COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force

The Government of Canada is working in collaboration with Canada's top life sciences industry leaders and scientist/research advisors with expertise in drug research and development and commercialization, to support the work of Canada's COVID-19 response. Until we can immunize Canadians on a national scale with an effective vaccine, developing or producing treatments for those who contract this virus is of critical importance. The right therapeutic technologies and drugs will save lives and limit the impacts of this pandemic

The COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force will provide expert advice to the Government of Canada on COVID-19 therapeutics. They will assess and prioritize COVID-19 therapeutic projects seeking government support. The Task Force has seven core members, including two co-chairs, drawn from research and business leaders who have proven ability to bring new therapies to market in Canada and science advisor members who will review and provide advice on projects within their area of expertise.

The primary federal authoritative source of information for all Canadians on COVID-19 is, as well as the COVID-19 Information Line at 1-833-784-4397. Canadians should refer to these resources for regularly updated information and guidance.

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Therapeutics Task Force core members:

Nancy Harrison (Co-Chair), Life sciences investor and executive; board member, LifeSciences BC

Nancy Harrison

Vancouver, British Columbia

Nancy Harrison has nearly 30 years of professional and leadership achievement in life sciences in Canada. As a partner at Ventures West, she was one of the early life science investors in Canada, making key and strategic investments in companies such as Angiotech, AnorMed, Celator, Caprion, Xenon and many others, impacting the sector’s long-term growth across the country. She is co-founder and former president of MSI Methylation Sciences, a private company with a unique treatment of depression in Phase 2. Harrison is a true innovator and demonstrates her dedication to Canadian biotech in mentoring the next generation of companies and leaders through roles that include Creative Destruction Lab, adMare BioInnovations, Canada’s Digital Technology Supercluster, Genome BC and Knight Therapeutics. Harrison is a past winner of the Miton Wong Leadership Award from Life Sciences BC, Excellence in Industry from Women in Finance, Canada’s Top 40 under 40. She has a bachelor of engineering from Queen’s University and an MBA from McGill.

Cédric Bisson (Co-Chair), Partner, Teralys Capital

Cédric Bisson

Montreal, Quebec

Cédric Bisson has extensive experience across Canada, USA and Europe creating, building, financing and advising businesses in biopharmaceuticals, healthcare and the innovation sector in general. Cedric is currently partner at Teralys Capital where he leads pan-Canadian efforts for an entrepreneurial life sciences ecosystem. Teralys Capital is Canada’s largest private innovation-focused investor, financing funds and companies in tech and life sciences, from early stage start-ups to expansion, growth and technology buy-outs. He was previously managing partner for life sciences at iNovia Capital, and prior to this, spent many years internationally as associate principal at McKinsey & Company, a large global management consulting firm. Cedric actively engages globally on impactful innovation and public policy, most notably as board member with Montreal InVivo, a life sciences and health technologies cluster, Grand Challenges Canada, a Toronto organization dedicated to supporting bold ideas with big impact in global health, and Procure, a large charity in prostate cancer. Cedric obtained a M.D. degree from McGill University and a J.D. (law) degree from Universite de Montreal.

Maha Katabi, PhD, CFA General Partner

Maha Katabi

Montreal, Quebec

Maha Katabi joined Sofinnova as a Partner in 2019. In 2020, she was promoted to General Partner. She is an experienced investor in biopharma companies, with over two decades in venture capital investing and public equities portfolio management. She focuses on development stage investments in therapeutics. Maha represents Sofinnova as a member of the board of directors for Amplyx Pharmaceuticals and Northsea Therapeutics.

Prior to joining Sofinnova, Maha was a Managing Partner of Oxalis Capital. Prior to founding Oxalis in 2018, Maha was a Partner at Sectoral Asset Management since 2008, where she formed and led a dedicated investment team and advisory board to drive investments in private companies. Two of these companies were Ascendis and Apellis, both also Sofinnova portfolio companies. Additionally, she was a Portfolio Manager for a family of funds, that invested in publicly listed and private healthcare companies. Prior to Sectoral, Maha was Vice-President at Ventures West Management since 2004, a venture capital firm focusing on technology and life sciences in Canada and the United States. She started her venture capital career in 1999 at T2C2 Capital Bio, a seed fund focused on Canadian start-ups.

Maha received her PhD in Pharmacology and BSc in Biology from McGill University, and is a CFA charterholder. She is currently Chair of the board of Exactis Innovation, a Canadian oncology precision medicine network.

