Dr. Diane Gromala
Dr. Diane Gromala, PhD, directs the Pain Studies Lab and the Chronic Pain Research Institute. Dr. Gromala is a Canada Research Chair and a Professor in the Simon Fraser University's School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT). Her research works at the confluence of computer science, media art and design, and has focused on the cultural, visceral, and embodied implications of digital technologies, particularly in the realm of chronic pain. Dr. Gromala worked at Apple Computer in the 1980s, and began researching immersive virtual reality (VR) when she joined academia in 1991. Gromala worked at some of the earliest and most pioneering VR labs, including the Human Interface Technology Lab (HITLab) at the University of Washington in Seattle, the GVU (Graphics, Visualization & Usability Center) and Virtually Better at Georgia Tech.
My Canada Research Chair gave me the opportunity to try and make a real difference for the millions of people who live with long-term chronic pain, for their caregivers, and for their health experts. By creating the Pain Studies Lab and the Chronic Pain Research Institute, we are engaging experts from academia, clinical contexts, industry and non-profit organizations. In doing so, we can accelerate or transfer our research to patients and clinicians.
Dr. Chris Shaw
Prof. Chris Shaw, PhD is a Professor and Associate Director of the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT) at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Shaw is the co-author of the first virtual reality application (MR Toolkit) and has created numerous virtual environments and software for medical applications through collaborations at Johns Hopkins medical school and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to name a few. His current other areas of expertise are in the areas of bioinformatics, visual analytics and two-handed interfaces for 3D applications. Prof. Chris Shaw teaches visual analytics, interactive visualization, video game design and human-computer interaction.
Dr. Pamela Squire
Dr. Pamela Squire, MD, CCFP, Chronic Pain Expert. A Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia’s (UBC’s) School of Medicine, she is involved in medical education and curriculum development for both undergraduate and post-graduate physicians.
Internationally awarded pain medicine and addiction expert, skilled at implementing strategic management plans for individuals and delivering cannabis-centric medical education.
Recognized by the Supreme Court as a medical expert in chronic pain and selected by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons as an expert to create the specialty of Pain Medicine.
Dr. Squire has over 10 years of Non-Profit Board experience; invited to Chair more than 50 pharmaceuticals. In 2008, the Chronic Pain Association of Canada awarded Dr. Squire the Dr. Helen Hays Award for Excellence in Pain Management.
Dr. Owen Williamson
Dr. Owen Williamson is an orthopaedic spine surgeon, pain medicine specialist and Adjunct Sr. Lecturer in Monash University’s Dept. of Epidemiology & Preventive Medicine in Melbourne, Australia. His current appointment by Fraser Health as pain physician specialist is at Surrey Memorial Hospital and the JPOCSC.
In 2007, Dr. Williamson became the first orthopaedic surgeon in to be named a Fellow in the Faculty of Pain Medicine in the Australian & New Zealand College of Anaesthetists. He is an examiner for the Faculty of Pain Medicine and is developing pain education programs in Australia and Canada.
Research interests: the classification of non-specific low back pain, outcomes following spinal surgery and the interaction of physical & psychological factors in the persistence of pain following trauma. He is actively presenting at the Australian Pain Society, Canadian Pain Society, American Society of Pain Educators and IASP conferences, and publishes in international peer-reviewed journals.
Dr. Linda Li
Dr. Linda Li is Professor, Harold Robinson/Arthritis Society Chair in Arthritic Diseases, and Canada Research Chair in Patient-Oriented Knowledge Translation at the University of British Columbia. She is also a Senior Scientist at the Arthritis Research Canada.
Currently, Dr. Li is a Michael Smith Foundation Health Research Career Investigator, and a past recipient of the American College of Rheumatology Health Professional New Investigator Award and the CIHR New Investigator Award.
Dr Li collaborates with digital media experts to develop and evaluate online tools, such as decision aids for promoting shared-decision making and interactive programs for coaching people to be physically active. Her research is funded by CIHR, MSFHR and The Arthritis Society.
Dr. Bernie Garrett
Bernie Garrett, PhD, RN is an Assoc. Prof. in the School of Nursing at the University of British Columbia (UBC).
Dr. Garrett’s work focuses on the philosophy of science, professional education, educational technologies, and evaluation methods. For the last 5 years, he has been working in the use of simulation, e-portfolios and scientific philosophy at UBC.
Dr. Garrett, Dr. Taverner and Dr. Gromala are currently working on longitudinal research of VR in the homes of cancer survivors who have chronic pain.
