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.
Karlee oversees and enables the work of the Global Health Innovation, Humanitarian Innovation, Indigenous Innovation Initiative, and Knowledge Management & Translation teams. She co-leads funder and stakeholder relations, risk management and mitigation, new opportunity development, and strategic planning and decision-making, together with Jocelyn. Karlee has been recognized as one of Canada’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ and a Canadian Woman Leader in Global Health.
Prior to being appointed Co-CEO, Dr. Silver was Vice President of Programs, where she set strategy for development and humanitarian innovation initiatives, and enabled the programs, investments and knowledge management teams to source, support and transition to scale promising innovations for social impact in low- and middle-income countries. She represents Grand Challenges Canada in the International Development Innovation Alliance (IDIA) and in the Grand Challenges network, and advises on a range of global initiatives aligned with women’s and children’s health and development, and global mental health. She is the Chair of the Every Woman Every Child Innovation Marketplace Steering Committee.
Dr. Silver has been with Grand Challenges Canada since it launched, and led the process of selecting the organization’s prioritized Grand Challenges. 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 genetics and immunology in 2006 from the University of Oxford, where she attended as a Rhodes Scholar. An accumulation of inspirations, including traveling through southern Africa after Oxford, led to a refocus towards global health. Witnessing 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.
In her spare time, Dr. Silver explores the outdoors with her dog, practices yoga, and studies wine tasting.