Welcome to Our Newest Division Chairs, Dr. Dean Betts and Dr. Naveen Poonai

Dr. Dean H. Betts
Chair, Genetics & Development Division

Dr. Dean H. Betts is internationally recognized for his research contributions to early embryo development, pluripotent stem cells and telomere/telomerase biology. His lab derived some of the first stem cell populations from dogs and horses as clinically relevant animal models for developing stem cell-based therapies in humans. He received his BSc and MSc degrees from The University of Western Ontario and his PhD from the University of Guelph. Following a post-doctoral fellowship in the Department of Genetics at Case Western Reserve University, Dr. Betts joined the Ontario Veterinary College as an Assistant Professor in 2001. He moved his research lab to Western in the Fall of 2008.

He is currently a Full Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, with cross-appointments in the Departments of Obstetrics & Gynaecology, and Biology. He is a Scientist at the Genetics and Development Division of Children’s Health Research Institute, the Ontario Institute of Regenerative Medicine, and the Canadian Stem Cell Network.

He currently serves on the Board of Directors for the North American Veterinary Regenerative Medicine Association and is an Associate Editor of several
international journals including Stem Cells and Development, Biology of Reproduction and Molecular Human Reproduction. For the past eight years he has been the Director of Western’s Collaborative Graduate Specialization in Developmental Biology that most graduate students associated with CHRI’s Genetics & Development Division are enrolled in.

His current research is aimed at understanding the roles of mitophagy, exosomes and metabolism in regulating preimplantation embryo development and pluripotent stem cell function. He has published 84 peer-reviewed publications and has over 55 invited speaker presentations in Canada and throughout the world. His research is supported by operating grants from CIHR and NSERC, along with other institute, foundation and industry supported research funds.

The Genetics & Development Division’s research is focused on the genetic and epigenetic causes of diseases and disabilities affecting children, and to use that knowledge to provide better quality of life of children through prevention, early diagnosis, and treatment. Dr. Betts will lead the Division of 37 Scientists and 4 Associate Scientists.

Dean Betts: @email

Genetics & Development Division: http://www.chri.org/researchers/research-programs/genetics-and-developm…

Dr. Naveen Poonai
Chair, Children’s Health & Therapeutics Division

Dr. Naveen Poonai completed his Doctor of Medicine at the University of Toronto in 2004 and his paediatric residency and emergency medicine fellowship training at Western University in 2009. He obtained his Master of Science in Health Research Methodology from McMaster University in 2013. Dr. Poonai joined the Department of Paediatrics in the Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine in 2009 at the rank of Assistant Professor and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2016. He is cross appointed to the Departments of Medicine and Epidemiology & Biostatistics. He is a Scientist at Children’s Health and Therapeutics Division of the Child Health Research Institute and currently serves as the Research Director of the Division of Paediatric Emergency Medicine and Western’s Health Sciences Research Ethics Board.

On a national level, he is a Decision Editor for the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine, the Paediatric Section Lead for the Best Evidence in Emergency Medicine (BEEM), the Pain Assessment Toolkit Lead for Children’s Healthcare Canada, a member of the Pediatric Emergency Research Canada (PERC) Executive, and a Pain in Child Health (PICH) faculty member.

His research interests include procedural sedation and management of acute pain in children. To this end, he has published over 75 peer-reviewed articles and has had over 20 invited speaker engagements in 6 countries. Recognitions include the John Dreyer Research Excellence Award from the Division of Emergency Medicine in 2017, the Young Investigator Award from the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) in 2018, the Terry Klassen Young Investigator Award from Paediatric Emergency Research Canada (PERC) in 2019, and the Early Researcher Award from the Province of Ontario in 2019.

The Children’s Health & Therapeutics Division’s research is focused on population health and clinical research of children, with focus on quality of life in children, social and environmental determinants of children’s health, paediatric personalized medicine, traumatic brain injury (concussion) in adolescents and children’s healthy heart program. Dr. Poonai will lead the Division of 39 Scientists and 45 Associate Scientists.

Naveen Poonai: @email

Children’s Health & Therapeutics Division: http://www.chri.org/researchers/research-programs/health-and-therapeuti…