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About the Canada
Gairdner Foundation

The Gairdner Foundation Team

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Paige O’Beirne
Manager, Fund Development & Communications
416 596 9996 ext 207
paige@gairdner.org

Contact if you have questions about: Donor inquiries, information on events, partnership opportunities, Gairdner newsletter

As Manager, Fund Development & Communications, Paige supports the development of the Foundation’s strategic plan and executes on its fund development & communications elements. She manages a portfolio of outreach communications that build the Gairdner brand and its reputation as well as educate a broader audience on the importance of philanthropic support of the Foundation and its mission. Paige also establishes and grows relationships with key Gairdner stakeholders and supporters including government, donors and corporate sponsors. 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. Previously, she 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, degrees in sociology and education from Bishop’s University and is a big fan of the Blue Jays.

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Ron Pearlman
PHD
Associate Scientific Director
416-736-5241
ronp@yorku.ca

Dr. Ronald E. Pearlman received a B.Sc. in Honors Chemistry from McGill University and an AM and Ph.D. from Harvard University from the Committee on Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, working with Nobel Prize winner Konrad Bloch. Following two years of postdoctoral training at the Biological Institute, Carlsberg Foundation in Copenhagen Denmark, he returned to Canada as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at York University. Dr. Pearlman has published over 100 papers in peer reviewed journals and presented his work nationally and internationally. He was an associate of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIfAR) Evolutionary Biology Program, has served on the Gairdner Foundation Medical Review Panel, on the Gairdner Foundation Medical Advisory Board, and is presently the Associate Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation and the co-ordinator of the Gairdner high school outreach programs. He has served on the Council of the Royal Canadian Institute for Science (RCIS), presently as Past President and Advisor. He served as Associate Dean (1999-2004) and Dean (2005-2007) of the Faculty of Graduate Studies, York University. He formally retired in 2008 becoming University Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar and maintains an active research program using genomic and proteomic techniques in addressing questions of gene organization and expression. With his expertise in ‘omic’ technologies, he has served on the Scientific Advisory Board and Steering Committee for the Tetrahymena Genome Project.

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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
Project Manager & Executive Coordinator
416 596 9996 ext 205
sarah@gairdner.org

Contact if you have questions about: Gairdner Global Health Award, public scientific programs, Gairdner website; Schedule requests for Dr. Janet Rossant

As Projects Manager, Sarah co-ordinates a wide spectrum of initiatives to increase the impact of the Gairdner Foundation and its Awards, including public scientfic programming, the Global Health Award, and identity development projects. She is also the Executive Co-ordinator for Dr Janet Rossant, and the best source for the President’s current time zone. 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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Penny Balberman
Financial Director
416 596 9996 ext 204
penny@gairdner.org

Contact if you have questions about: Finance, government compliance.

Penny is a financial management professional with over 35 years of experience and a demonstrated track record in several industry sectors. She has worked in the not-for profit sector since 2006, providing senior level expertise in financial and investment management, planning, operations, risk management, and government reporting. She is a Chartered Professional Accountant, and holds a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo with a specialty in Accounting.

Penny serves as a volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society, the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario and for her synagogue.

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Kelty Reid
Advisor, Communications and Fund Development
416 596 9996 x 206
kelty@gairdner.org

As Advisor, Communications and Fund Development, Kelty supports the Foundation’s strategic plan and executes on its communications and fund development priorities. She manages a portfolio of outreach communications that build the Gairdner brand and its reputation as well as educate a broader audience on the importance of philanthropic support of the Foundation and its mission. Kelty also establishes and grows relationships with key Gairdner stakeholders and supporters including government, donors and corporate sponsors. Prior to joining the Gairdner Foundation, Kelty was a communications advisor in the Office of the Premier of Ontario where she managed the communication strategies and outreach of multiple government ministries. She holds a degree in political studies from Queen’s University, is an avid traveller and a big Leafs fan.

 

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

Catherine is employed in a part time capacity as financial accountant for 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
Vice President & Director, Communications
416 596 9996 ext 202
sommer@gairdner.org

Contact if you have questions about: Media inquiries, partnership opportunities, information about our laureates

As the Vice President & Director of Communications 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. 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 Foundaiton 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, SickKids Chief of Research Emeritus and 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. Firmly planted on the front lines of technological change, Rossant has established SickKids as a global forerunner in genetic research.

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 joined SickKids in 2005. 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 CIHR Michael Smith Prize in Health Research, the 10th ISTT Prize from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies in Edinburgh, Scotland and the 2018 L’Oreal For Women in Science Award. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Societies of London and Canada, and is a foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Science.

 

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”.

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

President, Global Virus Network (GVN)

Paris, France

K Srinath Reddy
K. Srinath Reddy
MD

Prof. K. Srinath Reddy is presently President, Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and formerly headed the Department of Cardiology at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).  He was appointed as the First Bernard Lown Visiting Professor of Cardiovascular Health at the Harvard School of Public Health in 2009. He is also an Adjunct Professor of the Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University and Honorary Professor of Medicine at the University of Sydney. PHFI is engaged in capacity building in Public Health in India through education, training, research, policy development, health communication and advocacy.

Having trained in cardiology and epidemiology, Prof. Reddy has been involved in several major international and national research studies including the INTERSALT global study of blood pressure and electrolytes, INTERHEART global study on risk factors of myocardial infarction, national collaborative studies on epidemiology of coronary heart disease and community control of rheumatic heart disease. Widely regarded as a leader of preventive cardiology at national and international levels, Prof. Reddy has been a researcher, teacher, policy enabler, advocate and activist who has worked to promote cardiovascular health, tobacco control, chronic disease prevention and healthy living across the lifespan.  He edited the National Medical Journal of India for 10 years and is on editorial board of several international and national journals. He has more than 375 scientific publications in international and Indian peer reviewed-journals.

He has served on many WHO expert panels and is presently the President of the World Heart Federation (2013-14).  He also chairs the Core Advisory Group on Health and Human Rights for the National Human Rights Commission of India and is a member of the National Science and Engineering Research Board of Government of India. He recently chaired the High Level Expert Group on Universal Health Coverage, set up by the Planning Commission of India. He also serves as the President, of the National Board of Examinations which deals with post-graduate medical education in India.

Prof. Reddy is a member of the Leadership Council of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (ww.unsdsn.org), established to assist the United Nations in developing the post-2015 goals for sustainable development.  He chairs the Thematic Group on Health in the SDSN.

Roger Glass
Roger Glass
MD PhD

Dr. Glass was named Director of the Fogarty International Center and Associate Director for International Research at the National Institutes of Health in March, 2006. He graduated from Harvard College in 1967, received a Fulbright Fellowship to study at the University of Buenos Aires (1967), and received his MD from Harvard Medical School and his MPH from the Harvard School of Public Health (1972). He received his doctorate from the University of Goteborg in 1984.

Dr. Glass’s research interests are in the prevention of gastroenteritis from rotaviruses and noroviruses through the application of novel scientific research. He has maintained field studies in India, Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, Israel, Russia, Vietnam, China and elsewhere. His research has targeted epidemiologic studies to anticipate the introduction of rotavirus vaccines. He is fluent, and lectures, in five languages.

Dr. Glass has received numerous awards including the prestigious Charles C. Shepard Lifetime Scientific Achievement Award presented by the CDC in recognition of his 30-year career of scientific research application and leadership, and the Dr. Charles Merieux Award from the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases for his work on rotavirus vaccines in the developing world.  He is a member of the Institute of Medicine of the US National Academies of Science. Dr. Glass has co-authored more than 500 research papers and chapters.

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.

