Pierre Sélim Haddad obtained his PhD degree in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at the Université de Montréal in 1986. He then carried out two postdoctoral fellowships: one at the University of Vienna, Austria, and a second at the world-renowned Liver Center of Yale University, USA. He began his career as an independent researcher in 1990 and rapidly was awarded the Young Physiologist Award from the French Association of Physiologists in 1992. He has authored nearly 150 peer-reviewed publications, more than half of which on the subject of Natural Health Products (NHP) in the course of the last 15 years. In 2003, he successfully built the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Team in Aboriginal Antidiabetic Medicines, a multidisciplinary group of researchers studying the antidiabetic potential of plants used by Canadian First Nations in their traditional medicine, which he still leads today. The team was notably acclaimed in national and international forums for its unprecedented comprehensive research agreement protecting Aboriginal Traditional Knowledge and related Intellectual Property.
Dr. Haddad is also a member of several research centers/groups, notably the Nutrition and Functional Foods Institute (INAF) at Laval University. Dr. Haddad was the founding Vice-President of the Natural Health Products Research Society of Canada (NHPRSC) that was instated in 2003 and is currently its President-Elect. Between 2003 and 2007, he acted as a research consultant in complementary and alternative medicine for the Lucie and André Chagnon Foundation, the largest philanthropic organization in Canada. In 2007 and half of 2008, Dr. Haddad was Vice-President Research and Development of the company PharmAfrican Inc., a biotech seeking to develop botanical drugs from African medicinal plants. He also sat on the Research committee of the Guild of Herbalists of Quebec from 2004 to 2009, when he was instated as a member of their Wisdom Committee on which he still sits today. On several occasions, Dr. Haddad acted as an expert advisor for the Natural and Non-prescription Health Products Directorate as well as for the Office of Biodiversity of Environment Canada. Dr. Haddad sits on the Institute Advisory Board of the CIHR Institute of Indigenous People's Health since 2009. Finally, from 2011 to 2014, he acted as the Scientific Director of Genacol Corporation Canada inc., one of the leading NHP companies in Quebec, Canada. Dr. Haddad has also collaborated with several other NHP companies through his consulting company Phytothera inc. created in 2014, which holds 3 Natural Product Numbers (NPNs) for formulations targeting immune and metabolic health. In May of the same year, he received the prestigious Neil Towers Award from the NHPRSC in recognition of his significant contribution to the field of natural health products. In 2015, he was appointed to the Advisory Board of the American Botanical Council and in 2019 he became Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Natural Health Product Research.
Dr Haddad is recognized nationally and internationally for his work on NHPs and functional foods in relation to metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes, particularly in the context of Indigenous health and wellbeing.
Researcher at the Montreal Botanical Garden and writer, Dr. Alain Cuerrier earned his PhD in plant systematics (University of Montreal with one year at Harvard University) before switching to ethnobotany in 2001. He participated in the creation of the First Nations Garden in Montreal as well as in Laquenexy (France). Since then, he has started ethnobotanical and ethno-ecological projects with several Canadian First Nations (notably Cree, Innu, Naskapi, Squamish) and Inuit peoples. As a member of the Canadian Institute of Health Research Team in Aboriginal Antidiabetic Medicines, he has been active in traditional medicine since 2003. Alain Cuerrier is a member of the Plant Biology Research Institute, adjunct professor at University of Montreal, member of ArcticNet, and of the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science. He has been vice-president of the Natural Health Product Research Society of Canada from 2010-2013 and is now past president of the International Society of Ethnobiology. He has been a consultant for Alberta Innovates and Avataaq Cultural Institute as well. Dr. Alain Cuerrier has published more than 8 books on plant uses by First Nations and Inuit peoples of Canada. He has always been touched by nature, its richness, its beauty, and thus espoused the need for respecting it.
Hoda Eid is currently Associate Professor of Pharmacognosy at Beni-Suef University in Egypt. She earned her Bachelor of Pharmacy and her Masters of Pharmacognosy at Cairo University in Egypt and her PhD in Pharmacology from the University of Montreal in Canada, working with Prof. Pierre Haddad.
Her PhD research work was centered on the antidiabetic activity of Vaccinium vitis-idea (mountain cranberry), a medicinal plant of the pharmacopeia of the Eastern James Bay Cree in Canada. She was notably responsible for the successful identification of the active principles of the plant using bioassay-guided fractionation. This was the first such success for the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Antidiabetic Medicines. Her work helped to bridge the gap between traditional healers and modern medical practitioners.
After completing her PhD, she accepted a position as Assistant Professor at Beni-Suef University where she worked for 2 years before returning to Canada as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Montreal. During that time, she continued a close collaboration with Dr Haddad. This has led to 20 co-authored papers and to her promotion to Associate Professor in January 2018.
Her research interest lies in natural product-based drug discovery, new drug target identification using proteomic and metabolomic analyses and development of evidence based traditional medicine. She favors interdisciplinary approaches and has incorporated ethnobotany, pharmacology and phytochemistry in her research with current emphasis on plants having antidiabetic, anti-obesity and cosmetic applications.
Her fascination with the natural world continues to unfold. She keeps up to date with the latest findings on herbal medicine, attending seminars and conferences as well as looking to communicate and collaborate with other researchers in the natural health products field.
In formal education, she taught phytotherapy, medicinal plants and pharmacology at Beni-Suef University and at a naturopahic school in Montreal where she wrote core material for their professional training courses.
Dr. Saleem has 20 years’ experience in analytical chemistry of natural products and environmental contaminants. During his affiliation with the Department of Chemistry at the University of Turku, Finland, he provided analytical consultancy to a pharmaceutical company Juivanta Pharma Ltd. in the development of a screening program for the discovery of lead molecules from several Asian medicinal plants for Parkinson's syndrome. During his work at the University of Ottawa, Dr. Saleem has provided consultancy to several well established North American natural products manufacturing companies including St. Francis Herbs Inc., Clef Des Champs Inc., Flora Manufacturing and Distributing Ltd., Herbon Naturals Inc, Jamieson, Bioniche Life Sciences, and Sevita Inc. He has co-authored over 50 peer-reviewed papers in the natural products chemistry and related disciplines. Dr. Saleem has closely worked with Health Canada, Environment Canada and the CIHR Team in Aboriginal Antidiabetic Medicines at the University of Montreal in the identification of lead medicinal plants for type-2 diabetes.
Over the past 14 years Dr. Alaa Badawi has been assuming the positions of Senior Public Health Scientist, Public Health Risk Sciences Division, Public Health Agency of Canada and Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, Canada. The primary area of his research and teaching focuses on generating evidence-based and translational knowledge in chronic diseases, infectious diseases and nutritional intervention to enable developing public health policies and actions for risk assessment, surveillance, health promotion and protection. Since obtaining his Ph.D. in 1992 in the field of Environmental Studies, he held several academic, research and teaching positions in USA, Lebanon, Egypt and Canada and published over 180 peer-reviewed papers.