New Faculty of Science advisory board strengthens industry and community collaborations

A student conducts research in one of the science labs
A student conducts research in one of the science labs

The Faculty of Science launched its inaugural Dean’s Special Advisory Board on Wednesday, Feb. 3, strengthening its collaboration with industry and community, and accelerating the success of its students and faculty.

A virtual public event was hosted to introduce board members, including the Dean’s Special Advisory Board Chair Reza Moridi, former Ontario Minister of Research, Innovation and Science and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, to faculty, staff, students and alumni.

A screen shot of the launch meeting of the Faculty of Science Dean's Advisory Board
A screen shot of the launch meeting of the Faculty of Science Dean’s Special Advisory Board. Faculty of Science Dean Rui Wang is pictured centre front. Board Chair Reza Moridi is pictured top left. The meeting took place on Zoom.

“York University has a longstanding history of facilitating partnerships with leaders from industry, governments and not-for-profits to collaborate on complex global problems that are essential for addressing issues such as climate change, inequality and the pandemic,” said York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda L. Lenton. “The Science Advisory Board will help us establish and strengthen relationships with partners in the life sciences, biotech and health communities to advance our education, research and innovation ecosystems, driving positive change across the University and around the world.”

Comprised of a diverse group of industry and community leaders, the Dean’s Special Advisory Board brings a vast array of expertise and commitment to the advancement of Canada’s science, technology, academic and non-profit sectors.

Moridi has long been an advocate for innovation in higher education and advancing Ontario’s scientific and research ecosystem. “The board will provide insight and advice from its diverse expertise to help accelerate the Faculty of Science’s success and its connections with industry and our science and innovation sectors in Ontario,” said Moridi. “The importance of collaboration between higher education and these sectors cannot be underestimated. When educational institutions, industry and community work together, we all stand to benefit. I hope this collaborative model will become standard sector-wide.”

The board will provide guidance on pressing issues, including: the societal need for science programs; best practices surrounding Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) in science education; challenges and opportunities for science innovation and entrepreneurship; and the successful community integration of the Faculty.

Faculty of Science Dean Rui Wang said the board will undertake an important consultative role in the creation of the Faculty’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, which will form the cornerstone of the Faculty’s mission and objectives over the next five years.

“The board will play a pivotal role in the future of our Faculty as we strive to reach new heights, build crucial connections with industry and our community, and better prepare our students for the careers of tomorrow,” said Wang. “On behalf of the Faculty of Science, I would like to thank these dedicated individuals for their commitment of their time, talents and invaluable expertise to the betterment of our Faculty.” 

Members of the inaugural Faculty of Science Dean’s Special Advisory Board:

  • Reza Moridi (Chair), former minister of research, innovation and science, and minister of training, colleges and universities of Ontario
  • Samer Bishay, president and CEO of Iristel and Ice Wireless and York Faculty of Science alumnus
  • Carrie Bourassa, scientific director of the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples’ Health – Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and professor, Community Health & Epidemiology, University of Saskatchewan
  • Allan Carswell, York physics professor emeritus, founder of Optech Inc., and generous supporter of York University and York science
  • Charles Hantho, executive and leader in Canada’s chemical industry
  • Mark Lievonen, former president of Sanofi Pasteur Limited, Co-Chair of the Government of Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force
  • Elaine O’Hara, head of North America commercial operations for Sanofi Pasteur
  • Justin Poy, award-winning advertising executive, head of Justin Poy Agency and CEO of medtech marketing firm InnovaThree
  • Peter Pekos, CEO of Dalton Pharma Services, angel investor, and founding Chair of ventureLAB
  • Cheryl Reicin, Chair of Torys Life Science Group and leading life sciences lawyer
  • John Wallace, medical scientist and founder and chief scientific officer of Antibe Therapeutics Inc.
  • Dr. Catherine Zahn MD, president and CEO of the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH)

Full biographies of board members are available at: