Summer 2020 CSMB newsletter

Message from the President

Dear CSMB Members,

I am honoured to be the new President of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences, and look forward to working with you to advocate for the research enterprise and promote all those involved in science in Canada.

Imogen Coe in her laboratoryThe CSMB brings together scientists from a wide range of scientific fields, at different career stages and from different backgrounds. CSMB is vibrant and engaged community that makes significant contributions to the health and well-being of Canadians. However, we know there is more talent out there and we commit to identifying and removing barriers to inclusion and accessibility in the scientific enterprise, and promoting the creation of research cultures and ecosystems that are sustainable and humane.  We will advocate for more support for research ecosystems, financially and societally, to ensure that our research cultures are stronger and more resilient.  We will embed the principles of equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility in everything we do because we acknowledge that failure to engage all the talent stifles innovation and societal progress. I look forward to working with the executive and membership of CSMB to reinforce our commitment to actioning these values, which are essential for the development of Canada’s full scientific potential.

Under the leadership of past-president, Dr. Tarik Moroy, CSMB has developed a strong track record in advocacy, particularly in support of increased funding for fundamental scientific research. You can read in this newsletter about our visit to Parliament Hill in Ottawa in February 2020, where we met with policy makers from all parties and advocated for the full implementation of the recommendations of Canada Fundamental Science Review ( A few weeks later, CSMB President Tarik Moroy received an invitation to participate in Consultations of the House of Commons Standing committee on health on COVID-19, which was another opportunity to advocate for scientific research, broadly defined. Part of Dr Moroy’s statement to the committee was seen as particularly note-worthy and quoted in some of Canada’s main media, on CBC and in L’Actualité. The comments that caught the journalists’ ear were related to the initial cancellation of the CIHR spring competition, which was a cause for great concern and insecurity in the health research community. The Spring competition was reinstated a few weeks later.  While it is typically hard to directly connect media stories with policy decisions, continued advocacy, awareness-raising and relationship building with policy makers are essential elements of influence over the long term.  We will continue to make this a priority, particularly in the post-COVID19 era, and be focused on growing our relationships with elected officials (and their teams), and making sure the collective voice of scientists is heard, as loudly, clearly and frequently as possible.

We encourage all CSMB members to participate in advocacy and outreach activities so that the voting public, as well as policy-makers, understands the role of science and scientists in their daily lives.  We need to engage more effectively with the Canadian public so that they also become our advocates with elected officials in increased and sustainable support for scientific research.

Finally, it is my pleasure to congratulate Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden, from the University of Lethbridge, who has recently been elected as Vice-President of the CSMB, and two new members of the Board of Directors Dr. Mohan Babu, from the University of Regina and Dr. Mojgan Rastegar, from the University of Manitoba. I look forward to working with these newly elected members, and the committed scientists who are already on the CSMB Board and committees.

I wish all CSMB members and their networks good health for the rest of the summer. I look forward to working with you to pursue the CSMB’s important mission.

Imogen R. Coe

President of the CSMB


Black lives matter. CSMB stands in solidarity with our Black colleagues.

Read the CSMB’s statement published in the beginning of June, following the tragic event of George Floyd’s death.

Black lives matter. CSMB stands in solidarity with our Black colleagues – faculty, staff, trainees, and all those in the scientific enterprise around the world.
CSMB acknowledges the systemic racism and injustice faced by Black people in Canada and around the world. CSMB is committed to equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility for our membership and within the discipline of molecular biosciences. Recent events in Canada and the US, including the deaths of Regis Korchinski-Paquet, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and D’Andre Campbell, have made it essential that we reaffirm this commitment. In Canada, we know racial injustice has happened in the past and will continue to happen within all scientific fields and disciplines unless non-Black scientists actively listen to Black voices, educate themselves about structural racism, particularly in science, and work to effect real structural change in systems of oppression. The CSMB acknowledges that the society has not always demonstrated equitable representation of Black and other racialized scientists within its governance structures and membership. We must do better. We commit to doing better and supporting these important and difficult conversations within our community.

Advocacy news

CSMB executives travel to Ottawa to advocate for the full implementation of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review

MP William Amos, with Imogen Coe, Paola Marignani and Vincent Archambault

CSMB executives Tarik Moroy, Imogen Coe, Paola Marignani, Katey Ryner and Vincent Archambault visited Senators, Members of Parliament and staff on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on February 24 and 25 to promote the full implementation of the recommendations of Canada’s Fundamental Science Review (Naylor report). It was an opportunity of our executives to talk about science policy, basic research and the importance of federal support of science.