Dr. Tarnia Taverner
Tarnia Taverner, Diploma, RN, PhD is an associate professor at School of Nursing, University of British Columbia (UBC).
Dr. Tavener’s research focuses on neuropathic pain and particularly neuropathic pain assessment in the community and in the hospital setting. In 2010, she was successful in securing competitive grant funding for a project which investigated the use of a neuropathic pain assessment tool, incorporated within the post-operative pain assessment sheet.
Dr. Garrett, Dr. Taverner and Dr. Gromala are currently working on longitudinal research of VR in the homes of cancer survivors who have chronic pain.
Dr. Sylvain Moreno
Dr. Sylvain Moreno specializes in neuroscientific technologies related to medical engineering and brain health. As Director of Canada's Digital Health Circle, he is also interested in bringing innovative concepts and technologies to industry.
Dr. Moreno is on the faculty of SFU’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology (SIAT) and is the Associate Director of the STAR Institute. He heads a Canada-wide research network (a Network of Centre of Excellence or NCE) — Innovation Kids Brain Health Network the Innovation team of another NCE, AGE-WELL. Dr. Moreno is Associate Editor in Chief of the Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science.
Dr. Moreno and Dr. Gromala recently teamed up to develop and teach a new course on BioAffective Technologies & Brain Health, with an emphasis on technological innovation, academic research and industry R&D and patient-centered design.
Dr. Faranak Farzan
Dr. Faranak Farzan recently joined Simon Fraser University’s School of Mechatronic Systems Engineering, citing SFU’s entrepreneurial spirit and commitment as an 'engaged university' in her decision to join SFU.
Dr. Faranak Farzan earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical and biomedical engineering at McMaster University, and her PhD at the University of Toronto in medical science and biomedical engineering. She completed her post-doctoral training in cognitive neurology at Harvard'a Medical School.
Dr. Farzan was named the Inaugural Chair in Technology Innovation for Youth Addiction Recovery and Mental Health. According to Dr. Farzan, Surrey is strategically positioned to develop new solutions: “We are bringing psychiatrists, entrepreneurs, computer and data scientists and the community together to create novel and tailored treatment solutions for youth who suffer from mental health and addiction problems.”
Dr. Lyn Bartram
Dr. Bartram is an Associate Professor in the School of Interactive Art and Technology at Simon Fraser University (SFU), and heads VIVA, the Vancouver Institute for Visual Analytics.
Dr. Bartram’s research interests include collaboration interfaces, perceptual issues in information visualization, methodologies for interface evaluation, and human interaction in complex systems. In particular she is interested in how the rich visual modality of motion and animation can be used in information visualization and affective interfaces. Her work focuses on understanding what humans do well and how to design interfaces that exploit human perception and cognition, especially in more complex environments with multiple devices, large and distributed displays or multiple users. Officially a computer scientist, she is equally immersed in perceptual psychology and usability practices. However, keeping true to her geek roots, she admits to a sneaky love of software architectures for interactive systems.
Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale
Dr. Sheelagh Carpendale is a Professor in the School of Computing Science at Simon Fraser University. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization.
Dr. Carpendale has received many awards including: the NSERC STEACIE, a BAFTA Interactive Award; and the IEEE VGTC Visualization Career Award. She was inducted into both the IEEE Visualization Academy and the ACM CHI Academy, an honorary group of individuals who are the principal leaders of the field having led the research and/or innovation in human-computer interaction.
Dr. Carpendale leads the Innovations in Visualization (InnoVis) research group and initiated interdisciplinary graduate programs in Computational Media Design. Her research on information visualization, large interactive displays, and new media draws on her background in Computer Science, Art and Design.
Daehan Kim, M.Sc.
Daehan Kim is a Clinical Kinesiologist and Strength Conditioning Specialist helping people with injuries and pain achieve both rehabilitation and activity goals.
Areas of expertise: biomechanical assessment, exercise-based treatment to enhance motor learning, and coordinating interdisciplinary teams for complex cases. He is passionate about bridging the gap between rehabilitation training and strength conditioning.
Daehan holds a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degree in Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan and Arizona State University respectively. His peer-reviewed research articles appear in the field of biomechanics and human motor control and were presented at the American College of Sports Medicine and the Canadian Society for Biomechanics. At the Oregon Research Institute, Daehan worked on a research team investigating the supra-spinal mechanism of human motor learning and the effect of exercise on symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease.
