Programme Subcommittee

Direction and policy decision-making

The Programme Subcommittee oversees the research project life cycle through the joint development, coordination and alignment of the portfolio of research awards made under the umbrella of the GACD. This includes oversight responsibility for the scientific direction of the GACD Research Network.

  • Jennifer Gunning
    Chair, Programme Sub Committee

    Jennifer Gunning

    Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

    Jennifer Gunning is the Acting Manager of International Relations at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

    In this role, Jennifer is responsible for managing CIHR’s international health research partnerships and all matters pertaining to foreign relations. During her 16-year career at CIHR, Jennifer has also served as Associate Director of the HIV/AIDS Research Initiative, where she oversaw the development of strategic plans and the creation of a wide range of research funding programs, in collaboration with stakeholders and partners.

    Jennifer holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Kinesiology from the University of Waterloo.

  • Dr Rupinder Dhaliwal
    Deputy Chair, Programme Sub Committee

    Dr Rupinder Dhaliwal

    Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR)

    Currently heading the Division of Noncommunicable Diseases at ICMR. Activities include Research , Administration, coordination and Management including reviewing, monitoring and conducting research activities in all areas Noncommunicable diseases. Have been actively involved in the area of environmental and occupational health for the last 20 years.

  • Dr Karim Berkouk
    Programme Sub Committee member

    Dr Karim Berkouk

    Research & Innovation DG, European Commission (EC)

    Karim Berkouk studied Fluid Mechanics at the University of Paul Sabatier (Toulouse, FR) before completing his PhD at the University of Warwick (UK) in bio-fluid mechanics (1999), where he worked on syringomyelia, a rare disease of the spinal cord. He then held various research positions in Exeter (UK), the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM, Caen, FR) and the University of Cambridge (UK), where he worked on prosthesis specific to patients, improvement of nuclear brain images and brain connectivity through functional MRI data analysis, respectively.

    In 2004, he joined the European Commission to work for the Marie Curie programme first as a project officer and then as a Head of Sector. In November 2011, he joined the Medical Research unit in the Health Directorate as the deputy head of unit to develop and implement research policies on cancer, brain, cardiovascular, chronic diseases, ageing, diabetes and obesity.

  • Dr Johan Louw
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Dr Johan Louw

    South African Medical Research Council (SA MRC)

    Dr Johan Louw is the Director of the Biomedical Research and Innovation Platform at the South African Medical Research Council.

    Dr Louw has been involved in diabetes research for 27 years and specialises on disease prevention, the development of new therapeutics from plants, as well as foetal programming. Most recent projects involved identifying sub cellular markers for early detection of diabetes, and the isolation of novel compounds with the potential of protecting pancreatic beta cells. He heads a multidisciplinary team, and actively collaborates with many local and international research organisations.

    Dr Louw’s research focus areas are diabetes (prevention, diagnosis and treatment), beta cell protection, obesity, therapeutics derived from plants, 3D cell culture, commercialisation, partnerships and collaboration with industry.

  • Daniel E. Gomez received his M.D. and Ph.D. in Oncology and Cancer Biology from the University of Buenos Aires, and is currently the superior investigator of CONICET (The National Scientific and Technical Research Council of Argentina). Furthermore, he is a titular professor in the Department of Science and Technology, and the General Director of the Lab of Molecular Oncology for Quilmes National University in Argentina. Previously, Dr Gomez served as the Director of the National Cancer Institute of Argentina, Chancellor of Quilmes National University, and Inspector for the National Administration of Laboratories and Institutes of Health. He has published more than 120 scientific publications in peer-reviewed international journals, written two books, and has been the director of 12 thesis works. Dr. Gomez is also the author of seven international patents and is the recipient of many prestigious national and international awards, including a fellowship at the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation.

  • Dr Fernando Cendes
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Dr Fernando Cendes

    São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

    Fernando Cendes is Full Professor of Neurology at the Department of Neurology, State University of Campinas (UNICAMP), Brazil, and serves as the Coordinator of the Epilepsy Surgery Program, Department of Neurology. He is board certified in Neurology, in Clinical Neurophysiology and in Diagnostic Neuroradiology. Dr. Cendes is a former EEG (1989) and Epilepsy Fellow (1991-1997) at the Montreal Neurological Institute, and received his PhD degree in Neuroscience at McGill University in 1996. He is past Chair of Diagnostic Methods Commission of the ILAE and a member of the Editorial board of several journals including Neurology, Epilepsia, Epilepsy Research and Epilepsy and Behavior. His research and publications are focused in Epilepsy and Neuroimaging.

  • Dr Steven Hoffman
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Dr Steven Hoffman

    Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

    Steven J. Hoffman is the Director of the Global Strategy Lab, an Associate Professor of Law, Medicine and Public & International Affairs at the University of Ottawa, and the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Population & Public Health. He holds courtesy appointments as an Associate Professor of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics (Part-Time) at McMaster University, Adjunct Faculty with the McMaster Health Forum, and Adjunct Associate Professor of Global Health & Population at Harvard University. He is an international lawyer licensed in both Ontario and New York who specialises in global health law, global governance and institutional design.

    His research integrates analytical, empirical and big data approaches to craft global regulatory strategies that better address transnational health threats, social inequalities and human rights challenges. Past studies have focused on access to medicines, antimicrobial resistance, development assistance, health misinformation, health systems, maternal health, pandemics, technological innovation and tobacco.

  • Prof Lixin Jiang
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Prof Lixin Jiang

    Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CAMS)

    Prof Jiang obtained her medical doctoral degree from CAMS & PUMC. Her main research interests include large randomized clinical trials, healthcare quality measurement study, large-scale population and pharmacogenomics study, primary healthcare studies. Her research has focused on providing evidence for policymakers, health professionals, and the public to improve health care. The Lancet commented that “she is at the heart of China’s evidence base”.

