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About Sickkids
About SickKids

April 30, 2008

SickKids Chief of Research elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences

SickKids Chief of Research, and Senior Scientist, Dr. Janet Rossant has been elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) (http://www.national-academies.org/ ). Announced in an April 29 th media release from the NAS, Rossant was among 72 new members and one of only 18 foreign associates elected to the Academy this year.

“Janet Rossant is a brilliant scientist and a visionary leader who has significantly impacted the international research community,” said SickKids President and CEO Mary Jo Haddad. “Janet is an incredible asset to SickKids, to Ontario and to Canada . Dr. Rossant's membership to the National Academy of Science is a tremendous acknowledgement of her scientific contributions.”

Recognizing distinguished achievements in original research, membership in the NAS is considered one of the highest honours that can be accorded to a scientist or engineer in the U.S. Being elected as a foreign associate is, in a sense, an even greater achievement as the pool of potential members is large but only a maximum of 18 are elected per year. There are only 397 foreign associate members in total at present time. Rossant's membership brings the total of active Canadian members to 16.

Established in 1863 by a congressional act of incorporation signed by Abraham Lincoln, the NAS has a long and distinguished history. Members are scientists and engineers dedicated to upholding the standards and advancement of scientific study. The Academy acts as an official adviser to the federal government, upon request, in any matter of science or technology. Candidates for membership must be nominated by an existing Academy member and each nomination undergoes intense scrutiny and a rigorous process. According to NAS membership protocols, foreign associates are nonvoting members of the Academy. Rossant was elected to the Academy's Cell and Developmental Biology section.

A University Professor, and Professor in the Department of Molecular and Medical Genetics and the Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology at the University of Toronto, Rossant is recognized as a leader in developmental biology and stem cell research. Widely known for her studies of the genes that control embryonic development in the mouse, Rossant has pioneered techniques for following cell fate and altering genes in embryos. This work continues to resonate in medical genetic research. Her current research focuses on stem cell development and cell differentiation in the developing embryo, important areas for the study of birth defects as well as regenerative medicine. Firmly planted on the front lines of technological change, Dr. Rossant has established SickKids as a global forerunner in genetic research. She is Deputy Scientific Director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network and she directs the Centre for Modelling Human Disease in Toronto , which is undertaking genome-wide mutagenesis in mice to develop new mouse models of human disease.

Rossant trained at the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge, United Kingdom and has been in Canada since 1977, first at Brock University and then at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, from 1985 to 2005. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Societies of London and Canada and a Distinguished Investigator of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. In 2007, Rossant was awarded the March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology.

For more information, please contact:

Janice Nicholson
Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-6684
Fax: 416-813-5328
email: janice.nicholson@sickkids.ca