University of Alberta President joins MaRS Board

Toronto, November 6, 2008 – MaRS Discovery District is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Indira Samarasekera, O.C., President of the University of Alberta, to its Board of Directors.

“We are privileged to have Dr. Samarasekera join our mission at MaRS,” said Dr. John Evans, Founding Chair of the Board at MaRS. “As a leader, a scientist and a humanitarian, she is an outstanding and inspiring individual. Her appointment to the Board offers MaRS a tremendous opportunity to build on her leadership skills and deep understanding of commercial, academic and governmental issues in Canada.”

For her part, Dr. Samarasekera welcomes the opportunity to help guide the development of Canada’s leading innovation centre. “I have great admiration for the leadership of MaRS and for members of the Board who are building a new paradigm in Canada for creating wealth from new discoveries,” she said. “I welcome the opportunity to contribute to MaRS as it bridges the divide between those who generate intellectual capital – universities, hospitals, and research institutes – and the marketplace.”

Born in Sri Lanka, Dr. Samarasekera received a BSc Honours in mechanical engineering from the University of Ceylon in 1974. As a Hayes Fulbright Scholar, she earned an MSc from the University of California in 1976, and, in 1980, she was granted a PhD in metallurgical engineering from the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Samarasekera began her career at the University of British Columbia as a professor in the Department of Materials Engineering. Using her knowledge of heat transfer and stress analysis, she researched new processes of steel production and consulted for companies around the world. Prior to her coming to the University of Alberta, she served as Vice-President Research at the University of British Columbia.

Dr. Samarasekera was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Engineering, and a Fellow of the Canadian Institute of Mining, Metallurgy and Petroleum (CIMM). She has received honorary degrees from the University of British Columbia and Queen’s University in Belfast. She is also active within her scholarly field and was the first woman to be President of the Metallurgical Society of CIMM.

Dr. Samarasekera is a member of the Prime Minister’s Advisory Committee on the Public Service and sits on the boards of the Conference Board of Canada, the Public Policy Forum of Canada, The Bank of Nova Scotia (Scotiabank), the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and on a Visiting Committee for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

About MaRS
MaRS Discovery District ( is a large scale, mission driven innovation centre located in Toronto and networked across Ontario, focused on building Canada’s next generation of technology companies. MaRS works closely with entrepreneurs to grow and scale their ventures into global market leaders in life sciences and health care, information, communications and digital media technologies, cleantech, advanced materials and engineering, as well as innovative social purpose business.

For more information, contact:
Linda Quattrin
Director Communications
MaRS Discovery District