After 23 years as President and Scientific Director, Dr. John Dirks is retiring from the Gairdner Foundation. He previously served on the Medical Advisory Board (MAB) from 1983-1993. During his time the profile of the Foundation has grown extensively. He internationalized the MAB to its current profile with Canadian representatives and major figures from US, UK, Europe and Japan. Furthermore, the Medical Review Panel which performs the initial review of nominations now includes 30 scientists from 20 universities across Canada, covering all biomedical disciplines.
The Gairdner profile has been increased enormously, highlighted by major celebrations for the 40th Anniversary (1999), the Genome Year (2002), and the 50th Anniversary (2009), The annual dinner held at the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is attended by 550 guests and is renowned for its networking opportunities.
Dr. Dirks expanded the Gairdner outreach program so that currently Gairdner speakers visit 22 universities across all 10 provinces. At 19 of these universities, laureates also speak with high school students as part of our mission to inspire the next generation.
Beginning in 2010, Dr. Dirks developed a regular set of international visits were organized through Canadian Embassies and Consulates to celebrate each laureate in their home country.
The Foundation is grateful for his leadership and dedication to the Gairdner Foundation and wish him well during his retirement. On May 4th, Dr. Janet Rossant began as the Foundation’s President and Scientific Director.