Meet Our People

A portait of the Prilenia team.

Leadership

Michael R. Hayden, PhD
Michael Hayden
MBChB, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
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Michael R. Hayden, PhD

Michael R. Hayden, PhD
CM OBC MB ChB PhD
FRCP(C) FRSC

Chief Executive Officer

Michael Hayden is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Prilenia. Prior to this, he was the President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer at Teva from 2012 to 2017. During this time, he led the approval of 35 new products in major markets, with many for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS).

In 2015, Teva R&D was recognized as one of the 10 most exciting innovators in pharma by IDEA Pharma, and in 2017, Teva R&D ranked at the top of the industry for CNS development and clinical study success rate by Pharma Intelligence. Michael is also a Killam Professor at the University of British Columbia and a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics.

In Ken McGoogan’s book ‘50 Canadians Who Changed the World’, Michael was named one of the 50 Canadians born in the 20th century who have changed the world. Michael is the co-founder of 5 biotechnology companies, including Prilenia, NeuroVir Therapeutics, Inc., Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corp, and 89bio, Inc. He currently sits on different public and private boards of biotechnology companies.

Author of approximately 900 peer-reviewed publications and invited submissions, Michael has focused his research primarily on translational medicine, including genetics of diabetes, lipoprotein disorders, Huntington disease, predictive, personalized medicine, and drug development. Michael and his research group have identified 10 disease-causing genes, which include the identification of the major gene underlying high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in humans. Michael also identified the first mutations underlying lipoprotein lipase (LPL) deficiency and developed gene therapy approaches to treat this condition, resulting in the first approved gene therapy product (Glybera) in a major market. Michael is the most cited author in the world on ABCA1 and Huntington’s disease.

Michael is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2017. He was named one of PharmaVoice’s 100 of the Most Inspiring People (2015); awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the University of Gottingen (2014); the Luminary award by the Personalized Medicine World Conference (2014); the Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), on behalf of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his significant contributions and achievements; the Margolese National Brain Disorder Prize (2011), awarded to Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to the treatment, amelioration, or cure of brain diseases; the Killam Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts (2011), in recognition of his outstanding career achievements; and the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award (2011), recognizing him as a physician-scientist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science. Michael has also been awarded the Order of Canada (2011) and the Order of British Columbia (2010). He was named Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (NIH of Canada) in 2008, and he received the Prix Galien in 2007, which recognizes the outstanding contribution of a researcher to Canadian pharmaceutical research.

Michael is committed to empowering others. In addition to mentoring more than 100 graduate students and postdocs, he is also a TED mentor.

Limor Ben Har
Limor Ben Har
Chief Operating Officer
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Limor Ben Har

Limor Ben Har

Chief Operating Officer

Limor Ben Har is Chief Operating Officer (COO) at Prilenia. In this role, Limor is responsible for Prilenia’s day-to-day operations, including oversight of Prilenia’s corporate functions (eg, HR, finance, legal, IP, IT, communications), corporate planning and strategy, as well as managing areas still under development in the company. Limor also serves as CEO of Prilenia’s Israeli entity, Prilenia Neurotherapeutics Ltd.

Limor has more than 20 years of experience in strategy, planning, and operations. Prior to joining Prilenia as a member of the founding management team, she led R&D planning and operations as Chief of Staff of Teva R&D, facilitating the operation of an innovative 2000+ people global organization and management of ~$1B budget. In that role, Limor managed long- and short-term R&D planning, managed strategic reviews, and designed operating processes and operational initiatives to increase R&D effectiveness. She also managed Teva R&D’s interfaces with the various business units and corporate functions.

Before Teva, Limor spent several years in the national security and foreign policy field. She served at the Israeli National Security Council (NSC), including as Chief of Staff, facilitating major organizational transformation and buildup, as well as spearheading cross-NSC and interagency processes and advising on numerous strategic policy issues. Limor also served as Senior Fellow at a Washington, DC policy think tank.

Limor has a master of public policy from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and an MA and BA in political science from Tel Aviv University.

Henk Shuring
Henk Schuring
Chief Regulatory and Commercialization Officer
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Henk Shuring

Henk Schuring

Chief Regulatory and Commercialization Officer

Henk Schuring is the Chief Regulatory and Commercialization Officer at Prilenia. In this position, Henk plays a critical role in defining the regulatory pathway for marketing authorization development and clinical programs and supports the company as it advances toward commercialization. Henk oversees all regulatory and commercialization aspects surrounding the upcoming late-stage clinical studies in Huntington’s disease and ALS. Henk is also responsible for global launch readiness activities.