INDUSTRY R&D COLLABORATORS
Walter Greenleaf is known an internationally recognized early pioneer in the medical application of VR technology and one of the founders of the field. For the last 25 years, he has developed innovative clinical systems for use in physical and cognitive medicine, with a specific focus in the use of VR technology.
Greenleaf has served as CEO and founder for InWorld Solutions, a company specializing in the therapeutic use of virtual worlds for behavioral health care, and Virtually Better, a company that develops VR for treating phobias, anxiety disorders, and PTSD. Walter is Chief Science Officer for Pear Therapeutics, a company that combines digital health technology with pharmaceutical therapy.
Greenleaf is a founding Board Member of the International Society for Virtual Rehabilitation. He has served as a Scientific Adviser and reviewer for the U.S. Public Health Service, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Institutes of Health (NIH), NASA, and the U.S. Department of Education. Greenleaf earned his Ph.D. in Neuro and Biobehavioral Science from Stanford University.
Howard Rose is the CEO of Firsthand Technology and DeepStreamVR. He has been a leader in the VR industry for over 20 years. From his early days in VR R&D for education, Howard has been breaking new ground and developing a vision for how VR can enhance people’s lives. His project portfolio includes immersive VR applications for therapy, AR surgical training, mobile apps and interactive museum and theatre exhibits.
As CEO of DSVR, Howard takes the lead on trailblazing the future of the company as a leader in VR healthcare. Howard has a deep understanding of the theories behind VR in healthcare, but also brings a unique, creative edge to craft powerful experiences that achieve meaningful measurable outcomes. He is a frequent invited speaker at conferences on VR, games & health.
Howard Rose, Ari Hollander and Diane Gromala first met in the 1990s while at the University of Washington’s HITLab (Human Interface Technology Lab), founded by VR pioneer Dr. Tom Furness III. Since then, they have been imagining and strategizing accessible futures for VR & health, partnering in diverse, creative and scientifically rigorous ways.
Ari Hollander is the CTO & Co-Founder of DeepStream VR, Inc. A pioneer and thought leader, he has been designing & developing AR & VR software, hardware, systems and applications. His virtual environments have a measurable, positive effect on the real world: His recent VR software application Cool!, for example, was shown to reduce chronic pain by 60% in clinical trials.
Hollander has been Principal Investigator on two exceptional NIH SBIR grant projects, has helped launch four companies, filed multiple patents, and is a frequently invited speaker in international venues.
Hollander plays wrecklessly (sic) in the unruly intersection of art, technology, interface, and perception. He has been building virtual worlds for clinical research, education and Serious Games since the old Millennium and he will help create the future even if it kills him.
Michael Bidu is the Founder and CEO of Interface Health Society, a Canadian not-for-profit digital health technology accelerator based in Vancouver, BC. Michael is a serial entrepreneur, an award-winning marketer, speaker, mentor and advisor with eight Internet, wireless and not-for-profit start-ups under his belt and 25 years of experience in technology, innovation, business and creativity. Since 2009 his special area of interest is the convergence between health, technology, design, social media, digital arts and business.
Zahra Ofoghi is a neuroscientist and Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellow with a background in Clinical Psychology. She received her PhD. in Neuroscience from University of Calgary and a Master's and bachelor's degrees in Clinical Psychology from University of Tehran.
During her PhD., she explored alterations in functional connectivity of the anterior cingulate cortex in children with post-traumatic headache injury following mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI). She provided training for about 100 children to undergo MRI scans and perform a cognitive task and analyzed resting-state functional data as part of her thesis.
She is interested in studying pain and innovations in the health tech field. Currently, she is initiating a new line of neuroscience research in the lab focusing on studying the underlying neurophysiology of the VR effect in chronic pain using neuroimaging methodologies. In her project, she is designing a study to explore the long-term effect of home-based virtual reality intervention on the brain's function using functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). With the hope of making Neuroscience findings more available to the community and patients - i.e. Knowledge Translation- she is designing and developing a Comprehensive Patient-centered Pain Education (CoPPE) package to help patients with chronic pain learn about the neuroscience of chronic pain development and therapeutic interventions.
Bhairavi Warke is a designer and researcher pursuing her PhD at SIAT under the guidance of Dr. Diane Gromala. She holds a bachelor's degree in Instrumentation & Control Engineering from Pune University and a master's degree in Industrial Design from Arizona State University.