 

Pascale Cossart
Pascale Cossart
PhD

After studying chemistry in Lille (France), Pascale Cossart obtained a master degree at Georgetown University, Washington DC, in 1971. Back in France she obtained her PhD in Paris, in 1977 working with G. Cohen in the Pasteur Institute where she is still now. Her thesis project was the amino-acid sequence determination of an E coli enzyme. During her postdoctorate with M. Yaniv, she sequenced the gene encoding this enzyme, thrA, the first gene sequenced in the Pasteur Institute. In the early 80’s, she switched to the study of DNAprotein interactions and together with B. Gicquel, collaborated with J. Beckwith in Harvard toanalyze the site-specificity of the E. coli cyclic AMP binding protein. In 1986, she started agroup within the Unit headed by Julian Davies and embarked on her work on Listeria monocytogenes, an bacterium responsible for food borne infections that she had chosen as a model to study intracellular parasitism. She created her own independant group in 1991. P.

Cossart has been a pioneer in the field of Cellular Microbiology. She has used an unprecedented combination of innovative approaches to unravel the mechanisms underlying Listeria infection. She discovered a series of virulence factors which helped generating general concepts in infection biology, including ActA which together with Arp2/3 mediates actin-based motility and the two major invasion proteins internalin and InlB which trigger actin rearrangements upon bacterial entry into cells. She dissected in great details the cell biology of the infectious process, in particular, the signaling events occurring upon entry into cells and during intra– and intercellular movements. She also discovered unsuspected posttranslational modifications in the host and how bacteria trigger a transient mitochondrial fission by a non classical pathway. She also highlighted the thermoregulation of expression of virulence genes via a previously never described mechanism, an RNA thermosensor. At the animal level, following her discovery of a species-specificity, using transgenic mice expressing the human receptor, she highlighted how the bacteria can cross the intestinal barrier through the interaction of internalin with E-cadherin. More recently, she has reported several important papers revealing how bacteria remodel chromatin in order to escape innate immune responses. She has also had major contributions in non coding RNA biology in bacteria and discovered in particular that riboswitches are more versatile than previously described being able to regulate non coding RNAs in particular antisense RNAs and protein sequestering RNAs. Listeria is now one of the most documented bacterial pathogens and areference in infection biology.

P. Cossart and her group are now using this bacterium as a model to investigate both the cross talk between the bacterium and the host and also independently the bacterium and the host themselves in order to establish fundamental principles in microbiology, in cell biology and in epigenetics.

Patrick Maxwell
Patrick Maxwell
FRCP, FMEDSCI

Regius Professor Physic, University of Cambridge, UK

Professor Patrick Maxwell undertook postgraduate clinical and research training in nephrology and general medicine at Guy’s Hospital, London and then in Oxford.

In 1997 he was appointed as University Lecturer and subsequently Reader at the University of Oxford. In 2002 he moved to the Professorship of Nephrology at Imperial College, and in 2008 was recruited to the Chair of Medicine at University College London. In 2011 he was promoted to be inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences at UCL. He was appointed Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine of the University of Cambridge in 2012.

Professor Maxwell has been centrally involved in a series of discoveries that have revealed how changes in oxygenation are sensed, and also how genetic alterations cause kidney disease. He currently holds Wellcome Trust and NIHR Senior Investigator Awards and has a research group in the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research.

Professor Maxwell has served on a number of national grant committees. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2005 and was its Registrar from 2006 – 2012.  He is currently Chair of the Medical Research Council’s Molecular and Cellular Medicine Board. He is also a Scientific Founder and Director of ReOx plc (University of Oxford spinout).

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.

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Philip Hieter
PhD

Philip Hieter is a Professor in the Michael Smith Laboratories and the Department of Medical Genetics, and an Associate Member of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Hieter received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Johns Hopkins University in 1981 (with Phil Leder, human antibody genes).  He trained as a postdoctoral fellow at Stanford University (with Ron Davis, yeast centromeres) and then returned to Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, as a faculty member in 1985, where he was promoted to Full Professor in 1994.  In 1997, he joined the University of British Columbia as a Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and served as Director of the Michael Smith Laboratories until July 2008.

Dr. Hieter was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2005, and to the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2011.  He was elected Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology (1998), and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2005). He is currently a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research.  In 2012, Dr. Hieter was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Hieter served on the founding Institute Advisory Board of the Institute of Genetics (CIHR) from 2001 to 2005.  He served on the Board of Scientific Counselors for the National Human Genome Research Institute (NIH) from 2001 to 2006, serving as Chair from 2004 to 2006.  Dr. Hieter served as Chair of the CIHR Planning and Priorities Committee “Integrating the Physical and Applied Sciences into Biomedical Research” from 2001 to 2011, and is currently Chair of the CIHR Planning and Priorities Committee “Models and Mechanisms to Therapies”.  He serves on the advisory boards of Saccharomyces Genome Database (SGD) and several other research organizations in Canada and the United States. Dr. Hieter served as President of the Genetics Society of America in 2012.

Dr Hieter is recognized for his work on structural and regulatory proteins that ensure faithful segregation of chromosomes during cell division, including seminal studies on yeast centromeres, sister chromatid cohesion, and regulation of cell cycle progression during mitosis.  Throughout his career, his work has demonstrated and advocated the value of yeast and other model experimental organisms for understanding mechanisms of human disease.  Since the early 90’s, he has been a major spokesperson in arguing the need for increased support of basic research and has actively promoted collaboration between medical and basic scientists.

Randy Schekman
Randy Schekman
PhD

Dr. Randy Schekman is a Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, University of California, Berkeley, and an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  He studied the enzymology of DNA replication as a graduate student with Arthur Kornberg at Stanford University.  His current interest in cellular membranes developed during a postdoctoral period with S. J. Singer at the University of California, San Diego.  At Berkeley, he developed a genetic and biochemical approach to the study of eukaryotic membrane traffic.  Among his awards are the Eli Lilly Award in microbiology and immunology, the Lewis S. Rosenstiel Award in basic biomedical science, the Gairdner International Award, the Amgen Award of the Protein Society, the Albert Lasker Award in Basic Medical Research, the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize of Columbia University, the Dickson Prize in Medicine from the University of Pittsburgh, the Massry Prize, the E.B Wilson Award of the American Society of Cell Biology, the Kornberg-Berg lifetime achievement award from Stanford Medical School and the Otto Warburg Prize of the German Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  In 2013, he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with James Rothman and Thomas Südhof.  He has been awarded honorary doctorate degrees from the University of Geneva and the University of Regensburg.  He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the American Philosophical Society, a Foreign Associate of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei and a Foreign Associate of the Royal Society of  London.  In 1999, he was elected President of the American Society for Cell Biology and was appointed Editor of the Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology. From 2002 – 2012, he served as the Scientific Director of the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Biomedical Research.  In 2006 he was appointed Editor-in-Chief of the Proceedings of the NAS.  In 2011, he stepped down from the PNAS position to become Editor-in-Chief of an Open Access journal, eLife, sponsored by the HHMI, Wellcome Trust and the Max Planck Society.

At UC Berkeley, Schekman has assumed a number of leadership positions in Departmental and campus affairs.  In addition to serving a five-year term as Biochemistry Division Head, Schekman served as Chair of the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology.  From 2002 –2012, he served as Chair of the Chancellor’s Advisory Council on Biology, a virtual College of Biology that represents all 250 life science faculty distributed within the College of Letters and Science, School of Public Health, School of Optometry, School of Engineering, College of Chemistry, and College of Natural Resources.  In 2004, Schekman organized a campus-wide stem cell biology center to capitalize on California’s investment in the application of human embryonic stem cells to regenerative medicine.

Rick Wozniak
Richard W. Wozniak
PhD

Professor, Department of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

Richard W. Wozniak received his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry from Michigan State University and his Ph.D. from the Rockefeller University in New York City under the supervision of Nobel laureate Dr. Günter Blobel.  His laboratory is a leader in the study of the cell nucleus, a defining feature of the eukaryotic cell and the location where its genetic material is housed.

