Biography - Dr. Christopher McMaster

Dr. Christopher McMaster is a professor and Head of the Department of Pharmacology at Dalhousie University and Director of the Cheminformatics Drug Discovery Lab, which uses sophisticated software to design and then synthesize new drugs. Previous to this, he held a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Biosignalling (the study of how messages are conveyed into cells by the interaction of a signal or a chemical messenger with a receptor incorporated into the cell membrane), and was the Assistant Dean for Graduate and Post-doctoral Studies in the Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University.

He currently serves on the scientific advisory board for the CIHR Institute of Genetics-sponsored Rare Disease Models and Mechanisms grant that connects the infrastructure and leadership of Canada’s gene discovery projects with scientific communities working with model organisms such as yeast, worms, zebra fish, fruit flies, and mice.

As a researcher, he is a recognized leader in genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology. His research is broad in interest, ranging from basic biochemistry and cell biology, to genomics to determine causal genes for human genetic diseases and drugs for their treatment, to ethical and policy considerations as the field of human genomics becomes increasingly applied to clinical diagnosis and care. He has led large research consortia including acting as Principal Investigator (PI) on a Genome Canada Large-Scale Applied Research project, co-PI on a large Canada Foundation for Innovation grant, and as PI on a large-scale Atlantic Innovation Fund project. He has identified a potential therapy, currently in Phase 2 trials, for congenital sideroblastic anemia, a disease which occurs when the bone marrow fails to produce a sufficient number of healthy red blood cells. He is also developing treatments for familial exudative vitreoretinopathy, a hereditary disorder that can cause vision loss, and for inherited Parkinson's disease.

In 2006 he co-founded DeNovaMed, Inc., a biotechnology company that specializes in using computer-aided drug design to drive the synthesis and development of truly new classes of antimicrobials. Dr. McMaster has served as President of DeNovaMed since its inception and CEO since 2015. DeNovaMed is in the final stages of preclinical development and is expecting to start a first-in-human-trial for a new class of antibiotics for the treatment of multidrug-resistant infections.

Dr. McMaster completed his B.Sc. in microbiology and Ph.D. at the University of Manitoba, followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Duke University Medical Centre.

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