Bravo celebrates research excellence

Posted on Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Outgoing Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) Denis Thérien hugs the inimitable Brenda Milner, world-renowned neurologist and University icon, at McGill’s Bravo gala on Tuesday night. / Photo: Owen Egan

Outgoing Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) Denis Thérien hugs the inimitable Brenda Milner, world-renowned neurologist and University icon, at McGill’s Bravo gala on Tuesday night. / Photo: Owen Egan

Fourth annual gala features 21 prizewinners

By Doug Sweet

More than 400 people gathered to celebrate high-level research at McGill’s annual Bravo gala Tuesday night at the Science Centre in the Old Port as 21 prizewinning profs were recognized for their achievements.

In an engaging turn as the event’s emcee, outgoing Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) Denis Thérien drew a laugh as he explained the event’s raison d’être: It is said that research is “10 pour cent inspiration, 90 pour cent transpiration et 0 pour cent felicitation.”

He also cited McGill’s numerous partnerships in expanding research horizons.

“Twenty-first Century science is all about partnership,” he said.

Bravo, now four years old, is McGill’s way of saying “felicitation” to those who have won major national or international prizes in the past year. Honorees fêted at this year’s event (see complete list below) included Killam Prize and Research Fellowship winners, new inductees into the Royal Society of Canada and a pair of researchers who captured Stacie Fellowships.

But the standing ovation for 91-year-old Brenda Milner, who received honours last year by winning the prestigious International Balzan Prize and who was inducted into the l’Ordre National du Québec, was clearly one of the evening’s highlights.

Chancellor Arnold Steinberg spoke of the need for governments to support researchers. “There is no greater stimulus (to the economy) than research funding,” he said. “Research is the way to go.”

There was another standing ovation at the end of the evening as Principal and Vice-Chancellor Heather Munroe-Blum (also a l’Ordre du Québec honoree) praised Thérien for his dedication and passion for research.

Thérien spoke of his arrival at McGill in the late 1970s as someone in bare feet and sandals with hair “down to here” who expected to stay no more than a year or so.

All that changed within months.

“I knew that I had found my home,” he said.

Bravo to our Prize Winners

The Steacie Fellowship

The NSERC Steacie Fellowships are awarded to enhance the career development of outstanding and highly promising university faculty who are earning a strong international reputation for original research.

-Associate Professor Andrew Hendry (Department of Biology, Faculty of Science)

-Associate Professor Karim Nader (Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science)

Canada’s Top 40 Under 40

Canada’s Top 40 Under 40 is a national program founded and managed by The Caldwell Partners to celebrate our leaders of today and tomorrow, and to honour Canadians who have reached a significant level of success but have not yet reached the age of 40.

-Sam Daniel, M.D. (Director, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery Montreal Children’s Hospital.  Director, Pediatric Otolaryngology, McGill University)

Killam Research Fellowship

Killam Research Fellowships provide support to scholars of exceptional ability who are engaged in research projects of broad significance and widespread interest. .

-Professor Robert Brandenberger (Department of Physics, Faculty of Science)

Les Prix du Québec – prix Marie-Victorin

Les Prix du Québec recognize the career of women and men who have demonstrated a passion for their calling – individuals who have stood out by their creative or innovative spirit and whose work has contributed to the influence of Québec around the world and to the evolution of Québec society in their respective fields. .

-Professor Victoria Kaspi (Department of Physics, Faculty of Science)

Killam Prize

The Killam Prizes are Canada’s most distinguished annual awards for outstanding career achievements in health sciences, engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

-Professor Wagdi Habashi (Department of Mechanical Engineering, Faculty of Engineering)

-Professor François Ricard (Department of French Language and Literature, Faculty of Arts)

McNeil Medal for the Public Awareness of Science

The McNeil Medal is awarded to a candidate who has demonstrated outstanding ability to promote and communicate science to students and the public within Canada.

-Professor Brian Alters (Redpath Museum, Faculty of Science)

Royal Society of Canada Fellowship

RSC: The Academies of Arts, Humanities and Sciences of Canada is the senior national body of distinguished Canadian scholars, artists and scientists.

-Professor Vincent Giguère (Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine)

-Professor Bruce Reed (School of Computer Science, Faculty of Science)

-Allan Sniderman, M.D. (Cardiologist, Royal Victoria Hospital, Faculty of Medicine)

Order of Canada

The Order of Canada is the centrepiece of Canada’s honours system and recognizes a lifetime of outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation.

-Roderick McInnes, M.D. (Director, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Faculty of Medicine)

Ordre national du Québec

L’Ordre national du Québec is the highest civilian honor bestowed by the Government of Quebec.

-Mostafa Elhilali, M.D. (Department of Surgery, MUHC, Faculty of Medicine)

-Professor Brenda Milner (Montreal Neurological Institute, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine)

-Professor Heather Munroe-Blum (Principal and Vice-Chancellor, McGill University)

Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honor

This Medal is granted in recognition of personal contributions to the advancement of medical research, medical education, health care organization and health education of the public; service to the people of Canada in raising the standards of health care delivery in Canada; and service to the profession in the field of medical organization.

-Mark Wainberg (Director, McGill AIDS Centre, Lady Davis Institute, Faculty of Medicine)

Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

The Canadian Medical Hall of Fame is dedicated to creating an enduring tribute to Canada’s medical pioneers who, through discovery and innovation, have contributed to better health in Canada and the world.

-Phil Gold, M.D. (Executive Director, Clinical Research Centre, MUHC, Faculty of Medicine)

Grawemeyer Award

The Grawemeyer Awards are given to candidates who have helped make the world a better place. The award for psychology recognizes outstanding ideas in all areas of the discipline of Psychology.

-Ronald Melzack, Professor Emeritus (Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science)

Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year: CIHR Michael Smith Prizes in Health Research

The Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year: CIHR Michael Smith Prizes in Health Research is awarded annually to two outstanding Canadian researchers who have demonstrated a high degree of innovation, creativity, leadership and dedication in health research.

-Professor Nahum Sonenberg (Department of biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine)

International Balzan Prize

The International Balzan Prize’s aim is to foster culture, the sciences and the most meritorious initiatives in the cause of humanity, peace and brotherhood among peoples throughout the world.

-Professor Brenda Milner (Montreal Neurological Institute, Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine)

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