Co-presented by Laurentian University and Science North, we welcome our community to participate in a timely and informative seminar series. We will be hosting weekly live discussions where local researchers will answer questions regarding COVID-19 and the work they are doing to support the pandemic. Each discussion will focus on a specific topic that will dive deeper into key aspects of COVID-19 and how they affect individuals, our planet and beyond. 

The discussions will be streamed live on Science North and Laurentian University's Facebook pages every Wednesday starting May 20th from 10:00 am to 11:00 am.  

Pre-registration is not required and there is no cost to attend.

MAY 20th

The Role of Animals and Animal Welfare around COVID-19

COVID-19 is a zoonotic disease - a virus that has jumped from animal to human. The spillover of zoonotic disease has been responsible for many recent epidemics including HIV, Ebola and influenza viruses. Any setting in which humans and animals come in close contact can lead to this spillover - including agriculture and animal markets. Based on the genetics of COVID-19, it looks like the virus is derived from a bat species found in China. It is still unclear how this virus jumped to humans and evolved the ability to transmit from human to human.



Canada Research Chair in Applied Evolutionary Ecology, Laurentian University

albrecht schulte-hostedde

I am a behavioural and evolutionary ecologist working at the interface of behaviour, evolution, ecological genetics, life-history and physiology. My students and I integrate intense field research on marked wildlife populations with molecular markers and other lab-oriented techniques to examine issues related to a) the fitness consequences of phenotypic and genotypic variation, and b) factors influencing patterns of gene flow across populations. Our group collaborates extensively with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Toronto Zoo. Taxonomically, my focus is mammals, but my students and I have worked on an array of taxa including fish, amphibians, squamates, turtles, birds and insects. As Canada Research Chair in Applied Evolutionary Ecology, my research also encompasses areas of conservation interest, including the effects of domesticated populations on closely-related wild species, the effects of urbanization on selection in natural populations, and the evolutionary ecology of captive zoo populations.


Director of the Animal Care Facility, Laurentian University

rod jouppi

Rod Jouppi, DVM, owned a private veterinary practice Walden Animal Hospital from 1979 to 2015 with a strong focus on companion animals. Since 2008, Rod is the University Veterinarian and Director of the Animal Research Facility at Laurentian University, Sudbury, Ontario. For the last 20 years, has been the founder/president of Wild at Heart – A Canadian charity that rehabilitates wild animals. He has been involved with many boards and committees in animal welfare (including the WSAVA, AAHA, President, Human Animal Bond Association). He lectures on animal welfare internationally. He is also a Board member of the Society of Veterinary Medical Ethics.

MAY 27th

COVID-19: Impact on Housing, Homelessness, and Vulnerable Groups

This panel discussion will focus on the impact - present and future - that the COVID-19 public health crisis may have on people living homeless in northeastern Ontario, from a variety of perspectives. As an interdisciplinary team working in the  Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy at Laurentian University, Carol Kauppi, PhD, Kevin Fitzmaurice, PhD, Phyllis Montgomery, PhD, and Michael Hankard, PhD, will discuss their unique perspectives on the hidden ripple effects of the pandemic on northern communities and vulnerable populations. The discussion will focus on (1) the immediate risks to those living in various forms of homelessness as the COVID-19 crisis progresses; (2) the vulnerability of those living homelessness due to pre-existing health challenges and co-morbidities; (3) the challenges vulnerable people will face in accessing housing, especially for Indigenous people living in urban centres; and (4) the potential for further stigmatization and discrimination towards First Nations, Metis, and Inuit peoples living homeless in Ontario and Canada wide.



Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy

Dr. Carol Kauppi is the Director of the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy. She is a professor in the School of Social Work at Laurentian University. In 2017, she received the Partnership Award (an Impact Award) from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. This award recognizes outstanding achievements involving a partnership approach to research. Carol was also the 2011 recipient of the Laurentian University Research Excellence Award.


Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies, University of Sudbury

dr. michael hankard abenaki

Dr. Michael Hankard (Abenaki) is an Associate Professor of Indigenous Studies at the University of Sudbury in Ontario. For the past 17 years, he has lived on the Serpent River First Nation in northeastern Ontario. He is the 1st Aboriginal graduate of Laurentian University’s Human Studies PhD program and created the University of Sudbury’s Indigenous Environmental Studies program.


Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies; Associate Director at the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy at Laurentian University; Regional Co-Director with the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) and the National Centre for the Collaboration on Indigenous Education (NCCIE)

dr. kevin fitzmaurice

Dr. Kevin Fitzmaurice is an Associate Professor in Indigenous Studies and the Associate Director at the Centre for Research in Social Justice and Policy at Laurentian University. He is also a Regional Co-Director with the Urban Aboriginal Knowledge Network (UAKN) and the National Centre for the Collaboration on Indigenous Education (NCCIE). Currently, he is involved in a number of community research projects in urban Indigenous governance nationally and homelessness in Ontario.


Researcher and Professor in the School of Nursing, Laurentian University


Dr. Phyllis Montgomery is a researcher and professor in the School of Nursing at Laurentian University. Her interests involve the well-being of persons living in challenging health and social circumstances.

JUNE 3rd (French seminar)

Les enjeux sociétaux de la pandémie : réflexions autour de la COVID-19

This seminar will deal with a variety of topics regarding the impacts of COVID-19 on the world around us. To begin, we will aim to understand the historical parallels between the Spanish flu at the end of World War I and COVID-19. Then, we will examine the impacts COVID-19 is having on the role of government in the quality of life at work, specifically by ensuring good post-pandemic working conditions, as well as on language rights, environmental issues and sustainable development, and international relations.



Professor in Faculty of Management, Laurentian University


Louis Durand is professor in Laurentian University’s Faculty of Management. For more than 25 years, he has taught human resource management and labour relations in the Bachelor of Business Administration programs. His research focuses on the improvement (or deterioration) of working conditions in unionized and non-unionized environments.


Associate Professor in Department of Political Science, Laurentian University

Aurélie Lacassagne

Aurélie Lacassagne earned her doctorate in Political Science at Science Po Bordeaux (France). She is associate professor in the Department of Political Science at Laurentian University, where she teaches international relations, among other subjects. Her research looks at theories of international relations, cultural studies and identity dynamics. She can regularly be seen and heard on public broadcasting channels.


Professor in Department of History, Laurentian University

Pierre Cameron

Professor in the Department of History at Laurentian University, Pierre Cameron gives courses on different periods of European history (Antiquity, Middle Ages, Modern Times). He is particularly interested in the history of witchcraft, food, medicine and the great epidemics that have influenced the course of our history.


Full Professor in School of the Environment, Laurentian University

Christian Bouchard

Full professor in the School of the Environment at Laurentian University (Sudbury, Canada), Christian Bouchard holds a Ph.D. in Geography (Université Laval, Quebec) and focuses his research work mainly on Indian Ocean geopolitics and the Southwest Indian Ocean, with a particular interest in maritime geopolitics and the small island states and territories of the region. He is the associate editor of the Journal of the Indian Ocean Region (Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group) as well as a member of the editorial boards of the Cahiers de géographie du Québec (Université Laval, Quebec) and VertigO – La revue électronique en sciences de l’environnement (Université du Québec à Montréal). He is also a founding member of the Indian Ocean Research Group (IORG Inc.). In the past, he has taught at the University de La Réunion, the Royal Military College of Canada and the University of Ottawa, and has been a visiting professor at Penjab University. At Laurentian University, his teaching focuses on sustainable development, energy issues, the relationship between society and the ocean, the geopolitics of natural resources, as well as small island states and territories.

JUNE 10th

COVID-19 and the Impact on First Nations Peoples

This panel brings together three First Nations women whose interdisciplinary experiences working with First Nations communities is contributing to improved pandemic responses for First Nations in Ontario. This discussion will look at the current trends of Covid-19 for First Nations in the province, will explore how First Nations are responding, and will address the importance of understanding the experiences and stories of First Nations people in relation to Covid-19. Combined, this panel aims to generate thoughtful discussion on the impact of Covid-19 on First Nations populations in the present and for the seven generations yet to come.



Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Health, Laurentian University

dr. jennifer walker

Dr. Jennifer Walker is a Haudenosaunee member of Six Nations of the Grand River with a Ph.D. in Community Health Services (Epidemiology). Dr. Walker’s work focuses largely on Indigenous community-engaged research using large health services databases. Her program of research is supported by a Canada Research Chair for Indigenous Health at Laurentian University and through her work as a Core Scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES). Dr. Walker’s primary academic appointment is at Laurentian University within the School of Rural and Northern Health; she also holds adjunct status at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. In her research, she works with Indigenous organizations and communities to use health data toward the benefit and wellbeing of Indigenous people, with a focus on supporting older Indigenous people with chronic conditions. Many of her recent collaborations have focused on addressing community health data priorities related to COVID-19.


Assistant Professor in the School of Indigenous Relations, Laurentian University

dr. joey-lynn wabie

Dr. Joey-Lynn Wabie is known first through her Anicinabe name, ziigwankwe, which means early Spring Woman. Dr. Wabie is from Mahingan Sagahigan in northeastern Quebec. She is an assistant professor in the School of Indigenous Relations at Laurentian University which is situated on Atikameksheng Anishnawbek territory, and in close proximity to Wahnapitae First Nation. Her greatest successes in her life are her three children who are gifts to her from the Creator. Her research interests include Indigenous women's spiritual health, land-based pedagogy, grassroots organizing, and youth led initiatives.


Sessional Professor in the School of Indigenous Relations, Laurentian University

robyn rowe

Robyn Rowe is Anishinaabekwe and a member of Matachewan First Nation. Robyn’s maternal family’s traditional territory is called Friday’s Point and is on Lake Temagami in Northeastern, Ontario. Robyn is an Indigenous health research associate, a PhD candidate in the School of Rural and Northern Health, and a sessional professor in the School of Indigenous Relations at Laurentian University. Robyn’s primary research areas of interest include Indigenous data sovereignty and Indigenous data governance. More recently, Robyn is working with First Nations organizations who are asserting data and research sovereignty during a time of Covid-19.


Elder of the Beausoleil First Nation

h. neil monague

H. Neil Monague is an Elder of the Beausoleil First Nation and has been on spiritual journey for over 18 years in which he has gathered much of his traditional teachings from his teachers and surroundings. Dealing with his own spirit has given him the opportunity to embark on a road in helping others to strengthen their own spirit by way of song, drum, and smudge. H. Neil has come a long way in his own personal healing after a 24 year bout with alcohol and not knowing his true path in life. He has been given a second chance to show his gratitude to the spirits who set the four directions to grandmothers, grandfathers and to our creator.

JUNE 17th

The Importance of Health and Wellness in a Pandemic

The week’s seminar will provide you with research-supported strategies to adapt to the challenges of working from home during COVID-19. These will include ergonomic best practices for setting up a workstation, using your kitchen table as an office and maximizing your workspace for comfort, using mindfulness-based strategies to cope, preventing fatigue and other helpful strategies to help you adapt. The discussion will look at normalizing some of the mental health issues we are currently facing in light of the pandemic, both in the workplace and in your home.



Full Professor in the School of Social Work, Laurentian University

dr. diana coholic

Dr. Diana Coholic is a clinical social worker with a small private practice, and Full Professor in the School of Social Work at Laurentian University. Since 2005, her research program has been focused on studying the benefits of arts-based mindfulness interventions for resilience. Her publications include the book: Mindfulness: A Guide for Human Service Professionals. Information can be found at


Full Professor in the Faculty of Health, Laurentian University

dr. sandra dorman

Dr. Sandra Dorman is a Full Professor in the Faculty of Health at Laurentian University and the Director of the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health (CROSH). Her expertise is in physiology/pharmacology and her research program focuses on health promotion and disease prevention in the occupational setting. Her recent work has centered on fatigue mitigation in physically demanding workforces with high incidences of fatigue-related injuries.


Associate Professor in the School of Human Kinetics, Laurentian University

alison godwin

Dr. Alison Godwin is an associate professor in the School of Human Kinetics and a researcher with the Centre for Research in Occupational Safety and Health. Her research program looks at the use of virtual and augmented reality to enhance training experiences for northern industry. 