Gordon McCauley, President and CEO, adMare BioInnovations

Gordon McCauley

Vancouver, British Columbia

Gordon McCauley was appointed President and CEO of adMare BioInnovations in 2017 after serving on the Board for four years. Mr. McCauley is an accomplished life science investor and executive.

He has served as President & CEO of Viable Healthworks Corp., a national healthcare service business; President and CEO of Allon Therapeutics Inc., a neuroscience biotechnology company that developed novel therapeutics from pre-clinical to global phase 3 studies before being sold; and Co-Founder and Partner of NDI Capital, an institutionally-backed life-science investment fund. Mr. McCauley has also been a senior executive of several successful health care enterprises and a senior advisor to several prominent Canadian political leaders.

Mr. McCauley has been a Director of a number of both private and publicly traded companies. Currently Mr. McCauley is a Director of adMare BioInnovations (and a number of its portfolio and subsidiary companies), BIOTECanada, Canada’s national biotech industry organization, and Chairman of the Board, CGen, Canada’s national genomics enterprise. Until recently, he was also a Director of LifeSciences British Columbia and served as its Chair from 2012 – 2015. In 2008 Mr. McCauley was the first Canadian appointed to the Board of The Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) in Washington D.C., where he served in leadership positions until 2013. He is Past Chair of Acetech, and was a founding Director of the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute and Past Chair of the Toronto Rehab Foundation.

Parimal Nathwani, President & CEO, Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners

Parimal Nathwani

Toronto, Ontario

Parimal Nathwani has over 15 years of experience in various aspects of the biotechnology industry including corporate finance, business development, transactions, intellectual property management, technology development and operations. He has been actively involved in forming and managing start-ups, preparing and executing on business plans, raising early-stage capital and in- and out-licensing activities.

Before joining MaRS Innovation, now Toronto Innovation Acceleration Partners (TIAP), Parimal was a healthcare analyst with a boutique investment bank, where he conducted equity research on publicly-traded biotechnology companies in Canada and the U.S. He has also led commercialization activities out of BC Women’s and Children’s Hospital as part of his role at the University of British Columbia’s Industry Liaison Office, and was a research scientist at a start-up biotechnology company involved in drug discovery targeting ABC Transporters.

Parimal received his MBA from Simon Fraser University and his M.Sc. from the University of British Columbia. He currently sits on the boards of TRIUMF Innovations, Zucara Therapeutics, and Vasomune Therapeutics, and is an observer on the board of Encycle Therapeutics.

Ali Tehrani, President and CEO, Zymeworks

Ali Tehrani

Vancouver, British Columbia

Dr. Tehrani is one of Zymeworks co-founders and has served as President and Chief Executive Officer and as a member of the Board of Directors since the company’s inception in September 2003. He has been an integral part of many of Zymework’s corporate achievements including raising seed and angel financing and overseeing technical operations and patent filings. Dr. Tehrani holds both Bachelor’s and Master’s of Science degrees in Biochemistry from the University of Massachusetts, and has a Doctoral degree in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of British Columbia. While completing his Ph.D. degree he co-founded the Student Biotechnology Network, for which he received the UBC Faculty of Science Achievement Award for Outstanding Leadership in 2002. Dr. Tehrani has served as a board director for the Student Biotechnology Network, CQDM, LifeSciences British Columbia, on the MITACS Industrial Advisory Board, and on BIOTECanada’s Industrial and Environmental Committee. He was a Council Member on British Columbia’s Premier’s Technology Council from 2016 to 2018. Currently, he is a member of the board of directors of Creatus Biosciences Inc..

Youla S. Tsantrizos, Professor, Department of Chemistry, McGill University

Youla S. Tsantrizos

Montreal, Quebec

Youla S. Tsantrizos obtained her Ph.D. degree in Organic Chemistry in 1990 from McGill University and then pursued Post-Doctoral studies at Brown University from 1990 to 1991. In 1991, she joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Concordia University in Montreal at the level of Assistant Professor, where she earned tenure and was promoted to Associate Professor in 1996.

In 1997 (during a sabbatical leave from Concordia University), she was a visiting scientist at Boehringer Ingelheim (Canada) Ltd. when she was asked to join the Department of Chemistry at the level of Senior Research Scientist. During her 10 year career at Boehringer Ingelheim, she held a number of leadership roles in medicinal chemistry and participated in activities that moved a number of antiviral agents through the different stages of the drug discovery process, including lead optimization, pre-clinical and clinical development. In recognition of her contributions to R&D in pharmaceutical research, she received the 2000 International R&D Boehringer Ingelheim Award and was promoted to Group Leader/ Distinguished Scientist.

