About the CBRS Secretariat

Jennie Z. Young, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy. She leads the development and implementation of a national strategy that will push the frontiers of brain science, for the benefit of all Canadians. Dr. Young brings a passion for the exceptional quality and collaborative nature of neuroscience and mental health research in Canada. Prior to CBRS, Dr. Young led the Research and Programs team at the Brain Canada Foundation where she managed their largest funded projects and led partnerships with non-profits, health charities, and government agencies to develop national research funding programs. Dr. Young holds a PhD in Neuroscience from the University of Alberta and spent 14 years abroad at MIT serving as scientific chief-of-staff to Nobel Laureate Susumu Tonegawa and to Picower Institute Director Li-Huei Tsai, where she played a key role in ground-breaking discoveries in the fields of learning and memory and Alzheimer’s disease.


Joseph Olajide, PhD, is the Program Manager at the Canadian Brain Research Strategy, where he serves as an organizational and analytical partner in convening internal and external stakeholders. Dr. Olajide brings a passion for advocating for brain science and mental health across all strata of society. He has been engaged in international brain awareness outreach initiatives throughout his career, including programs to reduce societal stigmatization of brain and mental health issues, and to promote diversity and women’s participation in neuroscience in Africa. Prior to CBRS, Dr. Olajide held positions as a Lecturer and led research teams as a Research Associate at Concordia University. He remains a faculty member at the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. He obtained a PhD in Anatomy and Neurobiology in a joint program from the University of Ilorin and the University College London, with further training at the International Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in Italy through an Arturo Falaschi Fellowship.


Andrew Manitowabi

Andrew Manitowabi (Mamaateshiins), BA, BBA, is the Indigenous Strategy Consultant for Brain Wellness at the Canadian Brain Research Strategy, 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.


Haniya Javed, MS, is the Science Communicator at the Canadian Brain Research Strategy, where she plays a key role in engaging stakeholders across the broad neuroscience and mental health research ecosystem for the CBRS. Ms. Javed manages internal and external communications and authors CBRS public-facing materials, research, and briefings. Throughout her decade-long career working in newsrooms and non-profits in education and healthcare around the world, Ms. Javed has strived to make a difference through evidence-based reporting and storytelling. She holds a BA, and MA in Mass Communication from the University of Karachi in Pakistan as well as an MS from Columbia Graduate School of Journalism, which she attended on a full scholarship as a Brigid O’Hara-Forster Fellow.