Lisa Strug | Director

Lisa Strug is a Professor in the Departments of Statistical Sciences, Computer Science and the Division of Biostatistics, and the Director of CANSSI Ontario, at the University of Toronto. She is also the Associate Director of The Centre for Applied Genomics and a Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Professor Strug is a statistical geneticist and her research focuses on the development of novel statistical approaches to analyze and integrate multi-omics data to identify genetic contributors to complex human disease.

Administrative Team

Helen Lasthiotakis

Helen Lasthiotakis | Director, Operations and Strategy

Dr. Helen Lasthiotakis is the Director, Operations and Strategy at the Data Sciences Institute, University of Toronto. At DSI, she is responsible for the development and management of strategic plans and partnerships, the development of thematic and collaborative research strategies, and oversight of the DSI’s fellowship, training and event programs, and strategic communications plans.

Dr. Lasthiotakis has held senior roles at U of T, including in the offices of the Vice-President Research & Strategic Initiatives, the Office of the Provost, the Dean’s Office in the Faculty of Arts & Science, as well as the Nortel Institute in the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. She holds her Masters in Science in Geology, and her PhD in Higher Education Leadership & Policy.

Mark Abraham

Mark Abraham | Strategic Research Grants Officer

Mark supports DSI grants and awards, playing a pivotal role in the promotion and support of DSI research initiatives.

Mark has worked in research project management and awards for the past six years. He has managed relationships with external partners, as well as drafted sections of grants, data transfer agreements, and supported High-Performance Computing data projects. He received a Ph.D. in History at York University.

Image of Wisam Al Abed.

Wisam Al Abed | Senior Software Developer

Wisam provides research software development and analysis support for data science projects.

Wisam has experience building software utilizing an array of programming languages, technologies and software frameworks. He received his degree in software engineering from McGill.

Bianca Caldas

Bianca Caldas | Events and Administrative Coordinator

Bianca is responsible for coordinating DSI events and providing support with administrative processes.

Bianca has over 9 years of experience coordinating events and supporting staff and students in a university setting. Before joining the DSI, she worked as a Career Services Coordinator at the Rotman School of Management. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Child and Youth Care and she is passionate about student development and leadership.

Dominic Goveas | Business Officer

Dominic is responsible for the business and financial administration of the DSI and CANSSI Ontario, this includes budgeting, grants and award administration. He works with the DSI team to achieve the implementation of DSI’s strategic plans and partnerships.

Dominic has held several Finance and Business officer roles within the University of Toronto. He has a Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Computer Science.

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Sumaiya Hossain | Partnership & Business Development Officer

Sumaiya is responsible for identifying, developing, and working with private sector, community and global organizations to launch research and education partnerships.

Sumaiya has experience building collaborations between industry and academia having worked as the Business Development Advisor in a joint role with Mitacs and the University of Waterloo. She has worked with non-profits, government organizations, and private companies to implement water projects in rural areas of East Africa and Indigenous communities in Canada. Sumaiya holds a Bachelor of Business & Commerce, a Master’s in International Business from Monash University, and a Master’s in Development Practice from the University of Waterloo. 

Conor Klamann | Senior Software Developer

Conor provides research software development and analysis support for data science projects.

Conor has built research support applications for a variety of institutions, including Southern Methodist University, The University of Pennsylvania, and The Hospital for Sick Children. He has a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures.

Wenzhe Xu

Wenzhe (Sherrie) Xu | Programming Coordinator & SUDS Officer

Wenzhe develops and oversees the delivery of cohort program activities for the DSI’s SUDS, Postdoctoral and Doctoral Student Fellows, as well as the DSI’s not-for-credit offerings.

Wenzhe has an undergraduate degree in Physiology and Statistics from the University of Toronto, and recently finished her Master of Education in Higher Education with OISE. In addition, she co-authored the “International Students: Stories and Strategies for Academic Success in Postsecondary Education” Pressbook with eCampusOntario. 

Sara Elhawash | Research and Communications Specialist

Sara is responsible for leading the research and communications initiatives at DSI, overseeing a range of responsibilities including news writing, website maintenance and updates, social media management, and communication needs.

With over 7 years of experience in marketing and communications, Sara has worked in various sectors including academia, government, non-profits, and businesses. She holds a degree in Political Science from York University and a post-graduate certificate in Digital Marketing Management from the University of Toronto. Sara brings a versatile skill set that includes writing, video editing, graphic design, social media, and website design.