The Board comprises of leaders from Ontario’s life science sector, including not for profit research and education institutions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology enterprises, finance, public policy centres and government.
Through quarterly meetings, the Board aims to fulfill Ontario Genomics’ guiding principle promoting world-class research, creating strategic genomics resources and advocating the development of a globally competitive life sciences sector.
The Board members’ time and expertise are essential to our ongoing success and future direction, and we are grateful for their contributions.
- Brian Underdown (Chair)
- Maurice Bitran
- Stephen Cummings
- Jack Gauldie
- Jay A. Lefton
- Paul Lucas
- Alex MacKenzie
- Mark Poznansky
- Tom Rand
- Bonnie Schmidt
- Cal Stiller
- Scott Tanner
Brian Underdown has served on the Ontario Genomics’ Board of Directors since 2004 and as Chair since 2011.
His academic research, extensive experience in venture investment, and operational knowledge in commercial biotechnology enhance Ontario Genomics’ efforts to facilitate and catalyse the impact of genomics research.
Dr. Underdown is a Venture Partner of Lumira Capital, supporting selected investments by representing Lumira as a Board Member. He had earlier been Assistant Vice-President for Research at Pasteur Merieux Connaught, where he headed the Canadian Universities Research program and several global programs to develop vaccines. During his academic career, he was Associate Dean of Research at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine and at McMaster University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
Dr. Underdown has held senior positions on national and international bodies concerned with science policy and university-industry collaboration. He has served on boards of such life sciences companies as Argos Therapeutics, Ception Therapeutics, Cytochroma Inc., Golden Horseshoe Biotechnology Network, ID Biomedical, Nysa Membrane Technologies, Trillium Therapeutics, Transmolecular Therapeutics, and Viron Therapeutics.
He received his PhD in Immunology from McGill University and undertook postdoctoral studies at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.
Dr. Maurice Bitran joined the Ontario Science Centre as Chief Executive Officer on June 16th 2014.
Before joining the Ontario Science Centre, he was the Assistant Deputy Minister (ADM) of the Integrated Environmental Policy Division, Ministry of the Environment, ADM of Policy and Programs at the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, ADM of the Secretariat to the Premier’s Jobs and Prosperity Council, and Ontario’s Chief Negotiator for the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) negotiations with the European Union.
Maurice has an academic background in physics and astronomy. During his tenure as the 2012 -13 Ontario Visiting Fellow at the University of Toronto, he taught a graduate course on the role of science in public policy.
Maurice has served on the boards of MaRS Landing, Soy 20/20, The Challenge Factory, and is an advisor to the Toronto Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
Stephen is CEO and General Managing Partner of Rizolve Partners, a strategic consulting practice advising clients on: value creating strategies where the establishment of profitable, sustainable growth is the imperative; and the planning for and execution of strategic transactions and liquidity events to realize value. The firm advises CEOs and other stakeholders of both public and private concerns and has conducted numerous consulting assignments advising on acquisitions, disposals, financings, reorganizations, turnarounds, strategic positioning and growth.
Stephen’s career has foundations as a financial expert where latterly it has been focussed within the investment industry. He has held leadership positions with top quartile performing Private Equity and Venture Capital firms investing institutional capital across the globe. Prior to that he was the CFO at a global publisher. He trained and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Deloitte in London, UK.
Stephen is a member of the Board of Directors of Ontario Genomics and is Chairman of the audit committee.
Stephen received a B. Sc. in Economics with honors from the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom. He has international credentials being a qualified CPA, CA in Ontario and is an FCA in England and Wales. He is a member of the Canadian Venture Capital Association where he has held leadership positions and Financial Executives International.
He is also a sought after speaker who has spoken in Toronto and New York on Private Equity financing, valuation and International Financial Reporting Standards.
Jack Gauldie has been a member of the Ontario Genomics’ Board of Directors since September 2011.
Dr. Gauldie was Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine for 15 years (1989-2005) at McMaster University. He currently holds the title of Distinguished Emeritus University Professor. Recognized internationally for his work in defining the molecular regulation of the acute phase inflammatory response, he is a world expert in the areas of cytokine biology and the molecular regulation of inflammation and immunity. He is also the lead investigator for McMaster’s Institute for Molecular Medicine and Health. In addition to his responsibilities at McMaster, he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Royal College of Physicians in Edinburgh.
He earned his BSc from McMaster University and his PhD from University College London.
Jay Lefton has served on the Ontario Genomics’ Board of Directors since 2006.
