McGill University is launching the Victor Phillip Dahdaleh Institute of Genomic Medicine with gifts totaling more than $30 million from the owner and chairman of Dadco, a privately owned investment, manufacturing, and trading group.
“Dahdaleh’s generous gift provides crucial resources to help us attract impactful young scientists, students and trainees from around the world and create the conditions for these scientists to pursue their research activities and have a global impact on public health,” said Mark Lathrop, Director of the new Institute.
The Institute will use the research infrastructure across McGill’s faculties. Its researchers will work on diagnostic tools, targeted treatments, and new pharmaceuticals and preventative vaccines. Additionally, they will study the ethical, policy, and legal implications of genomic medicine.
Working with the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and affiliated hospitals within the McGill University Health Centre, the Institute will aim to maximize opportunities for clinical interventions in high-priority fields where the university is already an established leader—such as cancer, neuroscience and mental health, chronic inflammatory diseases, and infectious diseases, including COVID-19.
Dahdaleh is a leading Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist. He is also McGill’s largest donor who is U.K.-based.
“It is an honor to contribute to McGill University’s world-leading genomics program,” said Dahdaleh. “I feel strongly that genomic medicine is the key to preventing, treating and one day curing many of the diseases that impact lives, families and communities around the world. I’m proud to be a part of this important effort to improve worldwide health.”
The Institute’s training program will have a particular focus on training students from lower- and middle-income countries, a goal that is especially important for Dahdaleh, who has directed many of his philanthropic efforts toward providing scholarships and training opportunities for disadvantaged students at world-class universities.
His investment in genomic medicine at McGill is also an extension of his exceptional legacy of supporting innovative global health and health science research in Canada and internationally.
He has previously given more than $20 million to establish the Dahdaleh Institute for Global Health Research at his alma mater York University in Toronto. In 2007, he joined with the William J. Clinton Foundation and went on to establish the Victor Dahdaleh-Clinton Foundation Scholarship Program, which now provides 32 scholarships for outstanding undergraduates from low-income countries, in perpetuity.
“Dahdaleh shares McGill’s commitment to propelling innovation in genomic medicine on a global scale to improve diagnosis, treatment and preventative healthcare,” said Philippe Gros, Deputy Vice-Principal, Research and Innovation; Professor, Department of Biochemistry; and founder and co-lead of the McGill Research Centre on Complex Traits.
Gros added that, “With his support, the Institute’s researchers will build new partnerships and deepen existing ties with leading genomics programs internationally, particularly in the U.K., where McGill already works closely with researchers at the University of Oxford and Imperial College London, and Japan, where we share a joint PhD program with the University of Kyoto.”