We are pleased to announce the appointment of Alvin Shrier, PhD, as Interim Associate Dean and Director of the School of Biomedical Sciences (SBMS), Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences (FMHS), McGill University. Prof. Shrier assumes his duties on June 1 and will replace Alba Guarné, PhD, who was appointed in March 2020. We’d like to thank Prof. Guarné for serving as the Inaugural Associate Dean and Director of the SBMS. Prof. Guarné developed the initial strategic directions for the SBMS, its governance structure, and the collaborative culture needed to promote a dynamic research and educational environment for the seven basic science departments and two institutes that form the School. Under her leadership, the SBMS pursued interdisciplinary faculty recruitment, spearheaded the case for support for scientific core platforms, raised the visibility of its graduate training programs to improve graduate recruitment, and took steps to enhance grant success.  We particularly thank Prof. Guarné for her crucial work in coordinating the SBMS pandemic response early in her tenure.

A full professor in the Department of Physiology at McGill, Prof. Shrier served as Chair of the Department from 1994 to 2004 and has held the Hosmer Chair in Physiology consecutively since 1994. Between 1997 and 2003 he was the Associate Dean, Computers and Information Technology at the Faculty of Medicine and from 2007 to 2022 he was Director, Cell Information Systems, McGill Life Sciences.

Prof. Shrier is widely recognized for his work in cardiovascular physiology. His Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-funded lab focuses on ion channel function and cardiac dynamics, studying the molecular mechanisms that underlie the quality control and regulation of hERG and TRPM7 channels, respectively. He was previously Director of one Medical Research Council group, followed by two CIHR groups on cardiovascular electrophysiology and arrythmias that ran continuously from 1994 to 2007.

Among his recognitions, Prof. Shrier was the recipient of the Dr. Anne Wechsler Award for Excellence in the Teaching of Physiology in 2014, the Paul Albrechtsen Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation Canada in 2015 and the Sarrazin Award from the Canadian Physiological Society in 2006. He has also been honoured with the creation of an undergraduate scholarship in his name—established by the Physiology League of Students in 2004—to recognize community involvement and a passion for community service.

At McGill, Prof. Shrier has served on the Chairs’ Mentoring Committee, FMHS, since 2019, as well as the Faculty’s Honours and Awards Committee since 2010. He was a Member of the McGill University Senate from 2017 to 2020 and the Board of Governors prior to that from 2012 to 2015. He has been both Vice-President and President of the McGill Association of University Teachers (MAUT) and has represented the Faculty on the Committee for Academic Staff Compensation and on the Staff Benefits Advisory Committee, as well as chairing the University Laboratory Safety Committee from 2013-2021.

His commitments outside McGill include serving as Member and Deputy Chair of the Senior Personnel Committee SRC-VIII for the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, a Member of the Editorial Board for Scientific Reports and the CIHR Cardiovascular Research grant review panel. He previously served on the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada’s Executive Committee, served as President of the Canadian Physiological Society and of the Canadian Federation of Biological Sciences, as well as serving on the Board of Governors of the Jewish Rehabilitation Hospital. He has co-authored 115 peer-reviewed publications.

Prof. Shrier holds a BSc from Concordia University and obtained his PhD from the Graduate Department of Physiology and Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine at Dalhousie University. He completed postdoctoral work in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia.

As Interim Associate Dean and Director, SBMS, Prof. Shrier will report directly to the Dean and will oversee all activities in SBMS, which brings together the Departments of Anatomy & Cell Biology, Biochemistry, Biomedical Engineering, Human Genetics, Microbiology & Immunology, Pharmacology & Therapeutics, and Physiology, as well as the Goodman Cancer Institute and the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Institute of Genomic Medicine. His responsibilities will include undergraduate and graduate education, research planning, resource allocation and recruitment. He will also collaborate with the scientific directors of the hospital-based research centres to promote translational research and collaboration.

We thank Prof. Shrier for agreeing to take on these responsibilities in an interim capacity. Please join us in wishing him every success in the role.

David Eidelman, MDCM
Vice-Principal (Health Affairs)
Dean of the Faculty of Medicine &
Health Sciences
Lesley Fellows, MD, PhD
Vice-Dean, Academic Affairs