Dr. Wozniak’s work has contributed to defining the machinery in cells that controls the movement of proteins into and out of the nucleus and understanding how these factors influence gene expression.  Knowledge of these transport pathways is paramount for understanding normal cellular function and pathological conditions, for example, how viruses gain access to the nucleus for productive infection.  Mutations that alter nuclear transport can have catastrophic consequences, including cell death and a host of human diseases including cancer.

Dr. Wozniak has been the recipient of various awards including Scholarship, Senior Scholar, and Scientist awards from Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, a Medical Research Council of Canada Scientist Award, Merck Frosst Prize for independent research in biochemistry and molecular biology from the Canadian Society for Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cellular Biology, the 2009 Klein Award from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Research Scholar Award.

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.

Adrian-Bird
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.

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.

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

Dr. Janet Rossant, SickKids Chief of Research Emeritus and 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. Firmly planted on the front lines of technological change, Rossant has established SickKids as a global forerunner in genetic research.

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 joined SickKids in 2005. 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 CIHR Michael Smith Prize in Health Research, the 10th ISTT Prize from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies in Edinburgh, Scotland and the 2018 L’Oreal For Women in Science Award. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Societies of London and Canada, and is a foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Science.

 

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.

Dr._Karen_Nelson
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.

doreen_0
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.

 

Fabienne Mackay
Fabienne Mackay
PhD

Head of the School of Biomedical Sciences– University of Melbourne

Prof Mackay is an immunologist who obtained her PhD in 1994 at the Louis Pasteur University in Strasbourg, France.  Over the years she has acquired an international reputation for her highly cited work on cytokines from the TNF superfamily, fundamental B cell biology, autoimmunity and cancer.

In 1994, Prof Mackay joined BiogenIdec Inc in Boston where she developed inhibitors of TNF ligands and characterised the factor BAFF.

In 2000, Prof Mackay joined the Garvan Institute in Sydney as a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow with a National Health and Medical Research (NHMRC) program and project grant and was awarded one of five UK Medical Research Council (MRC) Senior Research Fellowships in 2004. She was director of the Autoimmunity Research Unit. Her laboratory first described the role of BAFF/BLyS as a key factor driving lupus in a number of highly cited articles. A BAFF inhibitor was approved by the FDA on March 9th 2011: a first new treatment for lupus in over 50 years.

In 2009, Prof Mackay became Chair of the Department of Immunology, Monash University.  She is a National Health and Medical Research Fellow and has authored over 138 articles/reviews/book chapters, many in high impact factor journals. Her h-index is 56, with over 12,300 citations, an average of 103 citations per article.  In 2012, Fabienne Mackay received the Thomson Reuters Australia citation and innovation award and in 2014 she received a trophy from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paris for outstanding contribution in education and research as an expatriate.  Her laboratory continues to focus on autoimmunity and has recently initiated an important funded research program on restoring immunity in cancer. In 2015, Fabienne Mackay was elected board member of the International Cytokine and Interferon Society (ICIS).

In 2015, Prof Mackay has been appointed as the inaugural Head of the Melbourne School of Biomedical Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

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).

Herbert Jäckle
Herbert Jackle
PhD

Dr Jäckle studied biology and chemistry at the University of Freiburg (Germany) where he received his PhD in 1978. He spent his postdoc at the University of Texas at Austin, USA (1978-1980), became staff scientist at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany (1980-1981) and Max-Planck Research Group leader at the Max-Planck-Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany (1982-1987). He was Chair of the Genetics Department at the Ludwig-Maximillian-University of Munich (1987-1990) before he joined the Max-Planck-Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, Germany as Director of the Department for Molecular Developmental Biology (since 1991). Dr Jäckle served as vice president of the Max-Planck-Society (2002-2014).

Dr Jäckle has received a number of honours and awards, including an honorary professorship from the University of Göttingen (1993), an honorary PhD of the Weizmann Institute of Science (2006), the Prize of the German Society for Cell Biology (1986), the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize (1986), the Feldberg Prize (1990), the Otto Bayer Prize (1992), Science Prize and Karl Ritter von Frisch Medal of the German Zoological Society (1992), the Georg Mendel Medal of the German Academy Leopoldina (1999), the Louis Jeantet Prize for Medicine (1999), the Science Prize of the Stifterverband (1999), the Innovation Prize of the German Federal President (1999), Co-operation Prize of Lower Saxony (2003), the International Prize of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (2013), the International Scientific and Technological Cooperation Award of the People’s Republic of China (2014) and the Luis Federico Leloir Prize (2014), and he obtained the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany (2010).

Jan Hoeijmakers
Jan Hoeijmakers
PhD

Jan Hoeijmakers joined the Dept. of Genetics of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam in 1981 to work on DNA repair. His team succeeded in cloning the first of many subsequent human DNA-repair genes allowing elucidation of the reaction mechanism of nucleotide excision repair, discovered the strong evolutionary conservation of DNA repair, resolved the basis of a variety of enigmatic human repair syndromes and identified a new class of ‘basal transcription disorders’. His laboratory generated a comprehensive series of mouse DNA repair mutants, strikingly mimicking the corresponding human syndromes, which provided detailed insight into the complex etiology of human repair diseases. He discovered a very strong, initially highly controversial connection between DNA damage and (bona fide) aging, and on this basis proposed a trade-off between cancer and aging. By modulating DNA repair, damage induction and nutrition my team succeeded in largely controlling the process of aging in mice. The type of DNA repair defect is found to determine the type of segmental accelerated aging and/or cancer. The severity of DNA repair deficiency correlates with the rate of accelerated aging: shortening lifespan and time of onset of many aging-related diseases from years to weeks.

Conditional repair mutants allow targeting accelerated aging to any organ, tissue or stage of development. Expression profiling revealed an unexpected similarity between short- and long-lived mice: both suppress the somatotrophic axis, which extends lifespan. This work led to the identification of a highly intriguing ‘survival response’ that promotes healthy aging and counteracts cancer by redirecting energy from growth to maintenance. Importantly, by nutritional interventions in collaboration with the RIVM (Bilthoven), his team very recently succeeded in extending lifespan of some repair mutants over 2-fold, which for mammals is unprecedented. Moreover, the mouse mutants turned out to be far superior models for neurodegenerative disorders, like Alzheimer and Parkinson diseases, than any currently available model. Nutritional interventions strongly delayed the development of this dementia. Additionally his laboratory developed a new line of in vivo research revealing the highly dynamic organization of DNA repair in living cells and intact organisms. His group also generated the first mouse mutants with intrinsic defects in the biological clock. In summary, his work places DNA damage at the basis of cancer and aging, highlights the flexible nature of aging and establishes the repair mutants as suitable tools for identification of life span extending pharmaceutical and nutraceutical interventions in mammals. This opens new perspectives for prevention or treatment of aging-related diseases, which are associated with enormous loss of QoL and constitute the main medical and health care challenges in all developed countries.

Jeff Ravetch
Jeffrey V. Ravetch
MD, PhD

Jeffrey V. Ravetch, M.D., Ph.D. is currently the Theresa and Eugene Lang Professor at the Rockefeller University and Head of the Leonard Wagner Laboratory of Molecular Genetics and Immunology.

