Board of Directors


Christopher Loomis, PhD, FCAHS

Former Vice-President (Research), Memorial University of Newfoundland (retired)

chris-loomisChristopher Loomis received his Ph.D. in Pharmacology & Toxicology from Queen’s University in 1983, where he subsequently served as assistant professor in the Faculty of Medicine (Departments of Pharmacology & Toxicology, and Anaesthesia).

In 1988, Dr. Loomis moved to Memorial University of Newfoundland as associate professor of Pharmacology in the School of Pharmacy and the Faculty of Medicine. He was appointed full professor in 1996, and became Dean of Pharmacy in 1998. Beginning in 2002, Dr. Loomis served two 5-year terms as Vice-President (Research) at Memorial. He also served as President & Vice-Chancellor Pro Tempore from 2009-2010, and as Vice-President (Academic) Pro Tempore from 2008-2009.

Funded for twenty-five years by the Medical Research Council of Canada (now the Canadian Institutes of Health Research), Dr. Loomis’ program of research focused on the spinal pharmacology of pain (opioid and non-opioid mechanisms of spinal analgesia) and the central mechanisms of neuropathic pain early after nerve injury. As Vice-President (Research), he played a leadership role in the establishment of the regional HPC network, ACEnet, and served as Chair of its Board of Directors from 2003-2013.

Dr. Loomis is a former member and officer of many national boards including Canarie Inc. (2003-2013) and the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2007-2013). He continues to serve as Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of Ocean Networks Canada Inc., as a member of the Science Advisory Board of Health Canada, and as an invited Chair of past and upcoming multi-disciplinary assessment committees (MACs) for the Canada Foundation for Innovation. Dr. Loomis was elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS) in 2012. He retired from Memorial University on March 1, 2016.

Nils Petersen, PhD

Professor, University of Alberta

nils-petersenNils Petersen, PhD (California Institute of Technology) is a Professor of Chemistry at the University of Alberta. He is the NINT Fellow and an Honorary Professor of Nanoscale Biological Sciences, University of Twente. Dr. Petersen’s current research focuses on intermolecular interactions in biological membranes, particularly the study of dynamics and distribution of molecules within the membrane as a means of understanding cell-cell communication, signal transduction, adhesion, and locomotion of cells. His work spans a range of disciplines from computation to biology and has led to 130 publications to date.

After research positions at Cornell University and Washington University Medical School, he returned to The University of Western Ontario’s Department of Chemistry as a faculty member in 1981. While at Western, he was Associate Dean of Graduate Studies (1993-95), Chair of the Department of Chemistry (1995-99), and the first Associate Vice-President (Research) at Western (1999-2000). After nearly three years as Vice-President (Research) at Western, he joined the National Research Council (NRC) in 2004 as Director General for the National Institute for Nanotechnology with a concurrent position as Professor of Chemistry at the University of Alberta. In 2011, he retired from the NRC and subsequently served one year as Acting Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Science at the U of A.

Dr. Petersen has served on 12 non-for-profit Boards for both incorporated and non-incorporated entities. Among the former, he was the Chair of the Board of the UWO Research Park, a member of CLLRNet (an NCE) and CMC Microsystems, and he currently serves as a member of the Boards of the Canadian Light Source, ArboraNano (a Business-led NCE); and PIMS. He was the founding Board Chair for SHARCNET (Shared Hierarchical Academic Research Computing Network), a network of high-performance Beowulf computer clusters in southwestern Ontario. Other Advisory Board memberships include the CIHR Institute for Genetics International Advisory Board, the California Nano Systems Institute, and the Canadian Institute for Synchrotron Radiation. He currently Chairs the Board of BiopSys, an NSERC Strategic Network at the University of Toronto.

Elizabeth Beale

Economist and Corporate Director

elizabeth-bealeElizabeth Beale is an economist and corporate director. She recently retired as President and CEO of the Atlantic Provinces Economic Council (APEC), a position she held from 1996 to 2015. She currently serves as a director of Wawanesa Mutual Insurance, where she is chair of the Conduct Review and Corporate Governance Committee; director of Invest Nova Scotia; and director of DHX Media, where she is the deputy chair of the Audit Committee. She remains active in Canadian public policy through her role as a commissioner of Canada’s Ecofiscal Commission, mentor for the Trudeau Foundation, member of the National Statistics Council and member of the Board of Economic Advisors for the government of Prince Edward Island. She was elected as a Fellow of the World Academy of Productivity Science in 2015.

