Source: University of Toronto
Gairdner Awards bring top medical minds to U of T
October 20, 2006
Prestigious event here
by Paul Fraumeni (about) (email)
The annual Gairdner Foundation awards are coming to the University of
Toronto Oct. 24-27 along with some of the world’s brightest and most
innovative minds in health research.
Founded in 1959 by Canadian philanthropist James Arthur Gairdner and held at
U of T every year since, the Gairdner awards recognize individuals whose
work or contribution constitutes tangible achievement in the field of
The Gairdners also have an astonishing record as precursors to Nobel Prizes.
In early October, American geneticists Craig Mello and Andrew Fire –
Gairdner laureates in 2005 – were honoured with Nobel prizes in medicine.
This was the 67th time that Gairdner winners have been later awarded Nobels.
"The Gairdner Awards are among the most prestigious honours in the
international arena of biomedical research and scholarship," said Professor
John Challis, vice-president (research) and associate provost at U of T and
a member of the foundation’s Medical Advisory Board. "Gairdner laureates are
responsible for many of the most important advances in our understanding of
the science of life."
A number of U of T researchers have received Gairdner awards, including
Professors Anthony Pawson and Tak Mak.
This year, the awards will be presented Oct. 26 to six scientists:
• Professor Ralph L. Brinster of the University of Pennsylvania for his
pioneering discoveries in germ line modifications in mammals;
• Professor Ronald M. Evans of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies for
his seminal studies defining new classes of nuclear hormone receptors and
elucidating their role in energy metabolism and endocrine-related disease;
• Professor Alan Hall of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for his
discoveries related to understanding the cytoskeleton of the cell and the
basis of cell mobility and its relevance to human disease;
• Professor Thomas D. Pollard of Yale University for his discoveries related
to understanding the cytoskeleton of the cell and the basis of cell mobility
and its relevance to human disease;
• Professor Joan A. Steitz of Yale University for her discovery of the
reactivity of autoimmune sera with ribonucleoprotein particles and
elucidation of the roles of small nuclear RNAs in messenger RNA processing;
• Professor Allan R. Ronald of the University of Manitoba, who is being
awarded the 11th Wightman Award, given to a Canadian who has demonstrated
outstanding leadership in Canadian medicine. He is being honoured for his
leadership in developing the specialty of clinical infectious disease in
Canada and for his exceptional international contributions in Africa.
The Gairdner events also include the two-day Minds That Matter symposium at
U of T’s MacLeod Auditorium on Oct. 26 and 27, featuring a number of
Gairdner and Nobel laureates as speakers. On Tuesday, Oct. 24, Professor
Ronald Evans will deliver the 6th annual Gairdner Public Lecture at the MaRS
Centre, 101 College St. For information on these events, visit