Dr. Alan Bernstein, PhD, OC
Executive Director, Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, New York, N.Y. and former inaugural President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Dr. Alan Bernstein is an internationally respected researcher, mentor and scientific leader in the fields of cancer, hematopoiesis and genomics. He received his Ph.D. in Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto in 1972. Following postdoctoral work at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund Laboratories in London (UK), he joined the Ontario Cancer Institute and University of Toronto in 1974. He has been a Professor of Molecular and Medical Genetics since 1984. In 1985, Dr. Bernstein moved to Mount Sinai Hospital as head of Molecular and Developmental Biology of its Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute.
Three years later he became Associate Director and then Director in 1994, a position he held until June 2002 when he was appointed the inaugural President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). A productive scientist, Dr. Bernstein is the author or co-author of over 200 research articles. He has made key contributions to our understanding of embryonic development, hematopoiesis, cancer and formation of the cardiovascular system. His work has also been important in advancing techniques for gene therapy and the genetic analysis of mammalian development. Dr. Bernstein has received numerous awards for his contributions, including the McLaughlin Medal of the Royal Society of Canada, the Genetics Society of Canada Award of Excellence, the 2001 Australian Society for Medical Research Medal, the 2008 Gairdner International Award and the Order of Canada.
Dr. William A. Cochrane, MD, OC, DSc (hon), LLD (hon)
Director for several Canadian and American companies including Resverlogix Inc. (Chair), Immune Vaccine Technologies Inc., QSV Biologics Inc. and Sernova Inc. and former Chairman CEO of Connaught Laboratories
Dr. William Cochrane’s career has spanned the fields of medicine, biomedical research, education and business.
Dr. Cochrane graduated from University of Toronto in 1949 and completed post-graduate work at leading medical schools in the United States and England before returning to Toronto to establish a private pediatrics practice. In 1958, Dr. Cochrane became Professor of Pediatrics at Dalhousie University and established the first full-time medical research program in pediatrics at the I.W. Killan Hospital for Children Hospital in Halifax.
In 1967, he was appointed founding Dean of Medicine for the University of Calgary. For the next 11 years, Dr. Cochrane served in a number of leadership roles at the University of Calgary, including Professor of Pediatrics, President and Vice Chancellor.
In 1978, Dr. Cochrane returned to Ontario as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Connaught Laboratories. During his tenure with the company, Connaught became a major international developer of flu vaccines for the World Health Organization and other international health agencies. After 10 years at the helm of Connaught, Dr. Cochrane returned to Calgary where he took on new challenges as President of W.A. Cochrane and Associates, a health products investment consulting company.
During his career, Dr. Cochrane has shared his leadership with a range of public and private sector organizations including the National Biotechnology Advisory Committee, the Alberta Science and Research Authority, the Calgary Economic Development Committee, Monsanto Canada, Vasogen Inc., MDS Capital Corp. and the Banff Centre.
Dr. Cochrane was named an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989. He holds many other honours, including a National Merit Award for his contribution to biotechnology in Canada, ASTech Foundation and BioAlberta awards for his contributions to Alberta’s science and technology sector and three honorary degrees from universities in Canada. In 1971, he was made an honorary Medicine Chief of the Stoney Nation of Morley, Alberta in recognition of his contributions to the health of Aboriginal people. In 2005, the Alberta Medical Association named Dr. Cochrane one of Alberta’s “Physicians of the Century.”
Dr. John Dirks, MD, OC
President and Scientific Director, the Gairdner Foundation and Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Toronto
Dr. John Dirks is a Senior Fellow of Massey College and Professor Emeritus of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He received his BSc (Med), MD from the University of Manitoba in 1957, a Fellowship in Medicine in 1963 from the Royal College of Physicians and is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Canada (1982). He trained in nephrology research at the NIH in 1963-1965, was an MRC Canada grantee from 1965-1987 for his work in renal pathophysiology and has published 155 peer-reviewed papers. He has held a number of major Professorships at McGill University, UBC, and the University of Toronto, and has held major academic administrative positions as 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).
He chaired the International Society of Nephrology Commission for the Global Advancement of Nephrology (COMGAN) from 1994 to 2005. A major educational clinical outreach program in over 100 countries, ISN COMGAN sponsors 50 – 55 postgraduate programs each year, attended by over 15,000 physicians worldwide. A major mission of ISN to prevent chronic kidney disease has been launched and is now a major educational research endeavor with major regional meetings and linkages to numerous international agencies.
Since 1993 he has been President & Scientific Director of the Gairdner Foundation. He had previously been on the MAB (1983 – 1993). During the last 15 years the Gairdner Awards have received increasing international recognition. The MAB become a more international board under his leadership. Dr. Dirks began annual fundraising and sponsorships in 1997 to support the growing National Program, now nation wide. Special events were the 1999 40th Anniversary and the 2002 Genome Year. He initiated the High School Lectures in 1999.
In 2005 Dr. Dirks was awarded the NFK International Medal by the National Kidney Foundation (USA) and the Roscoe Robinson Award by the International Society of Nephrology for his contribution to nephrology education. He was appointed to the Order of Canada in 2006.
