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Dr. Mark J. Poznansky Appointed as President and CEO of the Ontario Genomics Institute

Toronto - December 1, 2010 - Mr. J. Mark Lievonen, Acting Chair of the Board of Directors of the Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI), is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Mark J. Poznansky as President and CEO of OGI effective December 1, 2010.

“We are extremely pleased with the appointment of Dr. Poznansky as President and CEO,” commented Mr. Lievonen.  “Dr. Poznansky brings a wealth of experience to OGI, in genomics, in business development and in government affairs.  His knowledge of life sciences and in running institutes and businesses will serve OGI well as it continues its plans to aid the growth of the life sciences sector in Ontario and increase the province’s reputation as a world-leader in genomics research.”

For the past two years, Dr. Poznansky has been running 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 this, he was the President, CEO and Scientific Director of the Robarts Research Institute in London, Ontario.  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.  Dr. Poznansky has also served as President and CEO of London, Ontario based Viron Therapeutics Inc. from 2004 to 2006 and founded the London Biotechnology Incubator Inc., Ontario’s first life sciences incubator, in 2002.

“I am honoured to be joining the dedicated, engaged and passionate team at OGI,” said Dr. Poznansky.  “OGI has built up a reputation for excellence over the last 10 years and I am extremely pleased to be joining the organization to oversee and develop strategies for driving genomics research in the province, reinforcing Ontario as a centre for research excellence with an explicit objective to drive a private sector life sciences economy not only in health, but also in agriculture and in the environment.”

Prior to assuming the leadership position at Robarts, Dr. Poznansky was Associate Dean of Medicine at the University of Alberta serving from 1984 to 1993. He had returned to Canada following seven years at Harvard Medical School and in Edmonton rose to the position of Professor of Physiology where his laboratory developed an international reputation in the areas of cholesterol and membrane biophysics, as well as enzyme replacement therapy and the development of novel approaches to drug discovery.

Since 2004, Dr. Poznansky has served on the OGI Board of Directors and from 2008 as Chair.  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.

Dr. Poznansky replaces Dr. Christian Burks who has served as President and CEO since 2004.   “On behalf of the board and staff, I’d like to express our sincere appreciation to Christian for his exemplary stewardship as President and CEO and his passionate approach to solidifying OGI’s role in positioning Ontario as a central player in genomics research and the life sciences sector globally,” said Mr. Lievonen.  “His thoughtful and innovative leadership will be greatly missed.  We wish him well in his future endeavours.”

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About OGI
The Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) is a private, not-for-profit corporation focused on using world-class research to create strategic genomics resources and accelerate Ontario’s development of a globally-competitive life sciences sector.  Through its relationship with Genome Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI), and other private and public sector partners, OGI works to: identify, attract and support investment in Ontario-led genomics research; catalyze access to and the impact of genomics resources; and, raise the visibility of genomics as well as its impact and associated issues.  

For more information on OGI, please visit www.OntarioGenomics.ca

OGI media enquiries:
Alastair Harris-Cartwright
Corporate Communications Manager
T: +1 (416) 673-6582. 
E: aharriscartwright@OntarioGenomics.ca