Dr. Ravetch, a native of New York City, received his undergraduate training in molecular biophysics and biochemistry at Yale University, earning his B.S. degree in 1973, working with Donald M. Crothers on the thermodynamic and kinetic properties of synthetic oligoribonucleotides.  He continued his training at the Rockefeller University – Cornell Medical School MD/Ph.D program, earning his doctorate in 1978 in genetics with Norton Zinder and Peter Model, investigating the genetics of viral replication and gene expression for the single stranded DNA bacteriophage f1. In 1979 he earned his M.D. from Cornell University Medical School.  He pursued postdoctoral studies at the NIH with Phil Leder where he identified and characterized the genes for human antibodies and the DNA elements involved in switch recombination.  From 1982 to 1996 Dr. Ravetch was a member of the faculty of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Cornell Medical College.  His laboratory has focused on the mechanisms by which antibodies mediate their diverse biological activities in vivo, establishing the pre-eminence of FcR pathways in host defense, inflammation and tolerance and describing novel inhibitory signaling pathways to account for the paradoxical roles of antibodies as promoting and suppressing inflammation.  His work has been extended into clinical applications for the treatment of neoplastic, inflammatory and infectious diseases.

Dr. Ravetch has received numerous awards including the Burroughs-Wellcome Scholar Award, the Pew Scholar Award, the Boyer Award, the NIH Merit Award, the Lee C. Howley, Sr. Prize (2004), the AAI-Huang Foundation Meritorious Career Award (2005), the William B. Coley Award (2007), the Sanofi-Pasteur Award (2012) and the Gairdner International Prize (2012). He has presented numerous named lectures including the Kunkel Lecture, the Ecker Lecture, the Goidl Lecture, the Grabar Lecture, the Dyer Lecture, Heidelberger/Kabat Lecture and the Josephson Lecture. He has received an honorary doctorate from Freidrich-Alexander University, Nuremberg/Erlangen. He is a member of National Academy of Sciences (2006), the Institute of Medicine (2007), a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2008) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2009).

Ravetch has contributed extensively to the scientific community by serving as a member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Cancer Research Institute, the Irvington Institute for Medical Research and the Damon Runyon Foundation. He has been active in biotechnology for the last two decades, having served as a consultant or member of the Scientific Advisory Boards of Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Exelexis Pharmaceuticals, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Medimmune, Genentech, Novartis, Merck, Micromet, Xencor, Suppremol, Igenica, Portola Pharmaceuticals and Momenta.

Jim Woodgett
Jim Woodgett
PhD

Jim Woodgett, Ph.D., moved to Canada from the UK in 1992 to work at the Ontario Cancer Institute. His biomedical research there focused on the signalling mechanisms that underscore malignant growth, degenerative diseases and diabetes.  From 1995-2005, he was an International Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and in 1997 was appointed Head of the Division of Experimental Therapeutics, where he held the Amgen Chair of Cancer Biology. He has been an MRC Scientist and CIHR Senior Scientist and is known internationally for his work on a class of proteins that regulate cellular processes, termed protein kinases. Dr. Woodgett has been internationally recognized for his co-discoveries of the molecules PKB/Akt and SAPK/JNKs, which have central roles in the evolution of cancer. He is also an authority on the functions of the GSK-3 genes, which play significant roles in insulin/diabetes and brain development/Alzheimers disease, as well as bipolar disorder. In 2005 he was appointed as the fourth Director of the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital where he has developed disease models for diabetes and breast cancer and identified mechanisms that maintain the pluripotentiality of stem cells. He is an elected fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and holds the Koffler Chair at Sinai Health System.

Kazutoshi Mori
Kazutoshi Mori
PhD

Dr. Kazutoshi Mori is a professor at the Graduate School of Science, Kyoto University since 2003. He graduated from the Graduate School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Kyoto University. He was Instructor at Gifu Pharmaceutical University from 1985 to 1989, and then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas from 1989 to 1993 (under supervision from Drs. Mary-Jane Gething and Joe Sambrook). He was Deputy Research Manager from 1993 to 1996 and Research Manager from 1996 to 1999 at the HSP Research Institute in Kyoto (directed by Dr. Takashi Yura). He was Associate Professor at the Graduate School of Biostudies, Kyoto University from 1999 to 2003.

Since his meeting with the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) at Texas in 1989, He has been working on it. He unraveled the basic mechanisms of yeast and mammalian UPR. He continues working on the biology, physiology and evolution of the UPR. For his accomplishment, he received Wiley Prize (from USA) in 2005, Canada Gairdner International Award in 2009, Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon from the Emperor in 2010, Shaw Prize (from Hong Kong) and Lasker Basic Medical Research Award (from USA) in 2014.

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.

Michel Bouvier
Michel Bouvier
PhD, BSc

Michel Bouvier is a professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine and principal investigator at the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer of the Université de Montréal. He obtained his B.Sc. (1979) in biochemistry and his Ph.D (1985) in Neurological Sciences from the Université de Montréal. He was then a post-doctoral fellow at Duke University in the laboratory of the Nobel Laureate, Robert J. Lefkowitz. In 1989, he returned to Montréal as a professor of biochemistry and a scholar of the Medical Research Council of Canada at the Faculty of Medicine of the Université de Montréal. He was Chairman of the Biochemistry Department between 1997 and 2005 and was awarded the Hans-Selye/Bristol-Myers Squibb chair in Cell and Molecular Biology that he held between 1997 and 2005. He now holds the Canada Research Chair in Signal Transduction and Molecular Pharmacology and is the Chief Executive Office of the Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer.

Dr. Bouvier is the author of 262 scientific papers and delivered more than 390 invited conferences. His papers attracted more than 17,000 citations leading to a Hirsh (h) factor of 71. He supervised the studies of 42 graduate students and 33 post-doctoral fellows. He is a world-renowned expert in the field of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) and made seminal contributions to our understanding of this major class of drug targets that led to applications for human health. His work led to paradigm shifts that had significant impact on drug discovery including the discovery of inverse agonism at GPCRs and pharmacological chaperones to restore folding of disease-causing genetically mutated GPCRs. Both discoveries led to the development of new therapeutic classes. His work on the functional selectivity of GPCRs contributed to establishing the concept of ligand-biased signalling that is now integrated in many drug discovery programs. He also pioneered the use of bioluminescence resonance energy transfer (BRET)-based methods for the study of protein-protein interactions and signalling activity in living cells. In addition to the development of screening assays that are now used for drug discovery, this methodology led his group and many others to reveal the oligomeric nature of GPCRs. He regularly serves as member or Chair of many peer review committees and scientific advisory boards for funding agencies as well as pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies. His contributions to the field of Molecular Pharmacology were recognized by the attribution of many awards and distinctions including the Hans Selye Chair of Cell Biology, the Merck-Frosst award from Canadian Society of Biochemistry and Molecular & Cell Biology, the Leo Pariseau and Adrien Pouillot awards from the Association Francophone pour le Savoir, the NRC Senior Investigator award from the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences. He is a fellow the Canadian Academy of Health Science and of the academy of science of the Royal Society of Canada.

Barbara Ballerman
Barbara J. Ballerman
MD, FRCP(C), FCAHS

Chair, Department of Medicine
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB, Canada

Barbara J. Ballermann, MD is a graduate of the University of Alberta (B.Sc. 1973) and the University of Calgary (M.D., 1976). Her clinical training in Internal Medicine and Nephrology (1976-1981) was done at the Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University Montreal. She was research fellow in Medicine (Nephrology) at Harvard Medical School (1981-1983). Her first faculty appointment was as Instructor in Medicine (1983-1985) at Harvard Medical School. She was Assistant Professor of Medicine at McGill University (1985-1986) and then at Harvard Medical School (1986-1990). In 1990 she accepted a position as Associate Professor ofMedicine and Adjunct Professor of Pathology (1996) at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She was promoted to Professor of Medicine and Pathology (adjunct) in 1999. She then moved to the Albert Einstein College of Medicine as Professor in Medicine in 2000.

In 2003 Dr. Ballermann returned to Canada as Professor of Medicine at the University of Alberta. She held the administrative position of Director of the Division of Nephrology (2003 –2010). In 2010, she was appointed Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Alberta, and AHS Head of the Clinical Department of Medicine for the Edmonton Zone. Throughout her career, Dr. Ballermann has maintained an active role as a biomedical researcher, clinical Nephrologist, and as a teacher of Clinical Medicine, Renal Physiology and Pathophysiology. Over the years, she also has had an active role in a number of formal career development programs. She still leads an active laboratory with several graduate students as Department Chair.