John R. Evans, MD, COC, LLD (hon)
Chair Emeritus, MaRS Discovery District and former president of the University of Toronto and chair the board of directors of Torstar Corporation and Alcan Inc.
Dr. John Evans is a retired physician, business person, public servant, academic and an active corporate director. He is currently chair emeritus of the MaRS Discovery District and a director of several Canadian corporations. He has spent the past 35 years playing a central role in the health, research and innovation sectors.
As Chair of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Dr. Evans helped to create a dynamic environment for innovation, providing researchers with the equipment and facilities they need to undertake leading-edge research. He also serves as Chair of the MaRS Discovery District, a not-for-profit corporation that brings together the academic, business and scientific communities to facilitate the commercialization of academic science in Canada. He has served as past Chair of the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences.
As founding dean of McMaster University Medical School, he moved away from the traditional models to set the benchmark for training effective physicians. And as founding Director of the Population, Health and Nutrition Department of the World Bank, he developed programs in population health throughout the world. As Chair and CEO of Allelix Inc., he established Canada’s first biotechnology company, creating a model for Canada’s biotechnology industry. He currently serves as a director of several Canadian companies and institutions. Dr. Evans previously served as president of the University of Toronto, chair of Torstar Corporation, chair of Alcan Inc. and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the Rockefeller Foundation.
Dr. Evans received his medical degree from the University of Toronto in 1952 and, as a Rhodes Scholar, his Doctoral degree at Oxford University in 1955. Dr. Evans has received honorary degrees from 15 universities. He is a Companion of the Order of Canada and Officer of the Order of Ontario. In 2000, Dr. Evans was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.
Dr. Peter Hackett, PhD
Special Advisor to the Vice-president Research, University of Alberta and former Vice President of Research, National Research Council of Canada
From October 2004 until earlier this year, Dr. Hackett served as President and CEO of Alberta Ingenuity since October 2004. He is the former Vice-President Research at the National Research Council of Canada where his portfolio included biotechnologies, information and telecommunication technologies, manufacturing technologies, molecular sciences, and national measurement standards. Dr. Hackett led NRC corporate strategies emphasizing emerging technologies, entrepreneurship and technology clusters. He has also been active in promoting the importance of developing technologies for global human development and in championing the role that Canada could play.
Dr. Hackett was the lead NRC executive behind the creation and design of the National Institute for Nanotechnology at the University of Alberta. He is Chair of the Board of the Alberta Prion Research Institute and a member of the Board and of the Executive Committees of PrioNet. He is a member of the board of iCORE in Alberta and the Institute for Quantum Computing at the University of Waterloo. He is a member of the Institute Advisory Board Institute of Genetics of the of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, a board member of Genome Alberta and a founding member of the Alberta Advisory Committee on the Bio-economy. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Maurice Young Centre for the Study for Venture Capital and Entrepreneurship and the Dean of Science Advisory Committee at UBC. He is also member of the Advisory Board of Partners in Research, the Holmes Award, and a Trustee of the Steacie Memorial Foundation.
Dr. James E. Till, PhD, OC, DSc (hon)
Senior Scientist Emeritus at the Ontario Cancer Institute, Princess Margaret Hospital and University Professor Emeritus in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto
Dr. James Till’s long-term interest has been cancer research and cancer control. He is co-discoverer, with Dr. Ernest McCulloch, of stem cells in 1961. Later work involved an evaluation of factors able to influence decision-making in oncology, with an emphasis on quality of life assessment. A major current interest is the role of the Internet, including open-access journals, blogs and social and scientific networks, in fostering the dissemination and utilization of health-related information. He a member of the Stem Cell Network, and is on the boards of the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation and the Cancer Stem Cell Consortium.
Dr. Till received an MA in Physics in 1954 from the University of Saskatchewan, specializing in radiation physics, and a PhD in Biophysics in 1957 from Yale University,
specializing in radiation biology. He then did postdoctoral research on mammalian cell culture at Connaught Medical Research Laboratories, before becoming one of the original members of the scientific staff of the Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI) when it and its affiliate, the Princess Margaret Hospital, opened in 1958. He served as head of the Division of Biological Research at the OCI from 1969 to 1982. He is also a founding member of both the University of Toronto’s Department of Medical Biophysics and it’s Joint Centre for Bioethics. He was Associate Dean, Life Sciences in the School of Graduate Studies from 1981-1984 and was appointed University Professor in 1984.
Over the years Dr. Till has been the recipient of many honors. His pioneering research with Dr. Ernest A. McCulloch on stem cells of the blood-forming system in mice earned them the prestigious Gardiner Foundation International Award in 1969. In 1991 he was a co-recipient with Dr. McCulloch of the Royal Society of Canada’s Thomas W. Eadie Medal for “their revolutionary research in experimental hematology”. In 1993 he was the first recipient of the R. L. Noble Prize of the National Cancer Institute of Canada for “scientific excellence in cancer research”. The following year he was named an Officer of the Order of Canada. In 2000 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London and in 2001 received the Robert M. Taylor Award and Medal, a joint award of the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Canadian Cancer Society. In 2004 he and Dr. McCulloch were inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and in 2005, they each received an Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation in New York.