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Ontario Government Matches Kyoto Prize for Mount Sinai researcher's lab

February 18, 2009 - Young scientists at Mount Sinai Hospital’s Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute today got an extra lift.

The Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation, John Wilkinson, announced a generous matching grant of $500,000 in support of Dr. Tony Pawson’s Kyoto Prize today at a special lecture at the MaRS Discovery District. The funding will be directed to support the next generation of scientists in Dr. Pawson’s lab.

“The fact that the Ontario government is matching the Kyoto Prize is very exciting – it establishes a very real bond between Ontario and Kyoto, two globally recognized centres of scientific excellence,” said Dr. Pawson, Distinguished Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital. “This enlightened support is essential to maintain the outstanding quality of biomedical research in Ontario, and to promote the careers of outstanding young scientists who will be the research leaders of the future.”

Dr. Pawson is the first Canadian scientist to win the Kyoto Prize, an award that honours those who have contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment of humankind. He has revolutionized the understanding of how cells in a body communicate and control one another’s behaviour through chemical signals. His discoveries have been instrumental in the fight against diseases including diabetes and cancer. His work has also led to the development of a new generation of drugs that stop the growth of diseases like cancer.

“Tony is a true scientific pioneer and embodies the spirit of discovery,” said Joseph Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital. “His influence and spectacular achievements have been instrumental in catapulting the Lunenfeld into one of the top 10 biomedical research institutions worldwide.”

Today’s special joint lecture by Dr. Tony Pawson and Dr. Charles Taylor marked a rare occasion for a Toronto audience to hear from the first-ever Canadian Kyoto Prize Laureates.