By: Liz Do
5 Nov, 2021
The CIFAR community is mourning the loss of Sir Michael Rutter, former Chair of the Advisory Committee within CIFAR’s Child & Brain Development (CBD) program. Rutter, considered to be the “Father of Child Psychiatry,” passed away on October 23, 2021 at the age of 88.
“Sir Michael Rutter was a preeminent figure of academic child psychiatry and psychology. As Chair of the Advisory Board for CIFAR’s program in Child and Brain Development, he brought his deep knowledge, international reputation and leadership to our program,” says Dr. Alan Bernstein, President & CEO of CIFAR. “On behalf of all of us at CIFAR, I offer my sincerest condolences to his family.”
Rutter was the first professor of child psychiatry in the United Kingdom, conducting definitive research into the effects of early experiences on children, and helped to establish the genetic basis of autism.
At CIFAR, he played a key role in the evolution of the CBD program. Nearly a decade ago, he wrote the first entry in a special issue of PNAS on childhood adversity, which would set the tone for the program moving forward. He is remembered by former and current program co-directors.
“Sir Michael Rutter was exceptional in every way, elevating those around him to a higher standard,” says Marla Sokolowski, former CBD program co-director. “As Chair of the Advisory Committee, he made a lasting and indelible contribution to the development of our program. He was a loved and respected colleague and friend. His research provides a bastion for hope and optimism for children around the globe.”
“Sir Michael Rutter was a giant in the field, a dear friend, and valued advisor to the Child & Brain Development Program,” adds Candice Odgers, CBD program co-director. “His brilliance and generosity made us all better scientists and the world a better place for children. We are beyond saddened by this tremendous loss, but will remain forever grateful for his lasting legacy.”
CIFAR is a registered charitable organization supported by the governments of Canada, Alberta and Quebec, as well as foundations, individuals, corporations and Canadian and international partner organizations.