Canadian Corporate Innovation Summit

Dr. Roberta Bondar

Dr. Roberta Bondar

Astronaut, physician, scientist and photographer


Dr. Roberta Bondar was the first Canadian woman to fly in space. An astronaut, physician, and photographer, Dr. Bondar expanded the horizons of millions when she joined the space shuttle Discovery for its 1992 mission. Dr. Bondar’s highly motivational talks–punctuated by her stunning photographs–focus on change, social responsibility, and our environment.

For more than a decade at NASA, Dr. Bondar headed an international research team, continuing to find new connections between astronauts recovering from the microgravity of space and neurological illnesses on earth, such as strokes and Parkinson’s disease. Her techniques have been used in clinical studies at the B. I. Deaconess Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Harvard Medical School and at the University of New Mexico.

Dr. Bondar holds a Bachelor in Science in Zoology and Agriculture, a Master in Science in Experimental Pathology, a PhD in Neurobiology, an MD, and is a board certified neurologist, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. She sub-specialized in Neuro-ophthalmology at Tufts New England Medical Center in Boston and at Toronto Western Hospital.

A respected advisor to industry and government, Dr. Bondar has supported the United Nation’s Environmental Program to launch various initiatives, including a talk on “Oceans” at the Rio Summit, tree-planting and promotion of GEO reports. She was chair of a distinguished panel at the 2010 IWF Cornerstone Conference in Guayaquil, Ecuador and chair of the Province of Ontario’s Working Group on Environmental Education. All recommendations in their report, Shaping Our Schools--Shaping Our Future, were accepted by the Ontario Ministry of Education, thus strengthening environmental education for elementary and secondary school students.

Dr. Bondar is a member of the Governing Council of Icipe, a pan-African institute researching the influence of climate change on the spread of insect borne diseases. She is Co-Founder and President of The Roberta Bondar Foundation, created to inspire people of all ages, and to view and to engage our natural environment in a positive light through the lens of photography.

Dr. Bondar served six years as Chancellor of Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario. A graduate of the Institute of Corporate Directors, Rotman School of Business, Dr. Bondar is a director of Com Dev International, a publicly traded aerospace company. Recently, she delivered the keynote address and was a panelist for the IWF Executive Development Roundtable, Beijing, China.

Among the many honours and awards she has received, Dr. Bondar has been recognized with the NASA Spaceflight Medal, inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame and into the International Women’s Forum Hall of Fame for her pioneering research in space medicine. Dr. Bondar is an Officer of the Order of Canada and has been appointed to the Order of Ontario and as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. She has received 24 honorary doctorates from Canadian and American universities and is featured on the 2003 Canada Post Roberta Bondar astronaut stamp. Dr. Bondar received her own star on Canada’s Walk of Fame in 2011.