He has broad experience in public as well as private mergers and acquisitions. His knowledge of both the corporate legal culture and the life sciences sector assists the Board in its oversight of operational and business development.
Mr. Lefton is a partner at Borden Ladner Gervais in Toronto, where he is active in corporate and securities law, including public and private financings, mergers, acquisitions and take-over bids, private equity, and strategic alliances, technology transfer and licensing, with an emphasis on technology and life sciences companies.
He has served on the Ontario Securities Commission’s Securities Advisory Committee, chaired the Board of Outside Advisors for the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Business, and been on the adjunct faculty at the Osgoode Hall School of Law (Toronto). He sits on the Board of Directors of Pathways to Education Canada and is a director of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (Toronto), ThinkFirst Foundation of Canada (Toronto), and was previously on the Board of the University of Toronto’s Innovations Foundation. Mr. Lefton is on the Board of Governors of Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto) and Chair of the Cell Therapy Program Advisory Board of Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto). Mr. Lefton is also a member of the Adjudication Panel for the Premier’s Catalyst Awards for innovation, sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation.
Mr. Lefton earned his B.Comm. (Hons) and LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and in 1983 joined the Ontario Bar.
Paul Lucas has served on the Ontario Genomics’ Board of Directors since 2009.
Mr. Lucas’ pharmaceutical background and involvement with research in pharmaceutical settings assists Ontario Genomics in its programmatic focus on increasing the impact of R&D it funds and moving innovative developments into the marketplace.
Mr. Lucas served as President and CEO of GlaxoSmithKline Canada from 2000 until 2012, where he was responsible for all pharmaceutical operations in Canada. During his time with GSK, he built the company into a national manufacturing leader, producing and shipping more than CAD $2 billion worth of products, representing approximately 25 per cent of the total Canadian pharmaceutical shipments. Previous to joining Glaxo Canada in 1986, he held progressive management positions at Eli Lilly Canada and McNeil Pharmaceutical.
Mr. Lucas sits on the Board of Directors of the Toronto Regional Research Alliance and is a member of the Principal’s Advisory Council of the University of Toronto at Mississauga. He served in the past as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Canada’s Research-Based Pharmaceutical Companies (Rx&D).
He received his BSc (Honours) in Biology and Chemistry from Queen’s University, and obtained his Chartered Directors designation (CDir) from the Directors College, a joint venture of McMaster University and the Conference Board of Canada, in 2008.
Alex MacKenzie, an attending pediatrician at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) has served as the CEO and Science Director of the CHEO Research Institute as well as Vice President of Research for both CHEO and Genome Canada in addition to being founding scientist of the AeGera biotech company. Dr. MacKenzie’s laboratory has conducted translational research on the rare pediatric disorder spinal muscular atrophy over the past 25 years; in recent years has broadened its focus with its involvement in the enhance Care for Rare project to search for therapies for a larger number of rare diseases.
Mark J. Poznansky has been at Ontario Genomics since 2010.
His role at Ontario Genomics draws on his substantive experience in the life sciences and in running institutes and businesses, as well as his knowledge of government affairs and business development.
Previously he ran his own consultancy group offering a range of services including program reviews, strategic planning, change management and leadership training to clients in government, hospitals, universities and the private sector. Before that, he was President and Scientific Director of Robarts Research Institute (London, Ontario), where during his tenure, from 1993 to 2007, the institute increased its staff from 100 to over 600, increased its annual research funding from $10 million to over $40 million, and developed a reputation for business development spinning out seven different companies, including Viron Therapeutics, where Dr. Poznansky served as President and CEO. He also served on the Merck USA Scientific Advisory Leadership Team for three years. Prior to that, he was Associate Dean of Medicine for Research at the University of Alberta. He has held faculty positions at University of Western Ontario, University of Alberta and was a lecturer at Harvard University.
Dr. Poznansky has published over 50 research papers. He serves as Chair of Let’s Talk Science, until recently served as Chief Science Advisor to the CEO of the Thunder Bay Regional Research Institute and is a board member of the Innovation Institute of Ontario. He was a founding member and past chair of the Council for Health Research in Canada, and also chaired the Scientific Advisory Boards of the Canadian Medical Discoveries Fund and MDS Capital Corp. He has also served as a member of numerous science-related committees including the Science Advisory Committee of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Medical Research Council of Canada Grants panel. Dr. Poznansky was made a member of the Order of Ontario in 2004 and the Order of Canada in 2005.
