UPDATED: University of Waterloo COVID-19 Experts
The University of Waterloo has a number of faculty prepared to offer expert commentary on various aspects of COVID-19.
The University of Waterloo has a number of faculty prepared to offer expert commentary on various aspects of COVID-19.By Media Relations
Experts can be contacted directly via email and will be available for phone calls or online video conversations (via various methods, to be confirmed with each expert).
If there is a topic not covered by these experts, please continue to reach out to Rebecca Elming, Manager, Media Relations.
The University of Waterloo will endeavour to fill all requests for expert commentary.
Experts available to media:
Biology and Biochemistry
Andrew Doxey: Professor Doxey is a bioinformatician in the Department of Biology. He can speak about the use of bioinformatics and RNA sequencing to study host-pathogen interactions. In current collaborative research, his lab is studying the molecular mechanisms of SARS-CoV-2 infection and immune responses in the lung.
Christine Dupont: Professor Dupont is a virologist in the Department of Biology, and can speak about the evolution and molecular biology of the COVID-19 virus.
Juewen Liu: Professor Liu is with the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology. Professor Liu can speak to biosensors for environmental monitoring, bacterial and viral detection and biological assays.
Sushanta Mitra: Professor Mitra is the Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Nanotechnology and has numerous ongoing research projects dealing with COVID-19. Professor Mitra can discuss his work on antiviral coating and COVID-19.
Jozef Nissimov: Professor Nissimov is a virologist in the Department of Biology; he can speak on the ecology of viruses, virus evolution and the molecular biology of viruses.
Trevor Charles: Professor Charles is Director of the Waterloo Centre for Microbial Research and teaches in the Department of Biology. Professor Charles can speak to environmental surface testing and monitoring for viruses and bacteria, as well as the global tracking of pathogens spread through solid surfaces.
Brian Dixon: Professor Dixon teaches in the Department of Biology, and teaches the immunology class. He is currently researching COVID antibody testing methods and can speak to the immune response to viruses and the development of vaccines and serological tests.
Janusz Pawliszyn: Professor Pawliszyn is a University Professor and Research Chair in the Department of Chemistry.He is developing a non-invasive breath analysis based rapid screening method for COVID-19. He can speak about the development and application of state-of-the-art, integrated and automated analytical methods and instrumentation, for on-site analysis and monitoring.
Andrew Bauer: Canada Research Chair (in Taxation, Governance and Risk) and Professor, School of Accounting and Finance. Professor Bauer can comment on the use of tax incentives to encourage behaviour or tax relief to lessen financial burden, including measures enacted in Canada following national or global crises.
Elizabeth Demers: Professor Demers of the School of Accounting and Finance is a capital markets researcher. Professor Demers cans peak about the role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) metrics in predicting corporate stock returns during the market turmoil induced by COVID-19.
Adam Presslee: Professor Presslee teaches performance management in the School of Accounting and Finance. COVID-19 has forced many workers to work remotely. Professor Presslee can comment on how remote working can impact employee motivation and ways firm can keep their newly remote workers productive and engaged during this global crisis.
James Thompson: Professor Thompson teaches finance in the School of Accounting and Finance. Professor Thompson can speak about banks and financial markets in general and as they pertain to COVID-19 more specifically. He can also speak about the role of insurance versus governments when it comes to bearing risk such as that presented by COVID-19.
Jean-Paul Lam: Professor Lam teaches in the Department of Economics. Professor Lam can speak about the economy in general and the decisions of central banks around COVID-19 more specifically.
Larry Smith: Professor Smith is the Director of the Problem Lab. He can offer commentary on the effects of the pandemic on overall economic activity and its specific effects on various sectors, including those of technology.
Mikal Skuterud: Professor Skuterud teaches in the Department of Economics and can offer commentary on COVID-19 and the labour market (layoffs, unemployment, EI claims, government policy).
Sue Horton: University Research Chair and Professor (Health Economics), School of Public Health and Health Systems. Professor Horton can comment on economic effects of health issues, both for high income and low- and middle-income countries. Professor Horton can take a wider international lens, she recently commented on what would happen if an international leader contracted the disease.
William W.L. Wong: Professor Wong is a pharmacy-focused economist in the School of Pharmacy; he is developing a COVID-19 model to predict the real prevalence and undiagnosed proportion of COVID-19 cases in Canada and is conducting economic evaluations of COVID-19 prevention strategies.
Ian VanderBurgh: Director of the Centre for Education in Mathematics and Computing, one of Canada’s largest organizations devoted entirely to mathematics and computing education, since 2004. The CEMC has created free online resources that cover almost all of the Canadian mathematics curricula.
James Skidmore: Professor Skidmore has expertise in online teaching and the remote delivery of instruction. He can speak to education practices and policy during the pandemic.
Kristina Llewellyn: Professor Llewellyn is the Director of the Digital Oral Histories for Reconciliation project. Dr. Llewellyn can speak to issues of equity and education for students, families, and teachers during the transition to home learning. She can also speak to the importance of history education, specifically storytelling and oral history, for building young peoples' understanding about difficult knowledge and turbulent times.
