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Michael Rudnicki, O.C., PhD, FRSC, Scientific Director & CEO

Dr. Michael Rudnicki is a Senior Scientist and the Director of the Regenerative Medicine Program and the Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. He is Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. Dr. Rudnicki’s achievements have been recognized by numerous honours including being named a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for two consecutive terms, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Rudnicki is an internationally recognized thought leader in molecular genetics and regenerative medicine whose research has transformed our understanding of muscle development and regeneration, and fueled the development of novel molecular and stem cell based approaches to the treatment of muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Rudnicki’s key discovery was the identification and characterization of muscle stem cells. This work pivoted the field towards the study of adult regenerative myogenesis and set the stage for novel molecular and stem cell based approaches to the treatment of muscular dystrophy and other neuromuscular disorders. Dr. Rudnicki is a member of the editorial boards of Cell Stem Cell, Journal of Cell Biology, and Stem Cells. He is a founding Co-Editor-in-Chief of the journal Skeletal Muscle. Dr. Rudnicki has also organized many international research conferences and was a founding director of the Society for Muscle Biology.

As Scientific Director for SCN, Dr. Rudnicki provides direction and leadership for the Network’s Research program and serves as the Chair of SCN’s Research Management Committee and is a member of the Board of Directors.

Cate Murray, Executive Director & COO

Cate has over two decades of experience working in public policy, strategic communications, and government relations. Cate has a proven track record of helping national research organizations move their mandates forward. Throughout her career, Cate has worked to bridge the worlds of research and public policy. Cate is skilled at relaying in-depth and complicated material in a compelling & digestible manner for a variety of audiences. Her efforts have translated into millions of dollars in earned national media and support from stakeholder organizations, politicians, and members of industry. As a senior leader, Cate has led a number of high performing teams. She believes in participatory leadership and being able to think strategically and act tactically.  As the Executive Director of the Stem Cell Network, Cate leads a professional team who work diligently to support a robust network of researchers from across Canada who are driving stem cell based therapies and technologies into the clinic and market.

Cate began her career working as a political advisor and has also served in communication and policy roles at CIHR and the Council of Canadian Academies. Cate is a committed mom who enjoys a good run and a yoga class.

Rebecca Cadwalader, Manager, Research & Training

Rebecca joined the Stem Cell Network in November 2011. As Manager, Research & Training, Rebecca ensures the delivery of SCN’s research and training program activities, and supports the work of the Stem Cell Network’s Board of Directors, Research Management Committee and trainee committees. Prior to joining SCN, Rebecca was Manager at the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (University of British Columbia), a research institute which builds communities of scientists to promote collaboration and applications in the mathematical sciences. Rebecca brings to the Network over 15 years experience in administration, finance and event management across a variety of organizations in Canada and the United Kingdom. Rebecca holds a degree in Law & Politics from Cardiff University (UK), and a certificate in business accounting from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (UK).

Jon Draper, Program Director, Research and Partnerships

Dr. Jon Draper has worked extensively with human pluripotent stem cells for the past 19 years. He made numerous contributions to the characterization of these remarkable cells, including identifying their capacity to accumulate genetic abnormalities that have implications for their use in regenerative medicine applications. For the last 10 years, Jon held a Canada Research Chair and led a research group within the Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute at McMaster. His group used human pluripotent stem cells to investigate mechanisms of fate commitment within stem cells, in addition to establishing in vitro human model system, including gut organoids, for use in the investigation of disease pathogenesis. Jon has been an active participant within the stem cell community, contributing to endeavours such as the International Stem Cell Initiative, as well as serving as a council member for the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine for the last 3 years.

Jen Kwiatkowski, Communications Specialist

Jen joined the Stem Cell Network team in spring of 2017. Jen provides support with the written and creative development of print and electronic communication materials and assists with management of SCN’s website and social media accounts. Her background includes over six years’ experience in the not-for-profit sector, working for charities and foundations in Canada and Australia, with a focus in communications, volunteer management, and program and event planning. 

Shannon Sethuram, Director, Finance & Research Administration

Shannon Sethuram is the Director of Finance and Research Administration at the Stem Cell Network. She has held this position since 2008 and is responsible for maintaining all of the Network’s accounting records as well as all financial reporting. Shannon is a graduate of the Business Administration program at Mount Saint Vincent University and began her career at Coopers and Lybrand in Halifax.  Prior to joining the Network, Shannon worked at Sustainable Development Technology Canada. She has enjoyed a varied career in the private sector, in both for profit and not for profit organizations. 

Lisa Willemse, Interim Communications Director

Lisa is a communications professional with 15+ years’ experience working in the regenerative medicine, child development and technology research fields.  An alumnus of the acclaimed Banff Science Communications program and the University of Calgary, her background includes training in fine art, communications and journalism. Lisa has worked for several national and provincial research organizations and she spent several years working as a freelance editor, writer and photographer. She’s the creator of two successful regenerative medicine blogs, Signals and The Expression and, in her spare time, contributes to the Boards and/or activities of Science Borealis, the Ottawa Mountain Bike Association and Chelsea Nordiq ski club. Follow her on Twitter and Medium @Willemsela