Dr. Ballermann has held independent research funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the American Heart Association, the National Kidney Foundation (USA), and since her return to Canada from the CIHR and the KFOC. She is an active reviewer of papers and grants, sits on the Research Council of the KFOC Dr. Ballermann has been recognized by a number of awards, most notably the Young Scholar Award from the American Society of Hypertension (1989), an Established Investigator Award from the American Heart Association (1992) and a Canada Research Chair (2004). She also was elected to membership of the prestigious American Society for Clinical Investigation (1994), and to the Interurban Clinical Club (1997). From 2008 until 2010 she was President ofthe Canadian Society of Nephrology. In 2014 she was elected to the membership of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Dr. Ballermann is recognized for her laboratory research that focuses on renal glomerular endothelial cells. She is credited for first establishing methods to culture these cells and for a number of key observations related to their development and differentiation. Her laboratory discovered the molecule TIMAP, endothelial-predominant member of protein phosphatase targeting subunit family that functions as a PTEN inhibitor in endothelial cells. Her most recent work centers on CLIC5A, a metamorphic protein that is expressed at extraordinarily high levels in kidney glomeruli where it controls capillary structure through the activation of ezrin-corticalactin coupling.

Ben Blencowe
Benjamin Blencowe
PhD

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

Dale Laird
Dale W Laird
PhD

Professor, Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology
Western University
London, ON

Dr. Dale W Laird is a Professor in Anatomy and Cell Biology, and in Physiology and Pharmacology (SSMD) and a Canada Research Chair (Tier I) in Gap Junctions and Disease. His research interest encompasses studies related to the function of gap junction proteins, connexins, and a related family of channel proteins, pannexins, in health and disease. He has published over 120 peer-reviewed articles in cell, development and cancer biology and serves as a past or current Editorial Board member for the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Biochemical Journal. He Co-Chaired and organized the International Gap Junction Conference in 2005 and the 1st Canadian Colloquium on Gap Junctions and Disease in 2014 while serving for more than a decade as Chair, Scientific Officer or Member of a CIHR grant review panel.  Dr. Laird has been the recipient of the Premier’s Research Excellence Award, the CIHR Investigator Award, the prestigious Quality of Life Research Award from the CIHR, a Faculty Scholar Award and the Dean’s Research Excellence Award.

Daniel Durocher
Daniel Durocher
PhD

Senior Investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital Toronto, ON, Canada

Dr Durocher is a senior investigator at the Centre for Systems Biology at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. His discoveries have included the finding of a critical switch for ending a DNA repair response, the biology of chromosome rearrangements and the regulation of chromosome caps or ‘telomeres’ in cells. All these findings have shed important light on the process by which normal cells become cancerous.

Dr Durocher obtained his PhD in 1998 from McGill University and joined the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in 2001 as an investigator with the Centre for Systems Biology.  In 2007, he was promoted to associate professor at the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Dr Durocher is the Thomas Kierans Research Chair in Mechanisms of Cancer Development. He frequently acts as a mentor for scientific trainees and junior faculty.

Dr Durocher has won numerous awards, including a “Canada’s Top 40 Under 40” award in 2010.  He has published 47 papers, most often as the senior/corresponding author.  His invitations to international meetings indicate he is internationally respected in this highly competitive field.  He has also been recognized at home by a Tier-2 Canada Research Chair which was successfully renewed in 2006.

David Andrews
David Andrews
PhD

Professor, Biochemistry, University of Toronto
Director and Senior Scientist, Biological Sciences, Sunnybrook Research Institute, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Andrews’ research interests include the assembly of proteins into cellular membranes, the molecular mechanisms by which Bcl-2 family proteins regulate apoptosis, high content screening, the development of new fluorescence microscopes and automated image analysis. He currently holds grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, the Ontario Centers of Excellence, the Canada Foundation for Innovation and research contracts from industry. He has published >100 original research papers in peer reviewed journals including: Cell, PLoS Biology, Mol. Cell, Nature Medicine etc. He founded and for 7 years was the director of the McMaster Biophotonics Facility.

He has been a successful mentor of trainees, several of which have procured faculty positions at universities in Canada and other countries while others are senior scientists in industry. He led the establishment of a cooperative PhD program between Shanghai Jiao Tong University and Biomedical Engineering at McMaster University. This relationship included a joint research program funded by the Chinese government.

He is currently a contributing member of the Faculty of 1000 (www.facultyof1000.com) and is on the editorial board of BMC Cell Biology.  He has served on a number of grant review panels in the US and Canada.

Dr. Andrews is also active in the private sector where he was a founding partner in MBI Fermentas and a member of the Scientific Advisory Board of Isogenica Ltd., Cambridge, England. He holds two patents licensed to industry and has two additional patents submitted. Recent private sector research projects include research for PerkinElmer, Spectral Applied Research, Abbott and Genentech.

Dr. Andrews has served as President Canadian Federation of Biological Societies and of the Canadian Society of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology. He also contributed to their advocacy activities for 11 years. As part of the Partnership Group for Science and Engineering he was an invited speaker at the Canadian Parliament. He also ran a public engagement project that included a poster campaign advocating investment in basic research and has been a speaker in many public forums including Science in the City, the Canadian Cancer Society, the Hamilton Association for the Advancement of Literature, Science and Art, etc.

Geoffrey Hicks
Geoffrey G. Hicks
PhD

Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Medical Genetics
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB, Canada

Dr Geoffrey G. Hicks is the Director of Regenerative Medicine Program and Professor of Biochemistry & Medical Genetics at the University of Manitoba. He recognized internationally for his expertise in the genetic modeling of human disease and high throughput functional genomics. As the Director of the Mammalian Functional Genomics Centre, located at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology, he has several large scale international projects including NorCOMM, the Canadian component of The International Knockout Mouse Project of $13.5 million from Genome Canada and other partners to create knockout mice lines for each of the approximately 20,000 mouse genes. Dr Hicks is also Director of the University of Manitoba’s Genetics Modeling Centre, which provides a full complement of transgenic mouse services to the region. Most recently, Dr. Hicks has been appointed Director of the Regenerative Medicine Program in the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Medicine. The 8 Principal Investigators of the program will focus on stem cell-based applications for the treatment of human disease, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and spinal cord injury repair. He is co-founder of the Canada Israel International FASD Consortium (CIIFAC) and a PI of the NeuroDevNet NCE (FASD).

Dr. Gerald Zamponi
Gerald Zamponi
PhD, FRSC, FCAHS

Senior Associate Dean, Research
University of Calgary
Calgary, AB, Canada

Dr. Gerald Zamponi is an internationally recognized expert on the biophysics, molecular biology, modulation, and pharmacology of ion channels and their role in nervous system function. His research focuses on exploring how these channels contribute to neurological disorders such as chronic pain and Alzheimer’s disease. His goal is to develop strategies to regulate ion channel function for therapeutic intervention.

Dr. Zamponi’s scientific work has garnered dozens of national and international awards. He has also authored more than 220 papers in top tier scientific journals and has been invited to present at almost 200 scientific conferences around the world. In addition, his research on ion channel therapeutics has resulted in numerous patents.

Dr. Zamponi served as Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and is currently the Senior Associate Dean for Research at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary.  In addition to being an AI-HS Scientist, he is the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Neurobiology and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. Dr. Zamponi previously served as Research Director at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.