    Prof Jiang has successfully run a dozen of international large clinical trials including TREAT, FOURIER, ISCHEMIA, HPS3/TIMI55:REVEAL, HPS2-THRIVE, COMMIT/CCS-2, SHARP, etc. She also leads seven national key research projects funded by Chinese government including China PEACE and China PEACE Millions Persons Project(MPP), etc.

    Prof Jiang also holds several positions both in international and Chinese national committees including Co-Chair of WHO GCM/NCD Working Group; Advisory Expert of Committee of Experts on Rational Drug Use and Medical Ethics, National Health and Family Planning Commission of China; etc.

  • Dr Carlos A. Aguilar Salinas
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Dr Carlos A. Aguilar Salinas

    National Institute of Medical Science and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran (INCMNSZ)

    Carlos Aguilar Salinas is the Coordinator of the Research Committee of the Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Medicas y Nutricion (INCMNSZ), Mexico City. Specialist in internal medicine and endocrinology by the INCMNSZ. Postgraduate training at Washington University, School of Medicine, St. Louis MO, USA). Dr Aguilar Salinas research interest includes the epidemiology, pathophysiology and treatment of the dyslipidemias, diabetes and components of the metabolic syndrome.

    He has published 253 articles in indexed journals (Nature, JAMA, Nature genetics, among others). Dr Aguilar-Salinas team has participated in three genome wide association studies that identified the main susceptibility genes for type 2 diabetes and dyslipidemias in Mexican mestizos. He is the author of eight books, editor of the “Revista de la Asociación Latinomericana de Diabetes” and member of the editorial boards of several prestigious journals. He is a member of the Mexican Academy of Medicine.

    Dr Aguilar Salinas was President of the Mexican Society of Nutrition and Endocrinology. He is the coordinator of the position paper of the Mexican Academy of Medicine for reducing diabetes burden in Mexico.

  • Dr Joshua Rosenthal
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Dr Joshua Rosenthal

    National Institutes of Health (NIH)

    Joshua Rosenthal is Senior Scientist in the Division of Epidemiology and Population Studies of the Fogarty International Center at the National Institutes of Health. He is an ecologist by training with a long history of program leadership in international health and environment research and research capacity building.

  • Stacey Pene
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Stacey Pene

    Health Research Council, New Zealand

    Stacey Pene (Ngāti Kahungunu) is Senior Manager, Māori Health Research Investment, at the Health Research Council of New Zealand. His role includes management of investment in Māori health research, career development and capacity building, and strategic guidance on issues relating to Māori and indigenous health. He has held various positions at the Health Research Council, having previously managed the biomedical, clinical, and Pacific health research portfolios.
    Stacey has several years’ of private sector experience working within the pharmaceutical, medical communications, and medical IT industries. He has a Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences, majoring in functional human biology, from the University of Otago.

  • Dr Julia Ismael
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Dr Julia Ismael


    Dr. Julia Ismael is the Argentine National Cancer Institute’s (NCI, Argentina) Director. She is a Medical Surgeon graduated from UNNE (Argentina), and a Clinical Oncologist graduated from UBA (Argentina). She holds a Master’s Degree in Clinical and Pharmacological Research and a Postgraduate course in Pharmacoeconomical Evaluations. She has continued her training by conducting various courses on Health Technologies Evaluation, Economical Evaluations, Regulatory Standards, and Clinical Trials.

    Between 2001 and 2004 she worked as a researcher in the Clinical Pharmacology Unit of Hospital Italiano, Buenos Aires. She has also been an Oncology Resident Instructor in the Academic Activities Coordination Unit at the same hospital. She has participated as a Principal Investigator in numerous international clinical trials.

    In 2005, she began her assistance and teaching activities at Hospital Bernardo Houssay (Buenos Aires Province, Argentina) where she remained until 2012.

    For 10 years, she held the position of Head of the Oncology Service at the Medical Corporation of San Martín (Buenos Aires), where she also developed several research projects and was responsible for the coordination of interdisciplinary clinical committees.

    At the beginning of 2013, she joined the NCI (Argentina) as Health Technology Evaluation Coordinator for developing Clinical Practice Guidelines, a task she performed until 2016. She is also a GRADE group member.

    In 2016, she was designated as Coordinator of the NCI, Argentina, position she held for two years. Since the beginning of 2018, she is the Director of the Argentine NCI.

  • Aaron Holliday
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Aaron Holliday


    Aaron Holliday is the Global Health Partnerships Manager at the UK’s Medical Research Council (MRC). Aaron joined the MRC’s International Relations Group in 2015 working on both grants and operations administration within the organisation. Aaron was appointed as the MRC’s International Strategy Manager in 2017 where he had responsibility for the operational management for the UK Research Council’s Overseas Offices in Beijing, New Delhi, and Washington DC as well as grants management oversight for MRC’s GACD activities.

    Aaron now leads on several of the MRC’s key partnerships in global health, including work with the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care and the GACD. Aaron has an MA in the Philosophy of Biological and Cognitive Sciences.

  • Dr Ryo Takagi
    Programme Sub Committee Member

    Dr Ryo Takagi


    Dr Ryo Takagi graduated from medical school in Japan in 1997, and entered the Japanese Ministry of Health. Since then, he has worked in various capacities as a government official for public health, in both central and local governments across Japan.

    Dr Takagi studied for a Master of Science degree on the topic of health policy planning and financing in the UK in 2004/2005. He has most recently worked in the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology in Japan, from 2017 until 2019, as the Director for Advanced Medical Science, with a focus particularly on cancer and infectious diseases control.

    Dr Takagi took up his current position as Director of the London Office of AMED, the Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development – the main funding agency for medical research in Japan – in June 2019.

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