Distinguished Professor 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, specializes in complex pain. 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.
Dr. Squire was a member of the guidelines committee (2010-2012) for Pain Medicine, the national group mandated to write the curriculum for the new Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons specialty of Pain Medicine.
In 2008 she was given the inaugural Helen Hays award for excellence in pain management and in 2010 she was given the Academic Pain Educator of the Year award by the American Society of Pain Educators.
Dr. Squire speaks and teaches locally, nationally and internationally, and is an advocate for the multidisciplinary treatment of chronic pain. 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 Hub 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 (formerly NeuroDevNet), and heads 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, the relationships of academic research and industry R&D and patient-centered designing clinical contexts.
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. Farzan and Dr. Gromala joined forces to develop immersive VR for training, therapeutic and diagnostic purposes in the area of mental health and addiction.
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 Department of Computer Science at the University of Calgary where she holds a Canada Research Chair in Information Visualization and NSERC/AITF/SMART Technologies Industrial Research Chair in Interactive Technologies.
Dr. Carpendale has received many awards including the E.W.R. NSERC STEACIE Memorial Fellowship; a BAFTA (British Academy of Film & Television Arts Interactive Awards); an ASTech Innovations in Technology Award; and the CHCCS Achievement Award. She 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 (Simon Fraser University, Emily Carr, Institute of Art and Design, Sheridan College, School of Design). She has found the combined visual arts and computing science background invaluable in her information visualization research.
Daehan Kim, M.Sc.
Daehan Kim (BCAK-KIN, NSCA-CSCS) 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 by applying evolving knowledge of Kinesiology.
Daehan holds both a Master’s and Bachelor’s Degrees in Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan and
Arizona State University respectively. Daehan's peer-reviewed research articles appear in the field of biomechanics and human motor control, and have been presented at the American College of Sports Medicine and the Canadian Society for Biomechanics. At the Oregon Research Institute, Daehan worked as a research collaborator 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.
Mark Nazemi is a Sound & Research Designer from Vancouver, Canada. He is currently pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University, School of Interactive Arts & Technology. His research into sound and pain management has been featured at international conferences such as CHI, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, 8th Congress of the European Pain Federation, SIGGRAPH Asia, Audio Mostly, Artech, etc and media such as CBC radio, American News Report, and GRAND NCE.
Xin Tong 佟馨
Xin Tong received her MSc from SIAT and is pursuing her PhD degree at the Pain Studies Lab. She holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. Xin’s MSc thesis is about facilitating motivation and self-reflection of physical activity data using gamification strategies. Her research interests are designing technology for healthcare and patients, including Virtual Reality, digital games and wearables.
Weina Jin, MD, is a digital health professional. She is currently pursuing the MSc under the supervision of Dr.Diane Gromala. She holds a Doctor of Medicine degree and completed a neurology residency. Previously, Dr. Jin worked in pharmaceutical company, and an mHealth startup, and is a founder of a non-profit medical website. Her research interests are in developing health-related VR, serious games and HCI.
Mahsoo Salimi is a PhD student at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. Before joining SIAT she was a research fellow at Terreform ONE, working under supervision of Dr. Mitchel Joachim and Maria Aiolova. During almost 6 month residency at Terreform ONE she was part of a collaborative team for BioWall exhibition series: Venice Biennale International Architecture Exhibition 2014, Biodesign exhibition (NAI) in Rotterdam and OCAD gallery University of Toronto.
Saba joins the Pain Studies Lab with an enginering background from Amirkabir University of Technology - Tehran Polytechnic and industry experience as a developer at Dotin. She brings skills in Python, PHP and C++, and is interested in Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, Affective Computing, Social Robotics, Human-Robot Interaction and HCI. She is especially passionate about VR & Virtual Agents.
Pegah's BSc project in Computer Software Engineering at Shahid Beheshti University was a virtual reality (VR) environment whose goal was to treat acrophobia via VR Exposure Therapy (VRET).
Frederico Machuca is an independent game developer, media artist and research fellow at the Pain Studies Lab.