Henk is a pharmacist with more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry for both medicinal products and medicinal devices. He is an experienced executive and has a proven track record as a results-oriented rare disease leader and a creative strategic thinker. Henk has been working in the industry at various positions in quality assurance (QR), regulatory affairs (RA), and commercial at both the European and global levels.

Henk started in the pharmaceutical industry at NPBI (now Fresenius Medical Care) in QA & RA of sterile manufacturing hospital solutions and anything needed for blood banks. From 1995-April 1999, Henk was a consultant in the field of RA and QA. In April 1999, Henk joined Genzyme in regulatory affairs. His last position was Head of Regulatory Strategy for EMEA (Europe, Middle East, Africa) and JAPAC (Japan and Asia-Pacific). In this role, Henk was part of development and commercialization of various rare disease products for Genzyme and Sanofi Genzyme. Many of these products were first approvals of a first treatment for a rare disease.

In November 2014, Henk became VP-Head Rare Neurology at Sanofi Genzyme and was responsible for the area of rare neurology, which was built around the Pompe disease franchise. In February 2017, he began leading the Rare Nephrology and Fabry disease franchise as Global Head of Rare Nephrological Diseases. In these roles, he was responsible for driving the growth and expansion of Sanofi Genzyme’s presence in the therapeutic area. This role oversaw the global marketing and commercial support for products approved in development in close collaboration with various countries. In addition, this role was charged with influencing the direction of science and business development for diseases in the therapeutic area to ensure long-term sustainability.

Henk graduated as a PharmD from the University of Groningen (Netherlands).

Jina Swartz MB BCh, PhD, FMedSci
Chief Medical Officer
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Jina Swartz MB BCh, PhD, FMedSci

Chief Medical Officer

Jina is an MD/PhD who initially trained in Internal Medicine and Neurology in South Africa. Jina completed her PhD at the University of Cambridge, where her thesis focused on the exploration of molecular mechanisms of neurodegeneration in Huntington’s disease and trinucleotide disorders. Jina has 30+ years experience in both academic Neurology practice and the biopharma industry.

Jina joined Prilenia from Exciva, a neuroscience biotech focused on neurodegenerative conditions, where she was also CMO. Prior to Exciva, she was Therapeutic Area Head of Neuroscience in Global Clinical Drug Development at Merck and Co, and previously held senior neurology roles at Eisai and several other global pharma companies.

Renowned within both research and industry circles, Jina is an active member of a number of influential neurology and neurodegeneration associations such as the British Neuroscience Association, the European Brain Council, and the European Federation of Neurological Associations (EFNA). Jina was an impact assessor for the UK Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2021, and most recently, was elected to the Fellowship of the Academy of Medical Sciences for her expertise in neurodegenerative disorders and neuropsychiatric drug development.

Anne Sullivan
Anne Sullivan
Chief Business Officer
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Anne Sullivan

Anne Sullivan

Chief Business Officer

Anne Sullivan is Chief Business Officer (CBO) at Prilenia. In this role, Anne leads all strategic collaboration activities, including opportunities to accelerate and expand the potential impact of pridopidine. Anne brings more than 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry and with significant expertise in corporate and business development, marketing and sales, including for companies focused on neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

Prior to joining Prilenia, Anne served as CBO at Rodin Therapeutics, a privately held clinical stage biopharmaceutical company discovering and developing first-in-class therapeutics for serious neurological diseases. Anne led the acquisition of Rodin by Alkermes plc in November 2019 and has since served as consulting CBO for multiple private and public biopharma companies.

Before joining Rodin, Anne served as Senior Vice President, Corporate Development & Operations at Sea Pharmaceuticals, LLC, a privately held, seed-stage company focused on neurological diseases. Previously, she was Vice President, Corporate Development and Licensing at Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc. (formerly Sepracor Inc.). In this role, she was responsible for mergers and acquisitions, licensing of products, technologies, intellectual property, and commercial partnerships in support of the company’s overall strategy. Anne was instrumental in the acquisition of Sepracor Inc. by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd. in October 2009.

Earlier in her career, Anne held management positions in marketing, market research, and sales at AbbVie. She began her career as a certified public accountant working in audit and international finance with KPMG and Wang Laboratories. Anne received an AB in economics/accounting from the College of the Holy Cross and an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

Michal Geva, PhD
Michal Geva
PhD
SVP, Head of Research
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Michal Geva, PhD

Michal Geva, PhD

SVP, Head of Research

Michal Geva is Senior Vice President, Head of Research at Prilenia. Michal is responsible for developing and implementing research and scientific strategy, and managing scientific innovation and coherence across the company’s pipeline and strategy around corporate intellectual property (IP). Michal is also responsible for clinical data analyses and plays a key role in supporting early- and late-stage clinical development, regulatory strategy, and pre-commercialization activities.

