Dr. Robyn S. Klein Joins VINEx Science Advisory Council.


September 1, 2020

Rocket Science Health today announced that Robyn S. Klein, MD, PhD, has joined the Science Advisory Council (SAC) for VINEx. VINEx – Viral Neuro Exploration, is the recently-launched multi-disciplinary research initiative seeking to explore how viruses, including SARS-CoV-2, directly and indirectly affect the central nervous system (CNS) and the short- and long-term impacts. SAC members are ensuring that the virus-brain initiative is developed, executed and monitored with scientific integrity.

“We are delighted to have Dr. Klein join our VINEx Science Advisory Council of distinguished scientists seeking to advance research in this important space, so critical to brain health,” said Inez Jabalpurwala, Rocket Science Health's Senior Advisor on Brain Initiatives and Global Director of VINEx. “With her deep clinical experience and seminal research at the intersection of virology, immunology, neurology and neuroscience, Dr. Klein will bring informed, valued insights and perspectives on the current state of the science and future avenues of greatest promise.”

Dr. Klein is The Robert E. and Louise F. Dunn Professor of Medical Sciences; Associate Dean for Graduate Education in the Division of Biology and Biomedical Sciences; Director at the Center for Neuroimmunology & Neuroinfectious Diseases; and Professor of Medicine, Pathology & Immunology, Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Her research explores the pathogenesis of neuroinflammatory diseases, particularly on the cellular and molecular mechanisms that orchestrate inflammation during both viral and autoimmune encephalitides via endothelial-immune cell interactions. In recent years, her laboratory has focused on the roles of cytokines and chemokines in the regulation of blood-brain barrier permeability.

In addition to her paradigm-changing work, Dr. Klein is also a fervent advocate for diversity in science and research. Her 2017 paper, “Speaking Out About Gender Imbalance in Invited Speakers Improves Diversity,” brought attention to the continued omission of qualified women scientists from major meeting programs, despite a surge in articles indicating persistent gender-discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion, and calls for gender balance in conference organizing committees.

The other members of the VINEx SAC are (in alphabetical order):

  • Fernanda De Felice, PhD, Adjunct Associate Professor of the Centre for Neuroscience Studies & Department of Biomedical and Molecular Sciences at Queen's University; Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Neurosciences at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro (UFRJ), Brazil.
  • Marc Desforges, PhD, Specialist in Medical Biology, Virology Lab, CHU Sainte-Justine, Montreal, Quebec.
  • Renée Douville, PhD, Professor, University of Winnipeg, Department of Biology.
  • Douglas P. Munoz, PhD, Canada Research Chair in Neuroscience; Professor of Biomedical and Molecular Science, Medicine, and Psychology; Queen's University
  • Dr. Adrian Owen, PhD, Professor at The Brain and Mind Institute, Western University, Canada and the former Canada Excellence Research Chair in Cognitive Neuroscience and Imaging. Dr. Owen is leading the COVID-19 Brain Study.
  • Christopher Power, M.D., F.R.C.P(C), Canada Research Chair in Neurological Infection and Immunity; Professor of Neurology at the University of Alberta; Attending physician in the University of Alberta HIV and MS Clinics; Founding Director of the University of Alberta Multiple Sclerosis Centre.

Serving as Special Advisors to the SAC are Alan C. Evans PhD, Avindra Nath, M.D. and Pierre J. Talbot, PhD. Dr. Evans is the James McGill Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Psychiatry and Biomedical Engineering; Researcher in the McConnell Brain Imaging Centre (BIC); Co-director of the Ludmer Centre for Neuroinformatics and Mental Health; Principal Investigator of CBRAIN; and Victor Dahdaleh Chair in Neurosciences at Montreal Neurological Institute – McGill University. Dr. Nath is Senior Investigator – Section of Infections of the Nervous System; Clinical Director – NINDS of the National Institutes of Health (US). Dr. Talbot is Director - Laboratory of Neuroimmunovirology, INRS-Institut Armand-Frappier, Institut national de la recherche scientifique, Université du Québec.

For more information, please visit VINEx and Rocket Science Health.

About Rocket Science Health

Rocket Science Health is a start-up company engaged in the development of medical devices for use in the treatment of CNS conditions by enabling nose-to-brain delivery of pharmaceuticals via the olfactory region of the nasal cavity.

The VINEx Initiative is dedicated to the memory of The Honourable Michael H. Wilson. In addition to so many other things, Michael was a dear friend to Kenneth C. Irving (“Irv”), co-founder of Rocket Science Health, and Inez Jabalpurwala, Rocket Science Health's Senior Advisor on Brain Initiatives. He inspired, mentored and introduced them, and it is his sense of public service, his commitment to brain science and mental health, and his undying belief in Canada's extraordinary potential that infuses this endeavor.

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