: KalGene’s Dr. John Gillard, VP, Product Development and Dr. Nathan Yoganathan, President and CSO

Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan,
President and Chief Scientific Officer

Dr. T. Nathan Yoganathan is the President and Chief Scientific Officer of KalGene Pharmaceuticals Inc. He was the founder, and former Chairman, President and Chief Scientific Officer of Med BioGene   Inc, a Canadian diagnostics company listed on TSX Venture Exchange. 

Dr. Yoganathan has over 25 years of experience in scientific research in cell signaling and gene expression technology. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Thyroid Foundation of Canada. He also serves as a mentor for the student biotechnology network (SBN) of British Columbia and also as an industry member on the CIHR Strategic Training Program in the Bioinformatics Advisory Board.

Dr. Yoganathan was a faculty member of the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and was affiliated with the Mt. Sinai Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute. He holds a B.Sc. (Honours) from the University of North London, a M.Sc. from the University of Sussex and a Ph.D. from the University of Oslo. 

Dr. John W. Gillard, 
Vice President Product Development

Dr. John GillardDr. John Gillard, is KalGene's VP, Product Development. Dr. Gillard was a founder and Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) of Aegera Therapeutics Inc., which developed a pioneering oncology technology from discovery through to an out-licensed clinical product. He helped build the 55-person biotechnology company and attract more than $65M in investment over 12 years. He formerly worked at Merck and Biochem Pharma and has had extensive success managing academic-industry collaborative ventures, large pharma licensing deals and post-deal collaborations.

Dr. Patrick Tremblay, Senior Scientific Advisor 

Patrick TremblayPatrick Tremblay is a biopharmaceutical and investment executive with broad expertise in R&D and business development. 

Patrick has worked with Pappas Ventures, a U.S.-based venture capital firm that guided the development of more than 50 life science companies in therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices and personalized medicine. He held positions as Vice-president of R&D at BioAxone and as Director of Pharmacology at Neurochem where he developed neuroprotective and neuroregenerative drugs for Alzheimer’s disease and spinal cord injury. He was also Assistant Professor in Neurology at the University of California in San Francisco where he worked on neurodegenerative diseases induced by prions and was part of the Nobel Laureate Team of Stanley Prusiner, Medicine and Physiology (1997).

Patrick has been involved in many innovative life science initiatives. He is one of the co-founders of the Personalized Medicine Partnership for Cancer and was intimately involved in the creation and financing of the new Neomed Institute. In recent years, he has held numerous advisory positions with diverse organizations such as the Campus des Technologies de la Santé, Quebec Consortium for Drug Discovery, Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research of the Montreal Neurological Institute and at Pharmacology Institute of Sherbrooke University. He is presently a member of the Board of Directors of Univalor.

Patrick holds a B.Sc. degree in Microbiology and Immunology from McGill University and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from the University of Montreal. He has also completed post-doctoral studies at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Germany.

Scientific Advisory Board

Peter A. Brenders

Peter A. BrendersPrior to his appointment as the Canadian General Manager at Genzyme, a Sanofi Company, in 2012, Peter Brenders was President  & CEO of BIOTECanada for almost 8 years. 

Before then, Peter worked in senior management roles in health and corporate affairs at Genzyme and Schering-Plough Canada. Peter has also worked in the Ontario Ministry of Health and in the health consulting practice at KPMG.

Peter Brenders is currently a member of the board of directors of VIDO-InterVac, Research Canada, and The Cameron Institute.  He has served as a member of the Department of Foreign Affairs Trade and Development's Life Sciences Advisory Board, the Advisory Board for the National Research Council's (NRC) Institute for Marine Biosciences and the NRC's Institute for Nutrisciences and Health, the Canadian Agri-Food Policy Institute Advisory Board, and was an Industry Advisor for the Atlantic Canada Opportunity Agency's Atlantic Innovation Fund Committees for Aquaculture and Biotechnology Sector and Health and Medical Sector. 

Peter has also been a member of the Advisory Council for Algonquin College's biotechnology program, a member of the Privy Council Office's Reference Group on Regulating, a Board member and Treasurer of the Registered Nurses Association of Ontario Foundation, and has served as the Chair of its Toronto Chapter of the Canadian College of Health Services Executives.

Peter received his MBA, in Health Services Management from McMaster University. Prior to his brief work in basic research at the Robarts Research Institute, he received his Honours BSc in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of Western Ontario.

Dr. Dave Morgan

Dr. Dave MorganDr. Dave Morgan is Chief Executive Officer/Director of the USF Health Byrd Alzheimer Institute. He is also Professor of Molecular Pharmacology and Physiology and Director of Neuroscience Research for the College of Medicine at the University of South Florida.