Michal manages and maintains relationships with external key opinion leaders (KOLs) to support mechanism of action studies evaluation of new indications and potential new assets for expanding the corporate pipeline. She is responsible for developing strategy for drug development, including toxicology, pharmacology, DMPK, and clinical pharmacology. Michal brings extensive experience in pharmacology and drug development.

Prior to Prilenia, Michal was the Scientific and Non-Clinical Lead at Teva Pharmaceutical’s Global R&D. In that role, Michal supported the development of numerous CNS drugs across the clinical development stages, from discovery to Phase 3 and post-marketing life-cycle management. Michal led all scientific and non-clinical activities for pridopidine, Prilenia’s key asset in clinical development. Michal is a co-inventor of more than 10 patents/patent applications.

Michal did her post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute of Neurodegenerative Diseases, University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), under the mentorship of Nobel Laureate Stanley B. Prusiner and has a PhD from the Department of Cell Research & Immunology at Tel Aviv University.

Elena Berelovich
Elena Berelovich
SVP, Head of CMC
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Elena Berelovich

Elena Berelovich, MSc

SVP, Head of CMC

Elena Berelovich is Senior Vice President, Head of CMC at Prilenia. Elena has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, leading a broad range of drug development CMC projects and activities, from lead-stage to Phase 3 and registration.

Elena previously served as Associate Director CMC Project Leader at the Innovative R&D at Teva Pharmaceuticals, leading diverse drug development projects throughout their life cycle. Her experience and responsibilities have involved management of all aspects of drug development, including sterile and oral dosage forms.

Yael Cohen
Yael Cohen
SVP, Head of Clinical Operations
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Yael Cohen

Yael Cohen

SVP, Head of Clinical Operations

Yael Cohen is Senior Vice President, Head of Clinical Operations at Prilenia. Yael is a clinical research professional with more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, leading all aspects of Phase 1, 2, and 3 complex registrational clinical studies of drugs, devices, and drug-device combinations in a global environment. Yael has a wide range of expertise across various indications, mainly in CNS.

Yael previously served as Director of Global Clinical Operations at NeuroDerm Ltd. For 4 years she was responsible for the operational execution of global development programs in Parkinson’s disease, which included oversight of 5 clinical studies in parallel, Phase 1, 2, and 3, including responsibility for a budget of several millions of dollars. From 2004 to 2014, Yael held positions of increasing responsibility in clinical operations at several Israeli start-up companies, including 3 years of relocation in the United States, managing the registrational study of Evolence.

Previously, Yael served as Senior Clinical Research Associate at Bristol Myers Squibb, a global pharmaceutical company. She received both her BSc. in pharmacy and MSc in clinical pharmacy from the School of Pharmacy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Rob Roth
Rob Roth
SVP, Head of Commercial
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Rob Roth

Rob Roth

SVP, Head of Commercial

Rob Roth is Senior Vice President, Head of Commercial at Prilenia. He is responsible for commercial strategy, marketing, commercial operations, and sales to ensure successful launch planning and execution.

Rob brings more than 25 years of healthcare marketing and communications experience. Prior to Prilenia, he was Vice President of Global Marketing & Patient Support at Albireo Pharma, where he developed early commercial strategy and led marketing, patient support, corporate communications, and patient advocacy to drive a successful launch in a rare pediatric liver disease. Previously, he held global and United States marketing leadership roles in rare disease at Sanofi Genzyme, in neurology at Biogen, and in ophthalmology at Inotek. As Principal of Roth Health Marketing & Communications, Rob also has advised a wide range of biopharma companies on brand strategy, commercial launch planning, and other commercial activities. He spent his early career at global corporate communications firms with a focus on healthcare.

Rob holds an MBA from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and a BS in journalism from the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.

Board of Directors

Geert-Jan Mulder, PhD
Geert-Jan Mulder
MD
Chairman, Co-Founder & Partner at Forbion
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Geert-Jan Mulder, PhD

Geert-Jan Mulder, MD

Chairman, Co-Founder & Partner at Forbion

Geert-Jan Mulder is a Managing Partner at Forbion, co-founded the fund in 2006, and currently serves on the board of several Forbion portfolio companies. In addition, Geert-Jan led the firm’s successful investment in 2004 in bluebird bio (NASDAQ: BLUE), which went public in 2013, where he supported the company in clinical development and served as the chairman for several years. Other investments include Acorda Therapeutics (NASDAQ:ACOR), which went public in 2006, where he was part of the Ampyra board panel to evaluate a new regulatory endpoint in multiple sclerosis; PanGenetics B.V., which was sold to Abbott, where he led the Series B financing round; Transave, where he supported the company’s clinical development for Arikayce partly as interim CMO, and also served on the board of directors until the merger with Insmed (NASDAQ:INSM) in 2010; led the Series A of Exosome Diagnostics in the field of liquid biopsy in 2010, which was acquired by Bio-Techne (NASDAQ:TECH) in 2018; and Promedior, where he led the Series C financing round and participated in setting up and executing its clinical development plan for an antifibrotic treatment of idiopathic lung fibrosis (IPF) and myelofibrosis, received breakthrough therapy designation by the FDA for IPF and being Phase 3 ready at the time of its acquisition by Roche (ROG SW) in 2020. In addition, he is a co-author of several Forbion and Forbion portfolio-related scientific publications.

Prior to joining ABN AMRO Capital Life Sciences (Forbion’s predecessor) in 2001, Geert-Jan spent 2 years as resident in OB-GYN at the University Medical Center of Utrecht (UMC) and several years in the pharmaceutical industry in clinical development and global medical marketing for both Searle (now Pfizer) and Byk Gulden (now Takeda).

R. Blane Walter
R. Blane Walter
Board Member & Partner at Talisman Capital Partners
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R. Blane Walter

R. Blane Walter

Board Member & Partner at Talisman Capital Partners

R. Blane Walter is a Partner at Talisman Capital Partners. Blane was the founder of inChord Communications, Inc., which he built into the largest independently-owned, healthcare communications company in the world. In 2005, inChord was acquired by Ventiv Health, the largest provider of outsourced sales and clinical services serving the pharmaceutical industry to create inVentiv Health. In 2008, Blane became CEO of the combined public company. Through organic growth and more than 20 acquisitions, inVentiv Health became the leading provider of outsourced product development and commercialization services to the global pharmaceutical and life sciences industries. inVentiv’s client roster consists of more than 350 leading pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, and healthcare companies. In 2010, Blane led the successful $1.2 billion buyout of inVentiv Health by Thomas H. Lee Partners. Blane served as Vice Chairman of inVentiv Health and also served as Chairman of the Governor of Ohio’s Executive Workforce Board. Blane is Chairman of the Board of Columbus College of Art and Design, as well as a member of the Board of Helius Medical Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ:HSDT).

Prior to joining inChord, Blane worked as a Financial Analyst in New York City for Smith Barney in its mergers and acquisitions specialty group. Blane actively pursues and manages investments in healthcare, information technology, and marketing/professional services.

Blane graduated summa cum laude with a BS in marketing and finance from Boston College.

Jason R. Dinges, PhD
Jason R. Dinges
PhD
Board Member & Investment
Director at Morningside
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Jason R. Dinges, PhD

Jason R. Dinges, PhD

Board Member & Investment
Director at Morningside

Jason R. Dinges is currently an investment director at Morningside Technology Advisory LLC, which he joined in 2011. He has extensive experience providing operational and management oversight to early-stage biotechnology companies.

Jason is also a director of several biopharmaceutical or biotechnology companies, across a broad spectrum of therapeutic areas, including Kezar Life Sciences, ENYO Pharma, CellCentric, Inotrem, Apic Bio, Pinteon Therapeutics, and Allysta Pharmaceuticals. He has also facilitated multiple financings for private companies. From 2006 to 2011, Jason was an associate attorney at Foley & Lardner LLP, practicing intellectual property law in the firm’s Chemical, Biotechnology, and Pharmaceutical practice group. Jason received his PhD in genetics from Iowa State University and a J.D., with highest distinction, from the University of Iowa College of Law.

Michael Ginder
Michael Ginder
Board Member & Research Analyst at Sands Capital
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Michael Ginder

Michael Ginder

Board Member & Research Analyst at Sands Capital

Michael Ginder is currently a research analyst at Sands Capital, a leading growth-oriented investment firm. Since joining in 2011, he has invested in life sciences businesses across the private and public markets, with a primary focus on therapeutics.

Michael earned a BS in commerce from the University of Virginia in 2011 and has been a CFA charterholder since 2015.

A headshot portrait of Nikola.
Nikola Trbovic
PhD
Board Member & Managing Partner at SV Health Investors
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A headshot portrait of Nikola.

Nikola Trbovic

Board Member & Managing Partner at SV Health Investors

Nikola Trbovic is Managing Partner at SV Health Investors in the Biotech team having joined SV in January 2022.

