Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau appointed Lebanese biochemist Mona Nemer Canada’s Chief Science Advisor.
Canada had a Chief Science Advisor between 2004 and 2008, but the former Conservative government eliminated the position, only to have it brought back by PM Trudeau. Beirut-born science professor specializing in cell research Mona Nemer has become the Canadian government’s new Chief Science Advisor, and will be advising the cabinet on “scientific issues of national importance.”
Before being appointed as the country’s top scientists, Dr. Mona Nemer was Professor and Vice-President, Research, at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Molecular Genetics and Cardiac Regeneration Laboratory.
With more than 200 highly cited publications, Nemer’s research was mainly focused on the understanding of molecular mechanisms of heart failure and congenital heart diseases. She was the first person to isolate the gene related to ventricular hypertrophy, which motivates an increase of the volume of the heart and thickens the myocardial wall.
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Having trained more than 100 junior researchers from all over the world, her work has contributed to the development of diagnostic tests for heart failure and the genetics of cardiac birth defects.
With a $2-million (Canadian) budget, it is now her duty to keep government science accessible and public, and ensure scientists are heard even when they disagree with the cabinet’s policies.
“She will provide advice to ensure that we have the evidence we need to make good decisions for all Canadians,” said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Dr. Mona Nemer holds a PhD in Chemistry from McGill University and was a Professor of Pharmacology at the Université de Montréal and directed the Cardiac Genetics Unit at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute prior to joining the University of Ottawa.