CARA Connection Committee

The CARA Connection Committee creates our bi-monthly newsletter. Our volunteers lead all aspects of the newsletter including editing submissions, writing articles, conducting interviews, selling advertising and doing the layout work. With the goal of a monthly newsletter, we always welcome more volunteers. Please contact Sarah Lampson, CARA Executive Director, to get involved.


Frances Chandler

Frances is a certified teacher, social worker, and professional planner who is currently the Director of Research Support Services at Sauder School of Business. She holds degrees in environmental studies/urban planning, social welfare policy, and education. Her PhD research focused on leadership and collaborative groups in academia.  An award winning volunteer, she has worked in numerous locations and employment situations in Northern and Southern Ontario, Ghana, China, Kenya, and Vancouver. Frances is CARA President and, in addition to that role, provides mentorship and leads our Grant Writers and Facilitators SIG.

Mike Folinas

Mike Folinas is the Research Funding Manager for the Natural Sciences and Engineering unit with the Agency and Foundation Funding team in Research Services Office (RSO) at the University of the Toronto.  Mike is an alumnus of the University of Toronto with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biological Sciences.

He has worked in a variety of roles with the UofT since 2003 before eventually joining the RSO, first with the Institutional Initiatives unit before taking on the Research Funding Manager role where he oversees a team of 2 others managing the University’s NSERC funding programs along with a range of other opportunities including the Canadian Space Agency, CFAR and Ontario Ministry of Transportation funding.

Mike currently volunteers with the CARA Connection and is responsible for the “Recommend a Resource”, “Question of the Month” sections and is avidly involved in advertising for the newsletter.

Mike is a keen traveler, golfer, hockey player and skier.

Lauren Gogo

Lauren Gogo has recently taken on the role of Coordinating Editor of the CARA Connection as of September 2014.  Her day job is at the University of Toronto in the Innovations & Partnerships Office in the role of Contracts Officer, Biomedical & Life Sciences, Social Sciences & Humanities.  Lauren is responsible for reviewing and negotiating various industry supported agreements, as well as pre-and post-award management of applications, agreements, and funds related to commercialization activities.

Jayne Sierens

Jayne Sierens is the Integrated Project Manager of Institutional Awards at the QEII Health Sciences Centre (NSHA) and the IWK Health Centre’s Research Services offices, in Halifax. Jayne is responsible for the facilitation of large scale institutional awards such as Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency funds, Canadian Foundation for Innovation and CIHR Foundation Schemes. Jayne collaborates with the researchers at both hospitals, to provide support with business development, funding application, managing post-award agreements, IP contracts, award finalization and reporting. With a Molecular Biology PhD (University of Edinburgh) and post doctoral experience (PHI,  Melbourne, Australia), Jayne can relate to the researchers from an academic and administrative perspective.

Katie Porter

An executive MBA graduate from the Ivey School of Business, Katie Porter is Director of Research Administration at Hamilton Health Sciences, home to one of the most research intensive environments for medical research in Canada. Katie is a regular lecturer at McMaster University, co-author of The A-Z Guide to Research Contract Review and Steer Your Career: A Research Administrator's Manual for Mapping Success and a frequent speaker at conferences, workshops and webinars.  Katie is an active volunteer with CARA, as an editor for the CARA Connection, CARA mentor and SIG leader, and her exceptional contributions to our profession internationally were recognized in 2014 with CARA’s Research Management Excellence Award.

Anita Chiu

I am a research coordinator at the University of British Columbia.  I joined the CARA newsletter team in 2014 as a volunteer profile coordinator.  Recently, I also became the co-editor of the Brag Bag section.  My roles in the newsletter team have allowed me to get virtually acquainted with my peers working in research administration across Canada, share their passion for volunteering, and to learn how they have professionally developed themselves to become who they are today! Everyone has a unique story to bring to the newsletter audience, and we can always learn a lesson or two by reading the stories.

Many functions in CARA are driven by volunteers, and it is my total privilege to be in a position to feature their profiles and to celebrate their achievements.  Every volunteer is important to CARA’s success, and I would love to feature you next.  

Alex Willis

Alex Willis is a Pre-Awards Grants Specialist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (Toronto). Prior to 2013, Alex was a Research Officer at York University’s Faculty of Health, and before that, a grant and content developer working with clients in higher education and the not-for-profit sector. Originally hailing from Saint John, New Brunswick, he holds a PhD in English Literature from the University of Toronto, and is an avid cook and science fiction fan. 

Jessica Galo

Jessica joined CARA and the CARA Connection Committee in November 2015.  Currently, she is a Data Access Coordinator at Population Data BC in the University of British Columbia.  She has extensive experience in health care and health care research, having been responsible for the coordination of health outcomes projects from grant development, ethics and data access application facilitation, stakeholder engagement through to knowledge translation.  In her current position at Population Data BC, she provides support and guidance to researchers during data access request development and coordinates the review of data access applications among data stewards including the Ministry of Health.  Her background in Biology (BSc), Nursing (LPN), and Business (GDBA) has provided a sound foundation for her position in health care research.