Ms. Beale has served as an advisor to government and industry on economic strategies for Atlantic Canada throughout her career. Her policy and research interests have focused on energy, labour market, and innovation topics where she has authored numerous studies. Notable initiatives under her leadership at APEC included chairing the first Atlantic Energy Roundtables in 2002 and 2003, coordinating the Atlantic research team for an OECD-IMHE project on higher education and regional development from 2005 to 2008 and participating as a member of the federal-provincial Labour Market Information Advisory Panel and the Nova Scotia Economic Advisory Panel in 2009.

Throughout her career, Ms. Beale has combined her commitment to progressive policy research with civil society engagement. She was an associate fellow and lecturer in the School of Journalism at the University of King’s College from 1981 to 1991, director of the Telecom Applications Research Alliance from 1999 to 2004, governor of Dalhousie University from 2000 to 2010, director of the University of Prince Edward Island’s research commercialization initiative (Three Oaks Innovation) from 2006 to 2010 and founding advisory board member of the Leslie Harris Centre of Regional Policy and Development at Memorial University from 2005 to 2014.

Ms. Beale is a graduate of the universities of Toronto (B.A.) and Dalhousie (M.A. Economics). She resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Jennifer Blum

Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Operations Support, VHA Home Healthcare

jennifer-blumJennifer Blum is the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and the Vice President of Operations Support at VHA Home Healthcare, a position that she has held since 2008. VHA is a registered charity and accredited provider of home healthcare with revenue of $91 million annually and over 1,500 staff and service providers providing nursing, rehabilitation and personal support services on behalf of Community Care Access Centres across Ontario.

Prior to that she was the Director, Financial Planning, at University Health Network, a billion dollar healthcare organization comprising the Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret hospitals, from 2006 until she joined the VHA.

Of particular interest is her tenure as the VP Finance and CFO at the Ontario Centres of Excellence from 2001 to 2005, where she developed strategic partnerships with the investment community and industry while creating and leading an initiative called the Accelerator Program to encourage private investment in start-up technologies in communications and IT.

Ms. Blum has an Honours Business Administration (International Business and Accounting), 1988, and a Bachelor of Arts, Administrative and Commercial Studies, 1986, both from the University of Western Ontario. She took the Executive Management Development Program at Carleton University in 2001.

She is a licensed professional accountant and a member of the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants since 1994, where she has undertaken additional programs as a Tax Practitioner, the CICA In-Depth Tax Program and the International Tax & Corporate Reorganizations Course. She became a member of the Canadian Securities Institute in 1992 and holds the Canadian Securities Certificate.

Rick Bunt, PhD

Professor Emeritus, University of Saskatchewan

rick-buntRick Bunt (PhD, University of Toronto) is a Professor Emeritus of Computer Science at the University of Saskatchewan and former CIO whose research career dealt with issues affecting the performance of computer systems. As an academic, he was a founding member of the DISCUS Research Group, supervised the successful completion of 35 graduate student theses at the Ph.D. and M.Sc. levels, and was active with NSERC as a member/chair of a number of committees. As the University of Saskatchewan’s CIO from 2001-2013 he led an extensive transformation of both academic and administrative processes and oversaw the installation of the infrastructure required to achieve this.

He has experience on the Boards of both CANARIE and CUCCIO (the Canadian University Council of CIOs), and has chaired numerous review panels. He has also served as a member of Compute Canada’s Community Planning and Advocacy Council and the Minister’s Advisory Council on Information Technology in the Province of Saskatchewan.

Dr. Bunt is passionate about research infrastructure and wants to ensure that Canadian researchers are provided the infrastructure they need to compete successfully with their international peers. In 2012 he hosted the first National Summit on Digital Infrastructure for Research and he has maintained contact with developments in this area both in Canada and abroad.