Gillian Hawker
Gillian Hawker
MD

Sir John & Lady Eaton Professor & Chair, Department of Medicine
University of Toronto
Toronto, ON, Canada

Dr Hawker is the Sir John and Lady Eaton Professor and Chair of the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto, a Professor in the Faculty of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto, and a Senior Scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute. Dr. Hawker is a clinical epidemiologist/health services researcher whose research has focused on the care for people with osteoarthritis, in particular access to and outcomes of total joint arthroplasty. She has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles and has served as a member of numerous academic and governmental advisory committees, including numerous CIHR peer review grant panels.

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Jacques Côté
PhD

Professor, Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry and Pathology
Université Laval
Quebec City, QC, Canada

Jacques Côté obtained a B.Sc. in Microbiology from Laval University in 1986 and then undertook graduate studies under the supervision of Adolfo Ruiz-Carrillo at Laval University Cancer Research Center at Hotel-Dieu de Québec hospital. During his doctoral studies, supported by awards from the Cancer Research Society and the MRC, he characterized the structure and function of Endo G, a new endonuclease involved in the replication of mitochondrial DNA and cell apoptosis. Part of his work was published in Science.

In 1993, he undertook post-doctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Jerry Workman at Penn State University where he studied the role of chromatin in regulating gene expression. His work, supported by post-doctoral and Centennial scholarships from the MRC, lead to several major publications, including an article in Science by identified by the Nature journals as one of the 23 major discoveries (“milestones”) in transcription during the last 50 years.

In 1997, he was recruited as a researcher at his Alma Mater, the Laval University Cancer Research Center.

He continued his research, with support from the FRSQ, MRC, CFI, CIHR, NIH, CRS and GenomeCanada/Quebec. He was supported by CIHR Investigator awards for 10 years and currently holds the Canada Research Chair in Chromatin Biology and Molecular Epigenetics. His research projects are supported by two main grants from CIHR  and aim to characterize the dynamic role of chromatin in the regulation of nuclear functions and cell proliferation. His work uses the yeast model system as well as human cells. Discoveries in his laboratory demonstrated for the first time the essential role of chromatin modifying activities in the process of DNA repair and replication in eukaryotes (2 publications in Molecular Cell). This work is directly linked to the function of several oncogenes and tumor suppressors.

Dr. Côté has so far trained more than 21 graduate students and 13 postdoctoral fellows, and published with them over 91 original articles and invited chapters.

Along the way, he participated very actively in the peer review process, either within the funding agency committees (e.g. CIHR, NCIC, NIH, ANR) or for a number of high impact scientific journals (e.g. Cell, Science, Mol. Cell, Nature, Nature Genetics, Genes Dev, Mol. Cell. Biol.). Meanwhile, he gave over 100 presentations as a guest speaker in academia and at scientific meetings in North America, Europe and Asia.

Since June 2006, he is full Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology, Medical Biochemistry and Pathology, School of Medicine, Laval University.

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.

John Gordon
John R. Gordon
PhD

 

Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada  

Dr. Gordon received his PhD at the University of Saskatchewan in 1984, then did advanced training in immunopathology at Mill Hill, U.K. and Harvard Medical School.  He returned to University of Saskatchewan in 1991 as an Associate Professor in Immunology at the College of Veterinary Medicine, where he studied respiratory diseases of veterinary and human importance and, more specifically, immunotherapeutics.  His work has led to many international patents for anti-inflammatory agents his lab has developed and to significant advances in our application of tolerogenic dendritic cell immunotherapy for immunologic diseases.

In 2007 Dr. Gordon moved to the College of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan as Director of the Canadian Centre for Agricultural Medicine.  He has had numerous administrative roles within the University of Saskatchewan, but also with provincial, national and international research organizations (Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation) and with relevant professional societies and centres.  He has published over 100 peer-reviewed reports that have been well-received professionally and has been invited to give a similar number of talks nationally and internationally.

Lynne-Marie Postovit
Lynne-Marie Postovit
PhD

Co-Director, Basic Research, Cancer Research Institute Of Northern Alberta
University of Alberta
Edmonton, AB, Canada

Lynne-Marie Postovit is the Sawin-Baldwin Chair in Ovarian Cancer and the Dr. Anthony Noujaim Legacy Oncology Chair as well as an associate professor in the Department of Oncology at the University of Alberta.  In April 2014, she was also awarded an Alberta Innovates Health Services Translation Chair in Cancer and later that year she was appointed as the inaugural co-director for basic science at the Cancer Research Institute of Northern Alberta.  She completed her PhD at Queen’s University in the area of oxygen sensing and a Post-Doc with Mary Hendrix at Northwestern in the areas of epigenetics, stem cells and cancer progression.  Lynne is an expert in the area of women’s cancers, and her research group strives to find new ways to detect cancers earlier and to treat metastatic disease.  They uniquely do this by measuring and targeting factors surrounding cancers.  These “microenvironmental agents” allow cancer cells to adapt to and survive the harshest of treatments.  It is thought that targeting such entities could diminish the ability of cancer cells to evade therapy and spread.  In addition to dozens of academic publications, in journals such as Nature Medicine, Nature Reviews Cancer, PNAS and Cancer Research, Dr. Postovit’s work has produced 3 patents; one of which progressed into clinical trials for the treatment of prostate cancer and has led to the development of a start-up company.  She currently holds multiple grants from the CIHR and is also supported by the CFI, CRS, ACF, CBCF, Royal Alex Foundation and AIHS.  In 2009, Dr. Postovit received the Peter Lougheed/CIHR New Investigator Award, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR’s) most important career development award, given annually to Canada’s top-ranked new investigator. Finally, in 2012 she was named “a scientist to watch” by the Scientist magazine, an international periodical highlighting breakthroughs in the life sciences.

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Michel L. Tremblay
PhD, FRSC

Professor, Department of Biochemistry
McGill University
Montréal, QC, Canada

Michel L. Tremblay, PhD, is a Full Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Oncology, as well as a James McGill Professor and holder of the Jeanne and Jean-Louis Lévesque Chair in Cancer Research, at McGill University. A graduate of the Université de Sherbrooke (MSc) and of McMaster University (PhD), he completed his post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, in the field of embryonic stem cells. He served as Director of the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, from 2000 to 2012, after which he stepped down to dedicate his efforts full-time to academic research.

Dr. Tremblay’s laboratory focuses on characterizing the function and regulation of several members of the Protein Tyrosine Phosphatase (PTP) gene family, using both biochemical and genetic approaches. He has more than 15 filed patents and 150 publications in the PTP field, and is recognized internationally for his work in relation to this gene family and its function in cancer, diabetes and neuroscience.

Dr. Tremblay has served on several scientific boards of foundations and companies, including three companies, which he founded, and he continues to pursue research projects in collaboration with the private sector. He has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Fonds de Recherche en Santé du Quebec (FRSQ) and as a coordinator of the Quebec node of the Terry Fox Research Institute. He was also a member of the Scientific Committee of the Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery.

A recipient of an FRSQ National Scientist Award, Dr. Tremblay was named Fellow to the Academy of Sciences of the Royal Society of Canada in 2007. He recently undertook several volunteer assignments, for example, as Secretary General of the International Society of Pathophysiology, as member of the Advisory Committee on Research for the Canadian Cancer Society and as member on the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Mouse Phenotyping Consortium. In 2012, he completed a one-year sabbatical at the Immunology Frontier Research Center, located on the campus of Osaka University, Osaka, Japan.

In 2012, Dr. Tremblay was awarded the Michel-Sarrazin Prize from the Club de recherches cliniques du Québec, in recognition of his exceptional scientific career and contribution to biomedical research in the province. In 2013, he was awarded the Robert L. Noble Prize for outstanding achievement in cancer research by the Canadian Cancer Society, and the prestigious “Prix Armand–Frappier” 2013 by the Quebec government for his contribution to the advancement of science and the building of a research institution in Quebec.

