Oct 2014

Dr. Alan Bernstein

Foundation’s leader named to Medical Hall of Fame

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Dr. Alan Bernstein, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Canadian Stem Cell Foundation, has received perhaps the highest national honour in medicine: membership in the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame.

Dr. Bernstein, whose career encompasses success in both conducting outstanding research and creating the right conditions for outstanding research to be done, is one of six leading researchers and medical practitioners who will be officially inducted into the Hall of Fame April 23 in Winnipeg.

“The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is proud to welcome these six medical heroes as honoured members,” Dr. Jean Gray, the Hall’s Chair. Gray, said in a press release. “Their contributions to health in Canada and the world are well documented and their induction to The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is richly deserved.”

An internationally respected scientist, Dr. Bernstein made important discoveries in stem cell and cancer research, publishing more than 225 papers and advancing the understanding of the Friend virus in leukemia.  His stem cell roots run deep: he did his PhD studies at the University of Toronto with Dr. James Till who, with research partner Dr. Ernest McCulloch, had discovered stem cells in the early 1960s.

As director of the Mount Sinai’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute (now the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute) he built the institute into one of the leading research facilities in the world.  A Gairdner Wightman Award winner and Order of Canada member, he led the transformation of health research in Canada as the founding president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and oversaw a close to three-fold increase in Canada’s budget for health research.

After serving as CIHR’s leader for seven years, during which time he refocused and energized the Canadian health research community, Dr. Bernstein went on to head the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise.  He now serves as President and CEO of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research, which brings together almost  400 of Canada’s and the world’s best researchers to address questions of importance to the world.

“Alan is one of the giants of Canadian health research,” said Foundation President and CEO James Price. “With his lifetime of achievements, he truly deserves this outstanding honour. We’re delighted to congratulate him and feel extremely fortunate to have him guiding our Foundation as Board Chair.”

The other inductees include:

  • Dr. Judith G. Hall, a pediatrician and geneticist who has been at the international forefront of here field for more than four decades;
  • Dr. Bernard Langer, a global pioneer of hepatobiliary/pancreatic (HPB) surgery who developed a world-leading academic HPB and liver transplant service at Toronto General Hospital;
  • the late Dr. John McCrae, the co-author of the influential Text-Book of Pathology for Students of Medicine  and author of  In Flanders Fields;
  • Dr. Julio Montaner,  who led an international consortium of investigators to test the viability of a novel drug combination called ‘highly active antiretroviral therapy’ (HAART) to suppress HIV replication; and
  • Dr. Duncan G. Sinclair, an internationally recognized leader in health care reform.

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