Roger Foxall, PhD

Chief Executive Officer, Life Science Strategies Inc.

roger-foxallRoger Foxall obtained his BSc (Eng.) in Physical Metallurgy at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, University of London. He obtained his PhD in Physics at the Cavendish Laboratory of the University of Cambridge, followed by postdoctoral studies at the University of Oxford. He moved to Ottawa in 1968 to take up a Research Officer position at the National Research Council. In 1975, he began a series of assignments that prepared him for a career in research management, including a secondment to the Treasury Board Secretariat as Program Analyst.

In 1984, he became Director of the NRC Atlantic Research Laboratory in Halifax, later renamed the Institute for Marine Biosciences, and he was Director General from 1990 until April 1998. Other roles that Roger played during his time in Halifax included membership of the Council on Applied Science and Technology (advisory to the Premier of Nova Scotia); the Steering Committee for the Aquatic Biotechnology Network – AQUATECH; the Board of Directors of the Nova Scotia Oceans Initiative; the Board of the Canadian Centre for Fisheries Innovation; the Editorial Board of the Journal of Marine Biotechnology; and the International Advisory Board of the Marine Biotechnology Institute of Japan.

Roger moved to British Columbia in July 1998, and established a consulting company focused on the life sciences, based on his experience in genomics and marine biotechnology, including experience in forming linkages with Canadian companies and with other institutions throughout Canada, the Americas, Europe and the Asia-Pacific region. From August 2000 through January 2002, he served as the founding President and CEO of Genome British Columbia – one of six centres across the country funded in part by Genome Canada. He then served as Executive Vice President Research until December 2003 and Executive Vice President Corporate Development until August 2005. Roger now specializes in strategic analysis and advice regarding the genome sciences, other areas of the life sciences, as well as governance and management of large-scale science and technology initiatives.

Rose Goldstein MD, CM, FRCPC

Vice-Principal of Research & Innovation, McGill University

rose-goldsteinRose Goldstein has been serving as Vice-Principal of Research and Innovation at McGill University since returning from Calgary in 2010, where she held the role of Vice-President of Research for three years. Previously, Dr. Goldstein served four years as the Vice-Dean of Academic Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ottawa, and was the Founding Director of the Ottawa Academic Health Sciences Leadership Program.

She has been a member of Calcul Québec’s Board of Directors since 2012 and has served on many not-for-profit boards including Research Canada, McGill University Health Centre Research Institute, the Jewish General Hospital, Canadian Technion Society, Montreal InVivo, MSBiV, ALIGO, and BioFuelNet. In November 2010, Dr. Goldstein completed the Governance Essentials Program for Directors of Not-for-Profit Organizations (NFP Program) given by the Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD).

Dr. Goldstein’s clinical activities included general rheumatology with an interest in osteoporosis and women’s health. She has been a career scientist at the Ontario Ministry of Health and an Arthritis Society research scholar in the area of immunogenetics. Dr. Goldstein has also received grants to support her work in medical education, including the exploration of gender and health topics in the training of medical students and the study of conflict resolution in health care and medical education.

Dr. Goldstein earned her Bachelor of Science and Medical degrees from McGill. She trained in internal medicine at the universities of Toronto and Ottawa and completed her training in rheumatology at the University of Ottawa and the University of Texas at Houston. She is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. In 2001, Dr. Goldstein received a Women Liaison Officer Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). She received the first annual Canadian Medical Association (CMA) May Cohen Award for Women Mentors, as well as a University of Ottawa Faculty Award of Excellence in 2002.

Steven N. Liss, PhD

Vice-Principal of Research, Queen’s University

lissSteven N. Liss is the Vice-Principal (Research) and a full time professor of Environmental Studies and Chemical Engineering at Queen’s. An internationally recognized researcher, his interests are focused on environmental biotechnology and engineering, applied microbiology, wastewater and water management, and fate of contaminants in engineered and natural environmental systems.

He has played a significant leadership role in the advancement of university education at the undergraduate and graduate levels at several universities. He is a member and Chair of a number of Boards and management groups as part of his role in supporting research and innovation across Canada. Professor Liss was the Chair of the Ontario Council on University Research (OCUR) for 2015-16, and is Past-Chair of the Board of Management of TRIUMF, Canada’s national laboratory for particle and nuclear physics. Professor Liss is the founding co-chair of the Leadership Council on Digital Infrastructure.

