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Dal Researcher Lands Prestigious New Genetics Role with CIHR

Posted by Michele Charlton on May 3, 2018 in News

A recognized leader in genetics, biochemistry and cell biology from Dalhousie has a prestigious new role.

Dr. Christopher McMaster (left), a professor in Dal’s Faculty of Medicine, has appointed as the scientific director for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Institute of Genetics (IG).  

“The appointment of Dr. McMaster to the prestigious role of Scientific Director is a testament to his significant accomplishments as a scientist and leader in his field,” says Alice Aiken, vice-president research at Dalhousie. “His innovative research has had a key role in shaping the future of genetic science in Canada and around the world, and we are proud to have a researcher of his caliber part of the Dalhousie University community.”

The CIHR’s IG supports research on human and model genomes and on all aspects of genetics, basic biochemistry, and cell biology related to health and disease, including the translation of knowledge into health policy and practice, and the societal implications of genetic discoveries.

As scientific director, Dr. McMaster will help identify research priorities, develop funding opportunities, build partnerships, and translate research evidence into policy and practice to improve the health of Canadians and people around the world. As a member of CIHR’s leadership team, he will also participate in setting and implementing CIHR’s strategic direction.

“I look forward to working with and supporting Canada’s genetics community,” says Dr. McMaster. “Canada has a rich history in training and conducting world class genetics spanning basic, translational, clinical, and outcomes research. There is substantive momentum across all areas that the Institute of Genetics will seek to further foster and grow.”

A leader in biochemical genetics

Dr. McMaster’s research is broad in interest, ranging from basic biochemistry and cell biology, to genomics. He has identified a potential therapy for congenital sideroblastic anemia, a disease which occurs when the bone marrow fails to produce a sufficient number of healthy red blood cells. He is also developing treatments for familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, a hereditary disorder that can cause vision loss, and for inherited Parkinson’s disease.

“This is a tremendous honour and achievement for Dr. McMaster,” says David Anderson, dean of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine. “On behalf of Dalhousie’s Faculty of Medicine, I am pleased to congratulate him on his new position. His exemplary commitment to genetics research combined with his outstanding experiences as a leader, scientist and educator at Dalhousie’s medical school are well matched for this new role.”
There are currently 13 CIHR institutes, which encourage partnership and collaboration across sectors, disciplines and regions. This is the first time one has been located in Atlantic Canada.

Dr. McMaster’s new role becomes effective on July 1, 2018.

For more information on the Institute of Genetics, visit the CIHR website.