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About the Canada
Gairdner Foundation

The Gairdner Foundation Team

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Paige O’Beirne
Director of Partnerships
416 596 9996 ext 207
paige@gairdner.org

Contact if you have questions about: supporting Gairdner, partnership opportunities and events

As Director of Partnerships, Paige manages a portfolio of partners and philanthropic supporters of the Foundation and its mission. She establishes and grows relationships with key Gairdner stakeholders including government, donors and corporate sponsors, supporting these collaborations with outreach communications that amplify the impact of partnerships across Canada . Prior to joining the Gairdner Foundation, Paige was a Senior Development Officer at Habitat for Humanity Canada where she managed a large portfolio of corporate and individual donors. She has also held development roles with Upper Canada College, where she focused on growing its donor base, and the Terry Fox Foundation where she worked to refresh its school fundraising program and the Terry Fox Run brand. She holds a master’s degree in public policy and administration from Ryerson University and degrees in sociology and education from Bishop’s University.

 

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John Dirks
MD
Emeritus President & Scientific Director
john.dirks@utoronto.ca

Dr. John Dirks received his MD from the University of Manitoba (1957) and a Fellowship in Medicine from the Royal College of Physicians (1963). He trained in nephrology research at the NIH (1963-1965), and held an MRC Canada grant (1965-1987) for his work in renal pathophysiology. He has held a number of major academic administrative positions including Director of Nephrology at McGill (1965-1976); Head, Department of Medicine at UBC (1976-1987); Dean of Medicine University of Toronto (1987-1991); and Dean-Rector of Aga Khan University in Pakistan (1994-1996). From 1994 to 2005, Dr. Dirks chaired the International Society of Nephrology’s Commission for the Global Advancement of Nephrology (COMGAN), a major educational-clinical outreach program in over 100 countries. Dr. Dirks held the role of President and Scientific Director of Gairdner from 1993 and retired on May 4, 2016 becoming President & Scientific Director Emeritus. He also served on the Medical Advisory Board of Gairdner for a decade (1983-1993). Honours include the NFK International Medal from the US National Kidney Foundation (2005), the International Society of Nephrology’s Roscoe Robinson Award (2004), the Order of Canada (2006), an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Manitoba, and a Biomedical Science Ambassador Award from Partners in Research and the Banting Research Foundation (2009). He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Science. In 2010, he received a TBI Lifetime Achievement Award from the Biotechnology Initiative. In 2012 he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and also received an Honourary Doctorate of Science from the University of Toronto and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.

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Sarah Devonshire
Senior Project Manager
416 596 9996 ext 205
sarah@gairdner.org

Contact if you have questions about: Nominations, Global Health, Special Projects

As Senior Projects Manager, Sarah co-ordinates a wide spectrum of initiatives to increase the reach, impact and relevance of the Gairdner Foundation and its Awards.

Sarah holds degrees in history at University of Toronto (BAHons) and Queen’s University (MA). She has previously held administrative and academic positions with the City of Kingston, Queen’s University, the Royal Military College, and has published on leadership in modern conflict.

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Catherine Rogers
CPA CA
Chief Financial Officer
416-596-9996 x 203
catherine@gairdner.org

Catherine is the Chief Financial Officer of the Gairdner Foundation.  She is a Chartered Professional Accountant with audit, financial accounting and management experience in South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States.  Before moving to Toronto, Catherine was financial manager for a Cape Town based Foundation focused on the development of disadvantaged children through sport and play.  Catherine holds a Bachelor of Business Science degree and a Post Graduate Diploma in Accounting from the University of Cape Town and completed her auditing articles at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

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Sommer Wedlock
Executive Vice President
416 596 9996 ext 202
sommer@gairdner.org

Contact if you have questions about: Media inquiries, partnership opportunities, outreach programs, fundraising or information about our laureates

As the Executive Vice President Sommer leads a comprehensive portfolio that aims to raise the profile of the Canada Gairdner Awards, Canada’s most prestigious biomedical prize. Her responsibilities include leading the strategic planning process along with the President to increase the Foundation’s brand visibility, stakeholder engagement and fundraising efforts. Sommer also oversees the communications for the Foundation along with leading fundraising efforts and key stakeholder relations.

Prior to joining the Gairdner Foundation, Sommer was a Senior Consultant with Hill+Knowlton, an international public relations agency. In this role she led numerous healthcare client files including pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, patient association and foundations where she developed and executed their strategic communications planning. Previously, Sommer worked for the University Health Network (UHN) in various roles where she focused on media relations, social media strategy and internal communications. Sommer graduated from Western University with a bachelor of health sciences and also received a post-graduate certificate in public relations from Humber College. She brings strong healthcare experience and connections to the Gairdner Foundation and an enthusiasm for story telling.

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Janet Rossant
PhD, FRS, FRSC
President & Scientific Director
416-596-9996 ext. 201
janet.rossant@gairdner.org

Dr. Janet Rossant, a world-renowned expert in developmental biology, is the definition of a trailblazer. She started as the Gairdner Foundation’s President and Scientific Director on May 4, 2016.

Widely known for her studies of the genes that control embryonic development in the mouse, Rossant has pioneered techniques for following cell fate and altering genes in embryos. This work continues to resonate in medical genetic research. Her current research focuses on stem cell development and cell differentiation in the developing embryo, important areas for the study of birth defects as well as regenerative medicine.

Dr. Rossant trained at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, United Kingdom and has been in Canada since 1977, first at Brock University and then at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute within Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, from 1985 to 2005. She served as Chief of Research at SickKids from 2005 to 2015 and retains a research lab there. Dr. Rossant has been recognized for her contributions to science with many awards, including the Ross G. Harrison Medal (lifetime achievement award) from the International Society of Developmental Biologists, the Killam Prize for Health Sciences, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, the Conklin Medal from the Society for Developmental Biology, the 10th ISTT Prize from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies and the 2018 L’Oréal For Women in Science Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of both London and Canada, and an International member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Committees

The Gairdner reputation rests squarely on the outstanding quality of its adjudication process.

Get To Know Our Committee Members

Canada Gairdner International Award: Medical Review Panel and Medical Advisory Board

Through two levels of adjudication more than 60 scientists review the International nominations and distill down the applications from hundreds to five laureates. These committees are world-renowned scientists who bring vast expertise from various disease areas.

2017 Medical Review Panel

Canada Gairdner Wightman Award  Committee:

The committee is comprised of 15 recognized leaders in Canadian and international medicine. With careful inquiry and thorough discussion, the Committee selects the most outstanding candidate from the field of submitted nominations.

John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award Committee:

The Committee includes 15 international global health experts and leaders. With careful inquiry and thorough discussion, the Committee selects the most outstanding candidate from the field of submitted nominations.

Peter Piot (1)
Peter Piot
MD PHD FRCP FMEDSCI

The work:
Dr. Piot is a co-discoverer of the Ebola virus and its modes of transmission and its epidemiology. His pioneering work on HIV/AIDS in Africa revealed a major heterosexual HIV epidemic, established much of the knowledge of the clinical manifestations, natural history and epidemiology of HIV in Africa, including the first studies showing the effectiveness of HIV prevention in high risk populations. He also identified several original risk determinants for HIV transmission. His team was the first to document the association between tuberculosis (TB) and HIV in Africa, and the wide genetic diversity of HIV-1 in Africa, as well as a related immunodeficiency virus in chimpanzees.

The impact:
Dr. Piot played a leading role in bringing the AIDS epidemic to the forefront of global attention, raising international commitments to its funding and building scientifically grounded responses to its control and treatment. His team’s work on the strong association of tuberculosis and HIV in Africa, followed by clinical and therapeutic studies, led to new guidelines for managing tuberculosis in Africa. His studies on the prevention of HIV infection among high risk populations were again among the first in Africa, and demonstrated that such prevention is possible.

Bio:
Peter Piot MD PhD FRCP FMedSci is the Director of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine School, and Professor of Global Health. He was the founding Executive Director of UNAIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations from 1995 until 2008, and was an Associate Director of the Global Programme on AIDS of WHO. A clinician and microbiologist by training, he co-discovered the Ebola virus in Zaire in 1976, and subsequently led research on AIDS, women’s health, and sexually transmitted infections, mostly in Africa. He has held academic positions at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, , the University of Nairobi, the University of Washington, Imperial College London, and was a Senior Fellow at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He held the chair 2009/2010 “Knowledge against poverty” at the College de France in Paris. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academy of Sciences, and of the Royal Academy of Medicine of his native Belgium, and a fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and the Royal College of Physicians. He was the President of the International AIDS Society, and of the King Baudouin Foundation. In 1995 he was ennobled as a Baron by King Albert II of Belgium.. He has received numerous awards for his research and service, including the Nelson Mandela Award for Health and Human Rights , the F.Calderone Medal , the Hideyo Noguchi Africa Prize , the Prince Mahidol Award for Public Health , and the 2015 Canada Gairdner Global Health Award . He has published over 570 scientific articles and 16 books, including his memoir “No time to lose”.