Bhairavi previously worked at a medical start-up in Phoenix, AZ developing neonatal healthcare products. Later, she worked as a design researcher at IA Collaborative in Chicago and Designit in Bangalore, focusing on healthcare and consumer experience. Her research focuses on using design to develop positive interaction experiences that may enhance responses to treatment and promote overall well-being in patients who live with chronic conditions.
Tim brings a depth of industry experience from graphic design and digital media companies, creating user-friendly interfaces and visuals. He graduated from Daystar University in Nairobi, Kenya, with a B.A. in Communication. His research areas are HCI and interface design and is focused on wearable technologies for ubiquitous healthcare; specifically, how continuous, longitudinal health monitoring using wearable sensors can be adopted among rural women for their maternal health.
Pegah Kiaei is currently an MSc student in SIAT. She got her BSc degree in Software Engineering from the Shahid Beheshti University of Tehran, where she designed a VR environment, which goal was to treat acrophobia by pushing participants out of a “virtual” elevator on the 30th floor of a building (also known as Exposure Therapy or VRET)! She also has 27 years of life without any experience in writing a paragraph about herself!
Besides mastering Dr. Who quotes, she knows how to program in Java, C#, C, Matlab, and R and is learning Neuroscience to actually USE those skills in solving real-life problems.
She is now investigating VR therapy's underlying mechanism for Neuropathic Pain patients using brain imaging methods.
Towfik Ahmed received his bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering from Leading University, Bangladesh. Research interests: developing novel VR/AR-based therapeutic interactive systems to assist patients suffering from chronic pain and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression and PTSD. He is well-versed in HCI prototyping and designing interactive systems. He also has his own research-based start-up called Virtual Wing.
Towfik will present his paper titled “BIO-VR: Design and Implementation of VR-based simulated biology lab using google cardboard” at the 4th International Conference on Inventive Computation and Information Technologies (ICICIT 2022) in Coimbatore, India.
Angela Kit-Ying Chong
Angela Chong brings professional experience in usability testing from MicroSoft and Neurofit. She earned a Master of Information degree in User Experience Design and a BSc in Psychology with Honours from the University of Toronto, and a degree in Information Arts and Design from Tsinghua University. University of Toronto Mississauga. Communication, Culture, Information & Technology (CCIT).
Ashu Adhikari has a Master's degree from the School of Interactive Arts and Technology (SIAT), Simon Fraser University (SFU). He works with embodied interfaces in virtual reality (VR) and has collaborated with different research labs to pursue his interests since 2017. He also holds an electronics and communication engineering degree and is enthusiastic about integrating custom sensors to make VR more immersive.
Siyu Zhou is a PhD candidate in Philosophy of Science and Technology at Central South University in China and came to SIAT as a visiting research student. She holds a master's degree in Social Medicine and Health Management and a bachelor's degree in Public Affairs Administration with a concentration in Arts Management.
She has participated in a national project on the topic of public health services and is currently leading a key provincial project on the topic of public health and technology ethics. She was one of the leaders of a large national interdisciplinary follow-up survey (2018CLDS) led by Sun Yat-sen University, and has published a paper on Chinese labor force medical selection. She currently focuses on ethical issues in digital health technologies and individual health autonomy.
Yuemei Wu graduated from Western University with an Honours Specialization in Psychology and a Certificate in Digital Communication. She wrote her undergraduate thesis on vaginismus treatments, conducting a meta-(re)analysis to demonstrate the importance of selecting the criteria for evaluating treatment effectiveness. She joins the Pain Studies Lab, aiming to increase the usability of computational applications in clinical settings by considering the criteria for treatment success and incorporating feedback from users. She is now pursuing a master’s degree in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology.
Xin Tong 佟馨
Dr. Tong is an Assistant Professor in Computation and Design at Duke Kunshan University, Duke’s campus in China. Supervised by Dr. Diane Gromala, she earned her PhD in 2021. Dr. Tong is the recipient of an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellowship at Stanford’s Pervasive Wellbeing Lab in their School of Medicine, the SFU Provost Prize of Distinction Award and Canada’s 2021 Bill Buxton Best Canadian HCI Dissertation Award.
Dr. Fox is an Assoc. Prof. at University of Washington in Human Centered Design & Engineering where he teaches students to be critical, creative technologists. In his research, Dr. Fox enacts “new threshold experiences between humans and living nonhuman organisms by leveraging novel technical systems to reveal often unnoticed processes and operations in nature.” Or what?!
