Royal Society of Canada honours nine McGill researchers from Medicine, Law and Arts

Posted on Tuesday, September 13, 2011

By Tamarah Feder

The Royal Society of Canada (RSC) announced 78 new Fellows this week, including nine McGill researchers and scholars from the faculties of Medicine, Law and Arts. They join the over 100 current McGill-affiliated Fellows.

Established in 1882, the RSC is the senior national body of distinguished Canadian scholars, artists and scientists. The RSC consists of nearly 2,000 Fellows selected by their peers for outstanding contributions to the natural and social sciences, arts and humanities. As Canada’s national academy, the RSC not only recognizes academic excellence, but it also advises governments and organizations, and promotes Canadian culture.

“This new group of outstanding McGill-based researchers follows a long history of McGill’s presence at this prestigious national academy,” said Professor Heather Munroe-Blum, McGill’s Principal and Vice-Chancellor. “Their contributions to scholarly excellence benefit not only Canadians, but the international community as well.”

This year’s Fellows from McGill reflect a range of research expertise in the areas of Canadian history, sociology, Jewish history, epilepsy treatment, neuropsychology, cancer epidemiology and pediatrics.

Among this year’s McGill-based Fellows is internationally renowned demographer Celine Le Bourdais. According to the RSC, Professor Le Bourdais’ “innovative research on families has enriched public debate and informed decision making. She has also made tremendous contributions to the development of social statistics in Canada.”

“It is a great honour and an especially satisfying moment in my career to have my work in Social Statistics and Family Change recognized by the RSC and the distinguished scholars who compose it,” said Le Bourdais. “I feel that this nomination also underlines the importance of this field of research in Canada; a field to which McGill University has devoted considerable resources.”

Also elected as an RSC Fellow, is Canadian Research Chair in Molecular Oncology at McGill, William J. Muller. Dr. Muller is a leader in the development of transgenic mouse models of human breast cancer.

“It’s gratifying to be acknowledged by such a prestigious group. I am greatly indebted to the graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians who have played an instrumental role in conducting our research,” said Dr. Muller. In addition, research funding from grants from CIHR, CBCRA, CCS, Terry Fox, Research Institute CRS, QBF, NCI, DOD, CRC, CFI, Genome Quebec and NIH have played a critical role in this honour. The Goodman Cancer Center, Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine at McGill have provided my colleagues an outstanding academic environment where this research has been conducted.”

In addition to the newly elected fellows, the RSC conferred The Willet G. Miller Medal to Anthony E. Williams-Jones of the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences for his contributions to our understanding of how metals are transported and concentrated from economically exploitable mineral deposits. The results of his research have helped develop the models that mining companies employ to guide their exploration for new deposits of metallic minerals.

“I was thrilled to learn that I would be receiving this award,” Williams-Jones said. “It is a great honour and one that I am delighted to be able to share with the many outstanding undergraduate and graduate students, post doctoral fellows, research associates and other colleagues who have allowed me to participate in their scientific discoveries.”

Complete list of McGill-based 2011 RSC Fellows:

Frederick Andermann (Epilepsy Clinic, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital) is a neurologist and pediatric neurologist; he has specialized in the investigation of people with epilepsy and their treatment.

Eduardo L. Franco (Department of Oncology) is an internationally renowned cancer epidemiologist, who has helped identify human papillomavirus infection as the cause of cervical cancer. His studies of vaccination and screening have led to new approaches in preventing this disease, a major public health problem in developing countries. “It is with a great sense of honour and duty that I received the Royal Society of Canada’s recognition for the research I have carried out as a McGill scientist and faculty member. For the past 20 years McGill has provided me with a superb academic home that nurtured my career and enabled me to have the best and brightest of trainees and collaborators.”

Allan Greer (Department of History) is the leading English-language scholar of early Canada and Quebec. His work has led the way in opening up Canadian history to international currents and has brought a ‘Northern’ perspective to the study of colonial America. “I’m gratified to be honoured in this way and I’m grateful for the way McGill has supported my work.”

Gershon Hundert (Department of Jewish Studies) is an internationally recognized leader in the study of Jewish history, particularly in East Central Europe. His groundbreaking scholarship has fundamentally revised historical narrative by its emphasis on the Polish-Lithuanian-Ukrainian context in which Jews lived. “I am heartened particularly by the fact that this honour comes as a result of the initiative of my colleagues at McGill.”

Michael S. Kramer (Department of Pediatrics and of Epidemiology) is a distinguished perinatal and pediatric epidemiologist whose research on infant feeding and adverse pregnancy outcomes has had important impacts on clinical practice and public health policy. “Election to fellowship in the RSC’s Academy of Science has typically been awarded to basic scientists. I am pleased and honoured that my Canadian peers in life science recognize epidemiologic research as a worthy and important field of scholarly endeavour.”

Celine Le Bourdais (Department of Sociology) is internationally renowned demographer. Her innovative research on families has enriched public debate and informed decision making. She has also made tremendous contributions to the development of social statistics in Canada. “It is a great honour and an especially satisfying moment in my career to have my work in “Social statistics and family change” recognized by the Royal Society of Canada and the distinguished scholars who compose it. I feel that this nomination also underlines the importance of this field of research in Canada, a field to which McGill University has devoted considerable resources.”

Desmond Manderson (Faculty of Law) brings law and the humanities into a rich interdisciplinary dialogue through unique and imaginative studies, both historical and contemporary. These explore contemporary issues in law and justice through literature, music, and the arts. Law emerges in a dynamic relationship with the images and discourses of the society in which it lives. Manderson is the Canada Research Chair in Law and Discourse, and Director of the Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, expressed his appreciation saying, “As an Australian – albeit working in Canada for many years – I am touched and humbled by this recognition of my work. McGill has been an enormously productive environment for me and allowed me to establish collaborative relationships with leading scholars in many areas, including Philosophy, English, History, Geography, and Musicology, all of whom have powerfully enriched my work in new ways. It is these opportunities and contacts that I most value and to whom the credit for this honour goes.”

William J. Muller (Department of Biochemistry and Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre) is recognized as one of the leaders in the development of transgenic mouse models of human breast cancer. In recognition of his important contributions to the development and characterization of these transgenic mouse models of human breast cancer, Muller was recently awarded a CRC Chair in Molecular Oncology at McGill University. “It’s gratifying to be acknowledged by such a prestigious group. I am greatly indebted to the graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research assistants, associates and technicians who have played an instrumental role in conducting our research. In addition, research funding from grants from CIHR, CBCRA, CCS, Terry Fox, Research Institute CRS, QBF, NCI, DOD, CRC, CFI, Genome Quebec and NIH have played a critical role in this honour. Finally, the Goodman Cancer Center, Departments of Biochemistry and Medicine at McGill have provided my colleagues an outstanding academic environment where this research has been conducted,” said Dr. William J. Muller is recognized as one of the leaders in the development of transgenic mouse models of human breast cancer. In recognition of his important contributions to the development and characterization of these transgenic mouse models of human breast cancer, Muller was recently awarded a CRC Chair in Molecular Oncology at McGill University.

Michael Petrides (Neuropsychology/Cognitive Neuroscience Unit) has provided us with new ways to conceptualize the role of the prefrontal cortex in cognitive processing and one of the most influential models of the anatomo-fuctional organization of the lateral frontal cortex. His discovery of the cytoarchitectonic homologue of Broca’s language are in the monkey is having a major impact on conceptions of the evolution of language circuitry in the primate brain.

 

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