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Conference Speakers

We have assembled a world-class line-up of national and international speakers for our fall virtual conference.

Dr. Ravi Chibbar

Ravindra Chibbar is former W.J. White Professor and Canada Research Chair in Crop Quality at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada. His research employs molecular biological and genomics strategies to improve grain/seed quality and agronomic performance in cereal crops and grain legumes. In grain quality his focus is to improve seed composition for human health benefits. In crop performance he uses genomics strategies to improve abiotic stress tolerance to develop ‘climate change resilient crops’ to increase crop productivity under adverse environmental conditions. In the last more than three decades, he has supervised 45 post-doctoral associates and 27 students who have obtained their graduate degrees (21 Ph.D. and 6 M.Sc.) from the University of Saskatchewan, and one from the University of Hong Kong. He has co-authored 170 peer reviewed research publications, 25 book chapters, co-edited three books and made 200 presentations around the world. He is a fellow of the AACC International (now Cereals and Grains Association, CGA), St Paul, MN, USA, International Association of Cereal Science and Technology (ICC), Vienna, Austria and K.K. Nanda Foundation, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India.

Inez Martincevic, MSc, RD, Sick Kids Hospital

Inez Martincevic, MSc, RD, is a clinical dietitian practicing within the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition at The Hospital for Sick Children. Inez completed her undergraduate and graduate studies at the University of Toronto working closely with leaders in clinical nutrition. In collaboration with her Gastroenterology team, Inez cares for patients affected by many chronic diseases involving the gut, liver and pancreas, as well participates in research endeavors looking to improve diet, nutritional status, and the quality of life of those affected by these conditions.

Heather Galipeau, PhD, McMaster University

Heather obtained a PhD degree from McMaster University in 2015 and currently holds a position as Research Associate and assistant director of the Axenic Gnotobiotic Unit. Dr. Galipeau’s research focusses on gnotobiotic mouse modelling and organoid modelling to investigate dietary antigen-host immune interactions in chronic inflammatory diseases, like celiac disease. Specifically, she is researching how bacteria modulate host responses to the dietary trigger of celiac disease, gluten, focusing on early events that trigger disease development. Her long-term objective is to develop therapies to prevent or treat chronic inflammatory and autoimmune conditions.

Meghan Donnelly, MS, RDN, CDN

Meghan Donnelly, MS, RDN, CDN is a registered, licensed dietitian living in New York City. She graduated from The College of the Holy Cross with her bachelor’s degree in Biology, and subsequently earned her master’s degree in Nutrition & Dietetics from New York University. Her clinical training in dietetics took place at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in The Bronx, NY. She is currently the Senior Manager of Nutrition Services at Dr. Schär USA. Meghan feels passionately about the role of digestive health for chronic disease management and overall wellness, and specializes in celiac disease, gluten intolerance, irritable bowel syndrome, and chronic kidney disease. When she isn’t working, you can find her in the kitchen cooking with family and friends. She also loves yoga, swimming, hiking, and curling up on the couch with a good book.

Mark Johnson, Moderator and @CeliacExplorer

Mark Johnson is a federal public servant in the field of communications and media relations, and has worked in the field for the past 12 years. He’s currently a master’s student in political science at Carleton University, and also holds graduate degrees in political management and communication. Mark has served on the board of directors of the CCA’s Ottawa Chapter since 2006, including currently as president, and was a member of the CCA national board of directors from 2011 – 2018. He has co-chaired several CCA national conferences. In his spare time, Mark enjoys volunteering, wasting time on Twitter, reading as much news as he can, and outside of COVID-19, travelling the world – he has been to sixty countries so far. Mark lives in downtown Ottawa with his wife and three cats.

Dr. Joseph Murray

Joseph Murray is a Professor of Medicine and a Consultant with a joint appointment in Immunology and Gastroenterology and Hepatology at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN. Dr. Murray’s training in gastroenterology, population health, as well as his broad experience in clinical, translational, population and basic research provides him with a wide-ranging perspective of the discipline of gastroenterology and most specifically in celiac disease. Dr. Murray has been engaged in patient care and research in celiac disease for more than 30 years.

