Neuroscientist and expert in Alzheimer research, Dr. Jane Rylett, named Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Aging

News release

May 21, 2019 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Dr. Michael J. Strong, President of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), and CIHR’s Governing Council, announced today the appointment of Dr. Jane Rylett as the new Scientific Director of CIHR’s Institute of Aging (CIHR-IA). This appointment will be effective August 1, 2019.

Dr. Rylett is a Distinguished University Professor and currently serves as an Associate Dean in the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at Western University. She is a Scientist in the Molecular Medicine Research Laboratories at Robarts Research Institute and was Chair of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Research in her laboratory focuses on mechanisms regulating chemical communication in the nervous system in health, normal aging and disease. Much of the research involves studies of the function of cholinergic neurons. Her work has been funded by several agencies, including CIHR, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and the Alzheimer Societies of both Canada and the United States.

An internationally recognized neuroscientist and expert in Alzheimer research, Dr. Rylett worked within the Alzheimer community for many years and witnessed first-hand the enormous impact that neurodegenerative diseases have on patients and their loved ones. She played a key role in the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) as an Associate Director and a lead for the prevention research team. She is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

She has extensive experience on peer review panels for granting councils and foundations. In 2016, she was appointed as an inaugural College Chair of the CIHR College of Reviewers, and currently serves as Executive Vice-Chair. She was a long-serving member of the CIHR Institute of Aging Advisory Board and served as its Chair from 2008 to 2012.

As Scientific Director, Dr. Rylett will work with her community to identify research priorities, develop funding opportunities, build partnerships, and translate research evidence into policy and practice to improve the health of Canadians and people around the world. As a member of CIHR’s leadership team, she will participate in implementing CIHR’s strategic direction.

Throughout this recruitment process, CIHR followed Conflict of Interest policies. Since the President and Dr. Rylett are appointed at the same university, he recused himself from the recruitment, interview, and selection processes to prevent any conflict of interest. The Acting Chair of CIHR’s Governing Council, Dr. Alice Aiken, led these processes.

Dr. Rylett replaces Dr. Yves Joanette, who led the CIHR Institute of Aging since 2011. 

Quotes

“I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Jane Rylett to the CIHR leadership team. As the new Scientific Director of the CIHR Institute of Aging, she will continue to lead and shape research that is important for our aging population. The Institute of Aging is unique at CIHR as it focuses on the aging person in an aging society, and the effects of different diseases and conditions on aging. Dr. Rylett’s remarkable work in the field of Alzheimer research makes her well suited for these challenges. We look forward to Dr. Rylett’s continued leadership in health research.”

– Dr. Michael J. Strong
President, Canadian Institutes of Health Research

“While extremely excited about taking on this role, I am also humbled by the challenges that lay ahead.  The need for building researcher and decision-maker capacity, patient and community engagement, attention to equity, international collaborations, and partnership development has never been higher or the potential impact greater.  I look forward to working with our broad research community, policy-makers, funders, providers, patients and community members and my CIHR colleagues and their stakeholders to improve health care and the health of Canadians.  Dr. Yves Joanette provided inspiring leadership over the past eight years and I am extremely grateful for his support and that of his team in this transition.”

– Dr. Jane Rylett
Incoming Scientific Director, CIHR Institute of Aging

"We are thrilled and proud the Canadian Institutes of Health Research has chosen Western as the host of its Institute of Aging. This announcement is a testament not only to Jane Rylett’s leadership, but to London's excellence in health-related research across the life span.”

– Prof. Amit Chakma
Western President and Vice-Chancellor

Quick facts

  • As one of the thirteen CIHR Institutes, The CIHR Institute of Aging (CIHR-IA) invests in research that promotes an optimal life-long approach to healthy aging, and improves the health and wellness of Canada's aging population. By supporting advances in prevention, diagnosis, treatment, care delivery, and social determinants of health, IA seeks to improve the health and quality of life of Canadians in their later years.

  • Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to health researchers and trainees across Canada.

  • The CIHR Institute of Aging (CIHR-IA) invests in research that promotes an optimal life-long approach to healthy aging, and improves the health and wellness of Canada's aging population. 

  • Seniors are the fastest growing age group in Canada. By the year 2026, seniors will constitute more than one out of every five Canadians. 

  • Among its many priorities, the CIHR Institute of Aging spearheads the national Dementia Research Strategy, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging (CCNA) and the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging (CLSA) 

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Contacts

Media Relations
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
613-941-4563
mediarelations@cihr-irsc.gc.ca

Jennifer Parraga
Director, Communications and Marketing, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
519-661-2111 ext. 86415
jennifer.parraga@schulich.uwo.ca

At the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) we know that research has the power to change lives. As Canada's health research investment agency, we collaborate with partners and researchers to support the discoveries and innovations that improve our health and strengthen our health care system.


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