Lennart Nacke: Professor Nacke is the Director of the Human-Computer Interaction Games Group and can speak to gamification in education and also more broadly, on gaming during times of crisis.
Bill Anderson: Professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering has conducted extensive research on disinfection of surfaces and using ultraviolet (UV) light to help solve a shortage of masks for front-line healthcare workers in the COVID-19 crisis.
Marc Aucoin: Chemical engineering professor and Director of the University’s Aucoin Research Group focused on complex biologics. He is a specialist in virus and therapeutic protein production and purification.
Ehsan Toyserkani: Professor in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering. Professor Toyserkani’s lab has pivoted to 3D printing face shields and N95 masks to help fill the backlog of PPE for frontline workers.
Miheala Vlasea: Professor Vlasea teaches in the Department of Mechanical and Mechatronics Engineering and has expertise in 3D printing.
Juan Moreno-Cruz: Professor Moreno-Cruz has expertise in energy consumption, particularly in urban areas. He can comment on the changes in consumption during the pandemic and the effect on the planet.
Michael Barnett-Cowan: Professor Barnett-Cowan teaches in the Department of Kinesiology where is focus is virtual reality (VR); he can speak to using VR as means to stay connected while staying home.
Neil Randall: Professor Randall is Executive Director of the Games Institute; he can speak to how gaming can create positive social connections during the pandemic.
Troy Glover: Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. Professor Glover studies the creation of positive change for people and communities through the use of community spaces, he can comment on the implications of the pandemic on public space use.
Heather MacDougall: Professor MacDougall is an historian who specializes in the history of disease and health policy. Drawing on research comparing the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic response in Toronto to its experience with SARS in 2003, she is prepared to discuss prevention and the lessons learned from history as they apply to COVID-19.
Feng Chang: Professor Chang is a pharmacist who teaches at the School of Pharmacy; she can comment on the impact of COVID-19 on elderly people, the effects of loneliness on seniors, pharmacy practice and COVID-19, and the impact of COVID-19 on health care in rural areas
George Heckman: Dr. Heckman is a practicing physician specialized in geriatric and internal medicine, and a Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. In addition to collaborating on several COVID-19 related projects, he can speak to managing COVID-19 in long-term care homes and in the home care system.
Kim Lopez: Professor in the Department of Recreation and Leisure Studies. She can comment on the implications of the pandemic on professional caregiving staff in long-term care homes. She researches invisibility in caring labour, aging well in long-term care homes, leisure in the helping professions and digital leisure technologies.
Chris Bauch: Research chair in the Department of Applied Mathematics who has done extensive research into SARS and the 2009 pandemic influenza. He is a specialist in mathematical and computer modelling of infectious disease outbreaks, vaccination, and social distancing measures.
Niayesh Afshordi: Professor Afshordi in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where he has been devising statistical models for the community spread of the epidemic. He can comment on modeling the pandemic amidst its major driving factors and based on the population demographics in geographically diverse countries.
Oil and Gas Industry
Jatin Nathwani: Professor Nathwani is the Executive Director of the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy and is a frequent commentator on the oil and gas industry in Canada and around the world. He can offer expertise on recent oil market fluctuations and Canada’s plans for the industry, including economic aid.
Lyndon Jones: Professor Jones is the Director of Centre for Ocular Research & Education and is available to comment on eye health during COVID-19, particularly best practices for contact lens wearers.
Andre Stanberry: Professor Stanberry is the Director of Waterloo’s Optometry Clinic and can offer expertise in eye care as it relates to COVID-19.
Brian Orend: Professor Orend teaches in the Philosophy Department where he focuses on meaning and happiness in challenging times. Professor Orend is also able to discuss overcoming trauma, both individually and on a societal level.
Politics and Governance
Daniel Henstra: Professor Henstra is a Senior Fellow at the Centre for International Governance Innovation; he can speak to the governance of complex policy areas such as emergency management at all levels of government.
Emmett Macfarlane: Professor Macfarlane teaches in the Department of Political Science; he can speak to government policy during the pandemic and can offer insight into the constitutional and Charter of Rights implications.
Philip Boyle: Professor Boyle teaches in the Department of Sociology and Legal Studies. Professor Boyle can speak to the decision by the Province of Ontario to declare a State of Emergency and governance issues more generally.
Privacy and Tracking COVID-19
Florian Kerschbaum: Professor Kerschbaum is the director of the Waterloo Cybersecurity and Privacy Institute and can speak to the privacy implications of cellphone tracking in the COVID-19 fight. He can also share what technology could balance privacy and the fight against COVID-19.
Urs Hengartner: Professor Hengartner a founding member of the Cryptography, Security, and Privacy research group where he develops security and privacy solutions for mobile platforms with a focus on smartphones. Professor Hengartner can speak to the potential to use cellphones to track the spread of the pandemic, and the potential privacy concerns of doing so.
