Research Teams


Research Teams

Joy Agnew
Administration Team Joy Agnew Ph.D., P.Eng.

Associate VP, Applied Research

☎ 403.556.4798

Joy earned her Ph.D. in Ag/Bio Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan and has more than 10 years of experience in managing applied research programs. As Associate VP Applied Research at Olds College, Joy oversees the applied research activities in crops, livestock, turfgrass production, environmental stewardship, and smart agriculture while supporting the College's innovation and entrepreneurship activities, smart farm operations, and the barley and triticale breeding program at Lacombe. Joy also holds a leadership role in the development of the College's Smart Ag Ecosystem, bringing together the academic programming, applied research, strategic partnerships, smart farm operations, and extension and communication activities to help the College meet its goal to be a leader in Smart Agriculture. Joy is past president of the Canadian Society of Bioengineering and is an adjunct professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

Kelly Mackinnon
Administration Team Kelly Mackinnon

OCCI Administration


Kelly is a graduate of the Olds College Office Administration program and has worked at the College since November 1993. Through various courses, she has continued to increase her knowledge and move forward in her position. She has successfully held a variety of positions such as an Administrative / Clerical support, Composting Technician, Natural Fibre Laboratory Technician, Webmaster, Information Systems Manager, and Events Coordinator.

Administration Team Melissa Zembik

Communications Advisor - Applied Research

☎ 403.507.7953

Melissa is the dedicated Communications Advisor for Applied Research for Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI), and works closely with the research team to develop content that supports the Olds College brand and social purpose of transforming agriculture for a better world. OCCI conducts research in crops, livestock, turfgrass, environment and smart agriculture, and is responsible for the Olds College Smart Farm. Melissa completed the Bachelor of Communication program with a business minor at Mount Royal University in Calgary, AB.

Administration Team Irene Wenger Ph.D., PAg

Manager, Special Projects

☎ 403.507.9332

Irene Wenger is Manager, Special Projects with Olds College Centre for Innovation (OCCI). Irene is primarily responsible for managing the Pan-Canadian Smart Farm Network, and she will also be supporting the College’s Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee. Irene obtained her B.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Alberta and a M.Sc. in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan with a focus in both degrees on animal agriculture, specifically swine production and management. She earned her Ph.D. in Public Health Sciences from the (now) School of Public Health at the University of Alberta. Her research focused on the task-specific air contaminant exposures of specialty-area pig barn workers. Before joining Olds College, Irene spent 25+ years managing large, complex, multi-year, multi-institution and multi-stakeholder/funder projects, primarily in Agriculture, with the last 10 years as a Research Project Manager at the University of Alberta.

Paul Tiege
Crop Research Paul Tiege PhD.

Research Scientist - Field Crops, Sustainable Chemistry

Shabeg Briar
Crop Research Shabeg Briar PhD. PAg.

Research Agronomist

☎ 403.556.4798

Shabeg Briar earned his B.Sc. degree in Agronomy and a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology and Nematology from Ohio State University, USA. Currently in his role as a Research Agronomist, he is responsible for conducting small plot crop trials related to herbicide efficacy, crop variety evaluation and pest management studies. He is a certified professional agronomist and possesses a pesticide applicator license. Prior to this, he was working as a Research Scientist with Montana Ag. Exp. Station. During his Ph.D. work at the Ohio State University, he focused on soil health of farming systems and studied bio-indicators and their role in the soil food web. He has published several peer reviewed journal articles, book chapters and extension articles.

Hilke Beuck
Crop Research Hilke Beuck

Research Technician - Field Crops

☎ 403.556.8322

Currently, Hilke is working as a Research Technician with the crops division of OCCI and specializes in small plot research trials for herbicide efficacy, fertilizer and germplasm screening. Prior to this Hilke worked with a German company for eight years involved in the cultivation of a new strain of grains and was responsible for the technical realization of field, greenhouse and laboratory trials of wheat, barley, rye and triticale. Hilke received an Agricultural-Technological Assistant Diploma in 1990 from Germany.