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Daniel Roth
MD PhD

Scientist, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children; Associate Professor
Department of Paediatrics
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada

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Patricia Garcia
MD PhD

Professor, School of Public Health
Cayetano Heredia University
Lima, Peru

Alan Bernstein
Alan Bernstein
Chair, Global Health Advisor Committee
Christian Brechot
Christian Bréchot
MD PhD

President, Global Virus Network (GVN)

Paris, France

Rose Gana Fomban Leke
Rose Leke
PhD

Emeritus Professor of Immunology and Parasitology, Faculty of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences of the Université de Yaoundé

Yaoundé, Cameroon

Steffanie Strathdee
Steffanie A. Strathdee
PhD

Steffanie A. Strathdee is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences, Harold Simon Professor and Chief of the Division of Global Public Health in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins and Simon Fraser Universities. She directs UCSD’s Global Health Institute and co-directs the International Core of UCSD’s Center for AIDS Research. She developed one of the nation’s first global health tracks for PhD students in public health in 2006, and founded a free clinic for Tijuana’s under-served that serves as a training site for students conducting global health research.  She co-directs the Fogarty-funded ‘GloCal’ fellowship program she is Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of the UC-wide Global Health Institute. An infectious disease epidemiologist, she has spent the last two decades focusing on HIV prevention in marginalized populations in developing countries and has published over 500 peer-reviewed publications.  Currently, she leads a multidisciplinary team of research on HIV risk behaviors among drug users and sex workers on the Mexico-US border that incorporates public health with political science, law, and anthropology. In 2009, she and her team were awarded the Leadership Award in International Collaboration from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, who also granted her a MERIT award for her research in Tijuana.  In 2012, she received UCSD’s inaugural postdoctoral mentoring award and in 2013 received a mentoring award from the National Hispanic Science Network.

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Peggy Bentley
MA PhD

Carla Smith Chamblee Distinguished Professor
Department of Nutrition
Associate Dean for Global Health
Gillings School of Global Public Health

Associate Director for Education
Institute for Global Health & Infectious Diseases
University of North Carolina

Chapel Hill, NC, USA

Dr. Bentley’s research focuses on women and infant’s nutrition, infant and young child feeding, behavioral research on sexually transmitted diseases, HIV, and community-based interventions for nutrition and health. She is an expert in both qualitative and quantitative research methods and the application of these for program development and evaluation. She currently is working on an HIV behavioral intervention prevention trial in Chennai, India; on a community-based intervention to improve child growth and development in Andhra Pradesh, India; on an intervention to decrease maternal to child transmission of HIV during breastfeeding in Malawi.

 

Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics
Peter Ratcliffe
MD

Peter J. Ratcliffe, M.D. trained as a nephrologist, then founded the Oxford Hypoxia Biology Laboratory, initially studying the regulation of erythropoietin by the kidney. His laboratory demonstrated the existence of a widespread system of oxygen sensing in animal cells and elucidated the mechanism by which oxygen levels are signalled though the post-translational hydroxylation of the key transcription factor Hypoxia Inducible Factor (HIF). The laboratory is currently engaged in the biochemical and physiological characterization of these and related oxygenases, and in the exploration of their therapeutic potential in human disease.

Professor Ratcliffe received his degrees from the University of Cambridge and medical training at St. Bartholomew’s Hospital, London and Oxford University. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and a recipient several international awards for his laboratory’s work on oxygen sensing, including the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine, the Canada Gairdner International Award and the Lasker Award. He was knighted for his services to medicine in 2014.

In May 2016 he took up the position of Director of Clinical Research at the Francis Crick Institute, London, and in June 2016 he took up the position of Director of the Target Discovery Institute at the University of Oxford.

Susan Gasser
Susan Gasser
PhD

Prof. Susan M. Gasser is the director of the Friedrich Miescher Institute for Biomedical Research, a position she assumed in 2004. In parallel, she holds a professorship at the University of Basel.  Before joining the FMI, Susan Gasser was Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Geneva, and for the preceding 15 years, she led a research group at the Swiss Institute for Experimental Cancer Research in Epalinges/Lausanne in Switzerand.

Susan Gasser’s studies how nuclear organization impinges on mechanisms of repair and replication fork stability and on epigenetic inheritance of cell fate decisions. She exploits the genetics of model organisms in her studies, as well as quantitative live fluorescence imaging. She has authored more than 250 primary articles and reviews, and has received a number of awards for her work, including election to the Académie de France, to the Swiss Academy of Medical Sciences, FEBS | EMBO Women in Science Award 2012, the INSERM International Prize in 2011, and both the Otto Naegeli Award and the Gregor Mendel Medal in 2006. She is a member of the President’s Science and Technology Advisory Council of the European Commission, and serves on scientific review panels for institutes across Europe.

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Adrian P. Bird
PhD

Adrian Bird holds the Buchanan Chair of Genetics at the University of Edinburgh and is Director of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology. He obtained his PhD at Edinburgh University. Following postdoctoral experience at the Universities of Yale and Zurich, he joined the Medical Research Council’s Mammalian Genome Unit in Edinburgh. In 1987 he moved to Vienna to become a Senior Scientist at the newly-founded Institute for Molecular Pathology. Dr Bird’s research focuses on the basic biology and biomedical significance of DNA methylation. His laboratory identified CpG islands as gene markers in the vertebrate genome and discovered proteins that read the DNA methylation signal to influence chromatin structure. Mutations in one of these proteins, MeCP2, cause the autism spectrum disorder Rett Syndrome. Dr Bird’s laboratory established a mouse model of Rett Syndrome and showed that the resulting severe neurological phenotype can be cured. Awards include the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine (1999) and the Charles-Léopold Mayer Prize of the French Academy of Sciences (2008). He was a governor of the Wellcome Trust from 2000 – 2010 and is currently a Trustee of Cancer Research UK.

Ben Blencowe
Benjamin Blencowe
PhD

Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada

Jeff Weitz
Jeffrey Weitz
MD, FRCP(C), FACP, FCCP, FAHA, FESC, FACC, FCAHS
Co-Chair, Medical Review Panel

Jeffrey I. Weitz, MD is a Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at McMaster University and Executive Director of the Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute.  Board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Dr. Weitz now focuses his clinical work in the area of thrombosis. He is a member of the American Federation of Medical Research, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. Weitz directs a well-funded research laboratory that focuses on the biochemistry of blood coagulation and fibrinolysis as it applies to venous and arterial thrombosis. A former Vice-President of Research for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, member of the Board of Directors of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Chair of the Scientific Review Committee for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, member of the Executive Council on Thrombosis of the American Heart Foundation, and Chair of the Council on Vascular Biology for the American Society of Hematology, Dr. Weitz has published over 375 peer-reviewed papers and 50 textbook chapters on thrombosis or fibrinolysis. By focusing on the basic mechanisms by which anticoagulants (blood thinners) and thrombolytic agents (clot digesting drugs) work, Dr. Weitz has opened new avenues of investigation. His demonstration that thrombin bound to fibrin is resistant to inactivation by available anticoagulants stimulated the development of new drugs, some of which are already being used in clinical practice.

Mike Salter
Michael Salter
MD PhD FRSC

Chief of Research, The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr.  Salter is Chief of Research at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), a Senior Scientist in the Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health, and a Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Salter received an MD degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1982 and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Physiology from McGill in 1987. After post-doctoral training at Toronto Western and at Mt. Sinai hospitals, he joined the Research Institute of SickKids in 1990. From 1999 to 2009 Dr. Salter was the founding Director of the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain.  Dr. Salter’s main research focus is on synaptic physiology, in particular in relation to pain, and he has done groundbreaking work that has led to new paradigms about neuroplasticity and about how synaptic transmission in the central nervous system is regulated by biochemical processes within neurons and by glial-neuronal interactions.   His discoveries have broad implications for the control of cell-cell communication throughout the nervous system and his work has regularly appeared in elite journals including Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Medicine and Neuron.  Dr. Salter has a broad interest in neuroscience and his work relevant to learning and memory, stroke-induced neuron death, epilepsy and schizophrenia.  As a distinct line of research, he and his collaborators reported in Cell in 2006 their discovery of a previously unsuspected role for sensory neurons in the pathogenesis of diabetes and in the control of glucose homeostasis.

To facilitate the translation of his fundamental studies to the development of new therapies for humans, Dr. Salter is a founding scientist and actively involved in two startup biotech companies – NoNO Inc and Afference Therapeutics.   Dr. Salter currently holds the Northbridge Chair in Paediatric Research.  He has received numerous awards including the E.B. Eastburn Award, the John Charles Polyani Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Early Career Investigator Award of the Canadian Pain Society, the Distinguished Career Investigator Award of the Canadian Pain Society, and was an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

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W. James Nelson
PhD

Rudy J. and Daphne Donohue Munzer Professor Emeritus; Professor Emeritus, Department of Biology 
Stanford University
Stanford, CA, USA

Shimon Sakaguchi
Shimon Sakaguchi
MD PhD

Distinguished Professor, WPI Immunology Frontier Research Center
Osaka University
Osaka, Japan

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Stephen O’Rahilly
MD FRS

Director, MRC Metabolic Diseases Unit, University of Cambridge; Co-Director, Wellcome Trust-MRC Institute of Metabolic Science, University of Cambridge; Head of Department of Clinical Biochemistry, University of Cambridge; Scientific Director, Cambridge NIHR Biomedical Research Centre; Hon. Consultant Physician, Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge
Cambridge University
Cambridge, UK

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Janet Rossant
PhD, FRS, FRSC
President & Scientific Director
416-596-9996 ext. 201
janet.rossant@gairdner.org

Dr. Janet Rossant, a world-renowned expert in developmental biology, is the definition of a trailblazer. She started as the Gairdner Foundation’s President and Scientific Director on May 4, 2016.

