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Dr. Morag Park appointed new scientific director of CIHR's Institute of Cancer Research

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Published: 26 May 2008

Dr. Pierre Chartrand, Acting President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), along with CIHR's Governing Council, made the announcment today.

Dr. Pierre Chartrand, Acting President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), along with CIHR's Governing Council, announced today the appointment of Dr. Morag Park as incoming Scientific Director of CIHR's Institute of Cancer Research. This appointment is effective August 1, 2008.

"Dr. Park is a welcome addition to the CIHR leadership team," said Dr. Chartrand. "Her accomplishments in the field of cancer research will build upon the solid foundation created by the Institute of Cancer Research over the last seven years."

Morag Park is a James McGill Professor in the Departments of Oncology, Biochemistry and Medicine at McGill University where she serves as director of the Molecular Oncology Group at the McGill University Health Centre. Dr. Park is a member of the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec, Réseau Cancer. She was the associate director for fundamental research at the MUHC, was a member of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance advisory committee and served on and chaired research review panels for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance and the National Cancer Institute of Canada.

"I am honoured and delighted to have this opportunity to serve the cancer research community," said Dr. Park. "I look forward to working with the other Scientific Directors, the CIHR team, and all the Institute of Cancer Research stakeholders and partners to drive forward with programs that will allow Canada to advance its research and innovation agenda for the benefit of Canadians. By working together, we can build upon the outstanding foundations set by Dr. Phil Branton, the Institute's inaugural Scientific Director."

Dr. Park has a highly productive program of research. She has obtained research funding from national funding agencies and has published over 100 papers in peer-reviewed journals. Her research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer. A major thrust of her work now focuses on human breast cancer and the importance of the tumour microenvironment to the outcome of this disease. She has held investigator awards from the National Cancer Institute of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and currently holds the Diane and Sal Guerrera Chair in Cancer Genetics at McGill University. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards including becoming a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

"I would like to thank Dr. Branton for his exemplary leadership as the inaugural Scientific Director of the Institute of Cancer Research," added Dr. Chartrand. "Over the past seven years, Dr. Branton has led the country into developing a coherent and integrated approach to cancer research - a first for Canada. Phil has worked tirelessly with his Advisory Board and many other groups to establish a forward-looking research agenda."

"During my years at CIHR, I have had the opportunity to work with many other organizations which share common goals in cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and cure", said Dr. Phil Branton. "As I prepare to hand over the reins of the Institute of Cancer Research to the next Scientific Director, I am proud to see that since my arrival at CIHR, cancer research funding doubled from $52 million per year in 2000/2001 to $104 million in 2006/2007."

CIHR is comprised of 13 Institutes, each led by a Scientific Director responsible for championing health research at the highest levels of international excellence, establishing and nurturing partnerships, as well as fostering effective communication and knowledge dissemination.

The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 11,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada. www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

The CIHR Institute of Cancer Research supports research to reduce the burden of cancer on individuals and families through prevention strategies, screening, diagnosis, effective treatment, psycho-social support systems, and palliation.

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