2022 Award winners

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CSMB New Investigator Award

The CSMB New Investigator Award recognizes meritorious research in one or more of the fields of biochemistry, molecular or cellular biology in Canada. Recipients have ten years or less of independent research experience, and demonstrate outstanding research accomplishments.

Trushar Patel, Ph.D.

Canada Research Chair in RNA and Protein Biophysics
Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Lethbridge

Trushar Patel
Trushar Patel

Dr. Trushar Patel is an emerging leader in the biophysical characterization of nucleic acids, proteins and their complexes. He employs interdisciplinary techniques to understand the communication events between viral nucleic acids and human proteins that play vital roles in viral replication. Information on the specific sites of host proteins that communicate with viral nucleic acids will ultimately allow the development of therapeutics that prevent host-viral communication. His lab is also investigating the structures and interactions of human and viral non-coding RNAs by integrating computational and structural-biophysical methods.

Dr. Patel obtained a BSc and MSc in biotechnology from India, and a PhD from the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Subsequently, he joined the University of Manitoba in Canada to pursue postdoctoral studies. The main focus of his PhD and postdoctoral studies was to study solution structure and interactions of plant polysaccharides and human extracellular matrix proteins, respectively. After completing his studies in Manitoba, he moved to UK and joined the University of Birmingham to study human cytoskeleton protein dynamics. His work was supported by postdoctoral fellowships from the Manitoba Institute of Child Health (2008) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2010). He also received the Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship (2013) from the European Union.

Dr. Patel started his career as an independent investigator at the University of Lethbridge in 2016. He has published 80 articles and 26 editorials to date. He is also one of the editors of the European Biophysics Journal and has also been very active in training the next generation of researchers, with scientific and science-policy-related conference organizing activities and EDI initiatives. Recently, Dr. Patel was also named the 2022 Young Investigator of the Biophysical Society of Canada.

For additional information, please visit https://trpatel.com

Canadian Science Publishing Senior Investigator Award

This award recognizes a record of outstanding achievement in research in one or more of the fields of biochemistry, molecular or cellular biology, undertaken in Canada by a Canadian scientist.

Katherine L.B. BordenKatherine L.B. Borden, Ph.D.

Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biology of the Cell Nucleus
Professor, Department of Pathology and Cell Biology, University of Montreal
Principal Investigator, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer (IRIC)

Katherine Borden received her PhD in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University with Professor Fred Richards where she studied protein biochemistry, NMR and biophysical methods. She then carried out her postdoctoral training in London UK at the then National Institute for Medical Research (now the Crick Institute) with Professor Andrew Lane and the then Imperial Cancer Research Fund (now Cancer Research UK) with Professors Paul Freemont and Ellen Solomon. There she developed her trademark approach tying structure and biophysics with cell and molecular biology.  She returned to Canada for her first faculty position at Dalhousie University as Assistant Professor, and then was recruited to Mt Sinai School of Medicine in New York City where she further developed her ideas around RNA export and processing and their role in cancer. Then in 2004, she was recruited back to Montreal (to IRIC) where she is now a full professor and has continued to expand on her studies on RNA biology and cancer. She was a Scholar of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society USA and has been further honoured as a Stohlman Scholar of the society. She was also a recipient of the Distinguished Scientist award of the Canadian Society of Clinical Investigation, amongst other distinctions.

Dr Borden’s research transformed our view of the mechanisms by which dysregulated RNA metabolism contributes to oncogenic transformation using the RNA cap-binding protein eIF4E as a model system. Her studies identified novel modes of action for eIF4E particularly related to its oncogenic properties. Her foundational work led to her discovery of means to target these processes in patients. She spearheaded the first clinical trials targeting these pathways which led to objective clinical responses in some refractory/relapsed leukemia patients. This work provided a proof-of-principle that the eIF4E and related pathways could be targeted in humans and further, that this led to clinical benefit. Dr Borden founded and continues to chair the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion committee at IRIC. She is active in development of  plans to improve issues and is implementing initiatives to engage local indigenous students in STEM.

