Research Management Committee (RMC)

Name

Role

Daniel GoldowitzChairBio
Dan Goldowitz received his PhD in Psychobiology at the University of California at Irvine with a thesis that focused on the plasticity of the adult central nervous in response to lesions. His subsequent postdoctoral work at Harvard Children’s Hospital in Boston, the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, and the University of Utah School of Medicine in Salt Lake City was in the development of the nervous system. His first position was as an assistant professorship at Jefferson Medical School in Philadelphia. Using approaches that were relatively novel to the study of the brain he pioneered approaches to ascertain the function of genes in brain and behaviour. He moved to the University of Tennessee Health Science Centre (UTHSC) in Memphis and was a leading force in organizing researchers across the State of Tennessee in forming a collaborative to use the mouse as a model organism to identify the function of the genes that were just being uncovered with the human genome project. The Tennessee Mouse Genome Consortium was the result of these efforts and this collaborative won one of three US National Institute’s of Health (NIH) awards (amounting to about US$13,000,000 over 5years with D. Goldowitz as the Principal Investigator) to understand the role of genes in the function of the brain. This success led the University of Tennessee system to create a US$6,000,000 in a program to fund a Centre of Excellence in Genomics and Bioinformatics proposed by Goldowitz. He also worked with other individuals at UTHSC to obtain NIH funding for projects to bring science education to the K-12 grades. He was awarded an endowed chair of Neurosciences at UTHSC. These efforts have resulted in national and international collaborations that Dan brought to Canada (the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics at the Children and Family Research Inst at UBC). He currently holds a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. He maintains strong NIH- , CIHR- and foundation-funded research programs in the genetics of brain development and function. After a bit more than one year in Canada the call for proposals from the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) was published. A survey of the research landscape indicated that Canada had some incredible strength in brain development, both clinically and in the basic sciences, but that they were not united in a way that could bring a synergy that seemed possible. From this as a vantage point, and with a focus of creating a marriage between the clinical and basic sciences, Goldowitz led a successful application to be one of three new, federally funded NCEs, NeuroDevNet.
Mark BiedaMemberBio
Dr. Bieda's overall research areas are in bioinformatics and epigenetics. He is particularly interested in roles of epigenetic modifications in controlling processes in neuroscience and cancer. Here, Dr. Bieda uses epigenetics in the “modern” sense (some would say incorrect sense) to refer to modifications of DNA and histones to control gene expression. He’d add in transcription factors here, too, with the risk of diluting epigenetic to just mean “transcriptional regulation”.
Kym BoycottMemberBio
Kym Boycott is a Neurogeneticist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and Investigator at the CHEO Research Institute. She is an Associate Professor and holds a Research Chair in Neurogenetics from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. She completed her PhD, MD and FRCPC training in Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary. Dr. Boycott’s research, bridging clinical medicine to basic science, is focused on elucidating the molecular pathogenesis of rare inherited neurological diseases using next-generation sequencing approaches. She is the Lead Investigator of the Genome Canada, CIHR, Genome BC and Genome Quebec funded ‘Finding of Rare Disease Genes in Canada’ (FORGE Canada) project which is investigating the molecular etiology of almost 200 rare pediatric diseases. Dr. Boycott’s second area of research is focused on translation of next-generation sequencing approaches to routine diagnostics and patient care.
Jim BrienMemberBio
James F. Brien is Professor of Pharmacology and Toxicology in the School of Medicine at Queen's University. He has an active, multi-faceted research program in pharmacology and toxicology that, for over 25 years, has focused primarily on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) / Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), with particular emphasis on the brain injury of FAS / FASD. His research program has been funded continuously by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the former Medical Research Council of Canada. He has been involved in several functions of CIHR, including multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary peer-review committees, and University Delegate at Queen’s. Currently, he is a member of the CIHR Governing Council.
Jim BrookesMemberBio

Information to come soon

Jan FriedmanMemberBio
Dr. Friedman’s research bridges clinical genetics and basic science. Our work is focused in three major areas. The first area involves application of advanced genomic technology to identifying the causes of mental retardation. The second area uses genetic epidemiology - statistical analysis of large collections of clinical and genetic data and various other methods - to understand the disease processes in people with neurofibromatosis, a common genetic condition that leads to the development of benign and malignant tumours, cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis. The third area examines development and dissemination of authoritative information on human teratogenic risks (risks to embryonic or fetal development) resulting from maternal treatment with various medications during pregnancy.
Richard HawkesMemberBio
Dr. Hawkes' research focuses on spatially repeated patterns in developing organisms, such as the mammalian cerebellum. Zebrins are expressed in the adult mouse cerebellum in an array of stripes, which correlates closely with the pattern of axons bringing information into the cerebellum. We explore how zebrin bands are generated, how the different ingrowing axons recognize their appropriate targets, what the modular structure of the cerebellum is and how cerebellar modules function in motor control. Dr. Hawkes uses cell and molecular biology techniques including monoclonal antibodies to zebrins, cloning zebrin genes and constructing zebrin transgenic mice, immunocytochemistry, and in situ hybridization, surgical and pharmacological interventions, and culture of cerebellar slices and dissociated neurons.
Mary JohnstonMemberBio
A graduate of University of Guelph and University of Toronto, Professional Home Economist and former teacher, Mary worked in Health Canada and Public Health Agency in diverse positions since 1980. Since 1987, Mary applied her skills to research and knowledge development for promotion of health for children (0 to 18). From 1997 until 2002 as Senior Research Analyst, Division of Childhood and Adolescence she was noted for innovation in translating and disseminating research findings to transform policy, program and practice. Since 2002, Mary managed the FASD Initiative within the PHAC. The focus has been on prevention of future alcohol affected births, improvement of outcomes for those affected and development of prevalence and cost data for Canada.
Bryan KolbMemberBio
Dr. Kolb combines neuroscience and psychology to examine the important interplay between experiences, neuron changes and behaviour. His research has focused on the cerebral cortex and how neurons change in response to experiences, drugs, hormones and injury, which in turn affect behaviour. In discovering factors affecting the cerebral cortex in an embryo as well as during the early years of development, he and his research team were able to plot strategies for improving recovery from early brain injury and precautions for pregnant mothers. His research has spurred new treatments to help patients with Alzheimer’s Disease, stroke, or afflicted by drug abuse or head injuries.
Doug SwansonMemberBio

Information to come soon