In 2009, she joined the Department of Chemistry at McGill University at the level of Associate Professor and was promoted to Full Professor in 2011. In addition, she is an Associate Member of the Biochemistry Department at McGill University, and a member of the McGill University Centre for Structural Biology (CSB). She has served as Vice President, President and Past President of the Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC 2013/16) and Chair of the National 84th CSC Conference (2001). She serves on various grant review panels, including the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) and the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. Her current research projects focus on the discovery of human therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and viral infections.

Therapeutics Task Force science advisors:

Lisa Barrett, Assistant professor, Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Medicine , Department of Microbiology & Immunology, Department of Pathology, Dalhousie University; Principal investigator, Senescence Aging Infection & Immunity Lab

Lisa Barrett

Dalhousie, Nova Scotia

Dr. Lisa Barrett is a clinician scientist with expertise in infectious disease and human immunology. She received her PhD (2008) and MD (2005) from Memorial University in Newfoundland. Her doctoral work investigated anti-viral responses to Hepatitis C virus in the context of HIV co-infection.

Dr. Barrett extended her medical training and completed an internal medicine residency at Dalhousie University in 2009 and an adult infectious disease fellowship at the University of Toronto in 2011.

She completed postdoctoral and clinician scientist training at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH, Bethesda, MD, where she was the immunologic lead on several early phase clinical trials investigating direct-acting antiviral therapy for Hepatitis C virus and a Phase 1 trial of immune based therapy for Hepatitis B virus. Her postdoctoral human immunology studies examined the impact of Hepatitis C infection and viral clearance on immunologic aging.

Dr. Barrett joined Dalhousie University in 2013 and established the Senescence, Aging, Infection and Immunity Laboratory, which combines her infectious disease and immunology expertise and is comprised of an expert team of clinical and basic science researchers.

Marceline Côté, Associate professor and researcher, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Virology and Antiviral Therapeutics, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology & Immunology, UOttawa

Marceline Côté

Ottawa, Ontario

The overarching goal of the Côté laboratory is to improve understanding of host-pathogen interactions during infection by emerging viruses, towards the development of novel host- and/or viral-oriented antiviral therapeutics. In the laboratory, they combine virological, chemical biology, and genetic approaches to identify host proteins critical for viral infection that can be targeted to block virus spread. The Côté lab is particularly interested in acquiring a detailed understanding of the entry pathways of filoviruses (Ebola and Marburg viruses), arenaviruses (Lassa fever virus), and coronaviruses (Severe acute respiratory syndrome virus and Middle East respiratory syndrome virus).

Dr Côté received her BSc at the Université de Sherbrooke and her PhD from McGill University. She was a postdoctoral fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.

Eleanor Fish, Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto; Associate Chair, International Initiatives & Collaborations, University of Toronto; Emerita Scientist, University Health Network

Eleanor Fish

Toronto, Ontario

Eleanor Fish, PhD, focuses her research on understanding the host immune response to different diseases: autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis, breast cancer and, the major focus, virus infections. Integrated in all her studies is a consideration of the differential immune response between males and females.

Her research is focused on the interactions of cytokines, specifically interferons and chemokines, with their receptors in normal and diseased tissues and cells. Here research spans interrogating human cells and tissues in the laboratory to conducting clinical studies.

To develop broad-spectrum antivirals, with widespread application regardless of the virus infection, Fish investigates host-pathogen interactions at the cellular and molecular level. During the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Toronto, Fish initiated studies to investigate the therapeutic potential of interferon treatment in SARS patients. Encouraging results directed her group's efforts toward examining interferon activity against a number of emerging global infectious diseases, including influenza, Ebola virus and Zika virus. Fish undertook a clinical trial to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of interferon treatment for ebola virus disease in Guinea, during the outbreak, with results identifying therapeutic benefits. Most recently she conducted an exploratory clinical study in Wuhan, China, at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her findings revealed that interferon treatment accelerated viral clearance from the airways, reduced lung abnormalities and limited inflammation. These findings have provided the basis for randomized controlled trials.

Fish has collaborated extensively with international partners: academic, biotech and pharma.

