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CV: Dr. Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker

Dec 1, 2011

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A Q&A with Dr. Juan Carlos Zúñiga-Pflücker

The inaugural interim director of biological sciences and senior scientist at Sunnybrook Research Institute sits down to answer a few questions from Jim Oldfield.

Bio basics: Inaugural interim director and senior scientist, biological sciences, SRI. Canada Research Chair in Developmental Immunology, and professor in the department of immunology, University of Toronto. Director of the Advanced Regenerative Tissue Engineering Centre based at SRI. Completed a B.Sc. in zoology at the University of Maryland, a PhD in genetics and immunology at George Washington University, and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases in Bethesda, Maryland.

Who will comprise SRI's new platform, biological sciences?

Any researcher who was doing biology will be part of the new platform. We'll have 28 scientists and 134 staff in total, including 67 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. Our foci will include, though won't be limited to, stem cell biology, regenerative medicine, neurosciences, vascular biology and immunology. We're recruiting a director for the platform.

What qualities are you looking for in the incoming platform director?

We want a scientist who is a leader in his or her field, but who can reach out to a diverse community of biologists and bring them together-a stellar researcher with strong administrative experience and leadership ability. Also, it will be important that they appreciate the integrative nature of biological studies and their integral relationship to the clinical programs of the hospital.

What functions will the new director perform, day-to-day?

They will need to advocate for biological sciences at the institutional level, which means solving budget and space issues, and ensuring researchers can access cutting-edge infrastructure for their work. They'll coordinate and host forums where trainees and scientists can interact-meetings, seminars and retreats, for example. More broadly, they should encourage the integration of biological sciences with the clinical priorities of the hospital, and make funding agencies and donors aware of what we do, thus ensuring that support for this platform blossoms.

Why is biology important?

Biology is about the inner workings of the body at the fundamental, molecular and cellular level-how the systems function together, in health and disease. Without an understanding of biology, there is no understanding of how medicine can be improved and new remedies discovered.ility. Also, it will be important that they appreciate the integrative nature of biological studies and their integral relationship to the clinical programs of the hospital.

What functions will the new director perform, day-to-day?

They will need to advocate for biological sciences at the institutional level, which means solving budget and space issues, and ensuring researchers can access cutting-edge infrastructure for their work. They'll coordinate and host forums where trainees and scientists can interact-meetings, seminars and retreats, for example. More broadly, they should encourage the integration of biological sciences with the clinical priorities of the hospital, and make funding agencies and donors aware of what we do, thus ensuring that support for this platform blossoms.

Why is biology important?

Biology is about the inner workings of the body at the fundamental, molecular and cellular level-how the systems function together, in health and disease. Without an understanding of biology, there is no understanding of how medicine can be improved and new remedies discovered.