Donnelly Centre Director Brenda Andrews Elected to U.S. National Academy of Sciences

Apr 30, 2020
Jovana Drinjakovic

Brenda Anderws with CN tower in the backgroundDonnelly Centre Director Brenda Andrews (Photo by Mike Schertzberg) Donnelly Centre director Brenda Andrews has been elected an international member of the United States National Academy of Sciences (NAS) for “her outstanding contributions to functional genomics”. Established in 1863, the NAS provides advice on science and technology to the United States and globally and its members rank among the world’s most accomplished scientists.

Andrews was named alongside fellow Faculty of Medicine professor Lewis Kay; only 30 international members can be named each year.

Andrews, a University Professor and Charles H. Best Chair of Medical Research in U of T’s Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and a professor in the department of Molecular Genetics, is a world leader in the field of functional genomics that seeks to reveal how genes and other cellular components operate on a systems level. With her long-term collaborator Charles Boone, a professor of molecular genetics in the Donnelly Centre, Andrews pioneered automated large-scale genetic studies in yeast cells. This research led to the first global view for any cell type of how its genes, and their protein products, cooperate to sustain cellular function. Her lab was also among the first to develop AI-powered computer vision tools for the automated analysis of cell microscopy images, accelerating advances in the field of cell biology.

Under her leadership, the Donnelly Centre has become internationally recognized as a leading biomedical research hub. In addition to becoming the Centre’s inaugural director in 2004, Andrews also served as Chair of both U of T’s Banting & Best Department of Medical Research, from 2004-2014, and the Department of Medical Genetics (now Molecular Genetics), from 1999-2003. She also served as the inaugural director of the Genetic Networks program at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR) from 2006 to 2016.

As a globally renowned scientist, Andrews contributes to various committees, editorial and advisory boards at home and abroad. She is the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open access journal of the Genetics Society of America.

Currently, Andrews is serving as a member on the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the main federal funding agency for medical research. She is also a Member of the Board of Directors of the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an elected Member of the European Molecular biology Laboratory (EMBL) Scientific Advisory Committee, and a member of Scientific Advisory Boards of several Institutes, including the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain and the Research Institute of New York University Abu Dhabi.

Andrews is an international member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology. She is also a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and a Companion of the Order of Canada.

Andrews will be inducted into the NAE in a ceremony scheduled to take place next April in Washington, D.C..

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