Genome Prairie

Board Members

Our Board of Directors is composed of prominent members of the Prairie, and North American, research community. Board members have a diverse range of experience and expertise that spans across science and business.  

Click the names below to view full profiles.   

Dr. Gerald Brown (Chair)

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Dr. Gerald L. Brown, Ph.D.

Dr. Brown was originally trained in biochemistry and cell and molecular biology, and spent over 30 years in various corporate settings providing him with a broad background in agricultural biology, agronomy, intellectual property protection, and the development and commercialization of new and innovative products. During his career he has worked with the Plant Cell & Molecular Group, and the Microbial Inoculants Division of Allelix Crop Technologies, the Ag Biologicals Team within the Esso/Exxon environment and Agrium Biologicals, and was the Principal Research Scientist, and Innovation and Intellectual Property Manager – New Products for Agrium Inc. 

Dr. Brown joined the Saskatchewan Research Council as the Director of SRC’s Business Development branch with responsibilities ranging from marketing and communications, to new product development, technology mentoring, investment, licensing and commercialization. He was subsequently Vice-President of SRC’s Agriculture & Biotechnology Division. Most recently, he was the Director of Marketing and Commercialization with the Pan-Provincial Vaccine Enterprise, a national Centre of Excellence for Commercialization and Research focused on the mid-stage development and commercialization of vaccines for infectious diseases. Dr. Brown has served on a number for non-profit boards including Genome Prairie and Ag-West Bio.

Dr. Mitchell Abrahamsen

Mitch Abrahamsen

Dr. Mitchell Abrahamsen, Ph.D.

Dr. Mitchell Abrahamsen currently serves as the Chief Commercial and Scientific Officer for Recombinetics where he lead the company's commercialization efforts to deliver gene-edited products to the animal agriculture and biomedical industries. Dr. Abrahamsen has an extensive background in research and development, project design, management and implementation of state-of-the-art innovation programs within the animal health and production industry. Much of his experience in academic, governmental and biotechnology environments has involved developing integrated, cross-functional research programs that utilize large-scale, high-throughput genomic and genetic technologies to develop new products and tools for improving human and animal health. 

Dr. Abrahamsen earned his BSc degree in biochemistry at the University of Minnesota and his PhD degree in biochemistry at the University of Washington, Seattle. He has held faculty positions at Montana State University and in the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Minnesota where he was a recognized international authority on animal genomics, animal health and molecular basis of host/pathogen interactions. He has served on advisory boards for numerous private and government funding agencies including the National Institutes of Health, the US Department of Agriculture and Genome Prairie. 

Mitch previously was Senior Vice President, Research & Development for Cobb-Vantress Inc. where he lead the company’s research and development effort and strategic programs for bringing innovation and new technologies to the poultry industry. Prior to Cobb-Vantress, he worked with Hills Pet Nutrition as Vice President Research and as Chief Scientific Officer/Vice President - Research & Development for Pyxis Genomics. In these roles he was responsible for developing corporate research strategies that supported global business goals and managed research programs dedicated to driving business growth through new technology development and scientific evidence that demonstrated performance and product claims.

Mr. Bill Johnson

Bill Johnson Photo Try This

Mr. Bill Johnson, MBA

Bill Johnson has been involved in business in Canada for more than 30 years. Bill earned his economics degree from the University of Saskatchewan and his MBA from the University of Calgary. He is currently a Sr. Financial Advisor at CIBC. Previously, he was Sr. Director of Public Affairs for PotashCorp, where he managed all aspects of the corporation’s public reputation for a decade. He is a Certified Management Consultant and has worked with organizations of all sizes from startups to multi-national corporations in managing and growing their business lines.

Mr. Johnson has served as a Board member of numerous organizations, and was Chair of the Royal University Hospital Foundation in Saskatoon. He brings to his role as a Director at Genome Prairie many years of experience in board governance, strategic planning, audit and risk management.

Dr. Digvir Jayas

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Dr. Digvir S. Jayas, P.Eng., P.Ag., FAZRA, FASABE, FCSBE, FAIC, FCIFST, FCAE

Dr. Digvir S. Jayas is Vice-President (Research), Distinguished Professor, and Canada Research Chair in Stored-Grain Ecosystems at the University of Manitoba. Prior to assuming this position, he was Associate Vice-President (Research), Associate Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences and Department Head of Biosystems Engineering. He has also served as the Interim Director for the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba. He is a Registered Professional Engineer and a Registered Professional Agrologist. He has taught courses in the areas of food engineering, finite element method, and instrumentation and controls.  He conducts research in the areas of physical properties of agricultural products; modified atmosphere storage of grains, oilseeds, potatoes, and meats; mathematical modelling of biological systems; and digital image processing for grading and processing operations in the agri-food industry. His research is funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) through Operating and Strategic Grants and by the Agri-food industry through Operating Grants and Contracts and covers a broad spectrum between basic and applied research.  He has authored or co-authored over 650 technical articles in refereed scientific journals, conference proceedings, and books.  

