Scientific Board

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Scientific Board Member (Biomaterials)

Dr. Jake Barralet

Dr Barralet is a Materials Science graduate who specialized in Biomaterials during his PhD at the Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Biomedical Materials, QMW, University of London. After a postdoctoral position with Professor Aoki at Tokyo Medical and Dental University, he worked at Smith and Nephew Group Research Centre, York, UK, developing bone graft and casting materials. At the University of Birmingham, UK, he progressed research themes in tissue engineering and bone grafts in collaboration with biologist and clinical co-workers. He specializes in Bioceramics, in particular, low-temperature syntheses of nanocrystalline and amorphous inorganics, cold setting materials (cements) and precipitation to create new or improved materials or devices for tissue repair or delivery. Work on tissue engineering has focussed on new ways to build 3D structures using microscaffolds as building blocks for macroscale constructs. In addition, calcium cross-linked alginate has been evaluated as a tissue engineering scaffold. He has been awarded a Canada Research Chair in Osteoinductive Biomaterials and will work on this topic, as well as extending prior work to include biomineralization.

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Scientific Board Member (Drug Discovery)

Dr. Bertrand Jean-Claude

Bertrand J. Jean-Claude, PhD is Director of the CTB Drug Discovery Platform at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and Associate Leader of the Metabolic Disease and Complications Program (MeDiC). An Associate Professor of Medicine at McGill University, he has received many awards, including the Medical Research Council of Canada (MRC)-Cancer Research Society (CRS) partnered award, the US Department of Defence New Investigator Award and the Fonds de recherche du Québec─Santé (FRQS) Senior Investigator Award. His research program focuses on a novel tumour targeting approach initiated in his Cancer Drug Research Laboratory, termed “the Combi-Targeting concept.” This approach seeks to confer signalling inhibitory properties to potent DNA damaging agents with the purpose of interfering with mechanisms that lead to apoptosis. The first proof-of-concept synthesis of a novel molecule capable of targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and damaging DNA made Dr. Jean-Claude a pioneer in the rational design of dual-targeted kinase inhibitors. He is currently applying the new combi-targeting approach to immune-oncology. In addition to directing a research laboratory and a technological platform, Dr. Jean-Claude leads two major training programs at McGill University: the Graduate Diploma in Clinical Research and the Drug Development Training Program (DDTP).

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Scientific Board Member (Genomics)

Dr. Ioannis Ragoussis

Dr. Ioannis (Jiannis) Ragoussis is the Head of Genome Sciences at the McGill Genome Center and Professor in Human Genetics at the Department of Human Genetics and Department of Bioengineering, McGill University. He has a long-standing career of 35 years in genomics, since the start of his PhD in Biochemistry with Immunology and Genetics at the University of Tübingen, Germany. He has introduced new genomics technologies for gene identification and mapping at Guy’s Hospital in London as Lecturer and Reader and introduced high-throughput genotyping and next-generation sequencing at Oxford University’s Wellcome Trust Centre for Human Genetics as Head of Genomics. He has developed expertise and experience stretching over a wide spectrum of next generation sequencing applications. At McGill, he has established genomics facilities, introduced for the first time in Québec and developed single cell genomics, long read sequencing (Nanopore and PacBio), as well as Hi-C approaches for de novo genome sequencing. He is leading virus genomics and sequencing in the CIHR-funded Network CoVaRR-Net. He has experience in working with national and international consortiums, and is a member of several large-scale Genome Canada and CFI-funded projects. He has authored or co-authored over 250 publications in the field of genomics.

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Scientific Board Member (Hematology)

Dr. Janusz Rak

Janusz Rak, MD, PhD obtained his medical degree in 1981, followed by a doctorate at the Ludwik Hirszfeld Institute of Immunology and Experimental Therapy of the Polish Academy of Sciences in Wroclaw, Poland (1986). He subsequently trained as a Fullbright Fellow at the Michigan Cancer Foundation (1990) in Detroit, MI, and continued his postdoctoral career at the Sunnybrook Research Institute in Toronto, ON, followed by faculty appointments at McMaster and McGill Universities in Canada. He is currently a Professor of Pediatrics, Experimental Medicine and Biochemistry and Jack Cole Chair in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology at McGill University in Montreal, QC, Canada. His laboratory investigates how oncogenic events deregulate the tumour microenvironment, orchestrate intercellular communications and trigger systemic vascular paraneoplastic syndromes in high-grade brain tumours. The focal point of these studies are processes mediated by the exchange of extracellular vesicles carrying oncogenic cargo (oncosomes), including their biological contributions to progression, vascular pathologies (angiogenesis, thrombosis) and therapeutic responses in cancer across the age spectrum. An important aspect of these studies is the potential of oncosomes as cancer biomarkers.  In this regard, he was instrumental in creating and now directs the CFI funder program – Centre for Applied Nanomedicine (CAN) at RIMUHC. Dr. Rak published over 150 scientific papers (over 28,000 citations) and is currently supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Cancer Research Society, Charles-Bruneau Foundation and other sources.

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Scientific Board Member (Immunology)

Dr. Chris Rudd

Dr. Rudd’s research focuses on receptors and signalling pathways of T-cells of the immune system. His lab discovered the CD4 and CD8-p56lck complexes and adaptor proteins that initiate the protein tyrosine phosphorylation and activation cascade in T lymphocytes, as well as pathways that account for CD28, CTLA-4 and ICOS co-receptor function. His lab’s work helped to lay the foundation for chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) cancer therapy which employs immunoreceptor tyrosine-based activation motifs (ITAMs) (targets of p56lck) as well as CD28 signalling PI3K binding motifs that were identified by Rudd's lab. More recently, his lab has identified the serine-threonine kinase, glycogen synthase kinase (GSK-3), as the central regulator of the expression of programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) on T cells and has demonstrated the therapeutic feasibility of small molecules inhibitors (SMIs) of GSK-3 in anti-tumour immunity. The lab also has additional SMIs in the pipeline against other key mediators of T-cell function for translation into clinical trials for the treatment of melanoma and leukemias. 

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