Environment - Land & Water Krista Pick

Research Technician II

☎ 403.507.7947

Field Crop Development Centre Mazen Aljarrah M.Sc.

Triticale breeder

Field Crop Development Centre Flavio Capettini Ph.D., B.Sc.

Two-row barley breeder

Field Crop Development Centre Yadeta Kabeta Ph.D.

Feed and forage barley breeder

Field Crop Development Centre Mark MacNaughton


Field Crop Development Centre Lori Oatway, M.Sc.

Research Scientist - Quality

Field Crop Development Centre Kequan Xi, Ph.D.

Research Scientist - Pathology

☎ 825.640.2030

Field Crop Development Centre Jennifer Zantinge Ph.D.

Research Scientist - Biotechnology

Ike Edeogu
Smart Farm/Land and Water Environmental Research Ike Edeogu, P.Eng,


☎ 403.556.4650

Ike Edeogu is the Smart Agriculture Applied Research Manager with Olds College Centre for Innovation. He is a professional engineer with an M.Sc. in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Alberta. Prior to joining Olds College in 2020, Ike worked with Alberta's Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry for about 25 years in the application of applied research and innovation techniques and principles towards the advancement of Alberta’s agricultural sector. He has a vast network of professional contacts from across the private sector, academia, government, and non-government organizations, both across Canada and abroad.

Sean Thompson
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Sean Thompson


☎ 403.556.8314

Sean Thompson is the Manager of the Technology Access Center for Livestock Production (TACLP). In his current role, Sean provides oversight to operations conducted by the TACLP with emphasis on technical advisory, project management and maintaining client relationships. Sean has an extensive background in the management, nutrition and genetics of beef cattle. Further, he has over 6 years’ experience managing research projects at post-secondary institutions. Sean holds an MSc in beef cattle nutrition from the University of Manitoba. Prior to joining Olds College, Sean served as Feed Industry Liaison at the University of Saskatchewan, managing feed processing and livestock feeding research projects.

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Shianne Hofer


☎ 403.559.4258

Shianne Hofer works as a Research Technician for the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP). Shianne is responsible for beef cattle and sheep husbandry, data collection activities related to animal performance trials, management record-keeping and the maintenance of technical equipment and facilities. She has three years of experience working with the TACLP, assisting in applied research projects involving grazing management, heifer development, and calf weaning strategies.

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Brittany Scott


☎ 403.586.2515

Brittany Scott is a Research Technician with the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production and specializes in livestock research trials evaluating animal performance, health and environmental sustainability. She is responsible for animal husbandry, data collection and technical evaluations related to beef and sheep research projects. Prior to this Brittany was a student at Lakeland College where she studied Animal Science Technology. Thereafter, she attended Olds College where she earned her Agribusiness Degree in 2020.

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Laio Sobrinho

Research Associate

Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Seyed Ali Goldansaz Ph.D., M.Sc., B.Sc.

Research Associate


Bio: Dr. Seyed Ali Goldansaz (Ali) is a young livestock researcher at Olds College with vision and a long term roadmap to serve the Canadian livestock industry. Ali has extensive experience working with nine different livestock species and birds, many solid scientific contributions including more than 45 publications (up to 2020) in peer-reviewed journals, conferences and industry newsletters, more than 1.5 million dollars in research funding (2016-2021), and a very high standard of academic excellence which has awarded him more than $110,000 in scholarships and awards (2015 - 2021). Since joining the College in 2019, Ali has been focusing on designing a comprehensive applied sheep research program with the general objective of improving the profitability of sheep production in Alberta, improving the efficiency of production by employing high throughput technologies and computing power, and decreasing the environmental footprint of sheep production. Ali has mobilized nine research groups from seven academic institutions and research centers to support the sheep industry in the province and across the country. Ali is also interested in developing point-of-care (PoC) devices to detect animal disease and production status. He is currently developing a handheld PoC device for real-time detection of pregnancy and litter size in sheep. Ali's applied research program at the College also benefits from machine learning, data science, and high throughput omics technologies (genomics, proteomics, metabolomics). Ali is committed to involve the stakeholders (i.e., livestock producers and organizations) in every step of his research endeavours to ensure his work is relevant and can be translated for field application. Within the next 5 - 10 years at Olds College, Ali is planning to continue supporting the sheep industry, and expand his novel research ideas to the goat and cattle industries.