He has received professional awards from the Canadian Society of Bioengineering (CSBE), the Canadian Institute of Food Science and Technology (CIFST), the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE), the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba (APEGM), the Agricultural Institute of Canada (AIC), Manitoba Institute of Agrologists (MIA), Engineers Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Engineering (CAE). 

Dr. Jayas has served as a member and chaired the Strategic Grant Selection Panel and Research Network Selection Committee of NSERC, has served on the Executive of the Genome Prairie and TRLabs, has served as President of the Canadian Engineering Qualifications Board of the CCPE, CIFST, CSBE and APEGM.  Dr. Jayas serves on the committees and boards of many organizations including: Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, Composite Innovation Centre, Agriculture Institute of Canada (AIC), Manitoba Institute of Agrologists (MIA), Manitoba Health Research Council, St. Boniface General Hospital Research Enterprise Committee, University Advisory Group of Industry Canada, and the International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID). He is also chair of the board of directors of RESOLVE, a prairie research network on family violence, and of the advisory board of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals.

Dr. Jayas was educated at the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, India; the University of Manitoba; and the University of Saskatchewan.

Mr. Mike Lesiuk

Mike Lesiuk

Mr. Mike Lesiuk

As a University of Manitoba Agriculture Economics graduate, Mr. Lesiuk went on to enjoy a rewarding career in agriculture lending, farm mediation and agriculture policy in progressive analytical and management roles. He retired from the Province of Manitoba in early 2018 and is currently taking on a variety of roles, including assisting agriculture organizations on strategic projects, officiating local and professional tennis and, most recently, serving on Genome Prairie’s Board of Directors

In his prior Acting Assistant Deputy Minister and Director positions with Manitoba’s Department of Agriculture, Mr. Lesiuk led a high-performance team responsible for advising senior bureaucrats and elected officials on agriculture policy matters. He also led the development on implementation of programs designed to sustainably grow Manitoba’s agriculture and food industry.

Mr. David Migadel

Migadel David 2015 Web

Mr. David Migadel

David Migadel recently retired from the Federal Public Service as a senior executive after 35 years of service. Throughout his career Mr. Migadel has led program delivery and policy development in multiple roles and departments, including with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, Public Works and Government Services Canada, and the Canada Firearms Centre.

Born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, his responsibilities have included serving Canadians in the West and Northern Canada, ensuring their needs and regional circumstances were reflected in policy development and in tailored delivery of programs and services. Mr. Migadel has extensive experience in making strong connections with diverse stakeholder groups and in building consensus and partnerships to achieve common goals. He has worked with Chambers of Commerce, business leaders, NGOs, academia, Indigenous organizations, user groups and provincial Chiefs of Police Associations just to name a few. He has supported the United Way and Health Partners in campaigning within the Alberta Capital region and is a regular volunteer with Habitat for Humanity.

Mr. Migadel is a certified Professional Director, a graduate from the Government of Canada Executive Development Program and holds an Honours Diploma in Telecommunications Engineering Technology from the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

Dr. Jenisa Naidoo

Dr. Jenisa Naidoo, M.D.

Dr. Jenisa Naidoo is a successful healthcare executive, physician and medical educator with more than 30 years of experience in the healthcare environment including 15 years of medical director experience. She has demonstrated a strong performance in shaping healthcare policy, providing healthcare solutions and teaching with an excellent track record of obtaining results through strong interpersonal skills, business acumen, clinical knowledge and team building.

In her capacity as a Lab Director, she designed and led the project to build a world class laboratory facility in Winnipeg, successfully merged three laboratory organizations and cultures, project lead in the introduction and implementation of a leading edge technology, liquid-based cytology in Manitoba. She is also Black Belt Certified in Lean, six Sigma.

As Medical Educator, she helped shape the MD undergraduate program and received overall teaching awards in the MD program. Dr. Naidoo serves as medical advisor/provincial representative in Manitoba where she is able to influence and shape patient safety, regulatory requirements and policy in healthcare (laboratories and DI), provide medical expertise (laboratory physician) in various provincial projects and initiatives provincially with positive outcome for providers and patients.

In her spare time, she enjoys travelling the world, appreciating cultural and political diversity and is active in anti-apartheid movement in South Africa.