Widely known for her studies of the genes that control embryonic development in the mouse, Rossant has pioneered techniques for following cell fate and altering genes in embryos. This work continues to resonate in medical genetic research. Her current research focuses on stem cell development and cell differentiation in the developing embryo, important areas for the study of birth defects as well as regenerative medicine.

Dr. Rossant trained at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, United Kingdom and has been in Canada since 1977, first at Brock University and then at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute within Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, from 1985 to 2005. She served as Chief of Research at SickKids from 2005 to 2015 and retains a research lab there. Dr. Rossant has been recognized for her contributions to science with many awards, including the Ross G. Harrison Medal (lifetime achievement award) from the International Society of Developmental Biologists, the Killam Prize for Health Sciences, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, the Conklin Medal from the Society for Developmental Biology, the 10th ISTT Prize from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies and the 2018 L’Oréal For Women in Science Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of both London and Canada, and an International member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

Anne Ephrussi
Anne Ephrussi
PhD

Anne Ephrussi is Head of the Developmental Biology Unit at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany; she is also Head of the EMBL International Center for Advanced Training.

She obtained her PhD in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1985, and carried out her postdoctoral studies at Harvard and at the Whitehead Institute (MIT). Combining genetics, cell biology and biochemistry, her research is focused on understanding how RNA molecules are transported, localised and translationally controlled within the cytoplasm for proper cell function and organismal development. As her main model, she uses the Drosophila oocyte, in which mRNA localisation and localised translation underlie patterning of the future embryo. She is a member of EMBO, of the Academia Europaea, and of the French Académie des Sciences.

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Karen E. Nelson
PhD

Karen E. Nelson, Ph.D. is the President of the J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI). Prior to being appointed President, she held a number of other positions at the Institute, including Director of JCVI’s Rockville Campus, and Director of Human Microbiology and Metagenomics in the Department of Human Genomic Medicine at JCVI. Dr. Nelson received her undergraduate degree from the University of the West Indies, and her Ph.D. from Cornell University. She has authored or co-authored over 170 peer reviewed publications, edited three books, and is currently Editor-in-Chief of the journal Microbial Ecology. She also serves on the Editorial Boards of BMC Genomics, GigaScience, and the Central European Journal of Biology.

Dr. Nelson is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and serves on their Board of Life Sciences. Other honors include being named ARCS Scientist of the Year 2017; a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology; an Honorary Professor at the University of the West Indies; and a Helmholtz International Fellow.

Dr. Nelson has extensive experience in microbial ecology, microbial genomics, microbial physiology and metagenomics. Dr. Nelson has led several genomic and metagenomic efforts, and led the first human metagenomics study that was published in 2006. Additional ongoing studies in her group include metagenomic approaches to study the ecology of the gastrointestinal tract of humans and animals, studies on the relationship between the microbiome and various human and animal disease conditions, reference genome sequencing and analysis primarily for the human body, and other -omics studies.

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Doreen Cantrell
CBE, FRS, FRSE, FMedSci

Professor Doreen Cantrell is a Wellcome Trust Principal Research Fellow at the School of Life Sciences, University of Dundee. Her research interests are focused on T lymphocyte development and activation, a key process to the comprehension and manipulation of mammalian immune responses. She has published over 180 research papers and was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and EMBO in 2000, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2005 and a Fellow of the Royal Society in 2011. She was awarded Commander of the British Empire in the 2014 New Year Honours for her services to the UK Science. She has sat on numerous scientific committees and editorial boards and is currently a Member of the Medical Research Council, Chair of the Wellcome Trust Sir Henry Dale Fellowship Committee, a Member of the Babraham Institute Board and Trustee of The Francis Crick Institute.

 

2019 YR future 3
Yi Rao
PhD

Yi Rao is the Dean of Sciences at Peking University, a Chair Professor and the Founding Director of the PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research, the Founding Director of PKU-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences, and the Founding Director of the Chinese Institute for Brain Research at Beijing.

Rao received medical and graduate training in China from 1978 to 1985. He obtained his PhD from the University of California at San Francisco in 1991 with a thesis on molecular and genetic analysis of cellular communication in Drosophila. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard working on molecular mechanisms of neural development in amphibians. He was on the faculty of Washington University School of Medicine from 1994 to 2004 and Northwestern University School of Medicine from 2004 to 2007, where his lab worked on molecular and cellular basis of neural development, revealing the origin of two eyes in a single morphogenetic field, discovering the chemorepellent function of the Slit proteins in axon guidance and neuronal migration, and dissecting signal transduction mechanisms of the chemorepellent Slit and and chemoattractant Netrin. His lab has found conserved guidance mechanisms between neurons and leukocytes. In 2007, he returned to China as the Dean of the School of Life Sciences at Peking University. His lab currently investigates molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying behavior and cognition. Rao has proposed the concept of chemoconnectome (CCT) as the entire set of neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, neuropeptides and their receptors underlying chemical transmission in an animal. The Rao lab has invented the generally applicable chemoconnectomics approach and generated new genetic resources to study the functional roles of genes and cells in the CCT, to manipulate chemical transmission and to map neural circuits. In humans, they use genetics, genomics and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate genes and brain regions important in cognition. The Rao lab has carried out research with flies, frogs, mice, rats, monkeys and humans to understand fundamental mechanisms both those conserved among animals and those unique for humans.

Rao is instrumental in reforming and establishing several leading institutions of science and higher education in China. He assisted the establishment of the Institute of Neuroscience (ION) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shanghai (1999) and participated in establishment of the National Institute for Biological Sciences (NIBS) in Beijing (2004). He was a co-founder or founder of the Shanghai Institute for Advanced Studies (2002), the Peking-Tsinghua Center for Life Sciences (2011), the PKU-IDG/McGovern Institute for Brain Research (2012) and the Chinese Institute for Brain Research, Beijing (2018). He is a co-founder of the Westlake University. He is a founding member of Scientific Committee of the Future Science Prize of China (2016), and a founder of the Xplorer Prize for Science and Technology of China (2018).

Rao teaches the course Concepts and Approaches in Biology (CAB), focusing on classic experiments in genetics from Mendel (1866), Miescher (1871), Morgan (1910), Griffith (1928), to Avery, MacLeod and McCarty (1944), in developmental biology from Roux (1888), Spemann and Mangold (1924), Lewis (1978) to Nusslein-Volhard and Wieschaus (1980), in neurochemistry from Bernard (1857), Langley (1901), Elliot (1905) to Dale (1910) and Loewi (1921), in electrophysiology from Adrian (1912), Hodgkin and Huxley (1939), Katz (1952), to Hubel and Wiesel (1962), and in immunology from Behring and Kitasato (1890), Ehrlich (1900), Owen (1945) to Burnet  (1959).

Dr. Lea Harrington Headshot - Low Res
Lea Harrington
PhD
Co-Chair, Medical Review Panel

Full Professor, Department of Medicine, Professeure accrédité (cross-appointment), Department of Biochemistry, Université de Montréal, Institute of Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), Montréal, QC, Canada

Visiting Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Lea Harrington moved to the University of Montreal in 2011 from the University of Edinburgh, where she previously held a Personal Chair as Professor of Telomere Biology and was the Associate Director of Postgraduate M.Sc. Programmes in the School of Biological Sciences. She retains a Visiting Professorship at the University of Edinburgh and is currently a Professor in the Department of Medicine at l’Université de Montréal.

Since starting her group in 1995 (at the Ontario Cancer Institute, where she stayed until 2007), Dr. Harrington and her colleagues have been interested in the mechanisms by which chromosome ends, telomeres, are maintained and protected from degradation and recombination. The activity of an enzyme responsible for new telomere addition in most eukaryotes, telomerase, is increased in many cancers and conversely is decreased in many somatic tissues. Since critically short telomeres that elicit a DNA damage response are incompatible with cell viability, the regulation of telomerase activity and dosage is thus a critical determinant of normal and cancer cell proliferation.

The Harrington laboratory has employed several genetic models to study the dosage-sensitive regulation of telomere homeostasis and its consequences in aging, cancer, and disease. In the single-celled genetic model S. cerevisiae (baker’s yeast), her group conducted genome-wide genetic screens to identify genes whose absence affects survival when telomerase expression is reduced or abrogated. These screens identified a pathway for cell survival that acts independently of telomerase and homologous recombination. Using mammalian genetic models, Dr. Harrington and her group discovered that telomerase is haploinsufficient in mice, and that long telomeres permit the prolonged survival of normal murine and tumorigenic human cells even in the absence of telomere length maintenance.

More recently, her lab uncovered an unexpected ability of short telomeres to perturb the stability cell differentiation, in which quiescent, differentiated cells with critically short telomeres revert to a more stem cell-like state and resume proliferation. These findings suggest that telomere maintenance plays a previously unappreciated role in cell fate, and may prove to be an important mechanism that contributes to the remodeling of tissue function in aging, disease, and cancer.

ScottStephen
Stephen H Scott
PhD

GSK Chair in Neuroscience
Centre for Neuroscience Studies
Queen’s University

Kingston, ON, Canada

 

Dr. Stephen Scott holds the GSK Chair in Neuroscience and is Professor in the Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen’s University. He received a B.A.Sc. and an M.A.Sc. in Systems Design Engineering from the University of Waterloo, and a Ph.D. in physiology from Queen’s University. His basic research explores the neural, behavioural and mechanical basis of voluntary motor control including studies on human and non-human primates. His clinical research explores the potential of robotics as a next generation technology for neurological assessment related to stroke and other neurological disorders/injuries. He is the inventor of the KINARM robot and is actively involved in the development of advanced technologies for use in basic and clinical research.  He is Co-Founder and Chief Scientific Officer of BKIN Technologies that commercialises the KINARM robotic platform.

Portrait photo of Alison McGuigan
Alison McGuigan
PhD

Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry & Institute for Biomedical Engineering
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada

Dr. Alison McGuigan is a Professor in Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry and the Institute for Biomedical Engineering at University of Toronto. She obtained her undergraduate degree in Materials Science from University of Oxford, her PhD in Chemical Engineering from University of Toronto and completed post-docs at Harvard University and Stanford School of Medicine. Dr. McGuigan has made pioneering contributions to the engineering of tissue models to explore mechanisms of disease and regeneration. Dr. McGuigan has established strategies to generate multi-component tissue systems with specified organization. Furthermore, she has pioneered the design of tissue platforms for smart data acquisition, with a focus on stratifying heterogeneous bulk data by cell population, by spatial location, or by time. Her team have used these tools to identify previously unknown patterns of cell behaviour in multi-component tissues and to begin defining design rules that govern the assembly of individual cells into functional tissues. Dr. McGuigan has published >110 papers, patents and abstracts and in recognition of her work has received numerous awards including the 2013 TERMIS-AM Young Investigator Award, the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering he Hatch Innovation Award, and in 2018 was elected to the Royal Society of Canada-College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. She serves on the executive leadership team of Medicine by Design (A Canadian First Excellence Research Fund program) and on the Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine (CCRM) incubation and outreach committee. She also serves on the editorial board of the journals “Cell Reports Methods” and “In Vitro Tissues”.

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Gavin Y. Oudit
MD PhD FRCPC

Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Alberta
Clinician-Scientist, Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute
Director, Heart Function Clinic
Director, Human Explanted Heart Program (HELP)
Canada Research Chair in Heart Failure
Edmonton, AB, Canada

Dr. Oudit is Professor of Medicine and Clinician-Scientist at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute, University of Alberta. He completed the Clinician-Investigator Program of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, followed by training in Adult Cardiology at the University of Toronto. He completed a four-year post-doctoral fellowship in the molecular biology of heart failure. He is currently a Canada Research Chair in Heart Failure and Director of the Heart Function Clinic at the Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute. His research activities are diverse with a primary emphasis on heart failure and cardiomyopathies.

 

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Jean-Yves Masson
PhD FCAHS

Director, Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry and Pathology
CHU de Québec Research Center, Oncology Axis
Laval University
Québec City, QC, Canada

Jean-Yves Masson is an internationally recognized expert in DNA repair mechanisms. He was recruited at the Laval University Cancer Center in 2002 and became in 2013 the director of the Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry, and Pathology Department. Dr. Masson was awarded with a FRQS Junior 1, CIHR new investigator, FRQS Junior 2, FRQS Senior, Chercheur National and a FRQS Chair. He currently holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in DNA repair and Cancer Therapeutics. He has over 140 publications in several high-impact journals such as Nature Genetics, Science, and Molecular Cell. He is a member of the editorial board of NAR cancer and Nucleic Acids Research. Throughout his career, Dr. Masson focused on radiation and chemicals that impede DNA replication to induce DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Failure to remove these breaks leads to cell death, genetic mutations, gross chromosome rearrangements, and to cell transformation and cancer. He is one of the few world experts on PALB2, a protein which is getting scientific and public attention as PALB2 mutations increase breast cancer by 6-8 fold. He established that PALB2 deficient cells are very sensitive to PARP inhibitors, a very promising therapeutic avenue for breast/ovarian cancer. Dr. Masson was inducted as a Canadian Academy of Health Sciences fellow.

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Mathieu Lupien
PhD

Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Professor, Dept. of Medical Biophysics University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada

Dr. Mathieu Lupien is a Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre (PM), a Professor at the University of Toronto (Canada) and holds a cross-appointment with the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR). He serves on the Senior Advisory Group and the Research Council on Oncology to the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

Dr. Lupien’s research in chromatin & epigenetics has pioneered the study of the non-coding genome to identify determinants of oncogenesis and accelerated the development of chromatin & epigenetic-based precision medicine against cancer. Dr. Lupien earned his Ph.D. in experimental medicine at McGill University under the leadership of Dr. Sylvie Mader and carried out postdoctoral training in medical oncology as an Era of Hope Fellow at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute under the mentorship of Dr. Myles Brown followed by an executive education at Harvard Business School. He joined the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the University of Toronto in 2012.

Among other honours, Dr. Lupien is a recipient the Canadian Cancer Society Bernard and Francine Dorval Award for Excellence, is a two times recipient of the Till and McCulloch Discovery of the Year award and of the Investigator Award from the OICR.

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Neeloffer Mookherjee
PhD

CIHR Sex and Gender Science Chair – Circulatory and Respiratory Health
Professor, Departments of Internal Medicine and Immunology
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Dr. Neeloffer Mookherjee is a Professor at the University of Manitoba, Canada. She leads an internationally recognized research program on immunity-related functions of molecules known as antimicrobial host defence peptides. She has made seminal contributions in defining the role of host defence peptides in the regulation of inflammation, in particular airway inflammation in asthma, and inflammatory arthritis. Dr. Mookherjee’s research group at the Manitoba Centre for Proteomics and Systems Biology uses Systems-level approaches to identify molecular hubs within inflammatory networks, and to define disease-related biosignature that can be targeted for the development of new immunomodulatory drugs, with a focus on asthma and arthritis.

Dr. Mookherjee is the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Sex and Gender Science Chair in Circulatory & Respiratory Health. Her research program integrates Sex and Gender Based Analyses (SGBA), primarily sex as a biological variable, in the regulation of inflammation and response to therapy in the lungs.

Dr. Mookherjee is a strong advocate for women in science, and is the current Chair of WISDOM (Women In Science: Development, Outreach and Mentorship) initiative at The Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, at The University of Manitoba, Canada. As a leader in WISDOM she has made valuable contributions to mitigate some of the barriers related to the under representation of women in academic and professional leadership positions. She is recognized for her excellence and distinction in mentoring academic women in science.

For more information see mookherjeelab.com

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Stephanie L. Borgland
PhD

Tier 1 Canada Research Chair
Professor, Hotchkiss Brain Institute
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB, Canada

Dr. Stephanie Borgland is a Professor and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in the Departments of Physiology & Pharmacology as well as Psychiatry at the University of Calgary. She is affiliated with the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education and the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute. She is a member of the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists of the Royal Society of Canada. From 2008-2013 she was an Assistant Professor in the department of Anesthesiology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics at the University of British Columbia. She received her PhD in Pharmacology/Neuroscience from the University of Sydney, Australia in 2002 and completed her post-doctoral training at the University of California, San Francisco ending in 2007. Her research focuses on understanding the neurobiological mechanisms of aberrant motivation related to addiction and obesity.

Dr. Borgland is an internationally recognized leader in the neurobiology of motivated behaviour. The Borgland lab uses electrophysiology, behavioral neuropharmacology, circuit tracing, biosensing, and optogenetic techniques to explore how areas of the brain involved in reward valuation and motivated behaviour are rewired by consumption of palatable foods, obesegenic diets or drugs of abuse. The laboratory has made exciting discoveries on how satiety-promoting hormones modulate plasticity within the mesolimbic circuit, palatable food induces plasticity to prime food seeking, and how obesity or drugs of abuse rewire circuits involved in motivated behaviour and reward valuation. Her innovative research is illuminating the neurobiological factors underlying disordered eating or addiction.

 

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Jeffrey Weitz
MD, FRCP(C), FACP, FCCP, FAHA, FESC, FACC, FCAHS
Co-Chair, Medical Review Panel

Jeffrey I. Weitz, MD is a Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry at McMaster University and Executive Director of the Thrombosis and Atherosclerosis Research Institute.  Board certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology, Dr. Weitz now focuses his clinical work in the area of thrombosis. He is a member of the American Federation of Medical Research, the American Society for Clinical Investigation, the Association of American Physicians, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Dr. Weitz directs a well-funded research laboratory that focuses on the biochemistry of blood coagulation and fibrinolysis as it applies to venous and arterial thrombosis. A former Vice-President of Research for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, member of the Board of Directors of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario, Chair of the Scientific Review Committee for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, member of the Executive Council on Thrombosis of the American Heart Foundation, and Chair of the Council on Vascular Biology for the American Society of Hematology, Dr. Weitz has published over 375 peer-reviewed papers and 50 textbook chapters on thrombosis or fibrinolysis. By focusing on the basic mechanisms by which anticoagulants (blood thinners) and thrombolytic agents (clot digesting drugs) work, Dr. Weitz has opened new avenues of investigation. His demonstration that thrombin bound to fibrin is resistant to inactivation by available anticoagulants stimulated the development of new drugs, some of which are already being used in clinical practice.

