Foundation Fighting Blindness Appoints New Scientific Leader

July 4, 2013 - Dr. Michel Cayouette of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal (IRCM) has been appointed at the new Chair of the Foundation Fighting Blindness Scientific Advisory Board. He took over this responsibility from Dr. Valerie Wallace, July 1, 2013.

Dr. Cayouette studies stem cells. He explores the factors that determine what kind of cells a dividing stem cell will become, important information both to understand how the retina develops and to facilitate transplants of retinal cells. Dr. Cayouette has been involved with the Foundation Fighting Blindness, since early in his career, when he received a William K. Stell New Investigator Award from the Foundation to help establish his research program at IRCM. He currently holds a Foundation Fighting Blindness operating grant and two grants from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is also the leader of a major multi-investigator grant from Brain Canada announced earlier this year.

Dr. Cayouette considers Valerie Wallace, outgoing Chair of the Scientific Advisory Board, an outstanding model for his own tenure.

“I have witnessed the importance of the chair of the SAB over the past few years, and I am pleased to accept this challenge," says Dr. Cayouette. "I strongly believe that identifying and funding excellent science is the only way towards cures and treatments for blindness. I think Valerie has done a fantastic job over the past few years and I will do my best to keep up the high standards.”

Dr. Wallace is making a major career change this year, relocating her research program from Ottawa to become the new Donald K. Johnson Chair at Toronto Western Research Institute.

“Valerie is just one example of the high calibre and professionalism of people that work with and for the Foundation Fighting Blindness, says Dr. Cayouette.  I am looking forward to working with you all to promote the very best Canadian vision science!”

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