Dr. Morgan’s research interests are brain function and aging with a focus on drugs to treat Alzheimer’s dementia. His doctoral research investigated the neurochemistry of memory and his postdoctoral studies addressed aging-related changes in rodent and human brains.

Morgan became a faculty member at the University of Southern California in 1986 where his research projects focused on astrocytes and microglia in the aged brain, including Alzheimer's tissues.
After moving to South Florida in 1992, Dr. Morgan participated in the development of a transgenic mouse model of Alzheimer's disease (APP+PS1). He has developed methods to measure the damage occurring in the brains of the study mice and how it causes memory deficits.

His work focuses largely on the neuro-immune interactions associated with the Alzheimer phenotype. He is presently testing amyloid dissolving agents, amyloid immunotherapy and gene therapy to treat the Alzheimer-like changes in transgenic mouse models of the disease. This work is supported by multiple grants from the NIH, private foundations and contracts from industrial partners.

An antibody against the amyloid peptide that was characterized in his laboratory has entered clinical testing in AD patients. Morgan regularly sits on review panels for NIH and other agencies evaluating grants to develop new drugs to treat Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative disorders.

In addition to his research activities, Morgan has consulted with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies regarding the development of therapeutics for Alzheimer's disease, and advised capital investment organizations regarding the most promising therapeutic approaches to curing Alzheimer’s disease.

Dr. Gal Bitan

Dr. Gal BitanDr. Gal Bitan completed his graduate studies in organic chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Bitan's graduate work on unnatural amino acids and non-conventional peptide cyclization methodologies led him to postdoctoral studies on the structural biology of bone-related ligand-receptor systems including integrins and G protein-coupled receptors at Clark University, Worcester, MA and Beth Israel-Deaconess Medical Center/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA.

Dr. Bitan then moved on to tackle the problem of protein misfolding and aggregation, which is involved in over 30 amyloid-related diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, prion diseases (e.g., Mad Cow disease), amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gherig's disease), and type II diabetes.

Working at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, Dr. Bitan has made fundamental contributions to the study of early events in the pathologic cascades that cause Alzheimer's disease.

In Alzheimer's disease, the amyloid ß-protein (Aß) self-associates to form a variety of oligomeric and polymeric structures with potent neurotoxic activities. In particular, Aß oligomers have been implicated as the probable cause of Alzheimer's disease. For example, Aß oligomers have been found in brains of Alzheimer's disease patients but not in those of age-matched healthy individuals.

Dr. Bitan introduced the use of novel photochemical protein cross-linking techniques for investigation of Aß assembly and discovered one of the earliest oligomers in the assembly cascade, the paranucleus.

In 2003, Dr. Bitan was appointed as an Instructor in Neurology in the Center for Neurologic Disease at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School. In 2004, Dr. Bitan joined UCLA where he is currently an Associate Professor of Neurology in the David Geffen School of Medicine. In recognition of his achievements, in 2005, Dr. Bitan received the Turken research award for the study of Alzheimer's disease.

Dr. Bruce Sells

Dr. Bruce SellsDr. Bruce Sells has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from McGill University. Dr. Sells took his first research appointment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital when it opened in 1962. During the 10 years he spent at St. Jude he pioneered an investigation into the biogenesis of ribosome particles and subsequently published 110 papers related to the subject.

While working as Professor and Director at Memorial University, Bruce established Molecular Biology in its medical school and was Associate Dean of Basic Medical Sciences from 1979-83. During his 11 years at Memorial he was awarded a Senior Killam Fellowship to study at the Université de Paris. In 1982, he was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and was President of the Canadian Bio-chemistry Society. Bruce also served on numerous National Committees, including the Medical Research Council (MRC), where he was a member of Council, the National Cancer Institute, the Royal Society of Canada, the Arthritis Society, National Research Council Subcommittee on Biological Phenomena and the Selection Panel for the Steacie Award.

In 1983, Bruce moved his research group to become Dean of Biological Science at the University of Guelph, a position he held until his mandatory retirement in 1995. In 1989, he was a co-founder of the Association of Canadian Deans of Science, and received an MRC Visiting Scientist Award to study at the Institut Pasteur. During his academic career, Bruce trained over 50 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. He graduated his final Ph.D. student in 2000.

Bruce’s dedication and service to science did not stop at retirement. In April 1999, he accepted the position of Executive Director of the Canadian Federation of Biological Societies (CFBS), a position he has immersed himself in as an active “volunteer”, accepting expenses in lieu of salary. With his tremendous scientific, academic and administrative experience, Bruce has led the ongoing and highly effective advocacy activities of CFBS, and has guided the organization through a period of major change, including office operations and the format and thematic approach to its Annual Scientific Meeting.