Steven Jones
Steven Jones
PhD, FRSC, FCAHS

Head of Bioinformatics, Associate Director, Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre
British Columbia Cancer Research Centre
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Dr. Jones gained his PhD at the Sanger Institute, Cambridge, UK in 1999, where he was involved in the C. elegans genome project. Currently, he is Head of Bioinformatics and Associate Director of the Genome Sciences Centre at the BC Cancer Agency in Vancouver. Dr Jones has played a role in numerous other genome projects, including that of the human, mouse, rat, bovine, fruitfly and the SARS coronavirus.

Dr Jones major research focus is in the computational analysis of DNA sequence and the analysis of genomic and transcriptomic data. In healthcare research, he has applied next generation DNA sequencing technology to detect mutations arising in both patient samples and in cancer cell lines in various cancer types and under the influence of different therapeutics. A key goal is to develop bioinformatic approaches to predict the most efficacious therapies from patient tumour samples to help guide clinical decision making.

Amongst Dr. Jones many and varied honours and awards he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada as well as the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

He has been invited to give over 120 presentations, nationally and internationally, is an author on over 300 peer reviewed publications and is Principal Investigator and co-applicant on grants totaling over $97 million.

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S.M. Mansour Haeryfar
PhD

Vice President, Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI)
Professor, Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Medicine, and Surgery
Western University
London, ON, Canada

Dr. Mansour Haeryfar obtained his Doctorate in Laboratory Medicine from the National University of Tehran in 1996, his M.Sc. degree from University of Manitoba in 1999, and his Ph.D. from Dalhousie University in 2003. For his postdoctoral studies, Dr. Haeryfar trained with Drs. Jonathan Yewdell and Jack Bennink at National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. He was then recruited by Western University in 2006 where he currently works as a Full Professor of immunology. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI). Dr. Haeryfar investigates mainstream and innate-like T cell responses to microbial pathogens and cancer with the ultimate goal of inventing and optimizing novel T cell-based therapies for human malignancies, infectious diseases and sepsis. He has authored over 90 scientific articles and book chapters, and given many invited lectures at national and international venues. Dr. Haeryfar’s research has earned him numerous prestigious awards, including but not limited to a Fogarty International Fellowship award from NIH, an Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (OMRI) Early Researcher Award, a Leaders Opportunity Fund from Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) award, and an American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Careers in Immunology Fellowship. Dr. Haeryfar’s research programs have been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health research (CIHR), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), Cancer Research Society Inc., and Prostate Cancer Canada (PCC) among other granting agencies.

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Rulan Parekh
MD, MS, FRCP(C), FASN

Vice-President, Academics
Women’s College Hospital
Professor of Medicine and Paediatrics
University of Toronto 
Toronto, ON, Canada

The focus of Dr. Parekh’s research is to study risk factors both clinical and genetic leading to progression of chronic kidney and cardiovascular disease. She has published over 90 peer reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, and has mentored over 25 postdoctoral fellows and students. She leads both NIH and Canadian Institute of Health Research sponsored observational studies in kidney disease including: “Predictors in Arrhythmic and Cardiovascular Disease in End Stage Renal Disease (PACE)”, a new cohort study in dialysis patients to identify risk factors for sudden cardiac death; the “ Insight into Nephrotic Syndrome: Genes, Health and Therapeutics (INSIGHT)”, a cohort study of childhood nephrotic syndrome; a pediatric solid organ transplant cohort; and is also site PI for the Family Investigation of Nephropathy in Diabetes (FIND). She is a co-investigator on the Human Heredity and Health in Africa (H3Africa) Kidney Disease Research Network and leads the aims to study genetic risk, specifically APOL1, for chronic kidney disease in West and East Africa. She has recently been inducted into the American Society of Clinical Investigation and Society for Pediatric Research.

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Elizabeth Patton
PhD

Professor & MRC Programme Leader Scientist
MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh
Edinburgh, UK

Liz Patton is a Professor and MRC Programme Leader Scientist at the MRC Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, University of Edinburgh, UK. Liz received a BSc Honours degree from King’s College at Dalhousie University, and a PhD from the University of Toronto, working with Mike Tyers to discover how E3 ubiquitin ligases control cell division. Following this, Liz received a Human Frontier Science Programme Postdoctoral Fellowship to work with Len Zon at Harvard Medical School, where she developed a zebrafish BRAF model for melanoma. Her lab uses chemical genetic approaches in zebrafish to investigate gene-drug interactions in melanocyte development and in melanoma. Dr Patton is an Executive Editor at Disease Models and Mechanisms (Company of Biologists), and Pigment Cell and Melanoma Research (Wiley). Dr Patton was the founding President of the Zebrafish Disease Models Society (2013-2015) and currently serves as a Board member and Treasurer, and is an elected member of the Young Academy of Scotland at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, and the Society for Melanoma Research Steering Committee. Dr. Patton’s research is funded by the Medical Research Council, the European Research Council, and a L’Oréal Paris USA–MRA Team Science Award for Women in Scientific Research.

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Sheila Singh
PhD MD FRCS(C)

Senior Canada Research Chair in Human Cancer Stem Cell Biology
Pediatric Neurosurgeon, McMaster Children’s Hospital
Division Head, Neurosurgery, Hamilton Health Sciences
Professor of Surgery, and Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences; Director, Centre for Discovery in Cancer Research; Chair, McMaster College of Health Inventors
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON, Canada

Dr. Sheila Singh is a professor of surgery and biochemistry, chief pediatric neurosurgeon at McMaster Children’s Hospital, Division Head of Neurosurgery at Hamilton Health Sciences, and inaugural director of the new Cancer Research Centre at McMaster University. She holds a Tier 1/ Senior Canada Research Chair in Human Brain Cancer Stem Cell Biology, and is the founding Director of the McMaster Surgeon Scientist Program. Her PhD thesis described the novel identification of a population of cancer stem cells that exclusively drive the formation of brain tumours. Since 2007, Dr. Singh’s lab applies a developmental neurobiology framework to the study of brain tumorigenesis. Building upon previous cell culture techniques developed for the isolation of normal neural stem cells (NSC) and applying them to brain tumours, and through development of a xenograft model to efficiently study brain tumour initiating cell (BTIC) activity, Dr.  Singh’s lab aims to understand the molecular mechanisms that govern BTIC self- renewal. Dr. Singh is currently studying the regulation of BTIC signaling pathways in glioblastoma, brain metastases and childhood medulloblastoma, with an ultimate goal of selectively targeting the BTIC with appropriately tailored drug and molecular therapies. Her laboratory is funded by CCSRI, CIHR, TFRI, CRS, the Stem Cell Network, McMaster Surgical Associates, Brain Canada and the Boris Family Fund. She is scientific founder and prior CEO of a start-up company, Empirica Therapeutics, a brain cancer therapeutics company that is seeking new, data-driven and polytherapeutic treatment options for patients with Glioblastoma and brain metastases. Empirica was acquired by Century Therapeutics Inc (Philadelphia) in June 2020, resulting in the creation of a Canadian subsidiary, Century Canada, based in the McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton.

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Lisa Kalynchuk
PhD

Vice-President Research and Innovation
University of Victoria
Victoria, BC, Canada

Dr. Lisa Kalynchuk is the Vice-President Research and Innovation at the University of Victoria, a role she began on July 1, 2019. Prior to this appointment, she was the Associate Vice-President Research from 2017-2019. As VPRI, Dr. Kalynchuk is responsible for the research portfolio at the university, which includes strategic leadership to implement an ambitious vision for research and innovation at the university, service to support faculty and student grant applications and scholarly ethics, and external outreach to promote the university and develop global partnerships.

Before joining the University of Victoria, Dr. Kalynchuk was a Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, where she also served as Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Health Research and Special Advisor to the Provost. As an administrator, she has led and contributed to several major strategic planning exercises, including an academic program prioritization process, a new university strategic plan, and the development of a novel governance structure to manage a new Academic Health Sciences Complex shared by five different faculties. As Chair of the University Planning and Priorities Committee, Dr. Kalynchuk played a key role in the university budget planning process and the management of institutional risk associated with major initiatives.

Dr. Kalynchuk holds a B.Sc. from the University of Alberta, and an MA and PhD in Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia. She undertook postdoctoral training at McGill University and spent five years as an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University prior to her appointment at USask. In addition to her current appointment as VPRI, Dr. Kalynchuk is also a Professor in the Division of Medical Sciences. She is an active researcher with interests in mental health and the effect of chronic stress on brain function and behavior. She previously completed two terms as a Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Neuroscience.

