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Waterloo-Twente Joint Research Symposium: Health and Beyond – Perspectives on the intertwinement between human and planetary health

University of Waterloo and University of Twente Joint Research Symposium Banner

The Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) is excited to team up with the Health Initiative Office to host our partners from the University of Twente on Monday October 2, 2023 for: Health and Beyond – Perspectives on the intertwinement between human and planetary health.

Research talks will be provided by both the University of Waterloo and the University of Twente to enable collaboration among researchers focused on the following key areas: 

  • Planetary Health
  • AI for Health
  • Mental Health

Registration is required for this free event. Please register here.

For any questions regarding the symposium, please email Yibei Zhao


Location: University of Waterloo, William G. Davis Computer Research Centre (DC) room 1302

Time (Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) UTC−04:00) Session
1:00 p.m. - 1:05 p.m.
Opening Remarks 

Speaker: Clark Dickerson, Executive Director, Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) | University of Waterloo, Canada

1:05 p.m. - 1:20 p.m.
Research Talk: Water and Health Insecurity: Co-Defining Challenges, Co-Creating Solutions

Speaker: Carmen Anthonj, Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Observation Science | University of Twente, The Netherlands

1:20 p.m. - 1:35 p.m.
Research Talk: Digital Public Health

Speaker: Zahid Butt, Assistant Professor, School of Public Health Sciences | University of Waterloo, Canada

1:35 p.m. - 1:50 p.m.
Research Talk: Data-Driven Explainable AI in Healthcare Applications


  • Bernard Veldkamp, Vice-Dean, Research | University of Twente, The Netherlands
  • Maryam Haeri, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences | University of Twente, The Netherlands
1:50 p.m. - 2:05 p.m.
Research Talk: Interaction Design for Health and Care

Speaker: Geke Ludden, Professor, Interaction Design | University of Twente, The Netherlands

2:05 p.m. - 2:20 p.m.
Research Talk: Medication Taking by Older Adults: Considerations for Design of Technology

Speaker: Tejal Patel, Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy | University of Waterloo, Canada

2:20 p.m. - 2:35 p.m.
Research Talk: Pillars of Interaction: A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Design of Health Promoting Environments

Speaker: Jodi Sturge, Assistant Professor, Department of Design, Production and Management | University of Twente, The Netherlands

2:35 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
Overview: Seed Funding Program

Speaker: Ian Rowlands, Associate Vice-President, International | University of Waterloo, Canada

2:45 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.
3:05 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. 
Research Talk: Wellbeing/Societal Change and the Lack of Reliable Data for Evaluating Ground Truth of Societal Change in Social Welfare Domain

Speaker: Igor Grossmann, Professor, Department of Psychology | University of Waterloo, Canada

3:20 p.m. - 3:35 p.m.
Research Talk: Public Health and Emergency Response

Speaker: Derya Demirtas, Associate Professor, Center for Healthcare Operations Improvement & Research | University of Twente, The Netherlands

3:35 p.m. - 3:50 p.m.
Research Talk: OR & Data Analytics Applications to Improve Clinical Decisions and Healthcare Operations: Cases of ALS, Hospital-inquired Infections, and Medical Waste Mitigation      

Speaker: Fatih Safa Erenay, Associate Professor, Department of Management Sciences | University of Waterloo, Canada

3:50 p.m. - 4:05 p.m. 
Research Talk: Bridging Science & Design: Creating Playful Experiences to Promote Mental Health and Behaviour Change in Youth

Speaker: Hanneke Scholten, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences | University of Twente, The Netherlands

4:05 p.m. - 4:20 p.m.
Research Talk: Future Cities and Health: Embedding Urban Strategic Foresight into Public Health Intervention Research

Speaker: Leia Minaker, Associate Professor, School of Planning | University of Waterloo, Canada

4:20 p.m.
Closing Remarks

Speaker: Yibei Zhao, Research Development Officer, Health Initiatives | University of Waterloo, Canada

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Carmen Anthonj

Assistant Professor, Department of Earth Observation Science | University of Twente, The NetherlandsCarmen Anthonj

Carmen Anthonj is an Assistant Professor of Water, Health and Decisions at the Faculty for Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation at the University of Twente, Netherlands. Her research covers drinking water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH) and health challenges in space and time, and she considers water and health challenges from a broader nexus perspective, including implications of inequality, extreme weather events, education, cultural context. She is interested in local knowledge, health-related risk perceptions and in understanding how it can be used to inform public health planning and decision making. She works with vulnerable communities in low-, middle- and high-income countries, and frequently collaborates with international organizations to jointly implement health-promoting interventions.

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Dr. Zahid Butt

Assistant Professor, School of Public Health Sciences | University of Waterloo, CanadaZahid Butt

Dr. Zahid Butt is an Assistant Professor in the School of Public Health at the University of Waterloo where he acts a Principal Investigator of the Public Health Research and Analytics Lab. His current research, traditional methods and interventions for infectious disease prevention and control are not sufficient, especially in the context of marginalization, interactions between infections, bio-behavioral factors and social disparities. These methods and research could benefit from new insights derived from the study of syndemics (a term used to describe a framework to understand disease and health conditions that cluster within specific populations, and are exacerbated by underlying socio-economic, environmental and political conditions). His research interests focus on syndemics of infectious diseases like HIV, hepatitis B and C, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections. His research aims to evaluate the determinants of syndemics, extend the syndemic framework to non-communicable diseases and cancers, and design and evaluate prevention strategies to address syndemics.

His other areas of interest include the development and application of methods for analysis of big data, global health, and spatial epidemiologic methods and their application to public health practice. In addition to the above, he has worked internationally in academia and the development sector (World Health Organization and UNICEF).

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Derya Demirtas

Associate Professor, Center for Healthcare Operations Improvement & Research | University of Twente, The NetherlandsDerya Demirtas

Derya Demirtas is an associate professor at the Center for Healthcare Operations Improvement & Research (CHOIR) and the Section Industrial Engineering and Business Information Systems at the University of Twente. Her research focuses on operations research, optimization, data science, location theory and their applications to healthcare and emergency response. She holds a PhD in Industrial Engineering from the Univ. of Toronto and MMath from the Combinatorics & Optimization, Univ. of Waterloo.
Demirtas is a recipient of the Dutch Research Council (NWO) Veni grant and American Heart Association Young Investigator Award. Her research has been published in journals such as Management Science, European Journal of Operational Research, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, and Health Care Management Science. She serves in several academic roles including co-chair of
NWO Advisory Roundtable (Economics & Business Administration), chair of UT Examination Board Management Sciences, associate editor for Health Care Management Science and area editor for Health Systems journals.

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Clark Dickerson

Executive Director, Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) | University of Waterloo, CanadaClark Dickerson

Clark Dickerson is a Professor of Kinesiology and Health Sciences (Faculty of Health) and Canada Research Chair of Shoulder Mechanics, as well as the Executive Director for the Centre for Bioengineering and Biotechnology (CBB) at the University of Waterloo, where he has been since 2005. His research focuses on human musculoskeletal biomechanics, particularly of the shoulder. He earned his BSME at Alfred University, his MS in bioengineering from Clemson University, and his PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Michigan. His current research interests include the development and experimental evaluation of computational shoulder models, digital ergonomics, age and disease-related shoulder disorder prevention, assessment, and mitigation, in vitro tissue mechanical characterization, and comparative and developmental shoulder mechanics. His work also extends to the design and evaluation of assistive devices, including upper limb exoskeletons and therapeutic soft robots.

Clark Dickerson is an author of over 145 peer-reviewed research articles and over 300 conference and invited talks. He is a past-president of Canadian Society for Biomechanics and current chairperson of the Board of the International Shoulder Group (a technical group of the International Society of Biomechanics).

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Fatih Safa Erenay

Associate Professor, Department of Management Sciences | University of Waterloo, CanadaFatih Safa Erenay

Fatih Safa Erenay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Management Sciences at the University of Waterloo. His research interests include applications of stochastic modelling and optimization, with a focus on Markov decision processes, partially observable Markov decision processes, dynamic programming, simulation, and simulation-based optimization. Using his methodological expertise, he develops novel models to tackle high-impact medical decision making, transportation, and production planning problems.

His research mainly focuses on optimal decision making for the management of infectious and chronic diseases. He uses stochastic modelling and simulation to capture the progression of diseases such as end stage liver disease, cancer, influenza, MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus), and ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Then, he employs Markov decision processes (MDPs), partially observable MDPs (POMDPs), control theory, and simulation-based optimization to determine valuable insights about the optimal management of these diseases and/or optimal delivery of associated health services. He actively collaborates with clinicians and public health experts from the School of Medicine at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Mayo Clinic-Rochester, and Grand River Hospital, Kitchener-Canada to shed light on various controversial policy questions and methodological issues.

The quality of his research has been acknowledged by several prestigious awards: 2009 Service Science Best Paper Award (Winner), 2009 INFORMS Pierskalla Best Paper Award (Finalist), Poster Competition of 2009 IERC Doctoral Colloquium (Winner). In 2017 and 2018, his PhD students became the winner and the runner-up in the CORS Student Paper Competition for their joint works. Dr Erenay is also an associate editor for IISE Transactions on Healthcare Systems Engineering and an editorial board member for INFORMS Service Science journal.

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Igor Grossmann

Professor, Department of Psychology | University of Waterloo, CanadaIgor Grossman

Igor Grossman is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Waterloo where he directs the Wisdom and Culture Lab. Research in his lab explores how people make sense of the world around them—their expectations, lay theories, meta-cognitions, forecasts—or it concerns how larger cultural forces impact human behaviour and societal change. Currently, his lab is working on the topics of AI-augmented cognition, wise reasoning, intellectual humility, perspective-taking, mindfulness, normative standards of judgment, and the power of forecasting societal change by advocates of clashing view on the future.

