Ask Women Anything: STEM panel discussion

Presented by Media Action, Ask Women Anything is a series of unique, intimate evenings that give Ottawa’s most influential women a chance to share their thoughts and answer your questions without the filter of the media. Come on out on April 27, 2017, for a special edition #WomenInSTEM panel discussion!

The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics fields are largely dominated by men, but we are bringing together four fantastic women who excel in their chosen fields! Take a look at their bios below:


Katey Rayner is an Assistant Professor at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute in the Department of Biochemistry in Ottawa, Canada where she directs the Cardiometabolic microRNA Laboratory. Dr. Rayner obtained her BSc from the University of Toronto, and her PhD from the University of Ottawa. Dr. Rayner’s doctoral work focused on the role of hormones, heat shock proteins and macrophage foam cells in the development of atherosclerosis. After her PhD, she pursued a postdoctoral fellowship first at Harvard Medical School/Massachusetts General Hospital then at New York University School of Medicine where Dr. Rayner helped to discover a role for microRNAs, specifically microRNA-33, in the regulation of HDL and its atheroprotective effects.

Since establishing her lab at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Rayner’s research program focuses on novel mechanisms that underlie the inflammatory processes of plaque progression and vulnerability, with a specific focus the intersection between macrophage inflammation and microRNAs as drivers of disease. Her group has uncovered a novel role for microRNA control of mitochondrial respiration in macrophage cholesterol efflux, which is aberrantly expressed in human atherosclerotic plaques. Dr. Rayner’s research also examines how extracellular microRNAs are mediating the progression of atherosclerosis in both human and animal models. More recently, her group uncovered a role for programmed necrosis in the development of unstable plaques in mice and how this can get targeted as a therapeutic and diagnostic biomarker in humans.

Dr. Rayner serves on the editorial boards of Circulation Research and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology (ATVB) where she also serves as the Social Media Editor. She serves on peer review panels for granting agencies CIHR, NIH and Heart & Stroke Foundation and is the Chair of the Early Career Committee of the Council of ATVB at the American Heart Association. Dr. Rayner has been recognized with awards such as the American Heart Association’s Irvine H Page Young Investigator Award, the Early Researcher Award from the Ministry of Innovation Ontario, and New Investigator Awards from both Canadian Institutes for Health Research and the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Dr. Rayner’s research is currently funded by a Foundation Grant from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the National Institutes of Health.


Dr. Winnie Ye is a Canada Research Chair (Tier II) in Nano-scale IC Design for Reliable Opto-Electronics and Sensors. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Electronics at Carleton University. Her expertise is in silicon photonics and its applications in biophotonics, telecommunications, and renewable energy.

Dr. Ye received her B.Eng. degree in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University. She then studied Photonics and received her M.A.Sc. and Ph.D degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto and Carleton University, respectively. After working with the Silicon Photonics/Optoelectronics team at the National Research Council (NRC) during her Ph.D. program, she joined Prof. Lionel Kimerling’s laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Prof. Kenneth Crozier’s laboratory at the Harvard University as a NSERC postdoctoral fellow to work on opto-electronic integration and silicon nanofabrication. Dr. Ye returned to Canada in 2009.

She is the recipient of the Early Researcher Award (ERA) from the Ministry of Innovation Ontario in 2012, and the Research Achievement Award from Carleton University in 2013. She has also been the Chair of the IEEE Women in Engineering (WiE) Ottawa Chapter since 2012.


Dr. Twine received a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Southampton, UK and completed post-doctoral studies in Biophysics and Proteomics/Microbiology. She is currently completing an MBA with Heriot-Watt University. During her career, Dr. Twine has held positions in both academia and government research and technology organizations, focusing on vaccine and drug development. She is currently Section Head for the Analytics group at the National Research Council, with research spanning bioanalysis, advanced mass spectrometry characterization, and NMR. Dr Twine has authored more than 40 research publications and is editor of two books.


Vicki Iverson received a Bachelor of Mathematics in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, and a Masters of Science specializing in Artificial Intelligence from the University of Toronto. Vicki worked at several companies in the software field, including Sybase and Apple, before co-founding Iversoft in 2009 with her husband.

Iversoft specializes in mobile app development, having published over 100 apps for their clients, as well as building 15 successful mobile game titles. Vicki was the primary developer behind Iversoft’s early work, and has continued to build and train a highly proficient technical team. Today, as CTO, Vicki continues to drive the technology side of Iversoft’s 25-member team.


Pressing international business priorities require Suzanne Grant’s presence and she will not be available in Ottawa at this time, we thank Dr. Winnie Ye for stepping in at such short notice.