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Helen McNeill
PhD

Professor of Developmental Biology
Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO, USA

Helen McNeill earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Ramapo College of New Jersey, followed by a doctorate in molecular and cellular physiology from Stanford University and a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford in fruit fly genetics. She then led the Developmental Patterning Laboratory at London Research Institute, a part of the Imperial Cancer Research Fund of the United Kingdom. She was a senior investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, part of the Sinai Health System in Toronto from 2005- 2018, and was a Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto. She directed the Collaborative Program in Developmental Biology from 2007-2013. Recognitions for her research include the Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award and the Lloyd S.D. Fogler, QC, Award of Excellence for cancer biology research. In 2016, she was awarded a Canada Tier 1 Research Chair, and was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2017. She joined the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis in 2018 as a Professor of Developmental Biology, and was the first university researcher named to the BJC Investigators Program. In 2019, Professor McNeill was named the inaugural Shapiro Professor. Her work focuses on understanding the processes that govern how cells make contact and work together to form the broader architecture of whole tissues, both during development and adulthood. Her research—spanning studies of fruit flies, mice, and human genetic data—has relevance for understanding birth defects, cancer, and diseases of specific organs, such as the kidney and lung.

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Christophe Altier
PhD

Associate Professor, Canada Research Chair in Inflammatory Pain, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB, Canada

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Meghan Azad
PhD

Canada Research Chair, Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease; Associate Professor, Pediatrics and Child Health
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Dr. Azad is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba, where she holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease. Her research program is focused on the role of infant nutrition and the microbiome in child growth, development and resilience. Dr. Azad co-Directs the new Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre (MILC) and leads the new International Milk Composition (IMiC) Consortium. She serves as Deputy Director of the CHILD Cohort Study, a national pregnancy cohort following 3500 children to understand how early life experiences shape lifelong health. Research in the Azad Lab is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Dr. Azad serves on the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation Executive Council and the joint US/Canada Human Milk Composition Initiative. In 2020, she was awarded the International Human Milk Genomics Mid-Career Investigator Award, and named among the WXN Canada Top 100 Most Powerful Women.

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Colin Crist
PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics; Principal Investigator, Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Jewish General Hospital
McGill University
Montreal, QC, Canada

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May Faraj
PhD

Director, Laboratory of Nutrition, Lipoproteins and Cardiometabolic Disease, ICRM; Professor, Department of Nutrition
Université de Montréal
Montreal, QC, Canada

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Shashi Gujar
DVM, PhD

Assistant Professor, Departments of Pathology, Biology, and Microbiology & Immunology, Faculty of Medicine; Scientist, Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute
Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS, Canada

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Xi Huang
PhD

Canada Research Chair in Cancer Biophysics
Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto
Senior Scientist, Developmental and Stem Cell Biology Program; Principal Investigator, Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre
SickKids Research Institute
Toronto, ON, Canada

Dr. Huang received B.Sc. in Biological Sciences at Xiamen University and Ph.D. in Developmental Biology at Vanderbilt University. After completing postdoctoral training in Dr. Lily Jan’s lab at University of California, San Francisco, he started his lab at The Hospital for Sick Children. While extensive research has informed genetic and biochemical mechanisms in tumorigenesis, how mechanical and electrical signaling regulate cancer is less defined. The Huang lab conducts curiosity-driven research to decode ion channel-mediated mechano-electrical-chemical signaling in tumor and develops ion channel-targeting therapeutic approaches to treat brain cancer.

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Nina Jones
PhD

Professor & Canada Research Chair, Molecular and Cellular Biology
University of Guelph
Guelph, ON, Canada

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Megan Levings
PhD

Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Surgery
University of British Columbia & BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
Vancouver, BC, Canada

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Guillaume Paré
MD

Director, Genetic and Molecular Epidemiology Laboratory
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON, Canada

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Nada Jabado
MD PhD

Professor, Department of Pediatrics
McGill University
Montreal, QC

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Anne-Claude Gingras
PhD

Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health
Professor, Dept. of Molecular Genetics University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada

Anne-Claude Gingras is the Canada Research Chair in Functional Proteomics, the Lea Reichmann Chair in Cancer Proteomics and a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Sinai Health System. A Full Professor in the department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, she also serves as deputy editor of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics and as a co-director of the Network Biology Collaborative Centre. Her lab focuses on the study of signalling pathways using systematic approaches and the development of quantitative proteomics technologies. She has developed computational tools that enable better analysis and visualization of proteomics results, and contribute to training the next generation of proteomics researchers. Using the tools that she developed, her group has identified new protein complexes and signaling components that provide a better understanding of perturbations associated with cancer and rare diseases. Dr. Gingras has published >250 research articles and review articles that have already been cited >44,000 times. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, an elected member of the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO), and was recently awarded the CSMB Jeanne Manery Fisher Memorial Lecture (2019), the HUPO Discovery Award (2019), and the CNPN Tony Pawson Award (2020).

 

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Brad Nelson
PhD

Director and Distinguished Scientist, Deeley Research Centre
British Columbia Cancer Research Centre
Vancouver, BC

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Gerry Wright
PhD

Professor, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences
Director, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research
McMaster University
Hamilton, ON, Canada

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Lea Harrington
PhD
Co-Chair, Medical Review Panel

Full Professor, Department of Medicine, Professeure accrédité (cross-appointment), Department of Biochemistry, Université de Montréal, Institute of Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC), Montréal, QC, Canada

Visiting Professor, School of Biological Sciences, Wellcome Trust Centre for Cell Biology, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK

Lea Harrington moved to the University of Montreal in 2011 from the University of Edinburgh, where she previously held a Personal Chair as Professor of Telomere Biology and was the Associate Director of Postgraduate M.Sc. Programmes in the School of Biological Sciences. She retains a Visiting Professorship at the University of Edinburgh and is currently a Professor in the Department of Medicine at l’Université de Montréal.

Since starting her group in 1995 (at the Ontario Cancer Institute, where she stayed until 2007), Dr. Harrington and her colleagues have been interested in the mechanisms by which chromosome ends, telomeres, are maintained and protected from degradation and recombination. The activity of an enzyme responsible for new telomere addition in most eukaryotes, telomerase, is increased in many cancers and conversely is decreased in many somatic tissues. Since critically short telomeres that elicit a DNA damage response are incompatible with cell viability, the regulation of telomerase activity and dosage is thus a critical determinant of normal and cancer cell proliferation.

The Harrington laboratory has employed several genetic models to study the dosage-sensitive regulation of telomere homeostasis and its consequences in aging, cancer, and disease. In the single-celled genetic model S. cerevisiae (baker’s yeast), her group conducted genome-wide genetic screens to identify genes whose absence affects survival when telomerase expression is reduced or abrogated. These screens identified a pathway for cell survival that acts independently of telomerase and homologous recombination. Using mammalian genetic models, Dr. Harrington and her group discovered that telomerase is haploinsufficient in mice, and that long telomeres permit the prolonged survival of normal murine and tumorigenic human cells even in the absence of telomere length maintenance.

More recently, her lab uncovered an unexpected ability of short telomeres to perturb the stability cell differentiation, in which quiescent, differentiated cells with critically short telomeres revert to a more stem cell-like state and resume proliferation. These findings suggest that telomere maintenance plays a previously unappreciated role in cell fate, and may prove to be an important mechanism that contributes to the remodeling of tissue function in aging, disease, and cancer.

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Marie-Josée Hébert
MD, FRCPC

Marie-Josée Hébert earned a specialized degree in nephrology at the Université de Montréal, followed by postdoctoral studies at Harvard. Dr. Hébert is a researcher and nephrologist-transplant physician at CHUM, professor in the faculty of medicine and holds the Shire Chair in Renal Transplantation and Regeneration. She is also co-director of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program and founder of numerous interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral research groups.Her work has enabled the discovery of new mechanisms at work in the rejection of transplanted organs. In 2015, Dr. Hébert received the Dr. John B. Dossetor Award from the Kidney Foundation of Canada in recognition of her outstanding contribution to research in kidney diseases.

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John Hepburn
PhD

John joined CIFAR as Vice-President, Research in 2016.

He is a highly respected researcher and accomplished university leader. He was influential in building the capacity of UBC’s research portfolio and creating new institutional partnerships in China and around the world. His previous positions at UBC include Vice-President, Research and International, Dean of the Faculty of Science, and Head of Chemistry. He is also a former Canada Council Killam Research Fellow and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

John has a PhD in Chemistry from the University of Toronto and completed his undergraduate Chemistry degree at the University of Waterloo. He was a Professor of Chemistry and Physics at Waterloo between 1991 and 2001.

John has received a number of honours and awards, including the Rutherford Medal in Physics from the Royal Society of Canada, elected fellowships in the American Physical Society and the Chemical Institute of Canada, and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship. He has supervised more than two dozen graduate theses and authored more than a hundred peer-reviewed publications.

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L. Trevor Young
MD, PHD, FRCPC

Dr. Young currently serves as the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto.

Dr. Young received his medical degree at the University of Manitoba. This was followed by residency training at McGill University and the University of Toronto where he also completed his PhD in Medical Sciences. He completed a Research Fellowship at Johns Hopkins University. His former roles include Physician-in-Chief, Executive Vice President Programs at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, Professor and Cameron Wilson Chair in Depression Studies in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and Professor and Head, Department of Psychiatry, University of British Columbia. He was received numerous awards including the Douglas Utting Award for outstanding contributions in the field of mood disorders, the Canadian College of Neuropsychopharmacology Heinz Lehmann Award, and is a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association. He has led several large clinical programs including the Mood Disorders Program at Hamilton Psychiatric Hospital, which received the American Psychiatric Services Gold Achievement Award. In 2009, he was elected as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. In 2010, Dr. Young was appointed Chair, Department of Psychiatry .