View pictures of this event here

CSMB President Tarik Möröy invited to participate in a briefing on COVID-19 of the House of Commons Standing committee on health.

Following CSMB’s visit to Ottawa, CSMB President Tarik Möröy was invited to speak on behalf of our members at a briefing on COVID-19 of the House of Commons Standing committee on health.

The meeting has been recorded and can be viewed on ParlVu here

Dr. Möröy highlighted the importance of the work Canadian researchers have accomplished to rise to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought, and the importance of supporting basic research. He also noted that this pandemic has also clearly shown that increased support for basic research is essential for a healthy research ecosystem in Canada.

Read Dr. Möröy’s full speaking notes here

CBC and L’ActualitĂ© features articles quoting Dr. Möröy about how COVID-19 disrupted the CIHR Spring competition

The CBC and the major magazine L’Actualité have both published articles quoting CSMB President Tarik Möröy, who appeared on a hearing on Canada’s response to COVID-19 at the House of Commons Standing committee on Health.

Excerpt from the CBC article:

He told the House of Commons health committee last week that Canada is the only country that had a major national health research funding agency cancel its grants during the crisis. He acknowledged that Canada was quick to mobilize funds for research related to COVID-19, but worries about the long-term impacts. “We worry that this is at the expense of other health research that then will still be necessary after the pandemic is over,” Moroy told the committee.

Read the full articles here:

Scientists concerned focus on COVID-19 disrupting regular health research funds – on

Un financement compromis pour les recherches autres que celles sur la COVID-19 – on

Congratulations to CSMB VP Dr. Imogen Coe on receiving a Science Ambassador Award from Partners In Research Canada

In May, our then Vice-President, Dr. Imogen Coe, received a Science Ambassador Award from Partners in Research Canada (PIR  Read her citation

Science Ambassador Award – Dr. Imogen Coe – Ryerson University

With more than two decades as a research scientist and professor, Dr. Imogen R. Coe has been a dedicated science ambassador, narrowing the gap between academic science and the public’s scientific literacy, and expanding equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). An exceptional science communicator, Dr. Coe is a popular speaker in Canada and internationally, with more than 120 invited presentations, 80 of which were at public outreach events. She aims to cultivate a passion for science in Canadians from all walks of life, including children, students, adults, the general public and professional groups.

CSMB hosts its first virtual Board meeting, AGM & Elections

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic situation, CSMB held its first virtual business meetings in the last months. Participation in the recent meeting of the board of directors, in the Annual General Meeting of members and in the elections was excellent. We were encouraged to see our member’s continued engagement with the Society.

CSMB Board meeting
On June 11th, the CSMB Directors participated in the first CSMB virtual board meeting.  It was an opportunity to discuss new ideas and initiatives to engage with our members, and to promote science in Canada.

On June 30th, 2020, the CSMB held its first ever virtual Annual General Meeting of members, via Zoom. We want to thank our members who participated in this important event. We were happy to welcome members from Coast to coast, with participants from British Columbia to Halifax. Elections for the new CSMB VP and board members were also held during the AGM.  The results of the elections are presented below.

The CSMB executives would like your feedback on our virtual events. Please get in touch with us if you have comments or suggestions:

June 2020 CSMB Election results

The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences wants to congratulate our newly elected Directors:

  • New Vice-President: Hans-Joachim (HJ) Wieden, PhD, University of Lethbridge
  • New member of the Board of Directors: Mohan Babu, PhD, University of Regina
  • New member of the Board of Directors: Mojgan Rastegar, PhD, University of Manitoba

New Vice-President: Hans-Joachim (HJ) Wieden, PhD

Hans-Joachim WiedenProfessor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Director, SynBridge (Synthetic Biology Maker Space), University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada
Director, Alberta RNA Research and Training Institute (ARRTI), University of Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada

Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden has been a member of the CSMB Board since 2016 and has chaired the conference committee since 2017, developing strategies for future meetings and opportunities to increase revenue for the Society. Working with the leadership team has allowed him to participate in the modernization of the CSMB, and to put the Society on an extremely exciting trajectory. He is dedicated to help continue this development and to contribute to advancing the Society and improving the environment for researchers and trainees in Canada.