Mark Nazemi works at the intersection of health, technology, education and design in Vancouver, Canada. He completed his Ph.D. at SFU, supervised by Dr. Diane Gromala in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology. His research in sound and pain management has been featured at international conferences such as CHI, Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the European Pain Federation, SIGGRAPH Asia, Audio Mostly and media like CBC radio.
He has received an award by the Kaiser Permanente Journal and the R.Murray Schafer scholarship for his research.
A Research Fellow at the Pain Studies Lab, Frederico designed LumaPath and continues to consult with us. He is a media artist and a Gameplay Developer who is currently at BioWare designing monsters for a living.
Jeremy is sorely missed, but we’re proud that he’s killin’ it in industry. At the moment, Jeremy is a VFX Editor at Method Studios in Montreal. Yep, you’ve undoubtedly seen some of his work for Marvel, Apple, and Warner Bros.
Christopher helped build LumaPath and Virtual Meditative Walk, then he got a haircut and got a job! He’s currently a Software Engineer, Game, Frontend and XR Developer at konect.ai
Sam is currently a Software Developer, Creative Problem Solver, and Product Design Prototyper at Meta in Vancouver. She’s the only person we know who is a self-described “efficiency enthusiast,” though we think if she met Jeewon, the term efficiency would have nothing but positive connotations.
Aka Seigris, Sungmin works as a UX/UI artist/2D artist at Electronic Arts. We sorely miss his video skills and hope he soon wrangles and monetizes his nuclear social skills.
Ozgun Eylul Iscen
Dr. Özgün Eylül İşcen is a media theorist whose scholarship engages with artistic and philosophical practice. She received her PhD in Computational Media, Arts and Cultures from Duke University in 2020 and is currently at ICI in Berlin.
Emre is now a bioinformatician. After his MSc from the BC Cancer Genome Sciences Centre & UBC, Emre now works at 10x Genomics as a Software Engineer in Test, testing Space Ranger, Cell Ranger and Loupe. He uses ML to understand how the transcriptomic profile of tumors from advanced cancer patients are associated with patterns of susceptibility or resistance to cancer therapies.
Kathryn Cruz is a Project Support Coordinator at BC Children's Hospital, focussing on interactive and social media.
Gary earned his MSc by studying a social agent in LumaPath, co-supervised by Dr. Chris Shaw and Dr. Diane Gromala. He is currently a Software Development Engineer at amazon and continues to be an aficionado of geekware.
After convincing us that cardboardVR deserved love and then some, Ashfaq earned his MSc and works as an UX Design Strategist at HubSpot in Toronto. We haven’t taken his picture down.
Liah is a communications specialist at Aunt Leah’s Place, which helps prevent youth in foster care from becoming homeless and assists mothers in need in keeping custody of their children.
After earning her MA from SIAT, Amber worked at Archiact, Unity and is currently a Product Design Prototyper at Meta in San Francisco.
Amir Aziz Ghahary
A multi-disciplinary artist and designer, Amir earned his MA by investigating the relationship between aesthetics, ritual, and interactive technology in the creation of sacred space. He exhibited that work at Burning Man and really, who can claim people were married within their thesis work?
Julian made Dr. Gromala laugh so hard that she fell off her chair — a once in a lifetime feat. A devotee of the great outdoors, Julian is a supervisor at Wildstone Construction Group and designs we-don’t-know-what, but whatever it is, we wouldn’t be surprised. (We think it’s those very cool tiny homes.)
Weina Jin is a PhD student in Computing Science at SFU working on explainable AI.
Mehdi earned his MSc and is a Technology Leader & Executive at SalesForce.
Since earning degrees at IIT and Georgia Tech, Abhishek has worked as an interaction designer at IMdB, Microsoft and Sonos. At the moment, he’s Chief Design Officer at Plume Design in Palo Alto.
Jeewon is now a front-end developer at Samsung. She spent a summer in the Pain Studies Lab putting her HCI degree from RMIT to use. Her organizing skills are still legendary.
Gillian Ramsay is an undergrad in her 3rd year of a BSc in Interactive Systems with a minor in Computing. She is interested in immersive environments and using 3D games to educate, self-monitor and promote the healing of patients with chronic pain. In the summer of 2014, Gillian's project in Processing got her noticed by the Pain Studies Lab in her first year in SIAT. She currently works with Unity in the Mobius Floe project.
Jay is the Founder of the start-up Still Ape, purportedly the “The world's first UX design studio focused exclusively on mindfulness, compassion, and wellbeing” in Toronto. Eight figures is pretty good.
Sherry graduated, worked for SurreyCares and is currently a UI/Designer at konect.ai.