His research lab's work incorporates perspectives from anthropology, behavioural ecology, computational sciences, economics, philosophy, and psychology, and him and his lab members collaborate with scholars in these disciplines from around the world. They also use a range of methods, with a particular focus on psychometric and computational modelling, as well as behavioural experiments and ecological assessment methods. They especially emphasize the use of methods combining diverse levels of analysis and bridging different techniques for understanding how humans make sense of their world and societal change.

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Geke Ludden

Professor, Interaction Design | University of Twente, The NetherlandsGeke Ludden

Geke Ludden is full professor of Interaction Design at the University of Twente and a fellow of the DesignLab. Geke leads a research group of 20+ people and studies how the design of products and services influences people’s behaviour and motivation with a specific interest in how products and services can support healthy behaviour and in how technology (interactive devices and wearables) can engage people in therapy at home. She is co-editor of the book ‘Design for Behaviour Change’ published by Ashgate and now working on an edited book on ‘Design for Dementia, Mental Health & Wellbeing’.

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Leia Minaker

Associate Professor, School of Planning | University of Waterloo, CanadaLeia Minaker

Leia Minaker is an Associate Professor in the School of Planning at the University of Waterloo and an Affiliated Scientist at the Propel Centre for Population Health Impact. She received a PhD in public health from the University of Alberta in 2013, and currently holds a Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute Career Development Award in Cancer Prevention. Her research focuses on healthy cities and on policies that support health and health equity, with a particular focus on nutrition and tobacco control.

She was the recipient of the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute Career Development Award in Cancer Prevention (2016-2019) and the Environment Research Excellence Award from the Faculty of Environment. 

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Dr. Tejal Patel

Associate Professor, School of Pharmacy | University of Waterloo, CanadaTejal Patel

Dr. Tejal Patel is a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy, and a practicing clinical pharmacist with the Memory Clinic at the Centre for Family Medicine Family Health Team in Kitchener, Ontario. Dr. Patel obtained her PharmD from the University of Kentucky and completed a Post-doctoral Research Fellowship in Neurology at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In her position with the School of Pharmacy, Dr. Patel teaches pharmacy students about neurological disorders. Her clinical practice is focused on the pharmacotherapeutic management of neurological disorders such as cognitive disorders, seizures, and Parkinson’s disease. 

Her research centres on medication use process in the older adult, including the prescribing, dispensing, delivering, administering, and outcomes of medications with a particular focus on the use of potentially inappropriate medications, polypharmacy, capacity to manage medications and adherence.

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Hanneke Scholten

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Behavioural Management and Social Sciences | University of Twente, The Netherlands Hanneke Scholten

Hanneke Scholten is an Assistant Professor at the Technology, Human and Institutional Behavior Group of the University of Twente, and co-director of the Games for Emotional and Mental Health (GEMH) lab. She obtained her Bachelor Pedagogy and Educational Sciences and Research Master Behavioral Science (cum laude) at the Radboud University Nijmegen. In her PhD project (January 2020, cum laude) at the Developmental Psychopathology program of the Radboud University, she designed and tested a game to help youth quit smoking. In this project, she collaborated with game designers and youth and used a variety of methods, such as a participatory design, text-based analyses, and EEG.

In her position as postdoctoral researcher at GEMH lab, she focused on understanding and improving youths’ emotional and mental health through technology. In her current position at the University of Twente she is driven to build interdisciplinary collaborations through which digital experiences can be developed that matter to youth and improve their wellbeing. Furthermore, she strives to implement scientifically proven products in the real-world to have an impact on as many youth as possible.

Scholten is a vocal proponent of the potential impact of interactive media on emotional and mental health. To this end, she has published her work in international journals and delivered over 50 presentations and workshops on this topic to audiences of diverse backgrounds, including the scientific community, parents, youth, teachers, designers, and psychologists.

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Jodi Sturge

Assistant Professor, Department of Design, Production and Management | University of Twente, The NetherlandsJodi Sturge

Jodi Sturge is an Assistant Professor with the Interaction Design (IxD) group in the Department of Design, Production and Management in the Faculty of Engineering Technology and a DesignLab Research Fellow at the University of Twente. As a health geographer and design researcher, Jodi is interested in how the design of built environments and technology can enhance human interaction, health and well-being. She has experience with transdisciplinary, mixed-method research, evaluation frameworks and policymaking that support inclusive design.

Jodi recently received a Citizen Science for Health grant to identify solutions for loneliness and has received an NWO Gender in Health Research fellowship and research award. Jodi is also a co-investigator on two international projects. The B-Sure project aims to develop conceptual models of built environments that support stroke rehabilitation and recovery outside the hospital setting. While the SoHo project aims to identify design guidelines to support socially sustainable living environments for older adults.

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Please register by September 27, 2023. Due to room capacity limitations, registration will be closed once capacity limit has been reached.

Information and privacy: questions regarding the collection of information on this form can be directed to the form administrator.

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