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Paola Marcato
PhD

Associate Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Dalhousie University
Halifax, NS, Canada

Pauline Johnson
Pauline Johnson
PhD

Professor, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Dr. Pauline Johnson received her PhD from the University of Dundee, Scotland, U.K. in 1983. She did her post-doctoral training at the MRC Cellular Immunology Unit at the University of Oxford, U.K. and at the Salk Institute in California, U.S.A. before taking up a position as an Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia in 1991 in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She held an MRC Scientist Award and became a Full Professor in 2002. She was co-director of the Life Science Institute’s Infection, Inflammation and Immunity Research Group for six years and has served on international and multiple national peer review grant committees. Her research initially focused on the molecular mechanisms of T cell activation and the interactions of lymphocytes and monocytes during an inflammatory response. She helped to establish the function of CD45 as a critical protein tyrosine phosphatase in T cell activation and defined the mechanisms regulating the interactions of the cell adhesion molecule CD44 with its ligand, hyaluronan. Dr. Johnson’s current research uses mouse models of lung and intestinal inflammation to study the function of macrophages and monocytes in infection, inflammatory disease and fibrosis.

Peter Zandstra
Peter Zandstra
PhD

Founding Director, School of Biomedical Engineering
Director, Michael Smith Laboratories
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Sonia Anand
Sonia Anand
MD

Professor of Medicine & Epidemiology, McMaster University
Associate Director, PHRI, Hamilton Health Sciences
Hamilton, ON, Canada

Steffany Bennett
Steffany A.L. Bennett
PhD

Professor and University Research Chair in Neurolipidomics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON, Canada

Dr. Steffany Bennett is a lipid biochemist and systems neurobiologist working to block the pathological changes in brain lipid metabolism that precipitate pediatric and geriatric neurodegenerative disease.  She has published over 75 papers in top-impact journals.  She received her Ph.D in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa and post-doctoral training at the W. Alton Cell Science Centre and Harvard Medical School.  She is a Full Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology, University of Ottawa, the Associate Director (Education) of the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology, the Director of the STIHR/CIHR Training Program in Neurodegenerative Lipidomics, and holds a University Research Chair in Neurolipidomics.  Her team is pioneering the emerging field of neurolipidomics.  Her applied research focuses on developing methodologies in super-resolution imaging (stimulated emission depletion STED), liquid chromatography electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (LC-ESI-MS), and bioinformatics to study membrane metabolism.  Her basic and translational research programs focuses on (a) identifying circulating phospholipids and glycolipids at the molecular level that predict neurodegenerative disease conversion, (b) mechanistically determining how changes in these structural and second messenger lipids signal neurodegeneration, and (c) establishing whether these changes can be targeted therapeutically using natural health products to resist neurodegenerative disease.  Her research has been received numerous awards, including recognition as one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40, career awards from the Ontario Mental Health Foundation and CIHR, and most recently appointment as a University Research Chair in Neurolipidomics.  She is an internationally respected advocate for medical science and research and a member of Board of the Natural Health Products Research Society of Canada.

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.

Terry-Lynn Young
Terry- Lynn Young
PhD

Professor, Faculty of Medicine (Genetics)

Memorial University

St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada               

Dr. Terry-Lynn Young received her BSc (Parasitology), MSc (Entomology) and PhD (Human Genetics) from Memorial University in 2000, where she studied the genetic basis of Bardet-Biedl syndrome. She then trained as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Washington with Mary-Claire King, Department of Genome Sciences.

In 2003, Dr. Young returned to Memorial University to establish a laboratory dedicated to the study of medically important disorders in the genetically isolated population of Newfoundland and Labrador. Dr. Young and her team have made significant contributions to the understanding of the genetic bases of blindness, kidney disease and several neurological conditions including hearing loss. Most notably, Dr. Young and her team discovered the gene (TMEM43) that causes sudden death in multiple NL families due to a form of cardiomyopathy known as ARVD5, and she currently leads a national team to identify molecular markers of lethal arrhythmias that also explores the ethical, economic and social impact.

In 2009, Dr. Young was promoted to Associate Professor and received The President’s Award for Outstanding Research. Dr. Young, together with several key colleagues, was awarded funding from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (matched by the Provincial Government) to build the Graig L. Dobbin Genetics Research Centre (opening in 2014). Dr. Young serves on the Board of Directors of the Research and Development Corporation (RDC) and the Beatrice Hunter Cancer Research Institute. Dr. Young also serves on several national scientific review committees and is currently the scientific officer for the CIHR-Genetics panel and was recently appointed as Chair of the Institute Advisory Board for Genetics (CIHR).

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Timothy Murphy
PhD

Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC, Canada

Dr. Murphy obtained his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins in 1989. He is a basic scientist interested in applying high-resolution imaging and optogenetic techniques to questions involving stroke in live mice. Dr. Murphy’s lab has evaluated relationships between synaptic structure and brain circuit function during and after ischemia. Dr. Murphy is Professor in the Department of Psychiatry.  He is actively constructing and optimizing instrumentation for in vivo structural and functional brain imaging to investigate mouse models of human disease. The lab employs optogenetic tools to provide local light-activated loss or gain of circuit function to test circuit-based hypotheses about stroke recovery.

Haeryfar Portrait
S.M. Mansour Haeryfar
PhD

Professor, Departments of Microbiology and Immunology, Medicine, and Surgery
Western University
London, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Mansour Haeryfar obtained a 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. Dr. Haeryfar investigates conventional and innate-like invariant T cell responses to cancer and microbial pathogens with the ultimate goal of inventing and optimizing novel T cell-based therapies for several malignancies, infectious diseases and sepsis. He has authored over 77 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 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

Clinician Scientist and Professor of Medicine and Paediatrics
University of Toronto, The Hospital for Sick Children and University Health Network
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

Professor, Surgery & Biochemistry; Chief Pediatric Neurosurgeon
Stem Cell & Cancer Research Centre, McMaster University; McMaster Children’s Hospital
Hamilton, ON, Canada

Dr. Sheila Singh is a professor of surgery and biochemistry, chief pediatric neurosurgeon at McMaster Children’s Hospital, prior Division Head of Neurosurgery at Hamilton Health Sciences, and scientist appointed to the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster University. She holds a Tier 1/ Senior Canada Research Chair in Human Brain Cancer Stem Cell Biology, and is 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.

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Lisa Kalynchuk
Ph.D

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

Dr. Kalynchuk holds a B.Sc. in Psychology from the University of Alberta, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Behavioural Neuroscience from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Kalynchuk joined the University of Victoria on July 1, 2017, and holds an academic appointment with the Division of Medical Sciences, with an adjunct appointment to the Department of Psychology.

Dr. Kalynchuk’s research focuses on the neurobiology of depression, the psychiatric complications of epilepsy, and the effect of chronic stress on the brain and behavior.

Before joining the University, Dr. Kalynchuk was a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Saskatchewan, and the Interim Associate Dean, Interdisciplinary Health Research in the Office of the Vice-Provost Health. She recently completed two terms as a Canada Research Chair in Behavioral Neuroscience. Her international collaborations include research groups in the United States and the European Union. She has served on the editorial board of several journals in her field and on grant selection committees for NSERC, CIHR, Brain Canada, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, the Nova Scotia Health Research Foundation, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.

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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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Nada Jabado
MD PhD

Professor, Department of Pediatrics
McGill University
Montreal, QC

AC Gingras
Anne-Claude Gingras
PhD

Senior Investigator
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute
Toronto, ON, Canada 

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Sheena Josselyn
PhD

Senior Scientist, Neurosciences & Mental Health
Hospital for Sick Children
Toronto, ON, Canada

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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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Zena Werb
PhD

Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Anatomy, UCSF; Associate Director for Basic Science, UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center

San Francisco, CA, USA

Dr. Zena Werb received her B.Sc. in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto, and her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Rockefeller University. After postdoctoral studies at the Strangeways Research Laboratory in Cambridge England, she was recruited to the faculty of the University of California, San Francisco, where she is currently Professor and Vice-Chair of Anatomy. Dr. Werb is a member of the UCSF Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and the The Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regeneration Medicine and Stem Cell Research at the University of California, San Francisco.

