Board of Directors

Nesrin Shaheen

Board of Directors

Ms. Shaheen is a director and founding member of the Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation. Her daughter was the first positively identified case in Canada in January 2008. She serves as Caregiver/Patient advocate on the Foundation. Ms. Shaheen holds an Honours B.A. in German Literature and Language from McGill University and a certificate in Publishing Studies from The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, Scotland. She was an employee of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, Canada, since 1991 and retired in 2016. Ms Shaheen is fluent in English, French and German.

Dr. Gregory Day

Board of Directors

Dr. Day completed his Neurology residency at the University of Toronto, and post-doctoral training in dementia at Washington University in St. Louis (Saint Louis, MO). He is currently an Assistant Professor within the Department of Neurology and Senior Associate Consultant at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida. His research focuses on characterizing the clinical presentation and improving treatments for patients with anti-NMDA-receptor encephalitis and related diseases, with an emphasis on improving long-term cognitive outcomes.  Dr. Day is a founding member of the Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation, and serves as the Clinical Director.

Dr. Harry E. Peery

Board of Directors

Dr. Peery holds a master’s degree in microbiology (Ohio State University), and a PhD in pharmacology (University of Saskatchewan). He is currently a licensed Registered Nurse in Arizona. He is affiliated with the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Research Institute in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary and teaches in the Pharmaceutical Bioengineering Program at the University of Washington School of Medicine and College of Engineering in Seattle. He also writes textbooks in medicine and bioengineering. His research interests are in the immunological pathogenesis of anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis and other neuroautoimmune disorders and in immunohistochemical detection of tumors. Dr. Peery is a director and founding member of the Anti-NMDA Receptor Encephalitis Foundation and serves as its Research Director.

Dr. Lauren Foster

Board of Directors

Dr. Foster is a Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at McMaster University and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cellular Biology and Pharmacology at Florida International University. Professor Foster is an expert in reproductive biology and toxicology. Her studies address human exposure to environmental contaminants including endocrine toxicants. Ongoing studies in her laboratory explore the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying adverse reproductive health outcomes including dysregulation of ovarian function and endometriosis. She has served on numerous international and national expert advisory panels, editorial boards, as well as grant review committees. Dr. Foster is an editor for the Journal of Applied Toxicology and past President of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society. Her research is supported by funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Health Canada. Dr. Foster is a founding Director of the Foundation.

Yanet Valdez, MSc, PhD

Board of Directors

Born in Perú Dr Valdez began her research under Dr Gilman’s supervision (John’s Hopkins and Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia, Peru), Dr Valdez led a research team investigating the molecular epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium known as inducer of gastric ulcers and cancer

She then completed her MSc with Dr Townsend at the Biomedical Research Centre at UBC in Vancouver studying fundamental question on how T and B cells communicate to produce an effective immune response.

She did her doctoral studies in Dr Finlay’s lab and revealed novel concepts of innate responses to the pathogen Salmonella, with important implications for human infectious diseases, infectious colitis, IBD and intestinal fibrosis.

After 5 years of post-doctoral work in many institutes in UBC she joined StemCell Technologies Inc. leading a team in Innate Immunology.

She returned to academia and managed the Research Office at the UBC Faculty of Medicine.
Currently, she is an invited lecturer in many Universities in South America

She volunteers for Immunology Without Borders, chapter of the International Union of Immunological Societies, Covid19 Resources Canada, BC Lead, Founder of @ImmunoLatinXs. She is a champion of Equity,Diversity, Inclusion and Women in STEM initiatives in Canada/Globally, and as a member of the Board of Directors of The Anti-NMDA Receptor  Encephalitis Foundation.

She is proud mother of two.

Kelly M. McNagny, PhD

Board of Directors

Research Specialty: Immunology, Inflammation, Hematology, Cancer Therapeutics

Dr. Kelly McNagny is a full professor in Medical Genetics at The Biomedical Research Centre where his work focuses on stem cell behavior, innate immune responses, inflammatory disease, cancer biology and therapeutics. He is an expert on animal models of human disease and has experience with neuro-inflammatory disease models in mice. Kelly obtained his Ph.D. in Cellular Immunology at the U. of Alabama at Birmingham in 1990. There he worked with Dr. Max D. Cooper (Howard Hughes Medical Institute, National Academy of Sciences) and his research focused on cell surface proteins that regulate B cell maturation and homing. He then moved to the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany where he performed his postdoctoral studies in the lab of Dr. Thomas Graf from 1991 to 1996. There his work focused on transcriptional control of hematopoietic stem cell maturation and cell fate. In addition, he identified a number of novel hematopoietic stem cell surface proteins (the CD34 family) and began analyzing their function. He continued his studies at the EMBL as a semi-independent, Visiting Scientist from 1996 to 1998 prior to starting his own laboratory at The Biomedical Research Centre, at UBC. In 2015 he also served as the Scientific Director of the Centre for Drug Research and Development (CDRD), a National Centre of Excellence aimed at translating early stage scientific discoveries into therapies. He has garnered several awards including the 2004 Showell-Pfizer Junior Faculty Award from the American Association for Immunology, a MSFHR Career Investigator Award. Kelly is a member of the Canadian Stem Cell Network Centre of Excellence (Sub-Chair of the Trainee Education Committee), Associate Director of the AllerGen Network Centre of Excellence, and Co-Director of AllerGen’s Biomarkers and Bioinformatics Platform.

Experience: Kelly and his wife are parents of a survivor of Anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis and have first hand experience in the challenges associated with rapidly diagnosing and treating this disease.