First Virtual Health Research Caucus Meeting - COVID-19 Vaccine and Treatment R&D in Canada

July 6, 2020

In June, I had the priviledge of chairing a Virtual meeting of the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus featuring four of Canada’s top health researchers who are working tirelessly to understand and treat this disease, contributing to the global effort to ultimately defeat COVID-19.

Click the icon below to watch a video of the meeting or visit Research Canada's website to learn more.  



Robert McMaster, PhD
Vice President, Research, Vancouver Coastal Health
Executive Director, Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute
Executive Associate Dean Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of British Columbia (UBC)
Past Chair of Research Canada

Dr. Robert McMaster is Vice President Research at Vancouver Coastal Health, Executive Director of Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute, and Associate Dean of Research, Faculty of Medicine at UBC. His research interests are in the areas of molecular immunology, parasitology and transplant immunology. He is actively involved with national and international granting agencies including the World Health Organization, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research.


Eleanor N. Fish, PhD
Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto
Associate Chair, International Initiatives & Collaborations, University of Toronto
Emerita Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network.

Dr. Fish is a professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto and Emerita Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. Her research on the interactions of cytokines with their receptors in normal and diseased tissues and cells, and her investigation of host-pathogen interactions at the cellular and molecular level have initiated studies of several emerging infectious diseases, such as the H1N1 and avian influenzas and Ebola. Dr. Fish has been recognized by many international awards and was a recipient of Research Canada’s 2017 Leadership in Advocacy Award.


Alyson Kelvin, PhD
Assistant Professor, Dalhousie University and the Canadian Center for Vaccinology
Visiting Scientist at VIDO-InterVac

Dr. Kelvin is an Assistant Professor at Dalhousie University and the Canadian Centre for Vaccinology and a visiting scientist at VIDO-InterVac in Saskatchewan. Through her research on emerging viruses and the development of vaccines for these emerging viral threats, Dr. Kelvin maintains international collaborations to facilitate the quick transfer of knowledge and reagents around the world during urgent times. Throughout her career, Dr. Kelvin has studied several emerging viruses including H1N1 and avian influenza viruses and now the novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2.


Josef Penninger, MD
Director, Life Sciences Institute, UBC
Professor, Dept of Medical Genetics, UBC
Canada 150 Research Chair in Functional Genetics
Adjunct Professor, Dept of Immunology, University of Toronto

Dr. Penninger is an Austrian geneticist and the Canada 150 Research Chair in Functional Genetics. Currently serving as Director of the Life Sciences Institute (LSI) at the University of British Columbia, he has helped to pioneer insights into the molecular basis of osteoporosis and cancer, as well as linking ACE2 and SARS or COVID-19 cases in coronavirus infections to lung failure.


Terry Snutch, PhD, FRSC, FCAHS
Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, and Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia
Canada Research Chair, Biotechnology and Genomics-Neurobiology
Director, Translational Neuroscience, Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health

Dr. Snutch is a professor at the Michael Smith Laboratories, and Director of Translational Neuroscience, at the David Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia. He is considered a pioneer in molecular neurobiology and is now leading the viral genome sequencing initiative that is part of the Canadian COVID Genomics Network (CanCOGen). 


Don Sheppard, MD, FRCP(C)
Director, McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity
Chair, Department of Microbiology & Immunology
Professor, Depts of Medicine, Microbiology & Immunology
McGill University
CIFAR Fellow, Fungal Kingdom: Threats & Opportunities

Dr. Sheppard is the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases at McGill University, and a Professor in the Departments of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology. He is the section head of the Medical Mycology laboratory and practices Infectious Diseases at the McGill University Health Centre.