Simon Fraser University


Fiona Brinkman

Brinkman among Canada’s 100 ‘most powerful women’

December 3, 2009

SFU microbiologist Fiona Brinkman has been named to the 2009 top 100 list of Canada’s Most Powerful Women by the Women’s Executive Network, a Toronto-based professional development agency.

"I’m feeling very honoured to get this award, given the impressive list of previous awardees such as Roberta Bondar, Louise Arbour and our own Diane Finegood at SFU," says Brinkman who, like Finegood in 2006, was chosen in the Trailblazers and Trendsetters category.

Brinkman is a professor in SFU’s molecular biology and biochemistry department and a pioneer in the emerging field of pathogen bioinformatics—the use of powerful computers to study DNA and protein sequences in bacteria that cause disease.

She has also created new approaches for training bioinformaticists, adapting problem-based learning methods used initially in medicine to this more computational field.

As a childhood survivor of bacterial meningitis and now mother of two small children, she has devoted her career to studying bacteria and viruses that cause potentially deadly infectious diseases.

Brinkman completed a PhD in biochemistry at the University of Ottawa and postdoctoral studies at UBC before starting her lab at SFU in 2001, at age 33.

Since then, she has attracted more than $50 million in research funds, led or coordinated 16 major collaborative research projects, and received numerous accolades including spots on Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 list and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s 2002 list of the world’s top 100 innovators. By Stuart Colcleugh