His Master's degree research focused on the poetics of game design, emergent narratives and aesthetics in health technology. He explored these in Lumapath, a VR system conceived of, built and tested in a clinical pilot study with aging arthritis patients. Funded by the Arthritis Research Centre of Canada, the research results were presented in Boston at the IASP (Intl. Assoc. for the Study of Pain) Conference in September 2018.
Machuca holds a BA in Visual Arts from Universidade Tuiuti do Paraná in Brazil. His artistic career ranged from short movies and theatre to advertisements. Machuca just joined Vancouver's EA (Electronic Arts).
Kathryn Cruz just graduated with a BSc with a major in Health Sciences and a minor in Interactive Arts & Technology at SFU.
Combining the domains of technology and healthcare, her experience covers a wide spectrum from health administration and research to social media and design. Currently, she is focused on learning about VR and emerging technologies for her new position at BC Childrens' Hospital.
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.
Ruoyu (Gary) Li is a programmer and researcher at the Pain Studies Lab and the BioViz Lab at SIAT. Pursuing his Master of Science degree, Gary's research is especially concerned with creating and exploring user-centered technologies. His thesis on Virtual Reality (VR) and health focuses on social presence as a potential motivating factor for regular exercise in aging patients with chronic pain. Gary obtained his Bachelor’s Degree in Network Engineering from University of Electronic Science and Technology of China.
Christopher Wong is an undergraduate student completing his Bachelor of Science degree in Interactive Arts & Technology at SFU. He has experience in programming and developing games and also he teaches programming on the side. He is currently focus on learning immersive virtual reality development by working at the Pain Labs.
Sherry Wang holds a B.A. in Health Sciences and is currently pursuing a B.Sc. in Interactive Arts and Technology. She has a strong passion for video editing, visual effects, graphics and product design, and health communications. She plans to apply her knowledge in both fields to create multimedia art projects that entertain and improve users’ health and personal development.
Amber Choo is a graduate student at Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts and Technology. Her thesis research involves a holistic dissection of the mechanics behind successful video game genres for use in serious and educational video games. By examining design strategies seen in critically acclaimed industry and indie video games, Choo hopes to improve the playability of serious games so they can compete with their popular industry counterparts.
Mehdi Karamnejad holds a Bachelor’s degree in software engineering and is currently a Graduate student at School of Interactive Arts & Technology, Simon Fraser University. He develops Virtual Reality environments which are aimed to assist chronic pain patients to manage their pain. Mehdi’s research area mostly focuses on Virtual Reality, Human–Computer Interaction, Brain–Computer Interface, and Pattern Recognition. He is also enthusiastic about building Linux-based embedded systems with medical purposes in mind.
Jeewon Lee is a design researcher and practitioner whose research interests sit within overarching domains of health care, assistive technology and material engineering. She is constantly seeking for an exciting collaborative and industry driven project where they expand role of design in our everyday lives and distort conventional design approach.
Jeremy Mamisao work s as a research assistant at the School of Interactive Art and Technology Pain Studies Lab. He is a part of the interdisciplinary team that work on developing technologies to aid patients with chronic pain. This includes immersive virtual reality, social media, robotics and visualization.
Julian Giordano is a Videographer, Graphic Designer, and Research Assistant based in Vancouver, British Columbia. His current work as a research assistant at the School of Interactive Art and Technology Pain Studies Lab includes managing and creating media for the lab, ranging from creating graphic design on all fronts of the lab, to the creation of promotional videos for the lab, videos that educate on chronic pain, and general design and branding for patients with chronic pain.
Cheryl Yu is an honours Interactive Arts and Technology student at Simon Fraser University, also minoring in Publishing. Her current interest and study focus lie in the development of immersive 3D games and interactive virtual environments as learning and self-explorative tools. She is currently part of the team working on Mobius Floe under the supervision of Dr. Diane Gromala, exploring the use of games and virtual reality as forms of therapeutic experiences for chronic pain patients.
Ozgun Eylul Iscen
Ozgun Eylul Iscen is a graduate student at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University. She got her BA degree from Koc University, Istanbul with a dual major in Psychology and Sociology. Her interest in new media theory and practice is situated at the intersections of art, science, philosophy and micropolitics. Her recent work focuses on how we develop media art practices to enable the individuals in transcultural contexts to access, express, and transform their embodied experience in performative and relational ways.
