Alan Bernstein



  • President & CEO


  • Canada


PhD, University of Toronto


Alan Bernstein has been President & CEO of CIFAR since 2012, responsible for developing and leading the institute’s overall strategic direction.

He served previously as executive director of the Global HIV Vaccine Enterprise in New York, an international alliance of funders charged with accelerating the search for an HIV vaccine.
From 2000 to 2007, Alan served as the inaugural president of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canada’s federal agency for the support of health research. In that capacity, he led the transformation of health research in Canada.
After receiving his PhD from the University of Toronto, and following postdoctoral work at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, Alan joined the Ontario Cancer Institute in 1994. In 1985, he joined the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute and was Director of Research from 1994 to 2000.
Author of over 225 scientific publications, Alan has made landmark contributions to the study of stem cells, blood cell formation (hematopoiesis) and cancer. He chairs or is a member of advisory and review boards in Canada, the U.S., U.K., Italy and Australia. Alan serves as co-chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee for Stand Up 2 Cancer Canada, is a member of the Sabin-Aspen Vaccine Science and Policy Group, and the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In May 2020 he was appointed to Canada’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force.
Alan’s contributions to science and science policy have been recognized with numerous awards and honorary degrees, including Officer of the Order of Canada, Order of Ontario, induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and the 2017 Henry Friesen International Prize in Health Research.


Relevant Publications

Recent op-eds by Alan

How artificial intelligence can accelerate our response to global pandemics, Globe and Mail 

To fight COVID-19, the world needs science, and science needs data, The Hill Times

Alan Bernstein on COVID-19: Science — and vaccines — will save us all, National Post


Science is transforming our world, and that makes it a fundamental election issue, Hill Times


Fighting the flu: We need a new kind of intelligence, Globe & Mail
It’s time for a bold new vision for Canadian fundamental science, Maclean's
Alan Bernstein maps an ambitious route for cutting-edge research, Globe & Mail