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Dr. Tony Pawson honoured as ‘nation builder of the decade’ by The Globe and Mail

January 4, 2010 - Dr. Tony Pawson, Distinguished Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, has received another prestigious honour, being selected as a ‘nation builder of the decade’ by The Globe and Mail.

The article recounting his achievements appeared in the national newspaper on January 2, alongside those of nine other illustrious contributors to society. The paper selected 10 people who have made a special mark on Canadian society over the past decade and changed how Canadians live and how we are perceived.

See the full article on the Globe and Mail website.

“It’s wonderful to be recognized in a Canadian context for the work that we’ve done, and to be singled out in this way among so many talented Canadian scientists,” said Dr. Pawson. “Canada has become a powerhouse in this area of research.”   

Dr. Pawson is an extraordinary talent and his contributions to biomedical science have once again raised the profile of the Lunenfeld and Mount Sinai Hospital, furthering our reputation for excellence in research and patient care.

Commenting on Dr. Pawson’s latest honour, Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of the Lunenfeld, said that “he is the exemplar of what is possible in Canada and acts as a role model for the thousands of trainees and colleagues working to improve health.”

In an email to Dr. Pawson, the editors at The Globe wrote that “like you, the nation builders are Canadians who have not only made great individual accomplishments but even greater contributions to their society and to the ability of others to succeed, prosper and share. In the area of science, we felt you represent the best that Canada strives to be, and what we must be over the coming decades. Your groundbreaking work has put Canada at the forefront of cancer research – and made it easier to imagine a cure for the disease in the not-too-distant future.”

Dr. Pawson has revolutionized our understanding of the way our cells work in health and in disease. His discoveries contribute to many aspects of medical research and have relevance for the understanding and treatment of a host of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and disorders of the immune system. In the 25 years he has spent studying how cells grow and communicate with each other, he has become one of the top 25 cited scientists in his field.

In particular, Dr. Pawson studies signal transduction – the way in which cells control their own and each other’s behavior through chemical signals. His groundbreaking discoveries related to signal transduction have allowed for the development of new generations of drugs that halt the proliferation of particular kinds of cancer cells.

Beyond his own research, Dr. Pawson has also helped empower the next generation of scientists through mentoring trainees in his lab. And he has proudly taken up the role as ambassador for Canada within the international scientific community, travelling the world and educating his peers on this important area of research.  

This latest honour adds to a growing list of awards and accolades for Dr. Pawson including the Kyoto Prize, the Wolf Prize in Medicine, the Gairdner Award and the Order of Canada, and his naming in 2006 to the Order of the Companions of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II.