2023 Award winners

  • CSMB New Investigator award winner: John Whitney, Ph.D.
  • Canadian Science Publishing Senior Investigator award winner: Lori Burrows, Ph.D.
  • Jeanne Manery-Fisher Memorial award winner: Ute Kohte, Ph.D.


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.

2023 winner: John C. C. Whitney, Ph.D.

Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair

John WithneyI was born in 1985 in Kingston, Ontario and grew up there before moving to Guelph and attending the University of Guelph from 2003-2007 to obtain my BSc in Biological Chemistry. In 2007, I moved to Toronto to complete my PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Toronto and The Hospital for Sick Children. I then moved to Seattle in early 2013 to take up a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Microbiology at the University of Washington. Upon completion of my fellowship, I was recruited to the Department of Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences at McMaster in 2017 where I now lead my own independent research group that consists of seven graduate students (4 PhD, 3 MSc), one research assistant, and one research technician. My position at McMaster also involves the teaching of a third-year molecular bacteriology course to approximately 70 undergraduate students each year. In 2020, I was selected as the Canada Research Chair in Molecular Microbiology and in 2021, I was named an Investigator in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease by the Burroughs Welcome Fund. Other notable accolades include receiving an Ontario Early Researcher Award in 2019 and being awarded the 2020 Thermo Fisher Prize by the Canadian Society of Microbiologists for outstanding contributions to microbiology as a profession. My research passions revolve around the discovery and characterization of antibacterial toxins, the mechanisms by which they are secreted, and how their secretion by bacteria influences microbe-microbe interactions.

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.

2023 winner: Lori Burrows, Ph.D.

Professor  Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences (primary appointment) and Pathology and Molecular Medicine (associate member)
Interim Director, Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Diseases Research
Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Microbe-Surface Interactions
Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Lori BurrowsProfessor Lori Burrows is a microbiologist whose research interests include biofilm formation, antibiotic resistance, bacteriophages and ubiquitous bacterial adhesins called type IV pili (T4P). Her lab’s research has been funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Glycomics Network, the Ontario Research Fund, and industrial support. She’s published over 130 papers, reviews, and book chapters. She holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Microbe-Surface Interactions, and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. She is the Associate Director of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Diseases Research, a member of the Advisory Board for CIHR’s Institute for Infection and Immunity, and serves on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Bacteriology (ASM), the Journal of Biochemistry (ASBMB), and ACS Infectious Diseases. Her contributions were recognized in 2020 with the Canadian Society for Microbiologists’ (CSM) prestigious Murray Award for Career Achievement, and in 2023 with the John G. Fitzgerald Award from the Canadian Association for Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. She is a champion for women in science – she created the CSM Burrows Award for Womxn in Microbiology, given annually from 2021 to outstanding female microbiology trainees who advance the cause of equity, diversity, and inclusion.

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.

2023 winner: Ute Kohte, Ph.D.

Professor University of Manitoba
Chair, Department of Chemistry

Ute KohteAfter completing a Diploma in Biochemistry, Dr. Ute Kothe conducted Ph.D. studies at the University of Witten/Herdecke, Germany under the supervision of Dr. Marina Rodnina studying bacterial protein synthesis. In 2006, she became an Assistant Professor at the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, where she established her independent research program focussing on the mechanisms and functions of RNA modification and where she was later promoted to Associate and Full Professor. Dr. Kothe’s research accomplishments were recognized with an Alberta Innovates Research Chair in 2015 and her election into the College of the Royal Society in Canada in 2017. She is also a passionate and award-winning educator having received the University of Lethbridge Distinguished Teaching Award in 2014 and being named the University of Lethbridge Teaching Chair in 2020. In 2021, Dr. Kothe was recruited to the University of Manitoba, Canada, becoming the first woman to lead the Department of Chemistry. Dr. Kothe is an active member of the RNA research community leading the international RNA Salon program, organizing international conferences, having served on the first DEI committee of the international RNA Society and being a current member of the RNA Canada EDI committee.