Our Research Team

Project Leads/Co-Leads

Dr. Marla Beauchamp (Project Lead)

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

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. Dr. Beauchamp completed her PhD in Rehabilitation Science at the University of Toronto (2012) and her postdoctoral training in outcomes measurement at the 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 (Co-Lead)

Occupational Therapist and Associate Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science

Brenda Vrkljan is a Professor at the School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University, and a trained Occupational Therapist. Brenda understands that there is a lack of research in the area of automobile technology and mobility in older adults, which often leads to ageist policies that are implemented to discourage older adults from driving. Brenda is the lead investigator of the McMaster-Candrive team, a Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR)-funded initiative. She is passionate about promoting safe and functional mobility across the lifespan, which is evident in her research in the CanDrive initiative, a study that focuses on older adults and driving patterns. She is also involved in the development of an in-vehicle camera system for tracking the driving performance of older drivers.

Dr. Qiyin Fang (Co-Lead)

Faculty of Engineering (Eng & Physics)

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 cancer screening, fluorescence lifetime imaging microscopy (FLIM) technologies for high content screening; ultrafast laser micromachining for medical implants; miniaturized optical sensing and imaging technologies for environmental, point-of-care diagnosis, and aging research.

Dr. Bruce Newbold (Co-Lead)

Faculty of Science (School of Earth, Environment & Society)

Dr. Bruce Newbold is a Professor in the School of Earth, Environment & Society (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. Julie Richardson (Co-Lead)

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Julie Richardson is a Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science. She is interested in interventions to promote mobility and lower-extremity functioning in older adults as well as risk factor assessment for mobility decline and functioning with aging and the health transitions that older persons undergo in the process of disablement. Julie is focused on identifying persons at risk for functional decline and rehabilitation interventions to maintain their health for those with chronic illness. She works with family physicians around the assessment of preclinical disability to teach seniors how to avoid falls and maintain their mobility. Julie’s recent work has involved clinical trials examining complex rehabilitation interventions in primary care.

Dr. Darren Scott (Co-Lead)

Faculty of Science (School of Earth, Environment & Society)

Dr. Darren Scott is a Professor in the School of Geography & Earth Sciences at McMaster University where he teaches courses in Geographic Information Science. Dr. Scott was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Geosciences at the University of Louisville between 1999 and 2002, and held a Visiting Research Professor position at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (Zurich) in 2008. Dr. Scott’s undergraduate degree is in geography (BA. Honors and Co-op, 1991), with graduate degrees also in geography from the University of Western Ontario (MA, 1994) and McMaster University (PhD, 2000). Dr. Scott has published over eightly refereed journal articles in leading transportation, regional science, and urban studies journals. Dr. Scott’s research program has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation of the United States (NSF), the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), and Geomatics for Informed Decisions (GEOIDE), among other funding agencies. In 2008, Dr. Scott established a research lab – TransLAB – in the School of Earth, Environment & Society where advanced transportation research is conducted by students working under his supervision.

Dr. Paul McNicholas (Co-Lead)

Faculty of Science (Mathematics & Statistics), Director of the MacDATA Institute

Dr. Paul McNicholas is a Professor and University Scholar in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University, where he is also Director of the MacDATA Institute. Dr. McNicholas is the (Tier 1) Canada Research Chair in Computational Statistics and a member of The College of the Royal Society of Canada. His research focuses on computational statistics, especially mixture model-based clustering and classification. Current research includes work on non-Gaussian mixtures, matrix variate distributions, and real problems in big data analytics.

Dr. Paula Gardner (Co-Lead)

Faculty of Humanities (Communication Studies & Multimedia)

Dr. Paula Gardner is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies and Multimedia, the Asper Chair in Communications, and the director of the Pulse Lab at McMaster University. Her research interests include feminist media studies, digital culture, and biometric technological practices. Paula’s media background allows her to explore research using various production mediums. The ABLE project (Arts Based Therapies Enabling Longevity for Geriatric Outpatients) brings together researchers from five McMaster Faculties to develop technologies that will enhance the cognitive, physical and emotional health of frail older adults.

Dr. Manaf Zargoush (Co-Lead)

Assistant Professor of Health Policy & Management at the DeGroote School of Business

Dr. Manaf Zargoush is an assistant professor of Health Policy & Management at the DeGroote School of Business, McMaster University. He holds a Ph.D. in Healthcare Operations and Information Management (McGill University, Montreal, Canada), a 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 (Jundi-Shapoor University, Ahvaz, Iran). His main areas of research expertise and interests include 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 a wide range of health-related problems, such as medical decision-making, and healthcare operations management.

Dr. Ayse Kuspinar (Co-Lead)

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Dr. Ayse Kuspinar is an Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Science in the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster University. She is a registered physical therapist with several years of clinical experience in health conditions including orthopedics, geriatrics and neurology. Ayse worked with the GHS Research Group on a project funded by the Canadian Network of Excellence, AGE-WELL (Aging Gracefully across Environments using Technology to Support Wellness, Engagement and Long Life), where she examined Canadian policy and regulatory issues in enabling technological innovation. Ayse studies the longitudinal changes in function and quality of life in neuro-rehabilitative conditions in older adults. She has training in both clinical epidemiology and rehabilitation science. 

Dr. Parminder Raina (Co-Lead)

Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact, Faculty of Health Sciences

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). As well, Parminder holds a 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. He was also member of the National Seniors Council from 2018 – 2021. Parminder specializes in the epidemiology of aging with emphasis on developing the interdisciplinary field of Geroscience to understand the processes of aging from cell to society. He has expertise in epidemiologic modeling, systematic review methodology, injury, and knowledge transfer.