Learn more on her webpage: https://www.iric.ca/en/research/principal-investigators/katherine-borden

Jeanne Manery-Fisher Memorial Award

This award is given in honour of the late Jeanne Manery Fisher, Professor of Biochemistry, University of Toronto. Dr. Fisher was not only an outstanding biochemist, but a remarkable teacher. She was instrumental in creating the Society’s Equal Opportunity Committee and fought diligently for the position of women in science. This award recognizes an eminent Canadian woman scientist who has a distinguished career in the fields of biochemistry, molecular or cellular biology or genetics, resulting from her outstanding contributions to research, teaching or society.

Kristin Baetz, Ph.D.

Dean, Faculty of Science
Professor, Biological Sciences, University of Calgary

Kristin Baetz
Kristin Baetz

Kristin Baetz began her research career as a high school student where she had the opportunity to work in Dr Gill Wu’s lab at the University of Toronto. This early exposure to research started her down the research career path.  She received her BSc in Biochemistry from Queen’s University and next obtained her PhD from the University of Toronto (2000) where she worked in lab of Dr Brenda Andrews and discovered her love of yeast as a model organism.  After post-doctoral training in yeast functional genomics with Dr Phil Hieter at UBC, Kristin joined the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology at uOttawa in 2005.

Kristin’s research program exploits the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisiae and a variety of systems biology approaches to understand the basic cellular.  Presently her lab is focusing on how lysine acetyltransferases impact chromosome stability, stress response and lipid homeostasis.  She also applies system biology approaches to improve industrial yeast for bioproduct fermentation. Kristin was a CRC Tier II (2005-2015) and Ontario Early Research Award Recipient, but she believes her greatest accomplishment is mentoring the next generation of scientists, disruptors and leaders.

In addition to her research program, Kristin has held multiple leadership positions. Kristin was the Director of the Ottawa Institute of Systems Biology (2012-2019) and was the Assistant Dean of Research and Special Projects (2019-2021) at the Faculty of Medicine, uOttawa.  In January 2022 Kristin was appointed the Dean of the Faculty of Science at uCalgary.  Kristin served on the board of the Canadian Society of Molecular Biosciences including serving as President (2015-2017) where she advocated for sustainable funding for Canadian researchers.  She is a board member of Research Canada (2018 – present) a national advocacy alliance dedicated to advancing health research and she has served on the Ontario Research Fund Advisory Board (2017/2018).  She is also a tireless advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion in STEM, participating in and organizing events at both the local and national level. Further through her leadership positions and advocacy roles, she seeks to ensure policies are in place to create a research ecosystem in Canada where everyone can not just participate in Science, but thrive.

Arthur Wynne Gold Medal Award

The Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences (CSMB) Arthur Wynne Gold Medal is presented by the CSMB to an individual who has made a major contribution to molecular biosciences in Canada over their career. The Medal is named in honor of Professor Arthur M. Wynne, the first President of the Society, and was initiated in 2007 to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of CSMB. The recipient is presented with a plaque depicting the likeness of Professor Wynne.

Reinhart Reithmeier, Ph.D.

Professor, Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto

Reinhart Reithmeier
Reinhart Reithmeier

Reinhart Reithmeier is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto and is known internationally for his research on membrane proteins in human health and disease.  He obtained his BSc at Carleton University, his PhD at the University of British Columba, and did post-doctoral training at Harvard and University of Toronto.  An award-winning lecturer and graduate mentor, Dr. Reithmeier enjoys teaching introductory biochemistry to over 1,000 undergraduate students, as well as upper level and graduate courses.  Dr. Reithmeier was Chair of Biochemistry from 2002-13 and served on numerous research panels and as the University CIHR Delegate.  He was on the executive of Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences from 2006-09. As Special Advisor in the University of Toronto School of Graduate Studies, he led the 10,000 PhDs Project  and the Healthy Labs Initiative.  From 2016 to 2020 Dr. Reithmeier served as an executive member of the Royal Canadian Institute for Science, a venerable organization whose mission is to bring science to the public. Dr. Reithmeier’s leadership was also recognized in 2012 by election as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

Website:  http://biochemistry.utoronto.ca/person/reinhart-af-reithmeier/