Professor David Y. Thomas PhD
Secretary of the Academy of Science
Departments of Biochemistry and Human Genetics,
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
I was trained as a geneticist at University College London UK and I have made fundamental discoveries in the areas of mitochondrial genetics, signal transduction and the folding of secretory protein folding. My research interests have evolved into understanding the mechanisms of protein trafficking diseases such as cystic fibrosis and alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency and developing therapies to treat them.
I have lived and worked in Europe, Africa and the USA. l was the head of the Genetics Group of the NRC Biotechnology Research Institute in Montreal and established many partnerships with research groups and industry. I ams an advisor to many biotechnology companies. I had the opportunity to attend UCLA for business training that I have used for planning projects both big and small.
I have been fortunate in having a series of talented trainees, colleagues and collaborators. I keep in touch with many, following their careers with interest, and pride. I view mentoring them as perhaps my enduring contribution.
In 2001, I was recruited to the McGill Faculty of Medicine as the Chair of the Biochemistry Department. Supported by a group of accomplished colleagues I led a major application to the CFI and FRQS for a new biomedical research building. With additional resources this was successful and the Bellini Life Sciences Building as a component of what is called the McGill University Life Sciences Complex that was constructed on time and on budget.
I have been a member of and also chaired MRC, NSERC and CIHR peer review committees for many years. I have chaired the Ontario Research Fund Molecular Medicine grants committee for the past 7 years. I was also appointed as one of the inaugural chairs of the CIHR College of Reviewers with goal of improving the quality of peer review. I am also a member of the Research Advisory Committee of Cystic Fibrosis Canada and an advocate for research on orphan diseases.