Lisa Saksida and eight Western alumnae among Canada’s most powerful


Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry professor Lisa Saksida and eight Western alumnae have been named recipients of the 2020 Canada’s Most Powerful Women: Top 100 Award.

The awards are presented annually by the Women’s Executive Network (WXN), a national member-based organization propelling and celebrating the advancement of women at all levels, in all sectors, and of all ages.

“In a difficult year, we’ve been inspired by Canada’s highest achieving women who unite those around them and help us all rise above our challenges,” said Sherri Stevens, owner and CEO of WXN. “These powerful women continue to lead the way, which is why it’s important to celebrate their achievements.”

Saksida, a co-director at BrainsCAN and a scientist at Robarts Research Institute, was recognized in the science and technology category. Her achievements include co-inventing a touchscreen-based system for testing learning, memory and attention in mouse models of brain disease. The innovation aids her team’s work to develop and deliver evidence-based assessments and interventions for the diagnosis and treatment of brain disorders.

She holds a Canada Research Chair in translational cognitive neuroscience and was recently elected to the Royal Society of Canada and named a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

As a recipient of the WXN award, Saksida was also celebrated for being deeply committed to creating a level playing field for women and other underrepresented groups in science and technology.

“This award is a tremendous honour for me,” she said in a recent Q and A with Western News, adding that teamwork has been essential to her success. “All of my work is not my sole accomplishment; it has only been possible because I have always worked with a very talented team of trainees and collaborators.”

This year’s virtual celebration of the Top 100 honorees included a two-day leadership summit, with a session moderated by Western alumna, Gillian Mandich, BHSc’07, MSc’12, PhD’19.