GlycoNet welcomes three new members to its Board of Directors

(October 17, 2018 – EDMONTON) GlycoNet is pleased to announce the appointment of three new members to its Board of Directors –  Ms. Norma Sebestyen, Dr. P. Lynne Howell and Dr. Matthias Ruth.

“We are pleased to welcome these three new members to our board,” says GlycoNet Board Chair Frank Gleeson. “They will each bring a diverse set of skills and help set an example for a diverse and inclusive culture, which is essential to mobilize the expertise required to create innovative and impactful technologies to benefit Canadians.”

Ms. Norma Sebestyen

Ms. Norma Sebestyen has extensive experience over a 28-year career with Merck in sales, marketing, strategic planning, corporate affairs, pharmacoeconomics, health education and training, government relations, operations, and policy and patient access. Most recently, she was involved in developing and management of key partnerships for Merck in health information technology, and health data science along with life sciences accelerators/research collaborations. She is also the past Vice-Chair of Canada’s Research Based Pharmaceutical Companies (IMC) Western Committee.

Ms. Sebestyen holds a bachelor of commerce in finance and marketing along with a MBA in international business. She also completed diplomas at Duke University in biotechnology and McGill University in pharmacoeconomics. In addition, over the period of her career at Merck, she was involved in extensive training and international senior leadership programs. She has published articles in Healthcare Management Forum on healthcare partnerships and collaborations.

Ms. Sebestyen has been a Board member of Providence Research Institute in Vancouver since 2010. She previously was on the Board of UBC Sauder School of Business, Executive MBA Program. She is a member of the 2018 Federal Health Economic Table – Digital Health Taskforce responsible for making recommendations on digital health strategies to the Federal Ministry of Innovation and Health. She currently is an advisor to companies in the health information technology and data software.

Dr. P. Lynne Howell – Senior Scientist in the Program in Molecular Medicine at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto.

Dr. Howell’s research interests are focused on understanding at the molecular and cellular level how exopolysaccharides – a major component of the biofilm matrix – are synthesized, chemically modified and exported from the cell. This research has led to the identification of several glycoside hydrolases that are capable of both preventing biofilm formation and degrading preformed biofilms, and have the potential to treat a wide range of chronic infections.

Dr. Howell obtained an undergraduate degree in Biophysics from the University of Leeds in 1983.  She received her Ph.D. from the University of London in 1986 in the laboratory of Dame Julia Goodfellow. She spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow under the mentorship of Professor Gregory A. Petsko at Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Paris for two years to study with Dr. Roberto Poljak and Dr. Andre Menez at the Institute Pasteur.  She joined The Hospital for Sick Children in late 1991 and was cross-appointed to the University of Toronto shortly afterwards. She is a former recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator Award. She was Head of the Program in Molecular Medicine (formerly Molecular Structure and Function) at SickKids from 2002-2014 and Associate Chief, Research Integration and Communication 2014-2016. Dr. Howell holds a Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology and is a member of the Canadian Light Source Board of Directors.

Dr. Matthias Ruth – Vice-President (Research) and Professor in the Department of Economics at the University of Alberta, Edmonton.

Dr. Ruth holds a master’s degree in Economics from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, and a PhD in Geography from the University of Illinois, where he also received training in engineering and biology.  He spent almost a decade at Boston University and more than a decade at the University of Maryland where he was the Roy F. Weston Chair in Natural Economics and Policy Advisor on Sustainability to the Chancellor. He comes to the University of Alberta from Northeastern University, Boston, USA, where he served as Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering and as the Director of the School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, as well as Founding Director of the University’s Resilient Cities Laboratory.

Dr. Ruth’s research focuses on dynamic modeling of natural resource use, industrial and infrastructure systems analysis, and environmental economics and policy. His theoretical work heavily draws on concepts from engineering, economics and ecology, while his applied research utilizes methods of non-linear dynamic modelling as well as adaptive and anticipatory management. Applications of his work cover the full spectrum from local to regional, to national and global environmental challenges, as well as the investment and policy opportunities these challenges present.

Dr. Ruth has published 18 books and over 120 papers and book chapters in the scientific literature. He is a founder of Ecological Economics and founding Editor-in-Chief of the journal Urban Climate, serves on the boards of numerous journals and scientific organizations, and collaborates extensively with scientists and policy makers worldwide.

À propos de GlycoNet

GlycoNet is a pan-Canadian, multidisciplinary research network aiming to deliver solutions to important health issues and improve the quality of life of Canadians through the study of glycomics. GlycoNet is funded by the Networks of Centres of Excellence, a Government of Canada program that supports large-scale, academic-led research networks to build research capacity and accelerate the creation of new knowledge in a specific research area. For more information, visit

For more information or to arrange an interview, contact:

Bernie Poitras, APR
Réseau Canadien de la Glycomique
Tel: 780-492-4355

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