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A Message from Stem Cell Network’s Scientific Director

Michael Rudnicki, O.C., Ph.D, FRS, FRSC

April 1st, 2022

Dear Friends:

I want to share with you some exciting news about the Stem Cell Network (SCN). As many of you know, in the 2021 federal budget SCN received a three-year funding commitment (2022-2025) that has more than doubled our annual budget. In the coming days we will launch a new three-year strategic plan that aligns with SCN’s new funding levels. This spring we will also launch the results of SCN’s largest funding competition to date. A second funding competition will open this fall and details will be shared later this summer. To lead our growth, SCN and the Board of Directors are implementing organizational and leadership changes.

I am pleased to share with you that Cate Murray, who has been with SCN for the past six years, will become the President & CEO as of April 1st. Cate has been a passionate advocate for SCN and provided the know-how and vision needed to move the Network forward. Cate has over two decades of experience in public affairs and health research. Cate has been with us through thick and thin, and I am pleased that she has agreed to take on this significant leadership role. She will be responsible for overseeing the SCN secretariat and ensuring the successful implementation of our strategic plan. Cate has also been working diligently to expand the dynamic and professional staff team at SCN and has recently welcomed several new members. I look forward to working with Cate and the SCN staff in the years to come.

Additionally, SCN’s Board of Directors has appointed Dr. Bernard Thébaud, a clinician-researcher with the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute to serve as Associate Scientific Director. Many of you know Bernard for his impressive research focused on lung development, injury and repair. Most recently, Bernard has launched both a clinical cell therapy trial, focused on treating underdeveloped lungs of pre-mature infants, and a new biotech company, Inspire Biotherapeutics.

Bernard has been an active investigator and champion for SCN since 2007. He has supported SCN as a member of the Research Management Committee and as Chair of the 2018 Till and McCulloch Meetings. Additionally, he has volunteered his time to educate Parliamentarians and government officials about the invaluable role SCN plays within Canada’s life science ecosystem. I am honoured Dr. Thébaud has agreed to take on the role of Associate Scientific Director to support the Network in building our translational programs and activities.

In early March we learned of the sudden passing of Andrew McKee. Andrew was the Chair of SCN’s Board of Directors and a longtime friend to the Network. We are deeply saddened by his loss and will be forever indebted to him for the leadership he offered to us. Shortly after Andrew’s passing, the Board confirmed the Vice Chair, Declan Hamill as Interim Chair of the Board of Directors. Declan has been a steadfast member of the Board. He is the Vice President, Policy, Regulatory and Legal Affairs for Innovative Medicines Canada. Declan has also recently completed his certification with the Institute of Corporate Directors. I would like to thank Declan for stepping into this important role and providing leadership continuity during this transition period.

It truly is an exciting time for the Stem Cell Network, and we are only just getting started! I look forward to continuing to serve as Scientific Director and to seeing you in person at the Till and McCulloch Meetings in Vancouver on October 3-5, 2022, if not sooner.

Best wishes for good health and a prosperous 2022.

Dr. Michael Rudnicki
Scientific Director, O.C., Ph.D, FRS, FRSC