Hilary Bergsieker: Professor Bergsieker studies interpersonal relationships and can offer comment on various aspects of the emotional toll that COVID-19 is taking on families and between friends and colleagues.
Dillon Browne: Professor Browne teaches in the Department of Psychology. He is a clinical psychologist with expertise on family relationships, child behaviour, parenting, and mental health during times of trauma, stress, and economic strife.
James Danckert: Professor Danckert teaches in the Department of Psychology, he can speak to issue of boredom in quarantine - which was a significant issue during SARS.
Igor Grossmann: Professor Grossmann is the Director of the Wisdom and Culture Lab. Professor Grossman has expertise in cultural and societal change and can speak to emotional regulation and maintaining wisdom in times of uncertainty.
Shana MacDonald: Professor MacDonald teaches in the department of Communication Arts and is co-founder of the qcollaborative, a feminist research lab situated at the Games Institute which specializes in the relationship between technology and public discourse. Professor MacDonald can discuss how information is flowing across a variety of social media platforms, and how this affects change and impacts the public’s worldview during times of crisis.
David Moscovitch: Professor Moscovitch teaches in the Department of Psychology where his work focuses on the nature and treatment of social anxiety. Professor Moscovitch can speak to fear and anxiety around COVID-19 and effective coping strategies.
Christine Purdon: Professor Purdon teaches in the Department of Psychology; she can speak to the fear and anxiety people are feeling during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Craig Janes: Director of the School of Public Health and Health Systems. Professor Janes can comment on many dimensions of COVID-19, especially the efficacy of social interventions (travel restrictions, quarantines, etc.).
Ellen MacEachen: Professor MacEachen teaches in the School of Public Health and Health Systems and can talk about workplaces and COVID-19. Especially precarious employee workers and how difficult it is for them to admit they are sick and take time off.
Narveen Jandu: Professor in the School of Public Health and Health Systems. She is a cellular microbiologist whose work focuses on public health prevention of infectious diseases through immunizations, appropriate health and hygiene practices, as well as harm reduction programs. Professor Jandu can speak about vaccines, therapeutics, protective and preventative measures.
Shannon Majowicz: Professor Majowicz is an infectious disease epidemiologist in the School of Public Health and Health Systems, who worked with the Public Health Agency of Canada prior to joining Waterloo. She could speak to outbreaks, and the decisions of public health, individuals and organizations/institutions around how their guidance is being rolled out, and the nature of public health guidance in general.
Steffanie Scott: Professor Scott teaches in the Department of Geography and Environmental Management. Professor Scott can comment on food security and COVID-19; her work has a particular focus on the Chinese context.
Zahid Butt: Professor Butt teaches in the School of Public Health and Health Systems; he can comment on pandemic preparedness and public health responses to COVID-19 in developed and developing countries. Professor Butt can also discuss how underlying health conditions could impact individual responses to the COVID-19 infection.
Zhenzhong Si: A researcher in the fields of China’s food system and agricultural policy. He is an adjunct researcher in the Department of Geography & Environmental Management. He can speak about wet markets in China in relation to the virus. He can also speak about Chinese people’s everyday experiences of the COVID-19 crisis, and about how they accessed food, as well as policies put in place by the Chinese government to support this.
Pharmacy and Vaccine Development
Brett Barrett: Professor Barrett is a pharmacist who teaches at the School of Pharmacy; she can comment on drug treatments for COVID-19, antiviral medications, antibiotic use and the role of pharmacy in hospitals.
Kelly Grindrod: Professor Grindrod is a pharmacist who teaches at the School of Pharmacy; she can comment on drug shortages, 30-day supply issues, drugs used in managing COVID-19, the necessity of protective equipment for medical professionals and has general expertise in epidemiology.
Emmanuel Ho: Professor Ho teaches in the School of Pharmacy; he is an expert in immunology and virology and is currently developing a COVID-19 vaccine. He can comment on how the virus operates and how vaccines can potentially combat it, as well as on novel approaches for treating and preventing viral infections.
Nardine Nakhla: Professor Nakhla teaches in the School of Pharmacy; she can speak to the use of non-prescription medications and non-pharmacological measures to help patients manage cough/cold and flu-like symptoms and to the role of community pharmacists in combatting COVID-19.
Roderick Slavcev: Professor Slavcev teaches in the School of Pharmacy; he is developing a COVID-19 vaccine and can comment on how the virus operates and how vaccines can potentially combat it.
Nancy Waite: Professor Waite teaches in the School of Pharmacy; she can speak to vaccination in general, vaccine hesitancy and strategies for vaccine distribution and promotion.
The University of Waterloo acknowledges that much of our work takes place on the traditional territory of the Neutral, Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our main campus is situated on the Haldimand Tract, the land granted to the Six Nations that includes six miles on each side of the Grand River. Our active work toward reconciliation takes place across our campuses through research, learning, teaching, and community building, and is co-ordinated within the Office of Indigenous Relations.