Sarrah Lal (Co-Lead)

Department of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences

Sarrah Lal is an Assistant Professor of Health Innovation & Entrepreneurship in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. She holds a Masters in Law in Innovation, Law & Technology (University of Toronto), a Masters of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering and Medical Devices (University of Toronto), a Masters in Business Administration (McMaster University), and a H.B.Sc. in Chemical Biology (McMaster University). Her research and teaching interests are in health innovation, entrepreneurship, economic development, and new technology validation.

Study Coordinators

Dr. Renata Kirkwood

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Dr. Renata Kirkwood is a Physical Therapist with a Ph.D. in Anatomy and Cell Biology from Queen’s University (Kingston). She received her post-doctoral training in gait biomechanics at the Human Mobility Research Centre (1997-1998) at Queen’s University. Renata began her academic career in Brazil as an Assistant Professor at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais. Her research is focused on investigating the effects of age-related gait changes on the biomechanics of falls. In 2010, Renata returned to Canada for her second post-doctoral training (2010-2011) in statistics at the Dept. of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Queen’s University. Currently, she works as a Research Coordinator for the MacM3 project.

Dr. Lisette Machado

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Lisette is a medical doctor from Venezuela. She worked for 7-years as a Research Coordinator at the University of Calgary, where she collaborated with a group of researchers mainly focused on respiratory diseases such as Asthma and COPD. In addition, during that time she completed certificates in Professional Writing and Project Management.  She has transferred her skills as a clinician and researcher to deliver clinical trials in the Canadian setting and make a difference in our population. She strives to achieve high quality and ethical standards in clinical trials. She recently joined Dr. Marla Beauchamp’s team, pleased to share their passion and commitment for helping improve people’s quality of life through research.

Nicholas Dietrich

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Nicholas is a recent BHSc grad from McMaster University, and a research assistant/study coordinator for McMaster’s School of Rehabilitation Science. In his undergraduate thesis, Nicholas’ work identified factors associated with high distress in community-dwelling older adults during the pandemic, and explored changes to mobility and social participation. Nicholas is interested in finding novel ways to use technology to keep older adults connected and improve their mobility. He has contributed to the development of applications designed to detect when older adults fall, including mobile and watch apps. Nicholas has a passion for physical activity, playing both varsity ice hockey and ultimate frisbee at McMaster, and leading community sport programs.

Tara Noble

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Tara received her Bachelors of Applied Science in Kinesiology with Honors from Guelph-Humber University and a degree in Fitness and Health Promotion from Humber College. After graduation Tara became a Registered Kinesiologist and worked with older adults prescribing exercise primarily for special populations. Eventually Tara discovered research was her true passion after taking on a side project recruiting participants for a biomechanics study. Tara left her practice to begin working full time in clinical research at Hamilton Health Sciences as a research assistant before moving to McMaster. Tara is now the full time Research Coordinator for Dr. Marla Beauchamp for the MacM3 research platform. In her spare time, Tara is a volunteer Girl Guide Leader and enjoys crafting and camping.

Joanne Gorman

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Technical Team

Cody Cooper

Engineer – Software Developer

Cody graduated from McMaster University in 2019 with a degree in Mechatronics and Management Engineering. After graduating, he worked in the MacREAL lab at McMaster on various projects making use of wearable and motion capture technologies for Dr. Marla Beauchamp and Dr. Janie Wilson. Cody continues to work for Dr. Marla Beauchamp as a software developer and is developing the software solutions for wearable devices used in the MacM3 project. He also works part time for the CLSA (Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging) writing systems integration software. Cody enjoys writing software and working in jobs that challenge him to continue learning and improving his software competencies.

Matthew Brown

Faculty of Science (School of Earth, Environment & Society)

Matthew Brown is a researcher and GIS Specialist at McMaster University in the School of Earth, Environment & Society. He graduated with a Master of Science in Geography from McMaster University in 2020. His areas of research interest include transportation geography, with a past focus on building spatial predictive models of bicycle usage in Hamilton, Ontario, and exploring spatial mobility indicators. Currently, he assists the MacM3 team with smartwatch app testing and design, REDCap survey and database management, and analysis of GPS-related mobility indicators for older adults using GIS. Outside of research, Matthew is passionate about all things tech and enjoys learning new languages and playing musical instruments.

Students & Trainees

Denesh Peramakumar

Research Assistant

Denesh Kumar is a Level 4 student in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program. He is interested in the intersection of health, technology and entrepreneurship, where he can leverage his interdisciplinary view on health to develop socially responsible and innovative solutions to improve health outcomes. In the past, Denesh has done a wide range of work including research on balance in concussions, using artificial intelligence to improve drug discovery pipelines and developing a drug dosage calculator mobile app for use in the neonatal ICU. In his role at MacM3, he has been developing product designs and commercialization strategies to potentially spin out the group’s research work into a start-up. In his spare time, Denesh enjoys playing soccer and reading. 

Dr. Peter Tait

Postdoctoral Fellow – Department of Mathematics & Statistics

Peter Tait is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Mathematics & Statistics at McMaster University and a member of the MacM3 machine learning team. He has recently completed his PhD in Statistics at McMaster under the supervision of Dr. Paul McNicholas. His research interests include statistical computing, unsupervised learning and tensor-variate statistical models. As part of his work with MacM3, he is developing statistical models that predict early mobility limitations in older adults using data from the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging. When he has spare time, it is spent wrangling children, participating in BJJ and carving tight turns on a snowboard. 

Guha Ganesh

Faculty of Health Sciences (SRS)

Michael Zon

MD/PhD Student

External Stakeholders & Partnerships

Older adults and caregivers:

  • Mary Mills
  • Kathy Holden
  • Karin Van Dorsten
  • Pat Ward
  • Siddonia Poppa
  • Graham Boyce
  • Al Ward

Policymakers and not-for-profit community organizations:

Industry and community partners: