We have a small but mighty team of smart, dedicated and hard-working individuals. With backgrounds in business, science, R&D, communications, finance, project management and accounting, we’re eager to help you tackle your next genomics challenge.
Steve Armstrong, PhD
President and CEO
“ It’s difficult to imagine a technology with more potential to benefit key sectors in Atlantic Canada than genomics. ”
Steve’s unwavering commitment to help Atlantic Canada reap the benefits of genomics-based innovation has made him an invaluable part of the Genome Atlantic team since its inception in 2000.
He has a strong scientific background as well as extensive experience in both the public and private sectors -- expertise that is highly beneficial as he helps connect industry, academic institutions and funding agents around strategic genomics R&D collaborations.
Steve is driven by the opportunities for economic and social impact in a diverse range of sectors in the region. As such, he demonstrates a willingness to ‘roll up the sleeves’ and work with partners to make things happen in everything from strategic consultations with industry about sector challenges that can be addressed by genomics, to deriving new R&D funding mechanisms to reduce administrative loads on industry/academic research teams.
Steve filled other key roles at Genome Atlantic before being named CEO, including project manager and VP Research and Business Development. Prior to that, he worked at a number of innovation-focused organizations, including Innovacorp, CanTox Inc and the Ontario Cancer Treatment and Research Foundation. Steve has a PhD in pharmacology from Dalhousie University.
Charmaine Gaudet, APR
Director of External Relations
“ Genomics brings solutions to so many industry and health challenges. It’s transforming the way that business tackles real-world problems. ”
Charmaine’s key role is to help people understand the economic and social benefits of genomics. She brings a strong communications background to Genome Atlantic, using her knowledge and experience to convey the impact of genomics in agriculture, aquaculture and fisheries, energy, the environment, forestry, mining and human health.
Charmaine directs our sector outreach, ensuring companies are introduced to the potential of genomics through presentations and meetings with visiting genomics experts. She is also responsible for Genome Atlantic’s engagement with the research community, organizing workshops, seminars and other opportunities for researchers to share their science with their peers, students and the broader community.
Finally, Charmaine manages our Genomics in Society program which is focused on balanced and informed discussion and evaluation of ethical, economic, legal and social issues arising from genomics.
Charmaine is an accredited public relations professional with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Prince Edward Island. She has extensive experience leading communications projects and teams in research, corporate and R&D environments. In 2019 Charmaine was named Nova Scotia Communicator of the Year by the Canadian Public Relations Society (NS). Charmaine serves as Communications Advisor to the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute, and serves on the board of directors for the Canadian Public Relations Society NS).
Sharon Ganong, CPA, CMA
Director of Finance
“ What appeals to me most about my position with Genome Atlantic is the opportunity to support critical applied research projects that are making an impact in Atlantic Canada, and to be part of an organization that is helping to drive innovation on our region. ”
Sharon’s solid experience in financial management, her passion for R&D and her strong commitment to collaborative engagement combine as an ideal skillset for her role as Director of Finance at Genome Atlantic. With more than 20 years in senior finance and strategic roles working with non-profit organizations, post-secondary institutions, and government (including serving as Director of Planning and Scheduling for the Office of the Premier in Nova Scotia), Sharon is an experienced accounting expert as well as a strategic thinker.
As a critical member of Genome Atlantic’s team, Sharon reports to the CEO and the Finance and Audit Committee of the Board of Directors, overseeing all aspects of Genome Atlantic’s finances, including operational budgets and forecasts and collaboration with external auditors.
Sharon also plays an integral role in developing and managing budgets for Genome Atlantic projects. Working closely with our researchers and project teams, she helps to pull all the pieces together ensuring that project budgets address the needs of research teams, are aligned with the intentions of various funding agencies, and meet funders’ requirements for reporting and accountability.
A Certified Professional Accountant, Sharon holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kings College. Sharon enjoys hiking, kayaking and yoga, and is also a facilitator with CPA Atlantic, mentoring CPA Candidates early in their learning journey. She is actively involved in her community through long-standing volunteer commitments including currently serving as Public Advisor to the Capital Health District Central Zone Palliative Care Committee.
Kristin Tweel, PhD, MBA
Director, Sector Innovation
“ Most researchers want to leave the world a better place. By connecting them to companies and others, I think we're helping them do that. ”
As Director, Sector Innovation, Kristin is responsible for overall opportunity generation and business development strategy. She also leads the development of select proposals and provides support to the CEO for future strategic pursuits.
In addition to her professional credentials, Kristin brings to the table two remarkable assets: an ability to understand the problem and to get the right people on it.
This is highly valuable to both the industries and researchers we work with. Whether it's helping a company assess a potential genomics-based approach or working with a team to deliver a competitive proposal on deadline, Kristin cuts through the clutter to get to the answers.
With a background in pharmacology, Kristin is comfortable 'geeking out' with the research community, but has a great ability to translate that scientific passion into real-world applications for industry and the public sector. Focused on a portfolio of mining, the environment and health, you'll most likely find Kristin connecting companies and researchers from these areas, helping them understand each other's worlds to address challenges like clean drinking water, bioremediation and rare diseases.
Kristin obtained her Doctor of Philosophy in Pharmacology from Dalhousie University in 2011 where she focused on a life-long interest in cancer and its mysterious way of turning the body against itself. Determined to make sure her science knowledge could make a difference, Kristin completed an MBA at Saint Mary’s University in 2014 and as part of her training, she worked with PEI biotech company, BioVectra, where, among other things, she developed an evaluation model to assess risks and opportunities for generic drug development. She also completed the Genetics and Genomics Certificate program from Stanford University.
Britta Fiander, PEng
Director, Innovation Programs
“ I want to help researchers and companies turn their big, brilliant ideas into practical, real-world solutions. ”
An engineering background may not seem like the most obvious choice for someone at Genome Atlantic, but when it’s coupled with years of industrial R&D consulting, it’s actually pretty close to perfect.
Especially when you consider the beautiful collision of genomics and engineering happening in sectors such as mining (Britta’s specialty), oil and gas, and environmental applications.
It’s that engineering perspective you want when you’re trying to introduce new technologies into highly complex systems. Britta’s been there, and done that in real industrial environments. She’s got a highly sensitive ‘risk’ radar, and is always asking: How is that going to work?
As Director, Innovation Programs, Britta is responsible for the development and implementation of the proposal development and program management. In her proposal development role, she provides hands on guidance to clients at every stage of the process. Her oversight of active projects within the research portfolio ensures that projects are compliant with Genome Atlantic's governance requirements - and she also supports the CEO for future strategic pursuits.
Britta gained her extensive R&D know-how with KPMG and Grant Thornton, helping companies pursue innovation through research collaborations with academia. Research tax credits, proposal development, project management – Britta helped clients of all sizes move their projects from cradle to grave.
All of this makes this Dalhousie Engineering alumnus an ideal champion for project teams at Genome Atlantic, where she helps on both the proposal development AND project management sides of things. Additionally, Britta recently added to her list of accomplishments the completion of the Genetics and Genomics Certificate program from Stanford University.
“ The science that these teams are pursuing is incredible; it has the potential to really do a world of good. ”
Cara has a wealth of project management experience in a range of sectors including agriculture, aquaculture, biology and international development. As Program Officer, Cara works closely with the research and development teams to ensure that the projects run smoothly, stay on budget and meet the needs of all of the partners.
She has a strong passion for science and nature, and is a great communicator. These traits serve her well as she is often tasked to translate the complex ideas, perspectives and objectives of the diverse array of researchers, companies and other partners involved in the projects.
Her project management and organizational skills, coupled with an amazing work ethic are invaluable to the project teams.
She monitors progress, tracks milestones, manages budgets and develops reports and funding proposals, all of which alleviate administrative duties for the research teams, allowing them to focus their time and energy on scientific matters.
Cara has an undergraduate degree in zoology from the University of Alberta, and a Master’s degree in International Development Studies from Dalhousie University, where her research focused on natural resource commercialization and rural livelihoods in Cambodia.
Richard Donald, PhD
An experienced consultant, researcher and educator in the fields of the environment and agronomy, Richard Donald has led a diverse career that has taken him across the globe. After receiving his doctorate from the University of Saskatchewan, Richard started his professional career with Jacques Whitford Environment Limited in Halifax where he held various positions including Manager of Environmental Sciences in Nova Scotia, and Manager of International Business Development.
As a consultant, Richard was involved with a wide range of environmental assessment and management projects, particularly in the mining, oil and gas and agriculture sectors across Canada and in over 23 countries around the world. He has consulted in the area of environmental management and technology agriculture for the United Nations, the World Bank, CIDA, USAID, the International Finance Corporation and many other Canadian and international institutions. His work in the oil and gas sectors included a term as a senior environmental specialist with Qatar Petroleum, in the area of off-shore environmental monitoring and compliance.
Most recently, Richard served as Vice-President of Research and Extension at Nova Scotia Agricultural College (NSAC), and Associate Dean Research upon the merger of NSAC with Dalhousie University. As part of those positions Dr. Donald was also President and CEO of Perennia Inc, a Nova Scotia crown-owned company with the responsibility of knowledge translation and transfer to the agriculture and food sector. Richard retired from his post at Dalhousie in July of 2014 and continues to consult in the environment and agriculture domain.
Andrew Yoshioka, BSc
Associate, Sector Innovation
“ Genome Atlantic takes a systematic approach to business development, supporting clients at every stage of their project, from exploring opportunities, to finding partners, to developing proposals. As a member of the Business Development team, I am committed to ensuring our clients’ experience is a positive one and am proud to contribute to their success. ”
Andrew is an Associate, Sector Innovation responsible for supporting the opportunity generation pipeline and the business development strategy for Genome Atlantic. He is a life sciences generalist who built an independent management consulting practice to position businesses for investment, partnerships and value growth. He brings over 36 years of experience in management, strategic and operations roles in commercialization, business development and scientific responsibilities in innovation consulting and pharma/biotech. He was previously responsible for stakeholder and strategic partner development as well as advising to provincial and federal government-supported accelerators, academics, and entrepreneur start-ups. He was a reviewer for funding agencies on hundreds of technology commercialization grants and conducted several technical due diligence reviews for Public-Private Partnership large-scale government infrastructure investments.
Andrew’s approach to genomics proposal development starts with the translational strategy and articulating the stepwise process for end-users to realize the expected socio-economic benefits to Canada. He works with multidisciplinary teams to explain the partnerships, business models and processes needed for GE3LS (Genomics and its Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal and Social Aspects) to mitigate downstream risks that may be encountered during implementation of the ‘omics technology being developed in the grant.
Andrew enjoys helping people and is results-focused to support the Genome Atlantic team developing new opportunities by quickly grasping the core concepts and contributing to an actionable plan. He is focused on customer needs and adapts well to stakeholder uncertainties and time-sensitive deadlines to deliver insights on critical success factors. Andrew has a Bachelor of Science majoring in Biochemistry from McGill University.