As an active clinician scientist, Dr. Young’s principal research interest includes understanding the molecular basis of bipolar disorder and its treatment, and how to apply these findings to the clinical setting. He is widely published and well funded by peer-reviewed granting agencies. His research is particularly focused on understanding the processes that lead to long-term changes in brain structure and function in patients with bipolar disorder and how these changes can be targeted by mood stabilizing drugs.

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Molly Shoichet
PhD

Professor, Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry, Chemistry and Biomaterials, and Biomedical Engineering
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada

Molly Shoichet is an expert in the study of polymers for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. She holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering and is Professor of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Professor Shoichet was recruited to the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1995 with a NSERC University Faculty Award, after completing her S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Chemistry, 1987), her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Polymer Science & Engineering, 1992), and three years at CytoTherapeutics Inc.

Professor Shoichet was promoted to Full Professor in 2004, after being named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 (2002), and receiving CIFAR’s Young Explorer’s Award (to the top 20 scientists under 40 in Canada, 2002) and NSERC’s Steacie Research Fellowship (2003-2005). In 2014, Professor Shoichet was appointed University Professor in recognition of her dedication to the advancement of knowledge and the University’s academic mission, and her excellence as a teacher, mentor and researcher. This is the University of Toronto’s highest distinction, and is held by less than 2% of the faculty. In 2015, Professor Shoichet was the North American Laureate for the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science and in 2016, she was named foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering. In 2017, Professor Shoichet won the Killam Prize in Engineering, the most important engineering prize in Canada. In 2018, Professor Shoichet was appointed Chief Scientist, Ontario and inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada – one of the highest distinctions for a Canadian.

Professor Shoichet aims to advance the basic science and enabling technologies of tissue engineering and drug delivery. She is a world leader in the areas of polymer synthesis, biomaterials design and drug delivery in the nervous system. Her research program is unique in its breadth, focusing on strategies to promote tissue repair after traumatic spinal cord injury, stroke and blindness and enhance both tumour targeting through innovative strategies and drug screening via 3D cell culture with new hydrogel design strategies.

Professor Shoichet has published over 575 papers, patents and abstracts, has given over 350 lectures worldwide and has trained over 185 scientists in the past 22 years. Her students are pursuing careers in academia, industry and government. She founded three spin-off companies and is actively engaged in translational research with several industry partners and in science outreach. In 2015, Professor Shoichet launched a national social media initiative, Research2Reality, aimed at engaging the public in the importance of research. Professor Shoichet served as an inaugural member on the Science, Technology & Innovation Council, providing strategic guidance to the Prime Minister of Canada (for 6 years), the Ontario Research & Innovation Council (for 2 years) and the Board of the Ontario Centres of Excellence (for 6 years). She is currently Senior Advisor on Science & Engineering Engagement at U of T and serves on the Board of the Ontario Science Centre.

Molly Shoichet is the recipient of 44 prestigious national and international awards. She is the only person ever to be inducted into all three of Canada’s National Academies: the Canadian Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. Moreover, she is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and recipient of the Clemson Award from the American Society for Biomaterials, the Senior Scientist Award from the Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine International Society, Americas, and the Killam Research Fellowship from the Canada Council for the Arts, among many others. In 2011, Dr. Shoichet was appointed to the Order of Ontario, Ontario’s highest civilian honour. In 2013, her contributions to Canada’s innovation agenda and the advancement of knowledge were recognized with the QEII Diamond Jubilee Award.

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Brad Wouters
PhD

Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre
Executive VP Science and Research, University Health Network
Toronto, ON, Canada

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Susan Quaggin
MD

Charles Horace Mayo Professor of Medicine, Northwestern University; Chief of Nephrology/Hypertension & Director, Feinberg Cardiovascular and Renal Research Institute
Evanston, IL, USA

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Brian Postl
MD

Dean, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences & Vice-Provost (Health Sciences)
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

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Janet Rossant
PhD, FRS, FRSC
President & Scientific Director
416-596-9996 ext. 201
janet.rossant@gairdner.org

Dr. Janet Rossant, a world-renowned expert in developmental biology, is the definition of a trailblazer. She started as the Gairdner Foundation’s President and Scientific Director on May 4, 2016.

Widely known for her studies of the genes that control embryonic development in the mouse, Rossant has pioneered techniques for following cell fate and altering genes in embryos. This work continues to resonate in medical genetic research. Her current research focuses on stem cell development and cell differentiation in the developing embryo, important areas for the study of birth defects as well as regenerative medicine.

Dr. Rossant trained at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, United Kingdom and has been in Canada since 1977, first at Brock University and then at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute within Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, from 1985 to 2005. She served as Chief of Research at SickKids from 2005 to 2015 and retains a research lab there. Dr. Rossant has been recognized for her contributions to science with many awards, including the Ross G. Harrison Medal (lifetime achievement award) from the International Society of Developmental Biologists, the Killam Prize for Health Sciences, the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology, the Conklin Medal from the Society for Developmental Biology, the 10th ISTT Prize from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies and the 2018 L’Oréal For Women in Science Award. She is a Fellow of the Royal Societies of both London and Canada, and an International member of the US National Academy of Sciences.

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Board of Directors

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Connie Sugiyama
C.M., J.D., LL.D
Director - Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Ms. Sugiyama, President of ConMark Strategy Inc., provides high level strategy advice and solutions to the public and private sectors. Recognized as a trailblazer and leading counsel to Canadian and international businesses on matters of corporate law, finance and mergers and acquisitions law for more than 35 years, she now leverages her strengths in strategy, corporate governance and risk management with her broad network in Canada and beyond, to focus on corporate and public service work including as a consultant to the Ontario Premier’s Advisory Council on Provincial Assets (2014-15).

Ms. Sugiyama is an experienced corporate director and board advisor. She currently serves on the boards of the Gairdner Foundation, Ontario Financing Authority (as Vice Chair), the Mount Pleasant Group and the Canadian Foundation for Healthcare Improvement. She was the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the world renowned Hospital for Sick Children (2008-2011; Board 2002-2011) and the Vice Chair of Canada Health Infoway (2011-2013, Board 2007-2013) and has served on numerous boards and advisory committees including:  The Toronto International Film Festival, The Nikko Securities Co. Canada Ltd., The Japan Society, the Asia Pacific Foundation of Canada, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Ontario Exports Inc., the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre and Women in Capital Markets, of which she was a founding director and for which she continues to serve as a member of the Advisory Council.  Ms. Sugiyama served on the Securities Advisory Committee of the Ontario Securities Commission (1999-2002) and as a Distinguished Visiting Fellow at Ryerson University (2012-2015). She is a member of the Advisory Committee of the 30% Club Canada and a Senior Advisor to the Japanese Canadian Cultural Centre.

Ms. Sugiyama was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2014 and in 2015, she received an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D Honoris Causa) from the University of Western Ontario. Ms. Sugiyama has also been recognized for both professional excellence and leadership by University College (2017 Alumni of Influence), Ascend Canada (2014 Inaugural Lifetime Achievement Award), Women in Capital Markets (2009 WCM Award for Leadership), for her efforts in advancing the economic empowerment of women by the International Alliance for Women (2010 Difference 100 Award) and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network in two different categories.

Ms. Sugiyama is an excellent communicator and is much sought after as a speaker, writer and commentator on a broad range of issues including corporate governance and ethics, board culture and effectiveness, enterprise risk management and workplace diversity and inclusion.

 

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George T.H. Cooper
Director- Halifax, NS, Canada

Mr. George T.H. Cooper CM, CD, QC has recently retired from the practice of law with the Atlantic Canada law firm of McInnes Cooper.  During his 50 year career he had two “time outs”: first in 1979-80 when he served as Member of Parliament for Halifax and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice of Canada; and then in 2012-16 when he served as President and Vice Chancellor of the University of King’s College, Halifax.

Mr. Cooper also recently retired as Managing Trustee of the Killam Trusts, comprising some $500 million of educational endowments at five Canadian universities and the Canada Council for the Arts.  He is a former member of the Boards of the Canadian National Railway Co., Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and the Institute of Corporate Directors.  He has also served on the Boards of Governors of Dalhousie University and of the University of King’s College (Chair, 2001-2007), and was the first Canadian Chair of the Foundation of Educational Exchange between Canada and the United States of America (the Fulbright Scholarship).

Mr. Cooper is a Member of the Order of Canada, holds the Canadian Forces Decoration as a former Honorary Colonel, and was awarded the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medals.  A former Honorary Consul for Sweden in Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland & Labrador, he was made a Commander of the Royal Order of the Polar Star by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustaf, King of Sweden, in 2012.

A Rhodes Scholar, Mr. Cooper received his B.Sc. and LL.B. degrees from Dalhousie University and his B.C.L. degree from Oxford University.  He holds Honorary Doctor of Laws degrees from Dalhousie, King’s, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.

Mr. Cooper is married to Tia Cooper; they are blessed with six grandchildren ranging in age from eight to fourteen.

