Prestigious health appointment for Gates Cambridge Alumna

Brianne Kent is selected for membership of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The current federal government has made it a priority to increase the diversity of representation at all levels of governance. Appointing an early career researcher to the Governing Council is one more demonstration of this.

Dr Brianne Kent

A Gates Cambridge Scholar has been appointed a member of the Governing Council of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr Brianne Kent will be one of four new members of the Council of the CIHR, Canada's health research investment agency. The announcement was made this week by Ginette Petitpas Taylor, Minister of Health. The Council helps to shape health research across Canada, sets CIHR's strategic directions, goals and policies, approves CIHR's budget and evaluates the organisation's performance and achievements. Council members also advise the Minister of Health on how research can strengthen Canada's healthcare system and improve the effectiveness of health services and products. 

The CIHR is composed of 13 institutes managed by the CIHR President and Governing Council, which is comprised of a group of up to 18 Canadians. Appointments to the Council are made by the Federal Cabinet, approved by the Prime Minster’s Office and Queen’s Privy Council for Canada. The Governing Council and CIHR President manage an annual budget of around $1 billion.

One of its mandates is to create a research environment that recruits, attract, and retains top talent in Canada. This support directed toward early career scientists is one of the areas where CIHR has faced challenges and Brianne brings the perspective of an Early Career Scientist. Brianne is Chair of the Early Career Advisory Group at eLife which works to improve the way science is communicated and evaluated by the scientific community globally. 

She says: "The current federal government has made it a priority to increase the diversity of representation at all levels of governance. Appointing an early career researcher to the Governing Council is one more demonstration of this."

Brianne [2011], who did her PhD in Experimental Psychology at the University of Cambridge on the neurobiology of memory and Alzheimer's disease, is currently a postdoctoral research fellow at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School where she is funded by a Pathway to Independence award.

She is researching Alzheimer's disease, sleep and circadian rhythms. The goal of her research is to develop methods for studying circadian rhythms in elderly and patients with Alzheimer's disease to assess how disrupted rhythms could be contributing to the sleep disturbances and memory loss associated with the disease.