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Our Team

The team at Newborn Screening Ontario (NSO) is made up of several dedicated clinical, laboratory, and administrative staff.

Leadership Team

Executive Director & Chief Medical Officer
Pranesh Chakraborty, MD, FRCPC, FCCMG

Dr. Chakraborty is a physician certified by the Royal College in Medical Biochemistry and Pediatrics, with a subspecialty in Biochemical Genetics. He joined CHEO in 2003 as a clinician seeing patients with Inborn Errors of Metabolism (IEM). In 2006 he led the transition of Ontario’s newborn screening program to Ottawa leading to the establishment of NSO at CHEO. In 2008 he was instrumental in the founding of the Better Outcomes Registry and Network (BORN Ontario) at CHEO as a prescribed registry in Ontario. Finally, he is a Principal Investigator for the Canadian Inherited Metabolic Disease Research Network which recently was awarded a $1.5M CIHR Emerging Teams grant for rare disease research. Throughout his career, he has been involved in clinical and translational research related to IEM.

Laboratory Head of Biochemistry and Point of Care Screening 
Matthew P.A. Henderson, PhD, FCACB, FCCMG

Matthew Henderson is a Laboratory Head and Biochemist at NSO and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Ottawa. He is a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry and the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists with a subspecialty in Laboratory Biochemical Genetics. His work is focused on improving the accuracy and efficiency of newborn screening through both development and optimization of biochemical assays as well as development of data analysis approaches and tools.

Laboratory Head of Inherited Metabolic Diseases Laboratory
Nathalie Lepage, PhD, FCACB, FCCMG

Dr Lepage is a full professor in the department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Ottawa, Canada. She is a fellow from the Canadian Academy of Clinical Biochemistry (CACB) and a fellow from the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists.  Dr Lepage has served as a leader (president and/or chair) of several provincial, national and international professional associations, including the Ontario Society of Clinical Chemists, the Canadian Academy of Clinical Chemistry (CACB) and the Pediatric and Maternal-Fetal Division of the American Association of Clinical Chemistry (AACC). She has received the CACB Award for Outstanding Service to the profession of Clinical Biochemistry and the Mentor of the Month Award from the AACC. Her current areas of clinical and research interests are in pediatric metabolic diseases, in pediatric reference intervals, and in laboratory management. 

Executive Director
Jennifer Milburn, MHA

Jennifer Milburn has been with the team since December 2005, originally as the Business Systems Analyst responsible for the development and implementation of the Newborn Screening Laboratory Information System (LIS). She assumed the role of Manager of NSO in January 2008, and became Director in 2015. She is responsible for the daily operations of the program, risk and resource management, program evaluation, and any special projects or quality improvement initiatives. Jennifer has an undergraduate degree in Biology and Biotechnology from Carleton University and a Master of Health Administration degree from the University
of Ottawa.

Laboratory Head of Molecular Genetics Laboratory
Kristin Kernohan, PhD, FCCMG

Kristin Kernohan completed her HB.Sc, Honours specialization in Genetics and Ph.D in Biochemistry at the University of Western Ontario. After graduate school she completed a post-doctoral fellowship with Care4Rare and CCMG training at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario before joining NSO in 2018. Dr. Kernohan is certified by the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists.  Her research interests include the identification of new disease genes and developmental of new technologies for molecular diagnostics.

Clinical Scientist
Melanie Lacaria, PhD, FCCMG

Melanie Lacaria joined the molecular laboratory at NSO as a clinical scientist in 2020. She completed her PhD in Molecular and Human Genetics at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, TX. She is certified in Cytogenetics by both the Canadian College of Medical Genetics (CCMG) and the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG), and she also obtained certification in Laboratory Genetics and Genomics (dual molecular and cytogenetics) through the ABMGG. Dr. Lacaria’s research interests are focused on the expanding application of molecular genetic technologies in newborn screening. 

Laboratory Manager 
Olga Pekinasova, MLT, B.Sc.

Olga Pekinasova is Laboratory Manager and quality coordinator for NSO. She is a member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario and has over 17 year's experience in lab settings, both private and government sector.

For matters of quality, Olga may be reached at 613-796-0542

Clinical Team

The clinical team consists clinical content specialists who have backgrounds in genetic counselling or nursing. They participate in program operations and various education, communications and strategic projects.

For questions about a screen positive result or clinical concern about a baby, please contact the NSO clinical team at 613-738-3222 ext. 1045.

Laboratory Professionals

Medical Laboratory Technologists

To practice in Ontario, medical laboratory technologists at NSO must successfully write the Canadian Society for Medical Laboratory Science certification exam and be an active member of the College of Medical Laboratory Technologists of Ontario. The newborn screening team is currently comprised of nine technologists.

NSO employs a variety of sophisticated instruments to carry out the analytical assays including mass spectrometry, high pressure liquid chromatography (HPLC), and fluorometry. The technologists are responsible for sample analysis and resulting, instrument maintenance and troubleshooting and the performance of quality assurance practices within the lab. Technologists are also involved in the research and development of new assays and instrumentation.

Medical Laboratory Technicians

The medical laboratory technicians at NSO are responsible for the preanalytical processing of samples and for providing support to the technologists and other NSO team members to ensure the smooth functioning of the laboratory. The team is comprised of six technicians, each of whom brings with them an extensive background from various laboratory settings.

Administrative Support

They provide administrative support for the leadership team and the operations of the department, which includes coordinating special projects, symposiums and much more. They can be reached through the main NSO line at 613-738-3222.

Data Management Team

The data management team’s main responsibilities include data entry and validation; verification of incomplete information through referring hospitals and midwives; sending out reports, faxing, filing and archiving requisitions.
If you are requesting an amended report please call 613-738-3222 ext. 3180.

Contact Us

Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
415 Smyth Road
Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8M8

Toll-Free: 1-877-627-8330
Local: (613) 738-3222
Fax: (613) 738-0853

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