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Project Leader

Ruth Ross, PhD
Member, Collaborative Program in Neuroscience (CPIN)
Professor & Chair, Pharmacology & Toxicology - SGS Appointment, University of Toronto
Research Description
Ruth Ross obtained her PhD in Pharmacology from The University of Edinburgh in 1990. She has held graduate and postdoctoral research positions in Discovery Biology at Pfizer in Kent and at Allergan Inc. California. After a five-year career break, Dr. Ross returned to research funded by a Wellcome Trust Career Aberdeen in Scotland, where she also served as the inaugural Director of the Kosterlitz Centre for Therapeutics. In 2013, she relocated to the University of Toronto to take up the position of Chair of the Depratment of Pharmacology and Toxicology and the Director of the Cnetre for Collaborative Drug Research. Her research over the last 20 years has focused on the molecular pharmacology of endocannabinoids, phytocannabinoids and molecules targeting the endocannabinoid system. Her current research involves characterization of novel small molecules that offer new avenues for druf discovery by targeting the endocannabinoid system and related orphan receptors; her research is also focused on the molecular pharmacology an biological targets of various cannabis constituents with the goal of gaining a deeper understanding of both the potential deleterious and beneficial effects of cannabis.


Siegfried Hekimi, PhD
Full Professor
Department of Biology, McGill University
Strathcona Endowed Chair of Zoology
Robert Archibald & Catherine Louise Campbell Chair in Developmental Biology
Recipient of the Flavelle Medal of the RSC, outstanding contribution to biological science.
Research Description
Dr. Hekimi completed his PhD in Neurobiology in 1988 with Professor Michael O'Shea, at the University of Geneva. his thesis focused on the  biosynthesis of neuropeptides, which was poorly understood at the time. It was to tackle this problem that he first developed an interest in using invertebrate models to study evolutionarily conserved processes. This approach led him to study the cardiac bodies of locusts, a pari of endocrine glands almost completely dedicated to the production of the peptidic adipokinetic hormones. He then moved to the famed Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) of the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK, to collaborate with Dr. J.J. White as a post-doctoral fellow of the Swiss National Science Fund.
It is at the LMB that Sydney Brenner developed the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as one of the premier research tools in genetics, and where Hekimi developed his interest for using 'the worm' for translational studies in the biology of aging. It is also in Cambridge that he identified the first mutants that helped to demonstrate that afinf could be manipulated genetically and that inducing mild mitochondrial dysfunction could in fact slow down the aging process of animals.
After three years in Cambridge, Hekimi joined the Department of Biology at McGill University. He became a Canadian and remained at McGill where he is a full professor since 2004. He has continued his research on the aging process, extending his reach to include mouse models of aging and of age-dependent diseases, as well as drug discovery through the medium of a spin-off company, Chronogen, whose assets was subsequently acquired by larger entities. His research at McGill University has been principally funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Canadian Fund for Innovation, and also by the National Science and Engineering Council, by the Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute, Industrial Partners, and McGill University.
Iain Greig, PhD, MSc
Research Description
Dr. Iain Greig has a broad scientific backgrounf, including a PhD in physical organic chemistry from the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), postdoctoral experience in biophysics at Cornell University and an MSc in clinical pharmacology. He has worked as a medicinal chemist in biomedical research institutions for over 20 years and is an expert in early-stage drug discovery and commercialization in an academic setting. He invented, developed and licenses (to JNJ) a first-in-calss drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. At >$350 million this was the largest licensing deal signed in Europe in 2014 and the drug is currently in Phase II clinical trials. In partnership with CAMH, Dr. Greig recently developed and licensed a drug for the treatment of multiple sclerosis, attracting an initial funding package of over $10 million to take it into the clinic. He has authored more than 20 patent applications of which 9 have now been granted in all the major markets; has spun out two companies and licensed 5 drug discovery programmes to industry, with a further two currently under negotiation. Dr. Greig has also invented laboratory tool compounds and drugs for the investigation, diagnosis, and treatment of a large number of other diseases, including: osteoporosis, breast and bone cancer, neuropathic pain, obesity, type-2 diabetes, depression, schizophrenia, Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, hypertension and heart failure. From 2014, he has provided medicinal chemistry (including access to screening libraries and expertise) and commercialization guidance to the CCDR as a Visiting Professor at the University of Toronto.
Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, FRDP(C)
Clinical and Research Director, Corkins/Lammert Family Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Clinic, McMaster University
Endowed Chair, McMaster Children's Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, Neuromuscular Diseases
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, McMaster University
Research Description
Dr. Tarnopolsky's research focuses on nutritional, exercise, pharmacological, and genetic therapies for neurometabolic (primarily mitochondrial), neuromuscular, and neurogenetic disorders as well as diseases associated with aging. He has authored or coauthored more than 400 scientific articles. He has also lectured widely in the area of neurology (neuromuscular and neurometabolic disorders), aging, and exercise physiology. He has served on several editorial and scientific boards (UMDF, MSSE, Mitochondrion, PLOS ONE, Barth Foundation) and has been on Grant Selection Committees for NSERC (Animal Biology, 2003-2006, Chair, 2006), CIHR Biology of Aging Committee (2006), CIHR Movement Comiittee (2012,2013, 2015), Chair of the Emerging Team Grant Mobility in Aging (2007) and a member of the phase I CIHR Foundation grant committee (2017). He is the founder (2015), and current CEO and CSO of Exerkine Corporation.