She is recognized internationally for her fundamental discoveries about the molecular and cellular bases of extracellular matrix proteolysis and their roles in the normal functioning and pathogenesis of tissues. Her studies have led to new paradigms about the role of the cellular microenvironment and intercellular communication in breast development and cancer. Her honors include a Guggenheim Fellowship, the FASEB Excellence in Science Award, the Charlotte Friend Award of the American Association for Cancer Research and the E.B. Wilson Medal from the American Society of Cell Biology. Dr. Werb is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences and of the Institute of Medicine, and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She has the honorary degree of Doctor in Medicine from the University of Copenhagen. She has been an elected officer of the American Society for Cell Biology and the American Association for Cancer Research. She has published more than 400 papers. She serves or has served on the editorial boards of Science, Cell, Cancer Cell, Developmental Cell and Genes and Development.

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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.

Alastair Buchan
Alastair Buchan
MD, FRCP

Professor Alastair Buchan is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Head of Brexit Strategy) at the University of Oxford, a clinical neurologist and experimental neuroscientist; He is the Professor of Stroke Medicine in the University of Oxford and the John Radcliffe Hospital where he is an Honorary Consultant Neurologist.  He is a Professorial Fellow in Medicine at Corpus Christi College, Oxford.

Educated at Repton School, studied at Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard and undertook Medicine and Neurology Specialty training at Oxford and Imperial, before completing the Neurology Residency Training Program in London, Ontario, Canada.  His research and specialty training in Stroke was undertaken as an MRC Centennial Fellow at Cornell University Medical College in New York.  His research interests have been in neuronal survival following ischaemia and his clinical research is in understanding effective intervention using thrombolysis and neuroprotection in acute stroke.

From 1995 to 2005, he led the Calgary Stroke Program at Foothills Hospital and the University of Calgary from at Foothills Hospital and was Heart and Stroke Foundation Professor of Stroke Research at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada.  The Stroke team in Calgary pioneered the introduction of thrombolysis in a community setting which led to both the Canadian CASES and FASTER studies as well as the ASPECTS Scoring System.

Since returning to the University of Oxford in 2005, he has established an Acute Stroke Program, opened the new Acute Vascular Imaging Centre and was the founding Director of Oxford’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre that opened in the spring of 2007 and was competitively renewed in 2012.  Appointed Dean and Head of the Medical Sciences Division in 2007, he has established a number of new departments in the University including a new Nuffield Department of Clinical Neuroscience (this includes the Division of Clinical Neurology), the Department of Oncology, the Nuffield Department of Population Health and the Radcliffe Department of Medicine.  He helped establish Oxford University Hospitals which came to being in November 2011.  The medical school at Oxford has held the top ranking world-wide for clinical, pre-clinical and health in the Times Higher Education rankings since 2011.

His clinical interests continue to be in acute stroke and stroke prevention and the opportunity to now derive large data sets with respect to clinical trials in thrombolysis and neuroprotection and the stratification of these patients through quantitative image analysis, such as the ASPECTS score.  His basic research continues into pre-conditioning and mechanisms of cell death following cerebral ischemia which has recently resulted in a new finding, which suggests that the tuberose sclerosis (TSC 1) gene product Hamartin confers neuroprotection against ischemia by inducing productive autophagy through the mTOR pathway.

HepburnJohn
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.

Remi Quirion
Rémi Quirion
OC, PhD, FRSC, CQ

Professor Rémi Quirion is the inaugural Chief Scientist of Quebec since July 1st, 2011. A McGill Full Professor, Psychiatry and outgoing Scientific Director at the Douglas Mental Health University Institute. He served as Vice-Dean, Faculty of Medicine at McGill University, as well as Senior University Advisor (Health Sciences Research) in addition to being the CIHR Executive Director, for Alzheimer’s Diseases, from 2009 to 2011.

Under his leadership, the Douglas Research Centre became a premier research facility in Canada in the fields of neurosciences and mental health. Prof. Quirion promoted the development of neurosciences and clinical research in Neurology and Psychiatry as well as social and evaluation aspects of research in mental health and addiction. His research interests include: a) understanding the relationships between key phenotypes of the Alzheimer’s brain and b) molecular and pharmacological features of neuropeptide receptors focusing on NPY and CGRP, and their role in memory, pain and drug dependence, and in animal models of schizophrenia.  He trained over 20 PhD students and 50 PDF. In addition to being on the Advisory Board of over 15 journals in Psychiatry, Pharmacology, and Neurosciences, he has published 5 books, more than 650 scientific papers and articles, and over 25,000 citations and h index of 78.

Prof. Quirion was the inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Neurosciences, Mental Health and Addiction (INMHA) until March 2009.  He received  many awards and recognitions as: the “Médaille de l’Assemblée nationale du Québec”; Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada; “Chevalier” of the “Ordre national du Québec”;“Wilder-Penfield Award”; the Dr. Mary V. Seeman Award and was appointed Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.  In 2007 Prof. Quirion became a Member of the Order of Canada (O.C.).

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

Dr. Janet Rossant, SickKids Chief of Research Emeritus and 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. Firmly planted on the front lines of technological change, Rossant has established SickKids as a global forerunner in genetic research.

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 joined SickKids in 2005. 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 CIHR Michael Smith Prize in Health Research, the 10th ISTT Prize from the International Society for Transgenic Technologies in Edinburgh, Scotland and the 2018 L’Oreal For Women in Science Award. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Societies of London and Canada, and is a foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Science.

 

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.

Brandt Louie
Brandt C. Louie
Director – Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

After graduating from the University of British Columbia in 1966, Brandt Louie worked as a chartered accountant for the firm Touche Ross in both Vancouver and Montreal. He joined H.Y. Louie Company Ltd. in 1972, at his father’s behest. Mr. Louie replaced his father as Chairman & Chief Executive Officer 15 years later, after an apprenticeship that included everything from meat cutting to stocking shelves. Mr. Louie is also director of the Royal Bank of Canada, Chancellor of BC-based Simon Fraser University and Chairman of the Board, London Drugs Limited, among a daunting list of other business and charitable boards.

As his father before him, Louie reviews many of the requests for donations that inundate his office. A family and a corporate foundation give an estimated $700,000 annually, in addition to initiatives at individual stores. Recipients, spread among the 70 health and medical regions in the company’s service area, include schools, museums, children’s charities and scholarships. A London Drugs donation to the Vancouver Maritime Museum financed the opening in February of The Watery Kingdom, an exhibit of ancient Chinese mariners.

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Calvin R. Stiller
Director – London, Ontario, Canada

Dr. Cal Stiller OC OOnt MD FRCP(C) was the recipient of the 2010 Canada Gairdner Wightman Award. A pioneer in organ transplant and diabetes research, and an innovator in the Canadian biotech industry, he helped found London’s Robarts Research Institute, the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research and the MaRS Discovery District in Toronto, a not-for-profit institute designed to support technological innovation in fields such as life sciences and health care. He also helped create the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund, a biotechnology venture capital firm. His leadership in the formation of two firms and four venture capital funds for Canadian biotech innovation boosted funding from $50 million to $800 million at its peak.

A rare combination of physician, scientist and corporate director, he was a Member of Council and Executive Committee of the Medical Research Council of Canada (1987-1993). He is the Chair of the Ontario Research and Development Challenge Fund and a director of several corporations. Past honours include the MEDEC Award (1992), the Order of Ontario (2000), the Order of Canada (1995) and induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (2010).

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.

John_Upton
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.

Melissa Todd
Director – Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
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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