosecann LD Inc., Canada


Dr. Chapman is the Chief Scientific Officer for Dosecann LD Inc. in Charlottetown, PEI and serves as the Responsible Person for processing licence and analytical testing licenses. Prior to Dosecann, he was a Principal Research Officer with the National Research Council Canada (NRC) in programs on Natural Health Products and functional ingredients, including the emerging cannabis field.  Dr. Chapman also worked in start-up companies in San Francisco, California.

Michael Smith

President, Michael J Smith and Assoc, Canada


Trained as a pharmacist and a naturopathic doctor, Michael Smith has worked for over 25 years in all aspects of Natural Health Products in Canada and Australia.  He is an Adjunct Professor at the National Center for Natural Products Research, University of Mississippi and sits on the World Health Organisation Expert Advisory Panel on Traditional and Complementary Medicine.  He is currently a consultant and was the 2017 recipient of the G.H Neil Towers Award.

James Griffiths

Senior Vice President, International and Scientific Affairs, Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN), USA

Dr. Griffiths is responsible for CRN’s science-based international policy and regulatory work, and is the CRN staff liaison for CRN International (CRN-I). He has more than 35 years of experience in the area of food safety and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining CRN, he spent five years with the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) where he managed food and dietary supplement strategic initiatives, including those related to global food and dietary supplement alliances. He began his career as a regulatory review toxicologist at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. His background also includes various scientific and regulatory positions at a number of international companies and organizations. He has published extensively in peer-reviewed publications, as well as the trade press. He holds an adjunct faculty appointment at JSS University in Mysore, South India, teaching graduate students on nutrition and regulatory topics. Dr. Griffiths earned his Ph.D. in Toxicology from Rutgers University in New Jersey and post-graduate work in Düsseldorf, Germany. He is a Diplomate of the American Board of Toxicology (DABT), a Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology (FRSB-UK) and a Certified Food Scientist (CFS). He loves to travel, photography, numismatics, paleontology and is building intricate wooden ship models during quarantine.

   Plenary Speakers
Natalie Page

Director General, Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products, Health Canada

Natalie Page has joined Health Canada’s team as Director General of the Natural and Non-Prescription Health Products Directorate (NNHPD) last January. Prior to her arrival at the department, she was Vice-President of Public and Corporate Affairs of the National Capital Commission (NCC). In her capacity as Vice-President, she was responsible for Strategic communications, Stakeholder Engagement & Indigenous relations, Marketing & Partnerships and Corporate Planning. Prior to the NCC, Natalie was the Departmental Liaison for the NCC at Global Affairs Canada where she acquired a detailed understanding of the machinery of government, legislation renewal process and delt with complex files and special projects.

Natalie began her career as political staffer on Parliament Hill and joined the public service where she demonstrated strong leadership, strategic thinking and communication skills by leading the public aspect of several complex and high-profile files. Her strength is her ability to establish strong relationships with key stakeholders, Government officials and the public in order to facilitate collective goals. Natalie is fluent in French and English and holds a Bachelor Degree in Commerce from the University of Ottawa and one in International Management from the École Supérieure de Commerce in Reims, France.

Joseph Betz

Acting Director, Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health, USA


Since 2018, Dr. Betz has served as Acting Director of the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS) at the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). Under Dr. Betz’s oversight and with a $28-million operating budget, the ODS staff carries out its mission to support, conduct, and coordinate scientific research and provide intellectual leadership for the purpose of strengthening the knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements to foster an enhanced quality of life and health for the U.S. population. Prior to this appointment Dr. Betz was the Director of the ODS Analytical Methods and Reference Materials Program. This NIH extramural program is congressionally mandated and is responsible for supporting the development and validation of analytical methods and reference materials for dietary supplements.

Dr. Betz’s research interests lie in the areas of botanical quality and in bioactive plant secondary metabolites. He is an internationally recognized expert in pharmacognosy and has traveled and lectured extensively. From 2003-2009, Dr. Betz was a member of the Expert Advisory Committee to Health Canada’s (then) Natural Health Products Directorate. He is a current member of the United States Pharmacopoeia’s Expert Committee on Botanical Dietary Supplements and Herbal Medicines and of both the Scientific Committee and International Advisory Board of the Hong Kong Chinese Materia Medica Standards (HKCMMS) Section of the Hong Kong Department of Health. He has over 30 years of work experience in public health agencies and two years of experience in the supplement industry. He is knowledgeable about food and drug law, with a focus on dietary supplement regulations and current good manufacturing practice. His 12 years at FDA were spent developing and directing a plant toxins/bioactive phytochemical research program for the identification and measurement of bioactive phytochemicals in foods and dietary supplements. Dr. Betz is a Fellow of AOAC International and the recipient of the AOAC Harvey W. Wiley Award, the American Botanical Council’s Norman R. Farnsworth Award for Excellence in Botanical Research, the American Society of Pharmacognosy’s Tyler Prize, and the American Herbal Product Association’s Herbal Insight Award for Contributions to the Botanical Sciences.

Colin Garrioch

Regional Director, Ontario Natural Products Canada (NPC)

Colin brings over a decade of experience in the natural product, contract research and pharmaceutical marketing industries.

Colin received his MSc (Human Health and Nutritional Sciences) from the University of Guelph. He volunteers his time and expertise to numerous boards including the Loyalist College Technology Access Centre for Applied Research for Natural Products & Medical Cannabis (Advisory Board Member) and the Ontario Pharmaceutical Marketing Association (Past President). He is located at the University of Guelph, NPC’s node partner in Ontario.

Ted Haney

President & CEO of the Canadian Hemp Trade Alliance (CHTA)

Ted is an international agri-business executive with 30 years of visionary leadership.  He currently represents the Canadian hemp industry in both domestic and international markets.  He previously managed the establishment of an international Italian Meats production and processing business.  Ted represented international livestock and meat sustainability priorities at the United Nations. He created an international beef export company, based on Canadian brand strengths.  Ted managed Canada’s national beef export organization in a diverse cultural environment for 20 years.  Ted is dedicated to open and participatory democratic institutions, and takes a candid and forthright approach in dealing with all levels of industry and government to resolve issues. Ted is a straight-talking and passionate leader.

Aaron Skelton

President and CEO of the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA)

Aaron is an experienced executive with a demonstrated history working within the health and wellness industry for many years.  After graduating from the University of Guelph with a Bachelor of Science Honours, in Nutrition and Nutraceutical Sciences, Aaron started his career at Loblaw Companies Ltd.  During this time, he served in senior leadership roles across operations, merchandising, procurement, and retail concept design with a strong focus on the development of a revolutionary health and wellness concept, based on strategic partnerships with natural health and organic product companies. After almost ten years with Loblaw, Aaron Co-Founded and served as the Chief Operating Officer of GreenSpace Brands, one of Canada’s fastest growing public companies.  As a passionate and visionary leader, Aaron enabled a team that grew to over 100 employees, overseeing operations, sales, marketing, business development and product innovation. Aaron also founded his own consulting company, The Peloton Project, working with entrepreneurs and business leaders, within the health and wellness industry, to help them accelerate their vision. Aaron continues to help the industry reach its full potential in his new role at the Canadian Health Food Association (CHFA), where he leads the team as President & CEO. He sees tremendous potential for the future of the industry and for CHFA to support it.  When he’s not working, Aaron enjoys time with his wife and two young boys. To relax you will likely find him cooking in the kitchen or training on his bike for his next race.