Professor Liss was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his contributions to advancing research across Canada. He began his second term as Vice-Principal (Research) in September 2015.

Michael W. Salter, MD, PhD

Chief of Research at The Hospital for Sick Children, Senior Scientist and Professor, University of Toronto

michael-salterDr.  Salter is Chief of Research at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), a Senior Scientist in the Program in Neurosciences & Mental Health, and a Professor of Physiology at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Salter received an MD degree from the University of Western Ontario in 1982 and went on to obtain a Ph.D. in Physiology from McGill in 1987. After post-doctoral training at Toronto Western and at Mt. Sinai hospitals, he joined the Research Institute of SickKids in 1990. From 1999 to 2009 Dr. Salter was the founding Director of the University of Toronto Centre for the Study of Pain.  Dr. Salter’s main research focus is on synaptic physiology, in particular in relation to pain, and he has done groundbreaking work that has led to new paradigms about neuroplasticity and about how synaptic transmission in the central nervous system is regulated by biochemical processes within neurons and by glial-neuronal interactions.   His discoveries have broad implications for the control of cell-cell communication throughout the nervous system and his work has regularly appeared in elite journals including Nature, Science, Cell, Nature Medicine and Neuron.  Dr. Salter has a broad interest in neuroscience and his work relevant to learning and memory, stroke-induced neuron death, epilepsy and schizophrenia.  As a distinct line of research, he and his collaborators reported in Cell in 2006 their discovery of a previously unsuspected role for sensory neurons in the pathogenesis of diabetes and in the control of glucose homeostasis.

To facilitate the translation of his fundamental studies to the development of new therapies for humans, Dr. Salter is a founding scientist and actively involved in two startup biotech companies – NoNO Inc and Afference Therapeutics.   Dr. Salter currently holds the Northbridge Chair in Paediatric Research.  He has received numerous awards including the E.B. Eastburn Award, the John Charles Polyani Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Early Career Investigator Award of the Canadian Pain Society, the Distinguished Career Investigator Award of the Canadian Pain Society, and was an International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

John Towns

Principal Investigator and Project Director, XSEDE

john-townsJohn Towns is the Director of the Collaborative Cyberinfrastructure Program Office at the National Centre for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). He is also the PI and Project Director for XSEDE (Extreme Science and Engineering Discovery Environment), the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) premier cyberinfrastructure project, and leads other projects at NCSA. He has gained a broad view of the needs of computational and data-intensive science and engineering researchers through his key roles in policy and program development and implementation as part of several large-scale NSF projects as well as his involvement in key activities at the University of Illinois, where he currently serves on the Research Committee of the IT Executive Governance Committee.

His background is in computational astrophysics making use of a variety of computational architectures with a focus on application performance analysis. At NCSA, he provides leadership and direction in the support of an array of computational science and engineering research projects making use of advanced computing and data resources. He plays significant roles in the deployment and operation of computational, data, and visualization resources, and Grid-related projects that embody the deployment of technologies and services to support the establishment of a distributed computing infrastructure.

Charles Vaillancourt

Chief Information Officer, Pratt & Whitney Canada

charles-vaillancourtMr. Charles Vaillancourt was appointed Chief Information Officer – Pratt & Whitney Canada in 2014. Before joining Pratt & Whitney Canada, Mr. Vaillancourt was Vice-President and Chief Information Officer at Cogeco Cable, responsible for IT strategy, architecture, development and maintenance of the information systems that support the company’s activities.

Prior to that he was Vice President, Global Business Engineering at CGI, a world-class IT service provider, where his responsibilities included structuring, negotiating, and implementing large IT outsourcing agreements with clients worldwide.

He joined CGI after its acquisition of Myriap, an architecture consulting and application development services company which he had co-founded. Before his career in information technology, Mr. Vaillancourt worked as a mechanical engineer for Nortel and GE Aviation.

Mr. Vaillancourt earned a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Laval University for his research on the International Space Station’s robotic systems which was funded by the Canadian Space Agency. He is an instrument-rated pilot.