Jay Vidyarthi is a researcher, designer and active musician. After completing an undergraduate thesis in auditory psychophysics, he graduated with a B.Sc in cognitive psychology. Next, he was hired at Yu Centrik, where he was instrumental in research and design projects for UNESCO, Cirque Du Soleil, CIHI, Lexis Nexis, and more. Currently, Jay is persuing graduate studies at SIAT while continuing his work with Yu Centrik.
Interaction and UX designer Abhishek Kumar has had extensive experience at Amazon.com (iMDb.com) and Microsoft (Live Labs & Windows Live). Kumar holds an graduate degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) and an undergraduate degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Guwahati. Kumar began working with Dr. Gromala during the inception of her research in chronic pain.
Amir Aziz Ghahary
Amir Aziz Ghahary is an MA student in the Bioaffective Media Lab at the School of Interactive Arts + Technology at SFU. He is a multi-disciplinary artist and designer who is exploring the intersection between technology and sacred space, in the spiritual music concert of Sufism. His research investigates the relationship between aesthetics, ritual, and interactive technology in the creation of sacred space which can affect spiritual experience.
Tyler Fox is a PhD student in the School of Interactive Arts and Technology at Simon Fraser University. An artist, researcher, and educator his work focuses on the intertwining relations of contemporary network society. Currently he focuses explicitly on the tangled relations of art, science, and technology as a foundation for new forms of creative research.
Emre Erhan is currently in his second year of completing his BSc in Computer Science at Simon Fraser University. His interests lie in the fields of Bioinformatics. He currently works as an intern at the Pain Lab.
Ashfaq is a UX Designer and an MSc student under the supervision of Dr. Gromala. Prior to grad studies, he completed his BSc in Computer Science & Engineering from Bangladesh University of Engineering & Technology (BUET), and worked in industry as a UX/UI designer. His research interest is in the user experience of everyday objects which have potential for mass use. Currently, he is investigating the potential uses of Cardboard VR as a means of pain distraction.
Maryam Mobini is a Growth Hacker from Vancouver, Canada. She is currently pursuing her MA at Simon Fraser University, School of Interactive Arts + Technology. Her research focuses on exploring design methods to better understand motivational factors that may help Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) patients to do their everyday exercises to improve their mobility and pain. Mobini's research has been featured at international conferences such as CHI, GRAND NCE, and IASP.
Dimple Gupta, LCSW, RSW, specializes in mental health social services program design and delivery, psychotherapy and health communications. She holds a Masters degree in Social Work from San Jose State University and has practiced in the United States and India. Currently, Dimple is pursuing graduate studies at the School of Interactive Arts and Technology and her research interests include interaction design, and developing computational technology based interventions to treat chronic pain.
Servet Ulaş is a PhD student from Istanbul. He received his MA from Sabanci University. Prior to his PhD studies, Servet worked in industry as a digital art director and an augmented reality creative developer. His research interests are in the areas of interaction design, game design, physical computing and bodily interaction.
Serkan Pekcetin received his M.Sc. from Modelling and Simulation Game Technologies Program at Middle East Technical University. He is currently pursuing his Ph.D. at School of Interactive Arts and Technology, Simon Fraser University. As a member in Pain Studies Lab, he is responsible for design, development, testing, and deployment of immersive Virtual Reality software for chronic pain patients.
Liah Castillo is an undergrad in her last year of a BA — a joint major involving Media Arts and Business. Since her studies are dualistic in nature, she has work experience in the fields of marketing, sales, visual media, and graphic design. She is currently focused on learning as much as possible about immersive environments and virtual reality by being a member of the Pain Studies Lab.
Sungmin Park is an undergrad in arts in the School of Interactive Arts & Technology at SFU. He is very invested in the gaming culture as he believes it is the next marketing place to be in that is not only highly entertaining, but innovative as well. With the ability to draw, paint, model in 3D, edit video and write, he helps deliver stories and themes as effectively as possible. His research interest is to help design environments and artifacts in immersive realities to assist people suffering in chronic pain by making meaningful creations to observe and be absorbed by.
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.