For the first time in its forty-five year history, the LDI has a permanent International Scientific Advisory Board (ISAB). The purpose of the ISAB is to provide advice and guidance in defining the overall strategic direction of the LDI, focusing its programs, and helping address challenges to its operations.
MEMBERS OF THE ISAB
CHAIR - Alan Bernstein, O.C., PhD, FRSC
Dr. Alan Bernstein is the President & CEO of CIFAR (the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research), whose mission is to connect the world’s best minds through global research networks that address important and complex challenges facing humanity. An internationally known biomedical scientist, Dr. Bernstein was the executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise, an international alliance of researchers and funders charged with accelerating the search for an HIV vaccine, from 2008-2011. Previously, he served as the founding president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2000-2007), Canada’s federal agency for the support of health research. In that capacity, he led the transformation of health research in Canada. After receiving his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, and following postdoctoral work in London, Dr. Bernstein joined the Ontario Cancer Institute (1974-1985). In 1985, he was appointed to the new Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute in Toronto, was named Associate Director in 1988 and then Director of Research (1994-2000). Author of over 225 scientific publications, Dr. Bernstein has made extensive contributions to the study of stem cells, hematopoiesis and cancer. He chairs or is a member of advisory and review boards in Canada, the US, UK, Italy and Australia. Dr. Bernstein has received numerous awards and honourary degrees for his contributions to science, including the 2008 Gairdner Wightman Award. He is a Senior Fellow of both Massey College and the Munk School of Global Affairs, and is an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Sir John Bell - ex officio
Sir John Bell was the inaugural Chair of the ISAB (2014-15). A Canadian, he is president of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford, and chair of the UK government’s Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research. He is the founder of the Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics and is a leader in the biomedical research activities in the Clinical School at Oxford. Dr. Bell studied medicine as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford and is the founding director of three biotechnology start-up companies. He currently serves as ex officio member of the ISAB.
Dr. Frenette is Director and Chair of the Ruth L. and David S. Gottesman Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York. His research interests have focused on the stem cell microenvironment in normal hematopoiesis and cancer. His laboratory has uncovered the critical role of the sympathetic nervous system in the regulation of hematopoietic stem cell egress from their niches, and elucidated circadian rhythmicity in stem cell release. His research group has identified Nestin+ mesenchymal stem cell as the target cell for neural signals and a novel HSC niche candidate in the bone marrow. Recent work from his laboratory has uncovered distinct functions of the two branches of the autonomic nervous system in regulating prostate cancer progression. Dr. Frenette received a medical degree from Université Laval in Quebec City followed residency training at McGill University in Montreal, and completed a clinical fellowship in Hematology-Oncology at Tufts’ New England Medical Center in Boston. He trained as postdoctoral fellow in the laboratories of Drs. Denisa Wagner (Harvard Medical School) and Richard Hynes (MIT) and then was on the faculty at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York from 1998-2010. Dr. Frenette is an elected member of the American Society for Clinical Investigation (2004) and the Association of American Physicians (2010). He has served on the editorial boards of Blood, JCI, Stem Cell Reports, the Medical Advisory Board of the New York Stem Cell Foundation, as chair of a scientific committee of the American Society of Hematology, and on multiple other panels at the NIH. He was recently elected Vice-President of the International Society of Experimental Hematology (ISEH) and will become president of ISEH in 2015.
Thomas J. Hudson, MD
Dr. Thomas J. Hudson is President and Scientific Director of the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, a new Institute with a focus on translational research in prevention, detection, diagnosis and treatment of cancer. Dr. Hudson is a thought leader in making personalized medicine a reality. He is internationally renowned for his work in genomics and human genome variation and was instrumental in the creation of the International Cancer Genome Consortium. He was a founding member of the International Haplotype Map Consortium and the Public Population Project in Genomics. Dr. Hudson is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and editor-in-chief of the journal Human Genetics. Dr. Hudson has co-authored over 250 peer-reviewed scientific publications.
Ronan Lyons is Professor of Public Health at Swansea University, Honorary Consultant in Public Health with Public Health Wales NHS Trust and an adjunct professor at Monash University, Australia. He graduated in medicine from Trinity College Dublin in 1983 and after a number of years in hospital medicine trained in epidemiology and public health.
The focus of Ronan’s research is the use of routine data in cohorts, trials and the evaluation of natural experiments and complex interventions.He holds leadership roles in a number of major research developments. He is Director of the Farr Institute centre at Swansea University, Director of Wales’ National Centre for Population Health and Wellbeing, Co-Director of the DECIPHer UK Public Health Research Centre of Excellence, Co-Director of Secure Anonymised Information Linkage (SAIL) databank and Chair of the International Collaborative Effort on Injury Statistics and Methods.He is involved in many applied data linkage studies including the Wales Electronic Cohort for Children (WECC) that brings together data on over a million children to support the evaluation of interventions and policies, the development of the remote access analysis facility for the MRC’s Dementias Platform UK, and the European Union’s BRIDGE-Health programme.
Ronan has a particular interest in the neglected field of injury prevention and control and is involved in many of the world's largest observational, interventional and policy relevant studies in this field. He is a consultant to the CIHR Strategic Team in Applied Injury Research.
David Naylor is President Emeritus and Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He served as President from 2005 to 2013 and Dean of Medicine from 1999 to 2005. Earlier, Naylor was founding Director of Clinical Epidemiology (1990-96) at Sunnybrook Health Science Centre, and founding Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (1991-98). Naylor is the co-author of approximately 300 scholarly publications, spanning social history, public policy, epidemiology and biostatistics, and health economics, as well as clinical and health services research in most fields of medicine. Naylor was involved in the initiation and early governance of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and led Canada’s National Advisory Committee on SARS and Public Health in 2003. More recently, he was a member in 2009-10 of the Global Commission on the Education of Health Professionals for the 21st Century; and in 2010-11, was an expert panelist on the Review of R&D Spending in Canada. Among other honours, Naylor is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, a Foreign Associate Fellow of the US Institute of Medicine, and an Officer of the Order of Canada.
Dame Linda Partridge
Professor Dame Linda Partridge works on the biology of ageing. Her research is directed to understanding both how the rate of ageing evolves in nature and the mechanisms by which healthy lifespan can be extended in laboratory model organisms. Her work has focussed in particular on the role of nutrient-sensing pathways, such as the insulin/insulin-like growth factor signalling pathway, and on dietary restriction. Her current work is directed to developing pharmacological treatments that ameliorate the human ageing process to produce a broad-spectrum improvement in health during ageing. She is the recipient of numerous awards, including giving the Royal Society Croonian Lecture in 2009 and a DBE for services to Science. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society, the Academy of Medical Sciences, the European Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She is the Director of the UCL Institute of Healthy Ageing, as well as founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne.
Michael Simons, MD
An RW Berliner Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology at Yale where he serves as a Director of Yale Cardiovascular Research Center and a Chief of Cardiovascular Medicine at Yale University School of Medicine. He is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (BS ‘80) and Yale University School of Medicine (MD ’84). He completed his clinical training in internal medicine at the New England Medical Center and cardiology training at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston. During his training in molecular cardiology at the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda and postdoctoral training in vascular biology at MIT he acquired expertise in endothelial and smooth cell biology and angiogenic growth factor signaling. Dr Simons’ research focuses on biology of arterial vasculature and spans basic, translational and clinical areas of investigations.His studies included the first report of antisense modulation of geneexpression in vivo, the discovery aselective regulatory pathway controlling arterial and lymphatic specification and fate determination as well as elucidation of key role of FGF signaling in the maintenance of vascular integrity. He led the first clinical trials of therapeutic angiogenesis in the USA and the world and his basic research discoveries provided a soundtheoretical foundation for the design of effective clinical trials of therapeutic arteriogenesis.
