Our Network


Edward Thomas

Interim Managing Director

Associate Director of External Relations


Edward Thomas is the Interim Managing Director and Associate Director of External Relations. He supports partnerships, communications and business development between the McDonald Institute and the broader astroparticle physics community, academia, government, business, NGOs and the Canadian public. He is a masters graduate in chemical engineering. He has more than 20 years of experience in technology development, research administration, innovation support and business journalism. He is a part-time scholar of cultural history, dog lover and avid cyclist.

Koby Dering

Senior Mechanical Engineer


Koby is a licensed Professional Engineer in Ontario, and obtained a B.Sc.Eng. in Mechanical Engineering at Queen’s University. Working in close collaboration with scientists and technical staff, Koby brings a wealth of experience in design, fabrication, and installation of custom components and infrastructure required for sensitive particle detectors at SNOLAB. Koby was responsible for many components of the DEAP-3600 detector, from the conceptual phase through to commissioning of the experiment, and is currently providing engineering oversight and support for the NEWS-G and CUTE experiments.

Max Edginton

HQP Coordinator


Max is the Highly Qualified Personnel (HQP) Coordinator for the McDonald Institute. Through program creation, governance support, and data collection, he fosters the growth of the astroparticle physics HQP community. His educational background is in human relations, in addition to graduate studies focusing on community economic development. He has more than 5-years of experience in communications, coordination, and digital marketing. He currently prides himself on his TikTok that primarily features his cat, Chester (@karysandmax). He is a world traveller, lifelong learner and art enthusiast.

As a professional graphic designer and brand manager, Zachary works to help develop and promote the activities and programs of the McDonald Institute and provides communications support to all areas of operations. He is passionate about science communication and is always looking for new and interesting ways to engage the Canadian public in astroparticle physics and the STEAM fields. Zachary is an abstract artist and art educator and holds a B.F.A from OCAD University and an M.F.A. in Art Education from Concordia University.

Edward Nkole

Financial Officer


Edward Nkole is the Finance Officer for the McDonald Institute. Working closely with Ed Thomas (Managing Director), Edward is responsible for providing expert advice, financial accountability and management of all McDonald Institute grant funds. Edward is a Queen’s alumnus having graduated with a degree in Economics and Global Development Studies in 2010. In addition, he is an associate of CPA Ontario and CIMA UK.

Chineze Onuoha

Program Officer


Chineze is the Program Officer for the McDonald Institute. She is responsible for administering funding competitions and funding ticket management across McDonald Institute support programs. She joined the McDonald Institute from the University Relations department of Queen’s University, where she was responsible for coordinating administrative & financial activities and department-related projects. Before joining Queen’s University, she worked in British Council, where her responsibilities included managing projects and grant schemes across Sub-Saharan Africa. In her spare time, she loves spending quality time with family and friends, playing board games and solving puzzles.

Alexandra Pedersen

Business Development Officer


Alexandra Pedersen is the Business Development Officer for the McDonald Institute. In this position, she facilitates, coordinates, and sustains innovation efforts by member organizations of the Institute through the development of partnerships for technology assessment, knowledge transfer, venture creation, and innovation-skills development. Alex holds a Doctorate in Geography (Queen’s University), a Master’s in International Studies (University of Northern British Columbia), and a Bachelor’s (Honours) in International Development Studies (University of Guelph). In her spare time, Alex is an executive member and volunteer with several local and national non-profit organizations, an energetic beekeeper, swimmer, yogi, and gardener.

Mark Richardson is the Education and Outreach Officer for the McDonald Institute at Queen’s University. Mark works closely with Zachary Kenny to develop and implement education and outreach programs for the Queen’s and Kingston communities and beyond. Mark previously had research and education roles at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, and Oxford University. Mark completed his PhD in Astrophysics at Arizona State University in 2014. Mark earned a BSc in Honours Astrophysics in 2009 from Saint Mary’s University in his hometown of Halifax.

Diana Turner

HR and Administrative Coordinator
(613) 533 6000 ext. 78539


Diana is the Human Resources and Administrative Coordinator for the McDonald Institute. Her background in business and administration, as well as education and music, make her an excellent first point of contact for the McDonald Institute. Diana is the assistant to both the Scientific Director and the Managing Director of the Institute and handles the HR responsibilities of the staff, faculty and HQP. Through her various other administrative roles, she enables smooth running of the institute’s operations. Diana enjoys time with family, at the gym, teaching piano, and playing board games.

Charles J. Woodford

Knowledge Translation Specialist


CJ is the Knowledge Translation Specialist for the McDonald Institute. He completed his PhD in physics at the University of Toronto in 2020, specializing in theoretical astrophysics and numerical simulations at CITA. CJ’s background in physics, astrophysics, and programming make him a good fit for the role of translating scientific content for the astroparticle physics community and developing the McDonald Institute’s digital spaces. In his spare time, CJ works on astronomy outreach initiatives with Discover the Universe, playing open-world video games, and spending quality time with his dog, Chip.




Fouad Elgindy

Current: Director, Strategic Initiatives and Institutional Programs

Past: Managing Director

fouad.elgindy@queensu.ca |

Fouad Elgindy was the Managing Director for the McDonald Institute, an initiative of Queen’s University that seeks to assert Canada’s position in particle astrophysics. In this position, he was responsible for directing all aspects of the administration of the institute. He brought to this position more than a decade of government and private sector experience in managing research grants and innovation policy. Through his passion for the underlying science of the McDonald Instiute and the need for Canada to achieve excellence in this area, Mr. Elgindy strived to create a Canadian centre of excellence to maximize the impact and better the understanding of research in particle astrophysics. Prior to joining the McDonald Institute, he was a Senior Program Manager of the flagship Government of Canada Networks Centres of Excellence (NCE) program. In this role, he led the development of high profile bilateral international initiatives between Canada and India and recreated a unique business-focused collaborative research program affecting aerospace, mining, manufacturing, and health industries. Mr. Elgindy earned a BSc in Physics from the University of Guelph. He also operates a grant consulting company and is a professional photographer.

Jennifer Low

Current: Physics+ Project Manager

Past: Program Officer

jennifer.low@queensu.ca |

Jennifer was the Program Officer for the McDonald Institute at Queen’s University. In this role, she supported program and competition delivery, governance, performance management, and data collection for the McDonald Institute. After completing her MSc. in Environmental Science at the Royal Military College of Canada, Jennifer worked as a research associate at The University of Winnipeg where she advanced her research and teaching experience while learning administrative, supervision, and technical skills.  Jennifer was the operations coordinator (technician) for the multidisciplinary Manitoba Institute for Materials at the University of Manitoba where she was vital for operations, programming, conference organization, accounting, and administration. In her spare time, Jennifer can be found training with her horse for competition and enjoying quality time with her family.