Coordinating Centre

The Toronto Dementia Research Alliance (TDRA) Coordinating Centre is currently located at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH). 

The Coordinating Centre has many functions, including:

  • Maintaining organizational governance and tracking deliverables
  • Seeking, disseminating, and supporting applications for potential funding opportunities 
  • Identifying and pursuing opportunities to support recruitment for research studies 
  • Standardizing dementia research operations
  • Maintaining communications among partners and stakeholders
  • Leading outreach and knowledge translation efforts

Meet the TDRA Coordinating Centre Core Team

Dr. Tarek Rajji

Tarek K. Rajji, MD, FRCPC Executive Director

Professor of Psychiatry, Director of Geriatric Psychiatry Division, University of Toronto
Canada Research Chair in Neurostimulation for Cognitive Disorders
Chief, Adult Neurodevelopment and Geriatric Psychiatry Division, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Dr. Rajji obtained his M.D. from the American University of Beirut, Lebanon. He completed residency in general psychiatry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, and clinical training in geriatric psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh. In 2006, he joined the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) and the University of Toronto as a research fellow in geriatric psychiatry. He stayed at CAMH as a clinician scientist and is now a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.  Dr. Rajji is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada with a certification in Geriatric Psychiatry.

Dr. Rajji’s research focuses on enhancing cognition in older adults with dementia or at risk for dementia using brain stimulation and clinical neurophysiology alone or in combination with other interventions. He also studies standardization of care for people living with dementia. He has held more than 17M CAD in research funding as PI or co-PI, continuous federal funding since 2009, and has more than 200 peer-reviewed publications. In recognition of his research and teaching activities, Dr. Rajji received several local, national, and international awards.

Dr. Rajji has had several leadership roles at CAMH and the University of Toronto. Since 2012, he has been Chief of geriatric psychiatry. Between 2017 and 2020, he served as the Deputy Physician-in-Chief for Research at CAMH. In 2020, he was appointed as the Executive Director of the Toronto Dementia Research Alliance at the University of Toronto. In 2022, he was appointed as the Director of the Geriatric Psychiatry Division in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.

Luca Pisterzi

Luca F. Pisterzi, PhD Director, Strategy & Operations

Luca joins TDRA after having been the Program Manager for the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project (CPTP) at the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, Canada’s largest population health cohort. Luca was named an Ambassador of the Privacy by Design program developed by the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario in 2014.  He received his PhD in biophysics and molecular pharmacology from the Leslie L. Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto.

Winnie Qian

Winnie Qian, MSc Program Officer

Winnie received her Honours BSc from the University of Toronto with a Specialist in Neuroscience, and her MSc from the University of Toronto in the Institute of Medical Science. Her research interests and publications involve Alzheimer’s disease and delusions. Prior to her position with TDRA, Winnie worked at St. Michael’s Hospital and CAMH with expertise in dementia and mental health.

Ruth Kruger

Ruth Kruger, MBA Knowledge Translation

Ruth joins TDRA following a long career in Marketing and Communications in various areas of the healthcare industry (e.g. Respiratory Health, Sleep Medicine), complemented most recently by a role as a Knowledge Translation Strategist in Neurodegenerative Disease and Dementia Research. Ruth earned her BComm and MBA from the University of Toronto and York University respectively.  

Brittany Prokop

Brittany Prokop, MSC  Research Coordinator

Brittany received her BSc with Specialization in Psychology and MSc from the University of Alberta. Her research interests span a range of neuroscientific disciplines, with her publications involving stroke and recovery after brain injury. Prior to her position with TDRA, Brittany worked at the University of Edinburgh studying autism spectrum disorders and intellectual disabilities.

Natalie Dren

Natalie Dren, MPH  Research Coordinator, Knowledge Translation

Natalie received her Honours BSc from Dalhousie University with specializations in Biology and International Development Studies, and her MPH from Lakehead University. Natalie joins TDRA after having been the Research Manager at a global lymphoma not-for-profit, with expertise in knowledge synthesis and transfer, content creation, stakeholder engagement, and community partnerships.

*On leave