Karlee Silver is Co-CEO of Grand Challenges Canada, giving leadership and oversight to all aspects of the organization’s activities together with Co-CEO Jocelyn Mackie. Dr. Silver has been with Grand Challenges Canada since it launched in 2010, and led the process of selecting the organization’s prioritized grand challenges. She sets strategy for development and humanitarian innovation initiatives, and supports the Indigenous Innovation Initiative. She represents Grand Challenges Canada in global networks, and advises on a range of global initiatives aligned with women’s and children’s health and development, gender equality and global mental health.
Prior to joining Grand Challenges Canada, Dr. Silver trained in the laboratory of Dr. Kevin Kain at the Sandra Rotman Centre in Toronto where she helped to identify host responses of malaria infection in pregnant women to harness for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. Dr. Silver received her doctorate in 2006 from the University of Oxford, where she attended as a Rhodes Scholar and trained in genetics and immunology. An accumulation of inspirations, including traveling through southern Africa after Oxford, led to a refocus towards global health. Witnessing both the strength of women to sustain their families and communities, and the vulnerability of these same women to the consequences of poverty inspired Dr. Silver to apply herself to empowering women and girls.