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mRNA vaccines have been game changers in the fight against COVID-19. They also hold great promise in revolutionizing the treatment of diseases going forward.

Join us for the latest CIFAR Massey Talks event that gives a glimpse into the future of vaccines and their impact on human health. Moderated by Wency Leung, health reporter at The Globe and Mail, we’ll hear a diverse range of perspectives and expert commentary from health leaders Derrick Rossi, founder of Moderna and Alan Bernstein, President & CEO of CIFAR.

Adding to discussion are Massey junior fellows Niklas Bobrovitz, Sivani Baskaran and Upasana Saha.

Derrick Rossi is a serial biotech entrepreneur and stem cell scientist. His efforts in the development of cutting-edge technologies and novel therapeutic strategies are at the forefront of regenerative medicine and biotechnology. Time magazine named Rossi as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world (Time 100) in 2011. Until his retirement from academia, he was an associate professor at Harvard Medical School and Harvard University and an investigator at Boston Children’s Hospital. 

Discoveries made in Rossi’s lab led to the formation of several leading biotechnology companies. His development of modified-mRNA reprogramming was named by Time magazine as one of the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2010. That same year, Rossi leveraged that technology to found Moderna, a company developing modified-mRNA therapeutics and whose COVID-19 vaccine is being deployed around the world. In 2015, Rossi co-founded Intellia Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company developing CRISPR/Cas9-based therapeutics. In 2016, he co-founded Magenta Therapeutics, which is focused on transforming transplantation medicine. In 2017, he co-founded Stelexis Therapeutics, an oncology company targeting the stem cell origin of cancer. Also in 2017 he helped launch Convelo Therapeutics, which is developing remyelination therapeutics for patients suffering from demyelination diseases such as multiple sclerosis. He currently serves as the CEO of Convelo.

Alan Bernstein is President & CEO of CIFAR, responsible for developing and leading CIFAR’s overall strategic direction. He is one of Canada’s leading scientists and was an early champion of women in science and young scientists. His contributions to science and science policy have been recognized with numerous awards and honorary degrees, including Officer of the Order of Canada, the Order of Ontario, the McLaughlin Medal from the Royal Society of Canada, the Award of Excellence from the Genetics Society of Canada, the Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award, induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and the 2017 Henry Friesen International Prize in Health Research.

Wency Leung is a Toronto-based health reporter for The Globe and Mail, and is part of a team of journalists currently covering the COVID-19 pandemic. She has a special interest in reporting on brain health, including how various aspects of the pandemic have affected people’s mood, senses and cognition. She is particularly drawn to stories about families and individuals living with dementia, substance use and addiction, and loneliness – and about the scientists and clinicians striving to help them. Prior to joining The Globe, she worked at The Prague Post, The Vancouver Sun, The Cambodia Daily, and the Reuters news agency (now Thomson Reuters).

Date: October 27
Time: Noon – 1 p.m. EDT
Location: Virtual
Cost: Free