Matthias Götte, Professor and Chair, Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology, University of Alberta

Matthias Götte

Edmonton, Alberta

Research in Dr. Götte's laboratory is focused on the study of viral replication, its inhibition and mechanisms associated with drug resistance. His interests cover a broad range of important human pathogens including RNA viruses with a high epidemic potential.

In 1997, Dr. Götte obtained his Ph.D. degree at the Max-Planck-Institute for Biochemistry in Martinsried, Germany. He started his independent research in 2000 following a three-year period of postdoctoral training at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research in Montreal. Dr. Götte later joined the Department of Microbiology & Immunology at McGill University and was promoted to Full Professor in 2011. Results from his laboratory have contributed to the development of novel classes of viral polymerase inhibitors. His team elucidated the mechanism of action of the investigational drug remdesivir that is now used in several countries to treat COVID-19 patients with severe disease. Dr. Götte has published approximately 130 peer-reviewed papers in the field of virology and antivirals. His research program is funded through national and provincial grants, and contracts from industry.

François Jean, Associate Professor of Molecular Virology, Founder and former Scientific Director of UBC’s Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research, Life Sciences Institute, University of British Columbia

François Jean

Vancouver, British Columbia

Dr. Jean received his B.Sc. from the Université de Montréal and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. from the Clinical Research Institute of Montréal. He completed an MRC postdoctoral fellowship at the Vollum Institute, Oregon Health Sciences University. Since he joined the UBC Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Dr. Jean has been leading major research initiatives, funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE), to discover novel broad-spectrum antiviral agents and biomarkers directed at human pathogenic enveloped viruses.

As scientific director of the UBC Facility for Infectious Disease and Epidemic Research (FINDER) for nine years (2008-2016), he established one of the largest university-based containment level 3 (CL-3) facilities in the world. Dr. Jean is currently leading five major international research initiatives to discover novel antivirals for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and funded by three grants from the CIHR COVID-19 Rapid Research Funding Opportunity, one grant from the Genome BC COVID-19 Research and Innovation Projects, and one grant from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Alliance Program (total funding for COVID-19: $4.25 million).

Dr. Jean has won several prestigious scholarly awards including a 5-year new investigator award from CIHR/Health Canada, a Peter Wall Institute for Advanced Studies Early Career UBC Award, the Fisher Scientific Award from the Canadian Society for Microbiologists, and the UBC Faculty of Science Service Award in recognition of his leadership role in establishing FINDER [CFI award ($19.3 million)]. Dr. Jean holds 15 collective invention disclosures and 5 patent applications, has published 184 peer-reviewed papers and abstracts, given 82 invited presentations, and mentored 110 trainees in virology.

Samira Mubareka, Clinician-Scientist, Medical Microbiologist and Infectious Disease consultant at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre; Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto

Samira Mubareka

Toronto, Ontario

Samira Mubareka completed her MD at Dalhousie University in 1999 and Internal Medicine training in 2002 at McGill University in Canada. She specialized in Infectious Diseases and Medical Microbiology at the University of Manitoba (2005). She went on to a research fellowship at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York City, in the laboratory of Dr. Peter Palese, Department of Microbiology (2009). Since then she continued to pursue themes of viral transmission and spread through three research lines of inquiry: a) in vitro and in vivo experimental bioaerosols emitted by naturally-infected hosts to explore the determinants of bioaerosol generation and survival. In collaboration engineering colleagues and others she has been closely involved in building facilities to model particle velocities from coughs, characterize polluting particulates-virus interactions and determine microbial contaminants of medical air systems b) through an occupational health lens and as part of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Research Expertise in Occupational Disease Biohazards group, Samira conducted studies examining bioaerosol generation by patients with laboratory-confirmed influenza and c) in close collaboration with animal health colleagues at the University of Guelph and the National Centre for Foreign Animal Disease (NCFAD), over the past 3-4 years she has focused on pathogen emergence, incorporating characterization of influenza virus bioaerosols generated by swine in agriculture3 with genomics. Samira was also recently funded for arthropod-vectorborne work in collaboration with the NML and the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) by PHAC’s Infectious Diseases and Climate Change fund, and to examine coronavirus transmission among Canadian bats (NSERC), incorporating behavioural, biological, ecological and epidemiological considerations.