JUNE 24th

The Effects of the Pandemic on Health Sciences, Research and InnovationA focus on how COVID-19 will influence our community and society in the future



Internist / Intensivist, Health Sciences North (HSN); Interim Medical Director of Simulation, HSN (during the COVID-19 pandemic); HSN Critical Care Response Team Physician Lead; Assistant Professor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine

dr. mary catherine kerr

Dr. Mary Catherine Kerr is an Internist/Intensivist at Health Sciences North (HSN), Interim Medical Director of Simulation at HSN during the COVID-19 pandemic, HSN Critical Care Response Team Physician Lead, and Assistant Professor at NOSM. She has a keen interest in multidisciplinary medical simulation, development of simulation-based educational resources for rural and remote health care workers in Northern Ontario, and process improvement and enhanced team dynamics through simulation training. Medical Simulation is a unique educational tool that takes a small group of learners through a high fidelity medical situation that mimics real life.  COVID-19 introduced the fear of healthcare worker transmission, social distancing practices in education, and the need to develop and disseminate new, safe practices in the face of constantly evolving knowledge about this disease.  Dr. Kerr will speak about the development of  a novel, rapid, responsive and adaptive teaching model to disseminate new protocols and safe practices across Northern Ontario, while ensuring the safety of patients and healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Molecular biologist and Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, Laurentian University; Professor in the Division of Medical Sciences, Northern Ontario School of Medicine; Senior Scientist, Health Sciences North Research Institute

dr. amadeo parissenti

Dr. Amadeo Parissenti is a molecular biologist and a Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Laurentian University.  He is also a Professor in the Division of Medical Sciences at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine and a Senior Scientist at the Health Sciences North Research Institute.  While his research interests are in identifying tools to improve chemotherapy efficacy in cancer patients, he has developed an interest in establishing a regular surveillance system for COVID-19 incidence for the City of Greater Sudbury.  Along with Drs. Janet McElaney and Michael Conlon of Health Sciences North and with Dr. Penny Sutcliffe of our local Public Health Unit, he is seeking funding to immediately begin this surveillance system.  This will involve random surveying of our local population to quantify and quarantine symptomatic and asymptomatic COVID-19 cases in the city and to assess the effects of the seasons and business normalization on disease incidence.


Professor, Northern Ontario School of Medicine; Vice President of Academics and Research, Health Sciences North

dr. greg ross

A professor at the Northern Ontario School of Medicine for the past 15 years, Dr. Greg Ross also served as Associate Dean, Research from 2004 to 2014. Currently he is the Vice President, Academics and Research at Health Sciences North leading all HSNRI operations including ICES North, as well as HSN’s Academic Affairs office, the Labelle Innovation and Learning Centre (including the Simulation Lab), supports 2,100 medical and non-medical learners and the HSN Library.


Lead Manager for Research, Evaluation, and Knowledge exchange, Public Health Sudbury & Districts; Adjunct Professor at the School of Social Work, Laurentian University

dr. suzanne lemieux

Dr. Suzanne Lemieux enjoys and takes pride in her work as lead Manager for research, evaluation, and knowledge exchange at Public Health Sudbury & Districts. She is also an Adjunct Professor at the School of Social Work at Laurentian University. She has a keen interest in applied public health research in the areas of health equity, opioids and injection drug use, Indigenous engagement, poverty and homelessness, and most recently impacts of COVID-19. Dr. Lemieux holds a masters’ degree in Applied Research in Sociology and a doctoral degree in Human Studies. She is determined and passionate and believes in building partnerships to foster research in action.


Assistant Professor, Supply Chain and Operations Management, Laurentian University


Dr. Shashi Shahi’s research focuses on the supply chain management and the operations management issues of the Canadian industry, with particular emphasis on handling the supply and demand uncertainties using simulation-based optimization models. Dr. Shahi developed simulation models that address specific needs of the healthcare managers, and report on differences in patient waiting time under different scenarios. The models were used for simulating patient flow to evaluate the system’s performance, in order to understand the cause and effect relationship of patient waiting times in different units of the cancer care. He has also developed game theoretic models for making optimal decisions by the drug manufacturers and insurance payers under a form of risk-sharing contract, when there are multiple manufacturers competing in the same therapeutic market. His current research focuses on integrating the quantitative and qualitative sustainable supply chain management models with artificial neural networks for the best performance modeling of the healthcare industry.

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