Earning his bachelor’s degree and PhD at McGill University, Dr. Poznansky completed postdoctoral training at Harvard Medical School.
After a number of years as a successful software entrepreneur Dr. Rand now focuses his efforts on carbon mitigation. He’s active in cleantech venture capital, technology incubation & commercialization, and public advocacy. Dr. Rand is Managing Partner of the privately-backed MaRS Cleantech Fund, a Senior Advisor at the MaRS Discovery District and sits on the board of a number of clean energy companies and organizations.
Dr. Rand’s first book, Kick the Fossil Fuel Habit, was published in early 2010 and his second, Waking the Frog, was published in Fall 2013. He believes that we have yet to have a serious, public conversation about the threat of climate change, and the economic opportunities afforded by the global transformation to a low-carbon economy.
Dr. Rand holds a BSc in electrical engineering from University of Waterloo, an MSc in philosophy of science from University of London and LSE, an MA and PhD in philosophy from the University of Toronto, and is an Action Canada Fellow.
Bonnie Schmidt has served on the Ontario Genomics’ Board of Directors since 2007.
Her work to increase public awareness of science through education and outreach programming is of great benefit to Ontario Genomics’ outreach to students, teachers, and the general public.
She founded (1993) and is president of Let’s Talk Science, a national, charitable organization that works to increase science literacy.
Dr. Schmidt has published several research papers on physiology and on informal science education and has addressed numerous science and education forums. An honorary professor at the University of Western Ontario (UWO), she currently serves as founding Chair of the Science and Technology Awareness Network. She has also served as Vice-President of Canadians for Health Research, and on the Mogenson Trust Committee of its Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, and sat on the Ontario government’s Early Learning Experts Panel, the board of the UWO Alumni Association, and the grant selection committees at Industry Canada and NSERC as well as NSERC’s national communication committee. Her honours include the Caldwell Partners’ Top 40 under 40, the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Award, the University of Western Ontario’s Young Alumni Award, and the YWCA’s Woman of Distinction.
She received her BSc and PhD in Physiology from the University of Western Ontario.
Dr. Cal Stiller has been a member of the Ontario Genomics’ Board of Directors since September 2012.
Dr. Stiller received his medical degree from the University of Saskatchewan in 1965 and his fellowship in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (FRCPC) in 1972. He is a member of the Order of Ontario and officer of the Order of Canada. He is the recipient of four Honorary Degrees and the Canada Wightman Gairdner Award, was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and was elected a Distinguished Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (one of only five).
Dr. Stiller was principal investigator on the Canadian multi-centre study that established the effectiveness of Cyclosporine in transplantation, was the first to demonstrate that Type 1 Diabetes was amenable to immunosuppression and has published over 250 scientific and medical papers. In 1972 Stiller began transplantation in London and in 1985 established the Multi-Organ Transplant Service at University Hospital serving as its chief for over a decade. He has been president of the Canadian Society of Nephrology and co-founded the MaRS Centre, the Ontario Institute of Cancer Research, the J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine and the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. Dr Stiller also founded two firms in health care and technology services. He established four venture capital funds to invest in innovation, including the largest life sciences fund in Canada.
Dr. Tanner retired in 2015 from his last position as Chief Technology Officer of Fluidigm Corp (South San Francisco CA and Markham ON). He was the founding President and CEO of DVS Sciences and saw the company through the development and commercial launch of its first products, securing of Series A financing, and the subsequent establishment of its facilities both in Markham Ontario (R&D and instrument production) and it’s headquarters (commercial and reagents production) in Sunnyvale California. Dr. Tanner assumed the CTO position following the merger of DVS Sciences with Fluidigm in 2014.
The products that DVS Sciences has brought to the global market were originally developed, with support of the Ontario Genomics, at the University of Toronto where Dr. Tanner was a Professor in the Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering and then in Chemistry. Prior to that, Dr. Tanner was Principal Scientist with MDS Sciex, the analytical technologies division of MDS Inc. In his 25 years at Sciex, Dr. Tanner developed and helped to commercialize a string of mass spectrometry products.
Dr. Tanner received the 2011 University of Toronto Inventor of the Year Award for Biomedical and Life Sciences, the 2011 ThermoFisher Scientific Spectroscopy Award, the 2003 W.A.E. McBryde medal from the Canadian Chemical Society, and the 2001 Manning Innovation Foundation Award of Distinction. Dr. Tanner completed his PhD in Physical Chemistry at York University in Toronto. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry (UK) and of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.