Jess Pirnak, RD

Jess is a Registered Dietitian, Certified Wellness Coach and gut health nerd (thanks to Desiree Nielsen) based in West Vancouver, British Columbia. She runs a nutrition consulting practice with a focus on gut health, celiac disease and plant-based diets. She is an active member of Dietitians of Canada and is currently chairing a local action group advocating for extended health coverage for dietetic services and primary care dietitians. Jess graduated from UBC’s Food Nutrition and Health program, and completed her dietetic internship with Provincial Health Services Authority after finishing a Psychology degree from SFU. Jess is passionate about education, prevention and creating a healthy community, so you will find her consulting, writing and speaking on a variety of topics. Past appearances include: Global News Morning, Yoga Digest, Gluten Free Expo and North Shore News. With an extensive background as a retail dietitian, Jess understands the natural food sector and the importance of a sustainable food system. Currently, she is the in-house dietitian advisor for the Canadian Celiac Association - Vancouver Chapter, the Director of Consumer Product & Services behind the app: MyHealthyGut and a Clinical Instructor at UBC.

Dr. Donald Duerksen, MD, Gastroenterologist, University of Manitoba

Dr. Don Duerksen, MD, is an Associate Professor of Medicine and the Acting Section Head of Gastroenterology at the University of Manitoba. He is also the medical director of the nutrition support program at St. Boniface General Hospital and of the Manitoba Home Nutrition Program. He is chair of the CCA's Professional Advisory Council, and has served the organization for around a decade. His major research areas include celiac disease and nutrition support, and Dr. Duerksen has received support from the J.A. Campbell Research Fund to research factors related to celiac disease and osteoporosis as well as to establish an inception cohort to study factors affecting mucosal recovery in celiac disease.

Shelley Case, RD

A leading international expert on the gluten-free diet, Shelley is a registered dietitian, author, speaker and consultant with more than 40 years’ experience. She is a member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Celiac Disease Foundation in the United States and the Professional Advisory Council of the Canadian Celiac Association. She also serves as the chair of the Canadian Celiac Association Dietitian Working Group. Shelley has been featured on radio and television including NBC’s Today show, CBC, CTV and Global TV, as well as frequently quoted in major print media such as the Wall Street Journal, WebMD, National Post, Globe and Mail, Food Business News, Chatelaine and Canadian Living. A popular speaker, she delivers presentations at medical, nutrition, celiac, food industry and agriculture conferences throughout North America. Shelley’s best-selling book is highly recommended by health professionals, celiac organizations, consumers and the food industry. Author of many journal articles on celiac disease and the gluten-free diet, she also contributes to a variety of other publications for health professionals and consumers. Her column “Ask the Celiac Expert” was featured in Allergic Living magazine for many years. In recognition of Shelley’s major contributions to the field of celiac disease and her dedication to educating health professionals and individuals with celiac disease in North America, she was awarded the Queen Elizabeth Golden Jubilee Medal. Professionally, Shelley is a member of Dietitians of Canada and the College of Dietitians of Alberta. When she is not sharing her nutrition and health expertise, Shelley is very active in her community and church. She is an accomplished musician who enjoys playing piano and keyboard at special events and for other occasions. Shelley enjoys photography, hiking and cycling. She lives with her family in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

Dr. Maria Ines Pinto-Sanchez, MD, Gastroenterologist, McMaster University

Dr. Pinto-Sanchez is currently an active medical staff at the Gastroenterology Division at McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences where she provides consultation services in the area of gastroenterology and Nutrition. She is the Director of the Celiac Clinic at McMaster University and provides nutrition support for the Home Parenteral Nutrition program and Intestinal failure clinic. Her clinical and research interest include the diagnosis and treatment of different gastrointestinal conditions, with focus on celiac disease and gluten related disorders.

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