Dr. Josef PenningerCanada 150 Chair in Functional Genetics and Director of the Life Sciences Institute at the University of British Columbia

Dr. Penninger studies the cellular and molecular mechanisms behind a range of medical conditions, including cancer and infectious diseases. His major lab accomplishments include pioneering insights into the molecular basis of osteoporosis, breast cancer and metastasis. Dr. Penninger’s findings on angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) and its role in Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus (SARS-CoV) infections have contributed to the rapid identification of a potential drug molecule that entered Phase II clinical trials for the treatment of COVID-19 infection in April 2020. Dr. Penninger has received numerous awards including the Wittgenstein Prize of the Austrian Federal Government, the Descartes Prize for Research, the Ernst Jung Prize for Medical Excellence, the Innovator Award of the US Department of Defense, and most recently the Austrian Cross of Honour for Science, First Class. He has published extensively in scientific journals including Cell, Nature, and Science. Dr, Penninger was the Scientific and Founding Director of the Institute for Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, the largest and most successful institute of the Academy based on high impact publications and the number of European Research Council grants received.