Our team is committed to bringing innovation in mitochondrial medicine and research! Beyond disease, we will transform mitochondrial health. We are only as successful as our team. Our esteemed team is dedicated to continuing and expanding our mission to transform mitochondrial health. We are a family of creative minds, qualified volunteers, and professionals in different fields who are bound by an undying passion to see the change we have envisioned. Each of our staff members plays an invaluable role in helping us to transform mitochondrial health.
Steering CommitteeAssociate Vice President & Vice-Provost, ISI Vice-Dean Research & Innovation FOM Associate Professor Dalla Lana School of Public Health Professor, Scholl Chair in Health Law and Policy Associate Chair Research, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry
Executive Advisory CommitteePresident, InDoc Research Inc.
Dean Faculty of Health Sciences, SFU
President and Co-Founder, MitoCanada Patient Advocate, MITO2i Executive Patient Insight and Involvement Lead, UCL Partners
ANA ANDREAZZAScientific/Academic Director
Dr. Andreazza is a Professor in the Departments of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Psychiatry and holds a holding Tier II Canada Research Chair in Molecular Pharmacology of Mood Disorders and the Thomas C. Zachos Chair in Mitochondrial Research. Dr. Andreazza received PhD in Biochemistry from the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, RS, Brazil. She has published over 150 research articles with an h-index factor of 45. She is the recipient of several prestigious research awards, including the 2018 Canada Top 40 Under 40 and has received funding from the Brain and Behavior Foundation (NARSAD), the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. Her research focuses on the understanding of the role of redox modulations and mitochondrial dysfunction in mental illness, especially in mood disorders. Dr. Andreazza's research focuses on the understanding of the role of mitochondrial function in mental illness, especially in mood disorders. As neurons depend on mitochondrial function, dysfunctional mitochondrial during neurodevelopment is expected to impact neurotransmission with potentially crucial implications for mood disorders. Currently, Dr. Andreazza is evaluating the impact of mitochondrial dysfunction on neurotransmission using 3D brain organoids generated from induced pluripotent stem cells from patients with bipolar disorder and/or mitochondrial disease. To accelerate the discovery of effective therapeutic approaches to treat mitochondrial dysfunction/disease, Dr. Andreazza founded the mitoNET.ca, which after successful fundraising and support from the University of Toronto became MITO2i. The objective is to unite researchers from different medical fields with a common interest in unveiling the role of mitochondrial function and genetics in human diseases and transform mitochondrial health.
SONYA BRIJBASSIAssociate Director, Strategy & Partnerships
Sonya joined the University of Toronto at Innovations & Partnerships Office (IPO), a division of the VPRI in 2007 as a Commercialization Manager for the Life Sciences team. She worked with a number of Faculty members across the University and the affiliated hospitals to move research projects out of the lab by developing commercialization strategies through licensing technologies and/or start-up company formation. In 2013, she took on another role at IPO as Business Development Officer, Industry Partnerships to support sponsored research, facilitate interactions and negotiations with industry partners and create long term strategic partnerships and collaborations for the University with external organizations . Sonya has played an important role in advancing and expanding research collaborations with industry, hosting senior delegations, planning and executing high-profile events such as UofT’s participation in Toronto Health Innovation Week and supporting major proposals and competitions. Prior to joining UofT, Sonya worked as a Technology Officer at the Robarts Research Institute in London Ontario assessing invention disclosures and supporting the patenting process. Sonya has a Master's of Science Degree in Biochemistry from the University of Western Ontario and an Undergraduate degree in Human Biology from UofT.
Erika is truly a valued member of the Mitochondrial Innovation Initiative family. She is project manager at Dr. Andreazza laboratory who has been assisting MITO2i to achieve its potential. She assisted in organizing MITO2019 and has been quintessential in the everyday organization of MITO2i.
DANA EL SOUFI EL SABBAGHTask Force Coordinator
A recent graduate of the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology at U of T, Dana joined MITO2i with the goal of developing a white paper on brain active drugs and their role in mitochondrial disease. Her work serves as the basis for the creation of the Brain and Mitochondrial Task Force (to be launched in January 2021). Dana is now applying her pharmacology knowledge toward the development of a task force focused on equitable access to natural health products across Canada.
KIRA BELAOUSSOFFCommunications Assistant
Kira is a second-year student at the University of Toronto, majoring in psychology and film studies. She has a passion to effectively and efficiently communicate scientific knowledge. Kira is currently a work-study student with MITO2i. During her time on our team, she headed MITO2i's disease awareness campaign, and directed a series of educational videos interviewing MITO2i community members. She has also built a MITO2i monthly newsletter which provides our community with academic updates, opportunities and future activities planned, and has developed our social media profiles to support our networking and engagement activities online.
SHEIL BANERJEEPartnership Coordinator
Sheil Banerjee is a third-year UofT student majoring in economics and Math at St. Michael’s College. He joined the iniaitive in May 2021 at the Parterships Coordinator and hopes to raise awareness for mitochondrial disease and build a thriving relationship for MITO2i.