Read Dr. Wieden’s full profile here

New member of the Board of Directors: Mohan Babu, University of Regina

Mohan BabuAssociate Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Faculty of Science, University of Regina (UofR), Saskatchewan, Canada

Dr. Mohan Babu has served as a secretary treasurer for the Canadian Society of Microbiology (CSM) for six years (2014-2020), where he oversees operating expenses for the conference, report revenue and any expenses spent (with financial statements prepared after auditing) in each fiscal year (e.g. membership dues, website development), project a conservative budget with future expected expenses, and participate in a monthly teleconference to discuss with society executives how to create revenue sources for operations and plan for an annual conference. Also, Dr. Babu (1) has worked with CSM executives in preparing the profit sharing policy for local organizing committees; (2) created new scholarships, travel and presentation awards for undergraduate or graduate students/ postdoctoral fellows to participate in the annual conference; (3) supported the sponsorship to host the student research day and members’ events at various Canadian universities; and (4) promoted CSM at the international levels by sponsoring awards for student presentations organized by CSM members at international conferences.

Read Dr. Babu’s full profile here

New member of the Board of Directors: Mojgan Rastegar, PhD, University of Manitoba

Mojgan RastegarAssociate Professor, Department of Biochemistry & Medical Genetics, and Regenerative Medicine Program, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences, Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba

Dr. Mojgan Rastegar is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, and Regenerative Medicine Program, University of Manitoba. She obtained her PhD degree in Biomedical Sciences from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL), Brussels, Belgium. Prior to joining the University of Manitoba as a Faculty Member in 2009, she performed postdoctoral training at the Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, Canada), McGill University (Montreal, Canada), and Indiana University-Purdue University (Indianapolis, USA). Her research program is focused on the role of epigenetics and DNA methylation in stem cell differentiation and neurodevelopmental disorders; including Rett Syndrome. Her independent research has been supported by international and national funding agencies, including International Rett Syndrome Foundation (IRSF), CIHR, NSERC-DG, and Ontario Rett Syndrome Association (ORSA). Last year, Dr. Rastegar’s research was recognized to take a leadership role in Canada for our research on Human Rett Syndrome Brain Tissues, and she established the “Human Rett Syndrome Brain Bio-Repository Laboratory” at the University of Manitoba. This new lab is the Canadian site for Human Rett Syndrome post-mortem brain donations from human patients, and has been developed via donations arranged through ORSA.

Read Dr. Rastegar’s full profile here

IUBMB news & opportunities

CSMB members are eligible for the fellowships and funding opportunities from the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

The next deadline for the IUBMB Fellowships and Funding for Educational Activities is October 1, 2020

Fellowship programs

Guidelines for application for IUBMB Educational activities

Guidelines and the application form for the IUBMB Advanced Schools can be found at
The completed application form is submitted online.

Read the latest issue of the IUBMB newsletter

Issue 9 of the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology newsletter is now out! Click here to read:


Recent opportunities posted

  • 2020 – 07 – 03 | Dean, College of Biological Science – University of GuelphUniversity of Guelph is a research-intensive, top-ranked comprehensive university, with nearly 27,000 undergraduate and over 3,000 graduate students across 85 different majors. Guelph is recognized for its academic reputation, for being student-centered, and for its strong sense of community. Guelph’s seven colleges conduct leading edge teaching and research in the physical and life sciences, arts, […]
  • 2020 – 05 – 19 | Postdoctoral researcher to work on Type IV pilus-mediated antibiotic uptake via DNA carriers – Simon Fraser University, Craig and Sen laboratoriesPost-doctoral research (2020-05-NFRF) The research groups of Lisa Craig and Dipankar Sen in the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department (MBB) at Simon Fraser University (SFU) seek a full-time postdoctoral researcher to work on Type IV pilus-mediated antibiotic uptake via DNA carriers. The successful candidate will have a PhD in Chemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, Microbiology or […]
  • 2020 – 05 – 11 | Searching for a New Editor-in-Chief for IUBMB LifeThe International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB seeks a new Editor-in-Chief for IUBMB Life, an international, peer-reviewed journal in the life sciences, that is the flagship journal of the IUBMB ( IUBMB Life is devoted to the rapid publication of the most novel and significant research and reviews in the broadly defined […]

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