The Board comprises leaders from Ontario’s life science sector, including not for profit research and education institutions, pharmaceutical and biotechnology enterprises, financial entities, 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
- Shana Kelley
- John Kelly
- Jay A. Lefton
- Alex MacKenzie
- Karen Michell
- Benjamin Rovinski
- Deb Stark
- Cal Stiller
- Scott Tanner
- Alan Winter
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.
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.
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 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 Fasken Martineau DuMoulin 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 Governors of the University of Ontario Institute of Technology and on the Board of Directors of the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute. He has previously been a Director of Pathways to Education Canada, the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation (Toronto), ThinkFirst Foundation of Canada (Toronto), and the Board of the University of Toronto’s Innovations Foundation. He is a past Chair of the Cell Therapy Program Advisory Board of Princess Margaret Hospital (Toronto).
Mr. Lefton earned his B.Comm. (Hons) and LL.B. from the University of Toronto, and in 1983 joined the Ontario Bar.
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 joined the Council of Academic Hospitals of Ontario (CAHO) as executive director in 2009. Working with the CEOs of the province’s 24 research hospitals, she champions their value as the research and development arm of Ontario’s healthcare system.
Prior to joining CAHO, Karen spent 14 years at the Canadian Bankers Association. Her most recent role, as the vice-president of banking operations, saw Karen working with senior decision makers in government and senior executives in the banks. Collectively, they developed policies and regulations that contributed to a safe and efficient banking sector in Canada.
Karen has a master’s degree in international affairs from the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University and a bachelor of arts in international relations from the University of Toronto.
Dr. Benjamin Rovinski has 28 years of investment, operational, managerial and research experience in the healthcare sector. Beni joined Lumira Ventures in 2001, where he is a Managing Director, with an investment focus on early-to late-stage private and public life sciences companies. With a proven track record of delivering results both as a senior scientist and a business executive, Beni has held several senior management positions in the biotechnology sector, including 13 years at Sanofi Pasteur (formerly Aventis Pasteur) where he was a senior scientist and director of molecular virology, with a particular focus in the areas of virology, vaccine development, recombinant protein production, and functional genomics. While at Aventis, Beni led global research and development programs in the areas of HIV/AIDS and therapeutic cancer vaccines, bringing several of them through to clinical stage.
Beni received a PhD in biochemistry from McGill University in Montréal and did post-doctoral studies in molecular oncology and retrovirology at the Ontario Cancer Institute in Toronto. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Rice University in Houston. Beni’s current and past board roles and investment responsibilities include several private and public companies, including G1 Therapeutics (NASDAQ: GTHX); Aurinia Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ:AUPH); Vascular Pharmaceuticals; KAI Pharmaceuticals (acquired by Amgen); Morphotek (acquired by Eisai); Cervelo Pharmaceuticals; Health Hero Network (acquired by Bosch); Avalon Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: AVRX; acquired by Clinical Data, Inc.); Inovise Medical, Inc.; Protana; Signature Biosciences; and SGX Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: SGXP; acquired by Eli Lilly). He also serves on the board of directors of Life Sciences Ontario and the advisory board of the TO Health! industry-led initiative to promote the profile of the Toronto region’s Human Health & Sciences cluster. Beni has published over 25 scientific articles and reviews and is the recipient of 32 issued patents.
Dr. Deb Stark is the former Deputy Minister of the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). During her public service career, Dr. Stark held various senior leadership roles within OMAFRA and the Ministry of the Environment (MOE) including serving as Ontario’s first chief veterinary officer.
Dr. Stark has been a Trustee and Chair of the OPSEU Pension Trust (OPT), Chair of Hospice Wellington, and on the boards of the Veterinary Infectious Diseases Organization (VIDO), and the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA). Dr. Stark is currently on the boards of the Canadian Agriculture Policy Institute and the Ontario Agricultural Hall of Fame Association.
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.
Dr. Winter has wide experience at senior levels in the technology sector and in government, including such roles as the President and CEO of Genome BC from 2001 to 2016, the founding President and CEO of the New Media Innovation Centre in Vancouver, the President of the ComDev Space Group in Ontario, and the President and CEO of MPR Teltech Ltd. in Vancouver. During his tenure as CEO, six companies were spun out of MPR, including PMC-Sierra and Sierra Wireless.
Prior to MPR, Dr. Winter worked for Telesat Canada, and the federal Communications Research Centre in Ottawa where he was responsible for the satellite search and rescue project (SARSAT). The international COSPAS/SARSAT system operates today and has been instrumental in saving over 35,000 lives.
Alan Winter is currently a director of Geoscience BC, and a member of UBC’s Research and Innovation Council. Dr Winter was a Trustee of the Providence Health Care Research Institute, and Chair of the BC CDC Foundation for Population and Public Health. In 2007, he received a Leadership Award from LifeSciences BC, and in 2017 he received the Don Rix Award for Lifetime Achievement. He has been a director of over 30 organizations, including Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, Blackbridge Corporation, Zedi Corporation, Discovery Capital, the BC Business Council and Oceans Network Canada. In 2017, he received the Bill Thompson Lifetime Achievement Award from the BC Technologies Industries Association (BC TIA)
On the federal side, he was Chair of the board of the Communications Research Centre (CRC), Deputy Chair of the Council of Science and Technology Advisors (CSTA), and a member of the Expert Panel on Research Performance and Science Funding, Council of Canadian Academies.
Dr. Winter is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering (FCAE) and a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (FAAAS). He is a Fellow of the Canadian Astronautics and Space Institute (FCASI) and received their inaugural Alouette team Award. Dr. Winter received his Ph.D. from Queen’s University at Kingston, Ontario and was recognized by the Queen’s alumni Legacy of Achievement.