Dr. Curtis Rempel

Dr. Curtis Rempel, MBA, PhD, PAg

Dr. Rempel is Vice President, Crop Production and Innovation, Canola Council of Canada; Adjunct Professor, Dept of Food & Nutrition Science, Richardson Centre for Functional Foods, Faculty of Agriculture and Food Sciences, University of Manitoba.

He joined the Canola Council of Canada in July 2012. Curtis is responsible for (i) directing the Crop Production Team Agronomists with a mandate to optimize profitability for producers and the supply chains they serve while minimizing production risk, (ii) developing research priorities for canola production, oil and meal utilization, (iii) developing sustainability and production stewardship guidelines, (iv) liaising between producers, industry and academia to optimize extension activity as it pertains to canola production and innovation, (v) manage the coordination of the trials and budget for the Western Canada Canola/Rapeseed Recommending Committee (WCCRRC) and the Canola Performance Trials, (vi) monitor and manage issues related to domestic and global biotechnology acceptance and regulation, (vii) manage the CP&I budgets ($2 million) and direct GF2, ARDI, MITACS and CARP research activities and budgets ($20 million), (viii) represent Canadian canola’s best interests with industry and professional groups and numerous other activities.

Curtis was raised on a farm specializing in dairy and special crops in southeastern Manitoba and is still involved with commercial farm production. His education includes a BSc and MSc from the University of Manitoba, PhD from the University of Guelph, and MBA from Athabasca University/University of Guelph. Prior to joining the Canola Council of Canada, Dr. Rempel has worked as a research scientist for Agriculture and Agrifood Canada, has taught at numerous universities and community colleges in Canada, and has operated his own consulting company for 10 years, primarily providing business and marketing strategy and scientific counsel to Fortune 500 companies. In the corporate sector, Dr. Rempel worked for 8 years in R&D, corporate finance and business strategy and development at Monsanto Corp, as a senior consultant for Meyers, Norris, Penny focusing on commodity marketing, renewable energy, intellectual property protection, enterprise software applications, and scientific competitiveness and most recently as the Business Development Manager at the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods & Nutraceuticals.

Dr. Rempel is also an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Food Science and his current research interests include (1) “green” extraction technology; 2) extraction and characterization of bioactive molecules from oilseed crops and medicinal plants of the tall grass prairie and boreal forest; 3) development of functional foods, biopharmaceuticals, drug delivery platforms, and bioindustrial products from co-streams of crop processing.

Ms. Patty Rosher

Patty Rosher Photo

Ms. Patty Rosher, MBA, MSc

Patty Rosher is the general manager of Keystone Agricultural Producers (KAP).

KAP is Manitoba’s general farm policy organization, representing and promoting the interests of agricultural producers in Manitoba. KAP works for farmers by advocating for policies that will keep Manitoba’s agriculture industry profitable, sustainable and globally competitive. KAP policy is developed by farmers and commodity group members representing all agricultural commodities and all regions of Manitoba.

Prior to joining KAP, Ms. Rosher was a director with Manitoba Agriculture, including a stint as the acting general manager and COO of the Food Development Centre. Rosher also spent 18 years at the Canadian Wheat Board in policy, program management and marketing.

She holds a master’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree in science (agricultural economics) and a bachelor’s degree in commerce.

She has served on the boards of her community centre, her condominium board and Mediation Services of Winnipeg. Ms. Rosher currently spends her volunteer time with the Main Street Project’s drop-in shelter, which offers safe, respectful and non-judgmental services to those who are homeless, displaced, experiencing mental health issues or struggling with addictions.

Mr. Marlin Stangeland

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Mr. Marlin Stangeland, CPA

Marlin Stangeland is CEO of Shercom Industries Inc. and has over 20 years of experience in a wide range of private and public ventures. He spent seven years as a Sr. Director for Westcap Mgt Ltd., a leading private equity and venture capital fund manager with over half a billion in assets under management.  Most of his career has been spent operating his consulting firm through which he undertook a wide variety of projects including managing a $40 million portfolio of investments in small and medium-sized companies, business start-up and expansion projects, corporate turnaround assignments, as well as founding the BioAccess Commercialization Centre.

In 2007 Mr. Stangeland was invited to join the Saskatchewan government as Chief of Staff to the Minister in overseeing portfolios such as the Crown Corporations of Saskatchewan, Enterprise Saskatchewan and First Nations & Métis Relations. 

Mr. Stangeland holds a Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA) designation and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Professional Accountants of Saskatchewan. He is the Chair of the Board of Parkinson Canada and the Saskatchewan Trade and Export Partnership (STEP). He has also served on numerous private sector boards.