About the CBRS Secretariat

Jennie Z. Young, PhD, is the Executive Director, where she leads a pan-Canadian effort to develop a national research strategy for brain and mental health. Dr. Young holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta and spent 14 years abroad at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she served as scientific chief-of-staff to Nobel Laureate Susumu Tonegawa and to Picower Institute Director Li-Huei Tsai. Her work has spanned the fields of learning and memory and Alzheimer’s disease, with resulting publications in leading peer-reviewed journals, including Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Neuroscience, Nature Biomedical Engineering, and Neuron. Dr. Young’s return to Canada was spurred by her deep passion for the exceptional calibre and collaborative nature of neuroscience and mental health research in Canada. Prior to joining CBRS, Dr. Young led Research and Programs at the Brain Canada Foundation where she oversaw their largest funded programs and engaged in partnerships with non-profits, health charities, and government agencies.


Andrew Manitowabi

Andrew Manitowabi (Mamaateshiins), BA, BBA, is the Indigenous Strategy Consultant for Brain Wellness, where he seeks to incorporate the duality of Indigeneity and Western being into advocating with underrepresented, vulnerable, and disadvantaged Indigenous peoples. Guiding and learning from the Indigenous Knowledges Holders Group is key to ensuring meaningful, authentic, and transformative evolution occurs to achieve the vision set out by the CBRS. Affirming the utility of Indigenous Knowledge, while coveting ongoing Indigenous collaborations, will allow CBRS (and Canada as a whole) to truly shift the landscape of brain knowledge. Mr. Manitowabi has a lifelong affinity for gracing the voiceless, and the ability to shift paradigms and discourse. Mr. Manitowabi has worked at Indigenous organizations at the community and the provincial-territorial level. Concurrent to this position, he is the Anishinaabemowin Program Manager for Wiikwemkoong Unceded Territory, where he bridges Anishinaabe traditions and beliefs with current ways of living, regarding language revitalization. Mr. Manitowabi holds a BA in Criminology and First Nations Studies from Western University and a BBA from Laurentian University.


Jonathan Ayers, BA (Hon.), B.Music, is the Administrative Coordinator, where he plays a vital role in supporting the daily operations, including calendar management for meetings and events, project assistance, and financial administration. Mr. Ayers is an experienced professional with a diverse skill set, including small business ownership, community and cultural work, and a background in the performing arts. His problem-solving abilities, attention to detail, and adaptability make him a valued addition to the Secretariat. Mr. Ayers holds both an Honours Arts degree in Drama and a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from the University of Alberta.