Professor Simons has been elected to a number of honorary societies including Association of American Physicians, American Society of Clinical Investigations and Association of University Cardiologists. He is also a Fellow of the American Heart Association, American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Physiology. Other honors include Alfred A. Richman Research Award of the American College of Chest Physicians; Clinician-Scientist and Established Investigator Awards of The American Heart Association; AHA NorthEast Research Award; Honorary Citations and Awards from Japanese Circulation Society, India Cardiovascular Society and an Honorary Fellowship from University College London among others.
Sir Patrick Sissons
Graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School in London, then undertook his postgraduate clinical and research training at the Royal Postgraduate Medical School in London, and the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, California where he acquired an interest in the pathogenesis of persistent virus infections. From 1988 he was Professor of Medicine in the University of Cambridge, and an Honorary Consultant in Infectious Disease in Cambridge University Hospitals. From 2005 until 2012 he was Regius Professor of Physic and Head of the School of Clinical Medicine in Cambridge, and (from 2009) Director of Cambridge University Health Partners, one of five designated Academic Health Science Centres in the UK. His research has focussed on the biology and pathogenesis of human cytomegalovirus infection. He has served on numerous national grants committees and advisory bodies, and from 2010 became Clinical Vice President of the UK Academy of Medical Sciences. He is a past member of the Medical Advisory Board of the Canada Gairdner Foundation, a Board member of the National Medical Research Council of Singapore, and Chair of the Health Sciences panel for the Hong Kong 2014 Universities Research Assessment Exercise.
Professor Sir Simon Wessely MA BM BCh MSc MD FRCP FRCPsych FMedSci FKC
Simon Wessely is Professor and Head of the Department of Psychological Medicine and Vice Dean for Academic Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry (IoP), King’s College London. He is best known for his work on unexplained symptoms, syndromes and military health. He founded the King’s Centre for Military Health Research, a unique collaboration between the IoP and the KCL Department of War Studies, founded in 2003. Its flagship project, a large-scale ongoing study of the health and wellbeing of the UK Armed Forces, has had a direct impact on public policy and on forms of treatment and help for Service personnel.
Born and educated in Sheffield, he studied medical sciences and history of art at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and then finished his medical training at University College Oxford, graduating in 1981. He obtained his medical membership in Newcastle, before moving to London to train in psychiatry, where he also obtained a Master’s and Doctorate in epidemiology. Professor Wessely has been a consultant liaison psychiatrist at King’s College Hospital and the Maudsley Hospital since 1991. He became Director of the Chronic Fatigue Research Unit at King’s in 1994 and of the Gulf War Illness Research Unit in 1996. He is Civilian Consultant Advisor in Psychiatry to the British Army, a member of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council, and a Foundation Senior Investigator of the National Institute for Health Research. Professor Wessely has over 650 original publications, with a particular emphasis on the boundaries of medicine and psychiatry, unexplained symptoms and syndromes, military health, population reactions to adversity, epidemiology, history and other fields. He has co authored a text book on chronic fatigue syndrome, a history of military psychiatry and a book on randomised controlled trials, although none are best sellers. He is active in public engagement activities, speaking regularly on radio, TV and at literary and science festivals. He is a trustee of Combat Stress, and his contributions to veterans’ charities include cycling (slowly) six times to Paris to raise funds for the Royal British Legion. In 2012 he was awarded the first Nature “John Maddox Prize” for Standing Up for Science, and was knighted in the 2013 New Year’s Honours List.
Jeff Wrana, PhD, FRSC
Received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Toronto and after completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering returned to Toronto where he is now a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tannenbaum Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital and Professor of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. His research interests lie in understanding cell fate choice in development and cancer with a focus on morphogen signalling networks. His work uncovered the TGFb-Smad signalling pathway. He currently is director of the SMART High Throughput Biology Center and his research interests encompass the generation and analysis of large diverse biological datasets to define molecular networks of importance in cell fate determination and cancer. He has won numerous awards for his work including the Gertrude Elion prize from the American Association of Cancer Research, the Paul Marks prize from Memorial Sloan Kettering (NY) and he is an Ontario Premier Summit award winner.