Early in the pandemic Samira and colleagues isolated the SARS-CoV-2 virus in containment level 3 (CL3) and is the principle source of SARS-CoV-2 to most academic CL3 laboratories across the country. She serves on the Chief Science Advisor of Canada’s COVID-19 Panel, the Implementation Committee of the Canadian COVID-19 Genomics Network (CanCOGeN) Viral Seq project (Genome Canada), Ontario Genomics’ Steering Committee for the Ontario COVID-19 Genomics Rapid Response Coalition and chairs the Ontario Academic Health Sciences SARS-CoV-2 Sequencing Network (ONS2). She has collaborated extensively with fluid dynamics engineers and others to fill gaps in the understanding of viral bioaerosol dispersion. Samira formed the Sunnybrook Translational Research Program for Emerging and Respiratory Viruses (SERV) to focus on viral genomics, transmission and the development of medical countermeasures.

Pamela Ohashi, Director, Tumor Immunotherapy Program, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre; Senior Scientist, Professor, Department of Immunology, University of Toronto

Pamela Ohashi

Toronto, Ontario

Dr. Ohashi received her Ph.D from the University of Toronto with Dr. Tak Mak, and did her post-doctoral training at the University of Zurich with the Nobel Laureate Dr. Zinkernagel, and Dr. Hans Hengartner. She is a Senior Scientist and Director of the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and a Professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto. Her interests include understanding CD8+ T cell biology and mechanisms that regulate anti-tumor immunity.

Dr. Ohashi has received a number of prestigious awards and honors including the American Association of Immunologists (AAI) Pharmingen Investigator Award, the National Cancer Institute of Canada’s William E. Rawls Award, The Canadian Society of Immunology’s Investigator Award as well as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair. She previously served as the Chair of the Cancer Immunotherapy Steering Committee of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), and also previously served on the Board of Directors of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC). She has also been elected as a member of the Royal Society of Canada.

James Russell, Professor, Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia; Principal Investigator at the SPH-based Centre for Heart Lung Innovation

James Russell

Vancouver, British Columbia

Dr. Russell is a Professor of Medicine at UBC and a Principal Investigator at the SPH-based Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI). He was a co-founder and founding CEO of Sirius Genomics Inc., a spin off company of UBC and SPH. Sirius raised $16M to attempt to identify and validate genomic markers (i.e. predictive biomarkers) of improved response to what was the only approved drug for sepsis, activated protein C (Xigris). Dr. Russell was also co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Cyon Therapeutics, another spin-off of UBC and SPH. Through their ground-breaking scientific discoveries the team sought to develop the means to boost the body’s natural ability to clear infectious toxins from the bloodstream. Bacterial toxins are found in cholesterol, so Cyon’s technology focused on increasing the clearance of cholesterol bound toxins. The major discovery was that genetic variants of PCSK9 – loss of function variants - have improved survival from septic shock and that in murine models, PCSK9 knock-outs and antibodies to PCSK9 also have improved survival from septic shock. This important discovery has potentially important therapeutic implications in septic shock; we are now investigating the potential efficacy and safety of PCSK9 inhibitor(s) in septic shock.

Dr. Russell is ranked # 1 in the world in septic shock. Dr. Russell has three major current themes of research (1) randomized controlled trials in patients with septic shock and now COVID-19, (2) biomarkers of septic shock and COVID-19, and (3) the interaction of diabetes and sepsis/septic shock.

The COVID-19 pandemic led to CIHR-funded studies of the safety and effectiveness of angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors in COVID-19 in (1) a pan-Canadian observational cohort and (2) a pan-Canadian randomized controlled trial of losartan (an ARB) vs. usual care in adults hospitalized with COVID-19. Dr. Russel is also funded to evaluate the interactions of biological sex with outcomes of COVID-19.

Dr. Russell pursued his undergraduate degree (AB) in Biology and Biochemistry at Princeton University and medical degree (MD) at the University of Toronto. He completed a residency in Internal Medicine at Toronto General Hospital and University of Toronto. He chose to go to the University of California, San Francisco for his Fellowship in Critical Care Medicine and research training. He then returned to Toronto General Hospital as Director of the Medical ICU before being recruited to Vancouver, BC as Director of the Medical Surgical ICU at St. Paul’s Hospital. He built a world-class team of basic science, translational, and clinical researchers in Critical Care focused on molecular mechanisms and treatment of sepsis. He was Chair of Medicine at St. Paul’s and Head of the Division of Critical Care Medicine for University of British Columbia (UBC).

