Meet the Team

Crystal Phillips - Executive Director, Co-Founder


After being an Olympic hopeful for speedskating diagnoses with Multiple Sclerosis, Crystal's natural healing journey led her to create Branch Out Neurological Foundation.

“Not only did I feel better, but it made sense to me. I realized that there were a few gaps in the system: a lack of high-quality research, awareness and credibility for some of the more natural approaches to healing the nervous system."

Learn More about Crystal's Story

Ty McKinney - Research Director


Ty "the NeuroGuy" helps coordinate Branch Out's various research activities, including grant applications, the Scientific Review Panel, the NeuroCAM Connect, and Knowledge Translation workshops. While originally an Alberta boy, Ty is currently pursing his PhD at the Univeristy of Utah developing new ways of assessing the psychological benefits of mind-body modalities in the brain. When not actively doing science, you can find Ty cooking weird but tasty food, having a love-hate relationship with learning web development, hiking in the mountains, camping in the dessert, or chatting about science for fun. Ty loves talking about neuroscience so much, he even started a brain health blog so that you don't need a degree to learn about neuroCAM.


Meagan McKenzie - Marketing Director


As the Marketing Director, Meagan is probably responsible for all the witty social media posts and cool infographics around Branch Out's website. Meagan is currently on mat leave taking care of a budding Branchy.

Dave Fillo - Chair of Board of Directors

Dave has worked in the energy industry with Shell Canada for the last 30 years, and was introduced to Crystal and the Branch Out Neurological Foundation (BONF) seven years ago. As a new path for learning how to live well with his wife Laurine's Parkinson's disease diagnosis, he was immediately impressed by the courageous and inspiring vision the BONF has towards “funding innovative technologies and non-pharmaceutical solutions to neurological disorders.” This fresh new approach to funding NeuroCAM research provides a constantly renewed sense of hope for both Dave and Laurine, and offers inspiration for a better future, where neurological wellness is less reliant on strictly pharmaceutical tools. In his spare time, Dave enjoys any activity that gets him outdoors, including the annual Branch Out Bike Tour, and is also a huge supporter of just hanging around and satisfying his natural curiosity of how the world works!

Sarah Lang - Board Vice Chair

Sarah is still writing her quirky and inspiring bio

Keith Sharkey, PhD - Board of Directors

Keith Sharkey is Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology, and the Crohn’s and Colitis Canada Chair in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) research at University of Calgary. His research is focused on brain-gut interactions in health and disease, with an emphasis on IBD. Formerly Director and Deputy Director of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, Sharkey shares his experience and passion for all things brain with the BONF.

James Costello - Board Treasurer

James is a CPA.CA and has a postgraduate designation in corporate directorship through the Rotman School of Business. He is the co-founder of Pedal Pub Canada and is a management consultant in corporate financial strategy. When he isn’t working, he is often found dressing up in some ridiculous costume, drinking Tool Shed beer, road cycling or trying out new outfits for the next Calgary Stampede. Ask James anything, he probably doesn’t know the answer; Ask him to dress up for anything, he will always impress!

Kaitlyn Gramlich - Corporate Secretary

Kaitlyn is still writing his quirky and inspiring bio

Graham Daw - Co-Founder

Graham is still writing his quirky and inspiring bio