With admiration and gratitude, the ALS Society of Canada (ALS Canada) acknowledges the incredible contribution of our Board member, Dr. Christine Vande Velde, whose term has come to an end.  


Dr. Vande Velde leaves her position on the Board and Chair of the Scientific & Medical Advisory Council, after almost six years. A Professor in the Department of Neurosciences at the Université de Montréal and Université de Montréal Hospital Research Center (CRCHUM), Dr. Vande Velde obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Manitoba and pursued postdoctoral studies at the University of California, San Diego/Ludwig Institute where she developed an expertise in ALS. 


In 2007, Dr. Vande Velde established her laboratory to study novel pathways and genes in ALS pathogenesis to understand biologically valid therapeutic targets and biomarkers. Her work is currently funded by CIHR, NSERC, ALS Canada-Brain Canada, and the US Department of Defence. She has served on several grant review panels both nationally and internationally. Most recently, she was appointed as Scientific Director at the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research.   


When asked how she got involved with the Board, she credits her close colleague and mentor, Dr. Heather Durham, as the person who got her involved. “She promised me that I would learn a lot and it would be one of the most rewarding things I would do in my career,” says Dr. Vande Velde. “She was right.”  


“During my time on the Board, I learned that the work of ALS Canada extends far beyond providing funds for research grants. The organization provides critical services to people in Ontario, as well as playing a national role in advocacy and information sharing/brokering, and in recent years, influencing the global ALS effort in all domains including research, community services, and advocacy.” 


She says of her experience as a whole, “It’s not a cushy job – I worked. But honestly, I think I got way more out of it than I put in. I learned a ton about governance, strategic planning, finances, working through challenging conversations, always having an eye on the prize (i.e., staying on mission!) and thinking a few steps ahead of where one currently is. I am grateful to have had this opportunity to work with so many dedicated fellow Board members and the ALS Canada team. My time on the Board changed the way I think about my science and how I run my own team.” 


Thank you to Dr. Vande Velde for your leadership, insights, and commitment to the cause. You have been influential in ensuring we continue to uphold our mission while always keeping the person living with ALS at the centre of our work.  


We appreciate your many and varied contributions to creating real and meaningful change for people affected by ALS and know your work doesn’t stop here. We can’t wait to see what comes next for you. 

Posted in: Volunteers