Project Leads

Dr. Marla Beauchamp

Dr. Beauchamp is a Physical Therapist and Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science at McMaster.  She is also an Associate Member in the Department of Medicine.  Marla completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto (2012) and her postdoctoral training in outcomes measurement at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

The overall objective of Dr. Beauchamp’s research program is to develop evidence-based strategies to improve mobility among older adults. Her research has two key arms related to this aim: 1) advancing the assessment of mobility problems among older adults; and 2) personalized rehabilitative interventions to optimize late-life mobility. Dr. Beauchamp’s ongoing research is supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s Aging and Technology Network (AGE-WELL NCE), the Canadian Respiratory Research Network (CRRN), and the Labarge Centre for Mobility in Aging within the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA).

Dr. Brenda Vrkljan

Dr. Vrkljan is a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science.  While working as an occupational therapist at the Chatham-Kent Health Alliance in Chatham, ON, Dr. Vrkljan learned just how important driving an automobile was to her patients, particularly her older clients.  The lack of research evidence to address the issue of driving for older Canadians propelled her to completed her doctorate in Rehabilitation Science.

Dr. Vrkljan is the lead investigator of the McMaster-Candrive team, a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)-funded initiative.  Her passion for promoting safe and functional mobility across the lifespan is the theme that “drives” her research.  The Candrive longitudinal study involves six other Canadian centres as well as a site in Melbourne, Australia.  She is also co-principal investigator of another project involving the development of an in-vehicle camera system for tracking the actual driving performance of older drivers, an examination of premature infants and car seat safety (Auto21 NCE) and is co-investigator on the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging ( The principles of ageing-in-place and universal design inform her current and future program of research.

Dr. Ayse Kuspinar

Dr. Kuspinar is a physiotherapist and Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science.  She obtained her PhD in Rehabilitation Sciences from the School of Physical and Occupational Therapy at McGill University, and completed a post-doctoral fellowship from the School of Public Health & Health Systems at the University of Waterloo. Throughout her graduate and post-doctoral training, Dr. Kuspinar received awards for her research from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec (FRSQ), MS Society of Canada and the Physiotherapy Foundation of Canada.

Dr. Kuspinar’s research program focuses on the use of modern measurement methods to improve health outcomes that matter to patients (e.g. symptoms, function and quality of life) and the development of interventions to optimize mobility in older adults. She is an active member of the health outcomes research community and is the Chair of the Canada-Patient Reported Outcome (Canada-PRO) Special Interest Group at the International Society for Quality of Life Research. Dr. Kuspinar’s research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, McMaster Institute for Research on Aging and ALS Society of Canada.

Dr. Parminder Raina

Dr. Parminder Raina is a Professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact, Lead Principal Investigator of the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) and Scientific Director of the McMaster Institute for Research on Aging (MIRA). In 2018, he was appointed to the National Seniors Council. As well, Parminder holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Geroscience and the Raymond and Margaret Labarge Chair in Research and Knowledge Application for Optimal Aging, and is one of the founding members of the McMaster Optimal Aging Portal and the Ontario Research Coalition of Aging Institutes/Centres.

Dr. Raina specializes in the epidemiology of aging with emphasis on developing the interdisciplinary field of Geroscience to better understand aging from cell to society. He has expertise in epidemiologic modeling, systematic review methodology, injury, and knowledge transfer. 

Dr. Paul McNicholas

Dr. Paul McNicholas is the Canada Research Chair in Computational Statistics and a Professor in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at McMaster University. His research focuses on computational statistics, and he is at the cutting edge of international research on mixture model-based clustering and classification. He has published extensively in the field, and is an associate editor for several international statistics journals. The old adage that “bigger is better” may or may not apply to data.  Nevertheless, big data have become a fact of life across virtually all areas of societal and scientific endeavor. Dr. McNicholas is developing new, computationally intensive, statistical methods to better gain insight into big, and otherwise complex, data.

Among the most problematic big data, from an analytics viewpoint, are data sets where very many measurements are taken for each observation. While statisticians and computer scientists routinely deal with data that can contain hundreds or thousands of variables, modern data sets often have upwards of ten thousand variables. Unfortunately, there is a dearth of effective methodology for so-called ultra high-dimensional data. Dr. McNicholas is combining expertise in computing and statistics to develop computational statistics approaches for ultra high-dimensional data. These approaches focus on methods that find subgroups of similar observations – known as classification or clustering methods – and are applicable in any setting where ultra high-dimensional data arise, from management science to disease diagnostics and bioinformatics.

Beyond ultra high-dimensional data, he is developing computational statistics methods that will allow users to make sense of massive data sets with measurements of different types. Similar to his work on ultra high-dimensional data, this work promises to simplify and facilitate data analytics in many fields of social, economic, and scientific endeavor. Concrete examples of applications of Dr. McNicholas’ work include developing computational statistics approaches to: look for subtypes of certain cancers; help identify candidate genes for modification to allow food crops to grow in developing countries; and combine genetic, fitness, and other health data to study the relationship between obesity, genes, nutrition, and exercise. 

Dr. Qiyan Fang

Dr. Qiyin Fang is currently a Professor at McMaster University and held the Canada Research Chair in Biophotonics (Tier II) between 2005-2016. Prior to joining McMaster, Dr. Fang was with the Minimally Invasive Surgical Technology Institute of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Dr. Fang obtained his graduate degrees from North Carolina and his undergraduate degree from Tianjin, China. 

