OTTAWA, June 20, 2018 /CNW/ - Today, the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, announced that Dr. Michael J. Strong has been appointed the new President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR). Dr. Strong is an internationally recognized researcher specializing in the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He will take up his position on October 1.
Dr. Strong's research focuses on understanding the cellular biology of ALS. His work has helped shed new light on a process by which an abnormal form of some proteins may accumulate in nerve cells in the spinal cord and brain, destroying the cells, and leading to the symptoms of the disease.
Dr. Strong will bring extensive leadership experience to CIHR, having served since 2010 as the Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Distinguished University Professor at Western University, where he holds the Arthur J. Hudson Chair in ALS Research. From 2000 to 2010, he served as the Chief of Neurology and Co-Chair of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the London Health Sciences Centre and Western University.
Dr. Strong will replace Dr. Roderick McInnes, whose last day as Acting President of CIHR is June 30. Michel Perron, Executive Vice-President of CIHR, will lead the transition process until Dr. Strong's arrival.
Dr. Strong will arrive at an exciting time for CIHR. Budget 2018 proposed the largest increase in new funding for fundamental research through the granting councils in Canada's history. In addition, the Budget set aside dedicated funding to support researchers working across disciplines and with international collaborators to move fast and take calculated risks to achieve results for Canadians.
"I am pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Michael Strong as the new President of CIHR. Dr. Strong's distinguished track record as a biomedical researcher, professor, and administrator, whose contributions to science include expanding our understanding of the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, will serve him well in his new role. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Roderick McInnes for his service to Canadians and the health research community during his tenure as Acting President of CIHR."
The Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor
Minister of Health
Biography of Dr. Michael J. Strong
Dr. Michael J. Strong is Dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and Distinguished University Professor at Western University, where he holds the Arthur J. Hudson Chair in ALS Research. He is a scientist at the Robarts Research Institute, and served from 2000 to 2010 as the Chief of Neurology and Co-Chair of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at the London Health Sciences Centre and Western University. He has also served as Co-chair of the Canadian ALS Research Consortium and is a former member of the Board of Directors of the ALS Society of Canada. Dr. Strong is the lead investigator for the Ontario Neurodegenerative Research Initiative.
Dr. Strong's clinical research is focused on understanding the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. He is particularly interested in the occurrence of non-motor manifestations of the disease including the cognitive, behavioural, and emotional syndromes associated with ALS, and in the role of advanced neuroimaging techniques in determining who amongst the ALS population is at risk for one or more of these syndromes. His research into the causation of ALS has also focused on defining the role of alterations in neuronal intermediate filament metabolism, including early recognition for the role of RNA-mediated gene silencing through fundamental alterations in microRNA and RNA binding protein expression.
Dr. Strong has published over 185 peer-reviewed articles and 29 chapters, edited four textbooks and given over 160 invited lectures nationally and internationally related to his ALS research. He is a recipient of both the Sheila Essey Award and the Forbes Norris Award, the only Canadian to have received both awards for ALS research. He was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012 for his contributions to ALS research and care.
Dr. Strong earned his degree in medicine at Queen's University, undertook neurology training at Western University, and completed postgraduate studies at the Laboratory of Central Nervous System Studies at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.
SOURCE Canadian Institutes of Health Research
For further information: Thierry Bélair, Office of the Honourable Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health, 613-957-0200; Media Relations, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 613-941-4563, [email protected]