Dr. Jake Thiessen, PhD joins the EmpowerPharm team

Dr. Thiessen will consult on all clinical aspects of pharmaceutical development

B.Sc. (Pharm): University of Manitoba; M.Sc.: University of Manitoba; Ph.D.: University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Jacob (Jake) J. Thiessen earned his B.Sc. (Pharm) degree from the University of Manitoba in 1965 and his M.Sc. in Pharmacy in 1969. He subsequently completed his Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco in Pharmaceutical Chemistry with specialization in pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, and analytics.

Dr. Thiessen joined the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto in 1973. His academic responsibilities, during a 33-year period, included an interval as Graduate Coordinator (1987- 1993), Associate Dean (1998-2005), member of the University Governing Council and Business Board (2003-2005), and Chair of the committee for the design and construction of the new Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy building (2000-2004). While at the University of Toronto, Dr. Thiessen’s research and teaching encompassed the theory and application of quantitative time-dependent processes defining drug fate in the body (pharmacokinetics) and drug response (pharmacodynamics). His studies also included new approaches to cancer treatment, new molecules to treat patients with iron overload, and advanced technologies to diagnose and treat diseases. Dr Thiessen has supervised countless undergraduate and graduate students.

In 2004, Dr. Thiessen launched a development plan for Ontario’s second academic Pharmacy program. This gave rise to the new University of Waterloo (UW) Pharmacy School, becoming the first pharmacy institution in Canada to offer a cooperative educational program. As the Hallman Founding Director for the school, Dr. Thiessen worked with a small team to craft the undergraduate program, recruit faculty members, and design the new facility, culminating in the arrival of the first pharmacy class in January 2008. In August of 2006, Dr. Thiessen was given the added role of Director of the new Health Sciences Campus, and charged with developing this new UW site in Kitchener, Ontario. The expanded campus facilities featured a large primary-care clinic and a location for McMaster University’s distributed medical program. During the 2004-2010 period at UW he managed also to conduct collaborative research with engineers to create new applications of imaging and spectroscopy in the pharmaceutical and medical fields. This led to a start-up company that is publicly traded (TSX). Most recently, Dr. Thiessen was invited to lecture and review research plans in South Korea in conjunction with the Electronic and Telecommunication Research Institute in Daejeon. The fundamentals included new developments in artificial intelligence, magnetic/electronic disease detection and treatment, as well as revolutionary quantum-based technology tools used to diagnose and treat patients.

While at the University of Toronto, where Dr. Thiessen is Professor Emeritus, and at the University of Waterloo, he secured more than $16.5M for research projects. During Dr. Thiessen’s academic career, he supervised many graduate students, opened his lab to international scientists, and served the academic, professional, and scientific communities. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles, books, and book chapters, and has frequently been invited to speak at national and international conferences. Dr. Thiessen is also deeply committed to efforts beyond Canada’s borders and has taken assignments to develop and offer educational pharmacy modules in Barbados and Jamaica (Canadian International Development Agency), serve as a consultant within Asian educational and research institutions, and provide leadership to such institutions in Sudan, Nigeria, Taiwan and Uganda.

As a passionately committed educator, Dr. Thiessen was named Teacher of the Year six times by the University of Toronto Undergraduate Pharmaceutical Society. In recognition of his many professional contributions, he has received awards of distinction from the Ontario Pharmacists’ Association (2008), the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy (2014), the University of Manitoba’s College of Pharmacy (2015), and the Canadian Pharmaceutical Sciences Group (2017).

His extracurricular responsibilities have included active/leadership roles with the Drug Quality and Therapeutics Committee of the Ontario Ministry of Health (1982-1991), Health Canada’s Scientific Advisory Committee on Bioavailability and Bioequivalence (recently the Scientific Advisory Committee – Pharmaceutical Sciences and Clinical Pharmacology) (1991-2016), the Canadian Council for Accreditation of Pharmacy Programs (1999-2011), the Canadian Foundation for Pharmacy Board (2008-2013) and the Board of the Research Institute for Aging (2008 to 2019). Dr Thiessen’s stature in the area of pharmacy and medicine was recognized by the Ontario Government through his 2013 appointment to lead the independent review of quality assurance in the province’s cancer drug supply chain and safeguard patient care. Finally, through his myriad of associations and fundamental research and clinical outcome insights, Dr. Thiessen has been recruited as a consultant by businesses in Canada, USA and Europe. The scope, in such an advisory role, has included evaluating product development strategies and outcomes, pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamics studies and their designs, analytical methodologies, clinical trial strategies, and patent challenges. In the pharmaceutical product domain, he has consulted within both the originator and generic sectors. Lastly, Dr. Thiessen has followed the historical progression of medicines and is well-versed in the factors and forces that have led to our current therapeutic treatment options. In part, due to his broad insights in many fields, he was invited to deliver the Keynote address at the November 2019 Canadian Pharmaceutical Sciences Conference, devoted exclusively to cannabinoids.