Board of Directors

The primary mandate of Ontario Genomics’ Board of Directors is to provide strategic insight and operational governance.

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, PhD
Venture Partner, Lumira Capital

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
CEO, Ontario Science Centre

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 L. Cummings B. Sc. (Econ.), CPA, CA, FCA (UK)
CEO and General Managing Partner, Rizolve Partners

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, PhD
Vice-President, Research, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton

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.

Shana Kelley, PhD
Professor, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto

Dr. Shana Kelley is a Distinguished Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Chemistry, Biochemistry, and Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Dr. Kelley received her Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology and was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Research Institute.

The Kelley research group works in a variety of areas spanning bioanalytical chemistry, chemical biology and nanotechnology.

Dr. Kelley’s work has been recognized with a variety of distinctions, including being named one of “Canada’s Top 40 under 40”, a NSERC E.W.R. Steacie Fellow, the 2011 Steacie Prize, and the 2016 NSERC Brockhouse Prize. She has also been recognized with the Pittsburgh Conference Achievement Award, an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, a Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar award, a NSF CAREER Award, a Dreyfus New Faculty Award, and was also named a “Top 100 Innovator” by MIT’s Technology Review. She is a founder of two molecular diagnostics companies, GeneOhm Sciences (acquired by Becton Dickinson in 2005) and Xagenic Inc. Dr. Kelley also serves as Xagenic’s Chief Technology Officer.

John Kelly, PhD
Chief Executive Officer, KeliRo Company

Dr. John Kelly is the Chief Executive Officer of KeliRo Company, which supports entrepreneurs and innovation in the life sciences, agriculture, food and bioeconomy sectors in domestic and international markets. He is also Executive Vice President of Troll Bridge Creek Inc., manufacturers of KiKi Maple Sweet Water. He also was lead the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association as CEO and Executive Vice President. He is formerly vice-president of the Erie Innovation and Commercialization with the Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers’ Association. Throughout his career, he has sought to enable innovation and diversify agriculture and food opportunities throughout Canada and elsewhere. He has a wealth of experience in the private and public sector and has held various executive and Board of Director positions with start-ups and multinational companies, including Life Sciences Ontario, Ontario South Coast Wineries and Growers Association, Ontario Hazelnut Association, Ontario Lavender Association, MaRS Landing, Land O’ Lakes, Ralston Purina, Rhone-Poulenc Canada Inc. and Aventis CropSciences Inc., as well as the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. Throughout his career, he has been focused on innovation development and implementation, actively advancing products and technologies in agriculture, food, biotechnology, pharma and the bioeconomy sectors.

Jay A. Lefton, LLB
Partner, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP

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
President & Chair, Life Sciences Ontario

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, M.D., PhD
Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute
Professor of Pediatrics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa

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.

Karen Michell
Executive Director, Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO)

Karen Michell joined the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO) as Executive Director in 2009. Karen works with a Council of the CEOs of Ontario’s 24 member hospitals to champion the academic and research missions of these hospitals in Ontario. CAHO members are committed to providing the best specialized care for Ontarians today and inventing the improved health care of tomorrow, all while teaching the next generation of health care providers. CAHO’s mission is to harness the collective research and innovation strengths of its member hospitals to advance world-leading patient care and a sustainable health care system.

While advancing the stability of and investment in the health research enterprise, CAHO is also working to enable the more rapid movement of research evidence into practice to improve the quality of health care. As such, Karen was instrumental in creating CAHO’s Adopting Research to Improve Care (ARTIC) Program, which uses the CAHO community to move research evidence from one hospital to all member hospitals. The aspiration of the ARTIC program is to catalyze the creation of an evidence implementation pathway for the province of Ontario.

Prior to joining CAHO, Karen spent 14 years at the Canadian Bankers Association, most recently as the Vice President, Banking Operations. In that capacity, Karen worked with senior decision makers in government and senior executives in the banks to develop policies and regulations that contributed to a safe and efficient banking sector in Canada. Karen was responsible for issues as diverse as risk management, accounting standards, tax competitiveness, payment systems and emergency preparedness.

Karen has a Masters degree in International Affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and a BA in International Relations from the University of Toronto.

Mark Poznansky, C.M., O.Ont., PhD
President and CEO, Ontario Genomics

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.


Bonnie Schmidt, PhD
President, Let’s Talk Science

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.

Cal Stiller, O.C., O.Ont., M.D.
Chair and CEO, Stilco

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.

Scott Tanner, PhD
Former CEO, DVS Sciences Inc.

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.