Gijs van Rooijen


Gijs (pronounced “Hice”) van Rooijen was born and raised in the Netherlands, where he obtained a BSc/MSc Molecular Sciences degree at Wageningen University. He arrived in Calgary in 1988 just as the world’s top athletes were leaving the city after competing in the Olympics. He completed a PhD degree at the University of Calgary in Plant Molecular Biology in 1993. During his PhD, he received several awards including the University of Calgary Silver Anniversary scholarship awarded to the top four doctoral students at the University of Calgary in 1991. Post graduation he worked at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, SemBioSys Genetics, Genome Prairie and Genome Alberta where he serves as its Chief Scientific Officer.

Gijs is an inventor on 24 issued patents and a co-founder on two technology companies.   From 1997 to 2006, he was an Adjunct Professor at the University of Calgary where he delivered guest lectures on a variety of topics including plant biotechnology, project management and legal/ethical considerations around genomics research.

He held a number a number of volunteer positions including 3 years as President of the Dutch Canadian Business Club of Calgary. He is serving as a mentor and judge for U of C’s Masters of Biomedical Technology programme and has been a Calgary Youth Science Fair judge for 20 years. He has been married for 27 years and has three daughters, each with a strong connection to the U of C as part-time swim instructor/lifeguard, former Biochemistry student and current Finance student at the Haskayne School of Business respectively. He enjoys hiking, camping and cross-country skiing and exploring old European cities and countries on foot.

The University of Calgary has had a major positive impact on him and his family and as senator he is excited to contribute to the evolving success of the University of Calgary as a top research university and as a place where students can feel safe, welcome and respected.