Desiree Gellatly
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Désirée Gellatly

Research Scientist

☎ 403.556.4786

Dr. Désirée Gellatly is the Business Development Coordinator for the TACLP at Olds College. Included in Désirée’s responsibilities is the sharing of livestock production technology information and services with producers, marketing, administration and organizing field days and presentations. She also works with hands-on applied research projects in the area of livestock technologies and related services. Désirée completed her MSc and PhD in Animal Science at São Paulo State University in Brazil with a focus on the assessment of cattle temperament and its relationship with feeding behavior, feed efficiency, growth and reproductive performance. She also carries two post-doctorates from Agriculture and Agri-Food of Canada managing projects related to beef cattle and sheep behavior and welfare. Désirée works with the TACLP manager to accomplish technology transfer, extension and outreach to ensure that the livestock industry and producers are aware of and benefiting from the services of the TACLP.

Brianna Gratton
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Brianna Gratton, CCA


Lorna Baird
Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production Lorna Baird B.Sc., M.Sc.

Business Development Coordinator


Lorna Baird is the Business Development Coordinator at the Technology Access Centre for Livestock Production (TACLP) at Olds College. Lorna holds a B.Sc. in Animal Science from the University of Manitoba and an M.Sc. in Livestock Behaviour and Welfare from the University of British Columbia. Following her studies, she spent four years running a Cattle Lameness research program at the Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute in Northern Ireland.

Upon returning to Canada, Lorna settled in Calgary and worked with the livestock and poultry industries in roles at Alberta Farm Animal Care (as Executive Director) as well as Alberta Agriculture and Forestry (livestock extension, grant funding and project coordination). She finds it rewarding to support the development of new, innovative ideas to advance livestock production. As Business Development Coordinator, Lorna’s aim is to ensure current and prospective clients and partners are aware of the exciting ongoing work and potential opportunities with the TACLP.

Autonomous Agriculture Equipment Roy Maki

Research Project Manager

☎ 403.556.4683

Smart Farm Research Herman Simons

Project Lead

Smart Agriculture Applied Research Sofia Bahmutsky M.Sc.

Data Scientist

☎ 403.988.8316

Sofia holds a M.Sc. in Data Science from the University of British Columbia which she obtained in 2020, and a B.Sc. in Environmental Sciences and Biological Sciences from the University of Calgary earned in 2018. Currently she focuses her work on data science, machine learning and analytics in the realm of precision agriculture, climate change, environmental health and sustainability research fields. She also holds a BIT designation from the Alberta Society of Professional Biologists. Prior to working at OCCI, she completed an internship with Statistics Canada working on COVID-19 prediction modelling for estimation of risk factors and outbreak clusters.

Smart Agriculture Applied Research Daniel Stefner B.A.Sc.

Research Technician & Farm Liaison

☎ 780.691.2350

Daniel Stefner is a Research Technician and Farm Liaison within the Smart Ag Applied Research team. He is involved in a multitude of projects that focus on evaluating, validating and developing agriculture technologies, including software testing of user platform applications. As the Farm Liaison, Daniel works between the research teams and Smart Farm team to communicate and coordinate the unique on-farm requirements for ongoing applied research projects. He started his Olds College career as an Agriculture Management student in 2017, and went on to complete the Bachelor of Applied Science program with a major in Agribusiness. He also has a diploma in Digital Media and IT specializing in Business Analysis. Daniel brings an innovative and creative mind to the research team with experience of crop farming from his family's farm and previous employment.

Entrepreneurship and Innovation Pam Steckler


Turfgrass Research Mark Anderson

Research Technician