Dr. Fang works on the development of optical spectroscopy and imaging systems for biomedical and environmental applications. His recent research projects include: multimodality optical biopsy techniques for real-time clinical diagnosis and guided therapy, optical endoscope designs for gastrointestinal (GI) cancer screening, photodynamic therapy (PDT) photosensitizer uptake and dosimetry, fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) technologies for high content screening; ultrafast laser micromachining for medical implants; miniaturized optical sensors for water quality monitoring, and optical sensing and imaging technologies for smart home and aging research.

Dr. Bruce Newbold

Dr. Bruce Newbold is a Professor in the School of Geography and Earth Sciences (SGES) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario. He received his PhD in Geography from McMaster University in 1994, and worked at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign between 1994 and 2000 before returning to McMaster in 2000. Since returning to McMaster, he has held Guest Scholar positions at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, University of California San Diego (2004), and the Medical Research Council’s Social and Public Health Sciences Unit at the University of Glasgow (2008), a position which included a Fellowship through the Department of Urban Studies, University of Glasgow.

His research interests focus on population issues as they relate to immigration, migration, health, and aging. Recent research has focused on the role of migration in the development and transfer of human capital and income across space, commuting and sustainability questions, the income benefits associated with migration, immigrant health, and immigrant settlement processes.

Dr. Manaf Zargoush

Dr. Manaf Zargoush is an assistant professor of Health Policy & Management at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University. He holds Ph.D. in Healthcare Operations and Information Management (McGill University, Montreal, Canada), Ph.D. in Decision Science and Statistics (ESSEC Business School, Paris, France), M.Phil. in Decision Sciences(ESSEC Business School, Paris, France), M.Sc. in Socio-Economic Systems Engineering (Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran), and B.Sc. in Mechanical Engineering (Chamran/Jundi-Shapoor University, Ahvaz, Iran). His main areas of research expertise and interests are using Data Science (machine learning, artificial intelligence, statistical modeling) for descriptive and predictive analytics and optimization (stochastic dynamic optimization, Markov and Semi-Markov Decision Processes, Partially Observable Markov Decision Processes) for prescriptive analytics of healthcare operations and information management, medical decision making, and Big Data. His current main projects are chronic disease (particularly hypertension) management under both noise-free and noisy measurements as well as trajectory/sequence/progression analytics of functional disabilities (and other chronic diseases) among older adults. He has also initiated research on human (particularly physicians’) learning and causal analytics using machine learning and big data.

Dr. Julie Richardson

Dr. Julie Richardson is a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science and the Assistant Dean of the Rehabilitation Science Program.  She is a physiotherapist and has a Master’s degree in Psychology from University of Otago, New Zealand and a PhD in Epidemiology from the University of Toronto.  She teaches Community Health/Community Practice in the Physiotherapy Program which includes approaches to the prevention and management of chronic disease. She also teaches Research Methodology and a course about Chronic Disease in the Rehabilitation Science Graduate Program.

Her research interests include identifying persons at risk for functional decline and rehabilitation interventions to prevent functional decline and maintain health status in persons with chronic illness. My research interests include measurement and intervention issues to promote mobility and lower-extremity functioning in older adults as well as risk factor assessment for decline of mobility and functioning with aging and the health transitions that older persons undergo in the process of disablement.  She also works with family physicians around the assessment of preclinical disability to teach seniors how to avoid falls and maintain their mobility.  Recent work has involved clinical trials which have examined complex rehabilitation interventions in primary care settings and have included behavioural, educational and self-management interventions to maximize function, health status and quality of life for persons with chronic illness.  Dr. Richardson is also currently a member of the MAC H2ope clinic Executive Council.

Dr. Paula Gardner

Dr. Paula Gardner joined the McMaster Faculty of Humanities in 2015 as the Asper Chair in Communications.  She holds a BA in Political Science and Creative Writing from SUNY Potsdam,NY, an MA in Media Studies from New School University, NY, and a PhD in Communication and Media Studies from UMass, Amherst, MA. Her research interests include feminist media studies, digital culture, and affective and biometric technological practices. Gardner’s research creation practice has been supported by SSHRC, Heritage Canada, National Centres of Excellence, among others. She was a founding PI on the GRAND NCE network; is President Elect Select of the International Communication Association, and is a co-facilitator of FemTechNet ( Gardner’s current research creation projects employ visual aesthetics, participatory design, critical feminist, mobile and locative theory to create: a mobile app with teens with depression; gesture based platforms for dance and affective game play; and critical mapping projects with migrant teens.  She is completing a documentary film on US asylum system problematics since 9/11/01 and is working on a book entitled Pace, the Affective Labour of Activity Trackers.  Her textual scholarship has been published in Body and Society, Ada: Journal of Gender, New Media and Technology, the Journal of Medical Humanities, the Canadian Journal of Communication, and Aether: Journal of Media Geography.

Dr. Gardner will be teaching a graduate seminar entitled “Feminism, Technology and Culture”. This course is offered in collaboration with the FemTechNet project, an open source platform aiming to disseminate curriculum widely and to teach and study in collaboration with other classroom sites.