Previously, Nikola was a Partner at Pfizer Ventures, Pfizer’s corporate venture capital group. There he was responsible for investments in emerging companies developing transformative medicines spanning all therapeutic areas and modalities aligned with the future directions of Pfizer.

In prior roles at Pfizer, Nikola held responsibilities for R&D technology investments, R&D strategy and early clinical portfolio management within the R&D organization. Nikola joined Pfizer from McKinsey & Co., where he served as an Associate Principal and senior member of the Pharmaceuticals Practice, advising top pharmaceutical, biotech, and healthcare companies on a range of strategy, corporate finance and commercial topics across geographies and therapeutic areas.

Outside of SV, Nikola enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, snorkeling/scuba diving and sports.

Nikola received his PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics from Columbia University, and holds a Diploma in Biochemistry from Goethe University Frankfurt.

Stefan Larson
Stefan Larson
Board Member & Partner at Sectoral Asset Management
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Stefan Larson

Stefan Larson

Board Member & Partner at Sectoral Asset Management

Stefan Larson joined Sectoral Asset Management in 2018 as Partner – Private Equity, responsible for leading biotechnology private equity investments. In addition to Prilenia, he is also on the boards of eFFECTOR Therapeutics, Turnstone Biologics, and Pipeline Therapeutics.

Stefan graduated in 1997 from McGill University with a BSc in biology and in 1999 from University of Toronto with an MSc in molecular and medical genetics. He completed his PhD in biophysics at Stanford University in 2004.

Prior to joining Sectoral, he was an Entrepreneur-in-Residence and later Venture Partner with Versant Ventures, where he led the establishment of their Toronto-based Discovery Engine and was the founding CEO of Northern Biologics. He was also a co-founder of 2 medical device companies: Perimeter Medical Imaging and Tornado Spectral Systems. He began his career at McKinsey & Company in San Francisco and Toronto.

Michael R. Hayden, PhD
Michael Hayden
MBChB, PhD
Chief Executive Officer
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Michael R. Hayden, PhD

Michael R. Hayden, PhD
CM OBC MB ChB PhD
FRCP(C) FRSC

Chief Executive Officer

Michael Hayden is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at Prilenia. Prior to this, he was the President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer at Teva from 2012 to 2017. During this time, he led the approval of 35 new products in major markets, with many for diseases of the central nervous system (CNS).

In 2015, Teva R&D was recognized as one of the 10 most exciting innovators in pharma by IDEA Pharma, and in 2017, Teva R&D ranked at the top of the industry for CNS development and clinical study success rate by Pharma Intelligence. Michael is also a Killam Professor at the University of British Columbia and a Senior Scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics.

In Ken McGoogan’s book ‘50 Canadians Who Changed the World’, Michael was named one of the 50 Canadians born in the 20th century who have changed the world. Michael is the co-founder of 5 biotechnology companies, including Prilenia, NeuroVir Therapeutics, Inc., Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corp, and 89bio, Inc. He currently sits on different public and private boards of biotechnology companies.

Author of approximately 900 peer-reviewed publications and invited submissions, Michael has focused his research primarily on translational medicine, including genetics of diabetes, lipoprotein disorders, Huntington disease, predictive, personalized medicine, and drug development. Michael and his research group have identified 10 disease-causing genes, which include the identification of the major gene underlying high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in humans. Michael also identified the first mutations underlying lipoprotein lipase (LPL) deficiency and developed gene therapy approaches to treat this condition, resulting in the first approved gene therapy product (Glybera) in a major market. Michael is the most cited author in the world on ABCA1 and Huntington’s disease.

Michael is the recipient of numerous prestigious honors and awards. He was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame in 2017. He was named one of PharmaVoice’s 100 of the Most Inspiring People (2015); awarded an honorary doctorate of science by the University of Gottingen (2014); the Luminary award by the Personalized Medicine World Conference (2014); the Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012), on behalf of HRH Queen Elizabeth II, in recognition of his significant contributions and achievements; the Margolese National Brain Disorder Prize (2011), awarded to Canadians who have made outstanding contributions to the treatment, amelioration, or cure of brain diseases; the Killam Prize by the Canada Council for the Arts (2011), in recognition of his outstanding career achievements; and the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award (2011), recognizing him as a physician-scientist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science. Michael has also been awarded the Order of Canada (2011) and the Order of British Columbia (2010). He was named Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (NIH of Canada) in 2008, and he received the Prix Galien in 2007, which recognizes the outstanding contribution of a researcher to Canadian pharmaceutical research.

Michael is committed to empowering others. In addition to mentoring more than 100 graduate students and postdocs, he is also a TED mentor.