Liz Cannon
Elizabeth Cannon
B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.
Director- Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Elizabeth Cannon was the eighth president and vice-chancellor of the University of Calgary. Prior to her appointment, Dr. Cannon was dean of the Schulich School of Engineering, ensuring its place in the top-ranked Canadian engineering schools. Dr. Cannon is a Professional Engineer, a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and an elected foreign associate of the National Academy of Engineering. An expert in geomatics engineering, Dr. Cannon’s research has been on the forefront of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) in both industrial and academic environments. She has commercialized technology to over 200 agencies worldwide.

A.J. Gairdner
Director- Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Director, Institutional Equity Trading, ScotiaBank

Mark Lievonen_Gairdner
J. Mark Lievonen
Director- Stouffville, Ontario

Mark Lievonen is the former President of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, the Canadian vaccine division of Sanofi, which he joined in 1983. Under his leadership, Sanofi Pasteur has become a billion-dollar enterprise in Canada, manufacturing over 50 million doses of vaccines for both domestic and international markets.

A veteran of the industry for over 30 years, Mark began his career in Finance and rose through Sanofi Pasteur’s ranks, guiding the company through a number of significant milestones and initiatives. He notably spearheaded a cancer vaccine program in 1997 and supported the key launch of a five-component pertussis vaccine, which is still widely used today.

Beyond his work in the biopharmaceutical industry, Mark has always been a passionate advocate for public health access, education, and giving back to the community. He is a former Chair of the Markham Stouffville Hospital Foundation, and served as an ex-officio member on the Markham Stouffville Hospital Board. He is also the founder of the Sanofi BioGenius Canada, a program that has fostered young scientists for more than 20 years – giving over 5,500 students a chance to pursue groundbreaking and career-defining projects in the field of biotechnology.

Mark’s contributions to the biopharma industry, economic development and the community have earned him much recognition. Among the honours he has received are the Queen’s Golden and Diamond Jubilee Medallions, Lifetime Achievement Awards from Life Sciences Ontario and the Pharmaceutical Sciences Group, and an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from York University. A recent career highlight was his appointment to the Order of Canada in 2015.

Mark holds a BBA in accounting and an MBA in finance and marketing from the Schulich School of Business, York University. He is a Chartered Accountant and received his designation while working with PricewaterhouseCoopers prior to joining Sanofi Pasteur. He was elected as a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario in 2007.

Darren Entwistle
Darren Entwistle
Director – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

President and Chief Executive Officer, TELUS

Darren holds a Bachelor of Economics degree from Concordia University, an MBA from McGill University and a diploma in Network Engineering from the University of Toronto. His career spans more than 30 years in global telecommunications. Darren serves on the boards of George Weston Ltd and the Canadian Diversity Council. He is a past director of TD Bank Financial Group, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and McGill. Darren has honorary doctorates from Concordia, McGill and the University of Alberta, and is an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Conservatory. Since 2000, Darren has inspired the TELUS family to contribute $430 million and 6.5 million volunteer hours to local communities. Darren resides in Vancouver, B.C.

HMB 1 2018
Heather Munroe-Blum
OC, OQ, PhD, FRSC
Chair – Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Heather Munroe-Blum is a distinguished academic administrator and renowned scholar in the fields of psychiatric epidemiology and public policy; served as Principal and Vice-Chancellor (President), McGill University 2002-2013; previously, Vice-President (Research and International Relations), University of Toronto; Director (Chair, beginning October, 2014), of the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board; Director, Royal Bank of Canada, the Gairdner Foundation, Member, Canada Foundation for Innovation, the President’s Council of the New York Academy of Sciences, the Trilateral Commission, and the Board of the Stanford Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences.

John Risley
John Risley
Director – Chester, Nova Scotia, Canada

John Risley is President of Clearwater Fine Foods Incorporated, a diversified holding company operating internationally.

Its primary assets are a controlling stake in Clearwater Seafoods, Canada’s largest fishing company, and Columbus Communications, a provider of network services and cable tv in 21 countries in the Caribbean and Latin America. Until recently it was also the majority shareholder in Ocean Nutrition Canada, the world’s largest provider of omega 3 fatty acids to the food and dietary supplement industries. All these companies were founded by Clearwater.

Mr. Risley is very active in community affairs, sitting on the Board of a number of charitable organizations.  He is Chair of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and co-Chair of the Capital Campaign for the Nature Conservancy.  He regularly engages in public policy debate, is Chairman of the Atlantic Institute of Market Studies, a member of the World President’s Organization, The Chief Executives Organization and is a director of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.  He is also a graduate of Harvard University’s President’s Program and Leadership.

He was named an Officer of the Order of Canada and was inducted into the Nova Scotia Junior Achievement Business Hall of Fame in 1997.  He has received numerous awards, including Atlantic Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year and a Canada Award for Business Excellence in Entrepreneurship.  He is a member of the New York Yacht Club and the Royal Ocean Racing Club.

He lives in Chester, N.S.

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John Upton
Director – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

John Upton CFA MBA is a graduate of the Richard Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario. He currently manages a private investment fund.

Frank Gairdner
Frank Gairdner
Director – Schomberg, Ontario, Canada

Frank is the CEO of Carbon Marine, a manufacturer of high performance and luxury advanced composite powerboats.  He is previously the CEO and co-founder of TriggerTech, a product development company dedicated to manufacturing a patented technology for the sporting and hunting industry.

Michael Horgan
Michael Horgan
Vice Chair – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Michael Horgan is a Senior Advisor with the law firm Bennett Jones LLP. He provides clients with advice on a range of economic, financial sector, energy and environment issues. Michael had a 36-year career in the Public Service of Canada where he served as Deputy Minister of four Departments, including the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, Indian and Northern Affairs, and Environment Canada. He retired from the Public Service in April 2014 after five years as Deputy Minister of Finance. He has also held the positions of G7/G20 Finance Deputy for Canada and Executive Director for Canada, Ireland and the Caribbean on the board of the International Monetary Fund. He has also served on a number of Crown corporation boards, including the Bank of Canada, the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the Canada Deposit Insurance Corporation, Enterprise Cape Breton Corporation, and Export Development Canada.  In addition to the Gairdner Foundation, Michael is currently a Director of the Canadian Ditchley Foundation, the Ontario Brain Institute, and the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics.  He is a recipient of the Prime Minister’s Outstanding Achievement Award for Public Service and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal.  Michael has a B.A. in economics from Concordia University (Loyola College) and M.A.’s in economics from Queen’s University and Princeton University.

Dr. Victor Dzau, President of the Institute of Medicine
Victor J. Dzau
MA MD
Director – North Carolina, USA

Victor J. Dzau is the eighth President of the Institute of Medicine (IOM). He is Chancellor Emeritus and James B. Duke Professor of Medicine at Duke University and the past President and CEO of the Duke University Health System. Previously, Dr. Dzau was the Hersey Professor of Theory and Practice of Medicine and Chairman of Medicine at Harvard Medical School’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital, as well as Chairman of the Department of Medicine at Stanford University.

Dr. Dzau has made a significant impact on medicine through his seminal research in cardiovascular medicine and genetics, his pioneering of the discipline of vascular medicine, and his leadership in health care innovation. His important work on the renin angiotensin system (RAS) paved the way for the contemporary understanding of RAS in cardiovascular disease and the development of RAS inhibitors as widely used, lifesaving drugs. Dr. Dzau also pioneered gene therapy for vascular disease, and his recent work on stem cell paracrine mechanisms and the use of microRNA in direct reprogramming provides novel insight into stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

In his role as a leader in health care, Dr. Dzau has led efforts in health care innovation. His vision is for academic health sciences centers to lead the transformation of medicine through innovation, translation, and globalization. Leading this vision at Duke, he and his colleagues developed the Duke Translational Medicine Institute, the Duke Global Health Institute, the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School, and the Duke Institute for Health Innovation. These initiatives create a seamless continuum from discovery and translational sciences to clinical care, and they promote transformative innovation in health.

As one of the world’s preeminent academic health leaders, Dr. Dzau advises governments, corporations, and universities worldwide. He has been a member of the Council of the IOM and the Advisory Committee to the Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), as well as Chair of the NIH Cardiovascular Disease Advisory Committee and the Association of Academic Health Centers. He served on the Governing Board of the Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School and the Board of Health Governors of the World Economic Forum and chaired its Global Agenda Council on Personalized and Precision Medicine. He also served as the Senior Health Policy Advisor to Her Highness Sheikha Moza (Chair of the Qatar Foundation). Currently, he is a member of the Board of Directors of the Singapore Health System, the Expert Board of the Imperial College Health Partners, UK, and the International Advisory Board of the Biomedical Science Council of Singapore. In 2011, he led a partnership between Duke University, the World Economic Forum, and McKinsey, and he founded the International Partnership for Innovative Healthcare Delivery and currently chairs its Board of Directors.

Among his honors and recognitions are the Gustav Nylin Medal from the Swedish Royal College of Medicine; the Max Delbruck Medal from Humboldt University, Charité, and the Max Planck Institute; the Commemorative Gold Medal from the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich; the Inaugural Hatter Award from the Medical Research Council of South Africa; the Polzer Prize from the European Academy of Sciences and Arts; the Novartis Award for Hypertension Research; the Distinguished Scientist Award from the American Heart Association (AHA); and the AHA Research Achievement Award for his contributions to cardiovascular biology and medicine. Recently, he was awarded the Singapore National Day Public Service Medal. He has received six honorary doctorates.

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