Makeda Semret, Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases at McGill University; Medical Microbiologist at the McGill University Health Centre

Makeda Semret

Montreal, Quebec

Dr. Semret is specialized in infectious diseases/medical microbiology and is the Antimicrobial Stewardship Program lead for the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) where she is responsible for the development of clinical management guidelines for COVID-19. Her clinical research focus is on identifying specific interventions to better inform clinical decision-making and reduce the burden of Antimicrobial Resistance. She co-leads clinical trials on COVID-19 therapeutics and is the Canadian Principal Investigator of the PILGRIM consortium, an international research group (funded by the Joint-Programing Initiative on Antimicrobial Resistance, JPI-AMR) assessing the impact of antimicrobial prescription quality on the emergence of drug-resistance in the intestinal microbiota. She has an active infectious diseases training and research program in Ethiopia and is the founder of an institutional partnership between Addis Ababa University and McGill (AMP-ID). Her team in Ethiopia works on strengthening laboratory capacity and identifying specific clinical interventions to improve the quality of care and patient safety in low-resource settings.

Don Sheppard, Director of the McGill Interdisciplinary Initiative in Infection and Immunity

Don Sheppard

Montreal, Quebec

Don Sheppard is an infectious diseases physician and medical microbiologist who is Chair of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and practices clinical infectious diseases at the McGill University Health Centre, where he served as the Director of the Division of Infectious Diseases from 2012-2018.

Dr. Sheppard’s research interests focus on the role of microbial polysaccharides in virulence, and the development of novel therapies that target these molecules.

Don Vinh, Associate Professor, MUHC Department of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases; Medical Microbiologist (OptiLab); FRQS clinician-scientist scholar (Junior 2) at the RI-MUHC; Associate Member in the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology and in the Department of Human Genetics

Don Vinh

Montreal, Quebec

Dr. Vinh obtained his medical degree in 2001 from McGill University. He completed Internal medicine residency (at McGill), then a combined fellowship in Infectious Diseases (at the University of Manitoba) and in Medical Microbiology (at McGill). He subsequently completed a three year, post-doctoral translational research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to understand inborn errors of immunity that render humans susceptible to infections, particularly fungal diseases. This research, in the laboratory of Dr. Steve Holland, was supported by a CIHR post-doctoral fellowship award and a NIH Visiting Fellow award. This work focused on understanding chronic granulomatous disease, Job’s syndrome, and defects in the interleukin (IL)-12/interferon (IFN)-gamma axis. It culminated in the discovery of a new genetic disorder marked by immunodeficiency and leukemia, termed "MonoMac syndrome", due to mutations in GATA2. Indeed, GATA2 deficiency is one of the most common causes of myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS)/acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in young patients. His work earned him the Canadian Foundation for Infectious Diseases’ “Excellence in Infectious Disease Research Award” in 2010 and the 2013-2014 “NIH Merit Group Award” as a member of the GATA2 Discovery Group.

Dr. Vinh returned to the MUHC in October 2010 and established the Infectious Disease Susceptibility Program, a translational research program that focuses on deciphering how genetic defects of the immune system render patients susceptible to infectious diseases. His work on CARD9 deficiency and susceptibility to invasive fungal disease was recognized by AMMI Canada’s “Young Investigator Award” (2016). Dr. Vinh continues to expand the field of Inborn Errors of Immunity, with his discovery of a novel combined immunodeficiency syndrome due to autosomal recessive ICOSL deficiency (2018). His translational program on these diseases has also garnered him the MUHC's Department of Medicine "Early Career Staff Research Award" and "Outreach Award" (2018). Dr. Vinh's expertise is broadly recognized, as he has published in Lancet Infectious Diseases, New England Journal of Medicine, Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, Clinical Infectious Diseases, Nature, Nature Microbiology, and Lancet.

Dr. Vinh is Associate Professor (MUHC Department of Medicine; Division of Infectious Diseases), Medical Microbiologist (OptiLab), and FRQS clinician-scientist scholar (Junior 2) at the RI-MUHC. He is also Associate Member in the Division of Allergy & Clinical Immunology and in the Department of Human Genetics. As well, he is member of the Research Management Committee of GlycoNet (a Networks of Centers of Excellence program); Chair of the Guidelines Committee of the Association of Medical Microbiologists and Infectious disease specialists (AMMI) Canada; member of the Education and the Communications committees of the Clinical Immunology Society; and member of the Comité consultatif québécois sur les maladies rares for the Québec Minister of Health. Most recently, he is Director of the MUHC COVID Biobank, member of the pan-American COVID-19 and Cancer Consortium (CCC19), and the Canadian lead in the international COVID Human Genetics Effort (COVIDhge) consortium.


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