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A message from Professor John Challis

On the back page of this issue of Edge, we have our Critically Acclaimed section, which profiles U of T scholars who have been recognized for their special achievements through awards and other special honours.

Deciding who should be profiled in each issue is a tough job. U of T researchers are the most honoured in the country through a variety of forms of special recognition.

Not only are our full-time faculty members cited for their accomplishments and innovation, but so are our students. Case in point — Lisa Helps and Dawnis Kennedy, two U of T graduate students who were among the recipients of the prestigious 2006 Trudeau Scholarships.

The scholarships are awarded by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, which seeks to enhance debate on society’s major issues and to provide citizens with a deeper experience of democracy.

Lisa, a student in the Department of History who is researching the history and evolution of homelessness in North America, and Dawnis,who is studying in the Faculty of Law and is interested in how "vagrants" of the past became today's homeless, certainly live up to the mandate of the Trudeau Scholarships.

In addition to the value of their work, Lisa and Dawnis also offer proof that university research doesn't begin only when you land a job as a professor. It starts far before that. Graduate students are well-known as the lifeblood of many successful research projects. And undergraduates are becoming increasingly active in — and valuable to — the work we do across the disciplines at U of T.

We continue to strengthen the graduate and undergraduate research experience at U of T and we will be profiling these students regularly in upcoming issues of Edge.

Vice-President, Research
& Associate Provost


Nota Bene

Awards, honours and happenings

Honouring legendary biomedical researchers, the Giants of Biomedical Science Hall was opened June 27 in the Terrence Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research (DCCBR), featuring a bronze sculpture depicting 10 leading biomedical researchers or builders who got their start or made their mark at U of T. Ten floors of the DCCBR will be named for the honourees: Sir Frederick Banting, winner of the 1923 Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine; Dr. Charles Best, collaborator with Dr. Banting on the Nobel Prizewinning insulin discovery; Dr. Wilfred Bigelow, developer of the first artificial cardiac pacemaker; Dr. George Connell, biochemical research advocate and leader; Dr. Maud Menten, founder of modern enzymology; Dr. James Mustard, advocate for early childhood development; Dr. Vera Peters, developer of lumpectomy as an alternative to radical mastectomy; Dr. Robert Salter, innovator in orthopedic surgery; Dr. Louis Siminovitch, founder of the Department of Medical Genetics; and Dr. Lap-Chee Tsui, discoverer of the gene for cystic fibrosis. The sculpture was created by Veronica de Nogales Leprevost and Edwin Timothy Dam of Dam de Nogales Sculptors.

Photo - Anthony Pawson

University Professor Anthony Pawson of the Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology has been honoured with membership in Britain’s Order of the Companions of Honour.

Queen Elizabeth II is sovereign of the Order, which is conferred upon those who render conspicuous national service. Living membership is limited to 65 people and those admitted are members for life. Only a handful of Canadians have been members, including former prime ministers Lester Pearson and Pierre Trudeau and retired General John de Chastelain.

Pawson was recognized for his services to genetic sciences and cancer research. As a principal investigator with Mount Sinai Hospital’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, his research has led to new approaches to the treatment of cancer and his work in cell communication and the creation of protein complexes has resulted in greater knowledge of the human body.


Photo - Robert Orr

Robert Orr of the Department of Physics is the winner of a 2006 ORION (Ontario Research and Innovation Optical Network) Discovery Award of Merit for his work with ATLAS Canada group, part of an international project to search for the origin of mass in the universe. ORION recognizes individuals and groups within Ontario’s research and education community that have successfully championed and demonstrated the use of advanced networks and collaborative technologies in scientific research, teaching and learning. Orr is the NSERC Principal Investigator for ATLAS Canada.


Photos - Sandy Smith

The Faculty of Forestry's Sandy Smith and her team, the Collaborative Science Group for Insect Eradication, won the Ontario Federal Council's 2006 Leadership in Science and Sustainable Development Award. The team, made up of intergovernmental and international representatives, developed an emergency eradication plan to control and eliminate the spread of the highly destructive Asian Longhorned Beetle. The award was created in 2004 to recognize individuals and teams who have made an exemplary contribution in the areas of science and/or sustainable development.


Photo - Colleen Flood

Colleen Flood, the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Health Law and Policy at the Faculty of Law, was appointed the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Health Services and Policy Research.


Eight prominent faculty members — including U of T's president — were appointed to the Order of Canada, this country's highest honour for lifetime achievement. Named Officer of the Order of Canada, the second highest designation after Companion, were President David Naylor, Professor Emeritus Bernard Dickens of the Faculty of Law, Professor Emeritus Mary Seeman of Psychiatry and University Professor Emeritus Endel Tulving of Psychology. Professor Emeritus John Dirks of Medicine, Professor Emeritus Donald Meeks of the Faculty of Social Work, University Professor Janice Gross Stein of Political Science and Professor Stanley Zlotkin of Pediatrics and Nutritional Studies were named Members of the order.

Seven of U of T's top faculty won Royal Society of Canada awards and medals this year for extraordinary achievement in the social sciences, humanities and sciences. University Professor Stephen Cook of Computer Science won the John L. Synge Award for outstanding research in any of the branches of mathematical sciences. Professor David Dunlop of Physics at U of T at Mississauga is the winner of the Bancroft Award, for publication, instruction and research in the earth sciences. Professor Alberto Leon-Garcia of Electrical and Computer Engineering is the recipient of the Thomas W. Eadie Medal, in recognition of major contributions to engineering or applied science, with preference given to those having an impact on communications. University Professor Richard Peltierwon the Miroslaw Romanowski Medal for significant contributions to the resolution of scientific aspects of environmental problems or for important improvements to the quality of an ecosystem in all aspects. Professor Molly Shoichet of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry is the recipient of the Rutherford Memorial Medal for chemistry for outstanding research in any branch of chemistry, and Professor Aephraim Steinberg of Physics received the Rutherford Memorial Medal in physics for outstanding research in any branch of physics. Finally, Professor Michael Tyers of Medical Genetics and Microbiology is this year’s winner of the McLaughlin Medal, given for important research of sustained excellence in any branch of medical sciences.



Major funding for research profiled in this issue
  • Canada Foundation for Innovation
  • Canadian Institutes of Health Research
  • Connaught Fund
  • Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
  • U.S. National Institutes of Health
  • Petro Canada
  • Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada
  • The Canadian Stroke Network
  • The Competitive Earmarked Research Grant of Hong Kong
  • The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health at the Centers for Disease Control (U.S.)
  • Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada