Gairdner Award winners to lecture at York tomorrow

Tomorrow, two top medical researchers who are recipients of the Canada Gairdner International Award will lecture at York University. The lectures are part of the Gairdner Foundation’s national program, in which Gairdner Award winners visit universities across the country, speaking to both faculty and high-school students. Several symposia are taking place in Toronto, along with events Canada-wide to mark the Gairdner Foundation’s 50th anniversary.

This year’s event features Harvard Professors Richard Losick and Gary Ruvkun. Both will speak at York’s Keele campus.

Losick and Ruvkun will address students, from 10 to 11:30am. Losick’s lecture is titled “How We and our Planet are Shaped by the Invisible World of Microbes”. Ruvkun will deliver a lecture titled “Tiny RNAs, One of Many Revolutions in Science”. Some 350 Southern Ontario high-school students are scheduled to attend this event. The lectures will take place in the Tribute Communities Recital Hall, Accolade East Building. This event is closed to the public.

Following his lecture, Losick will deliver the York Gairdner Lecture for York faculty, “Developmental Biology of a Simple Organism”, in the University’s Senate Chamber, N940 Ross Building, from 1:30 to 2:30pm. This event is open to members of the York community.

Left: Richard Losik

The recipient of a 2009 Canada Gairdner International Award, Losick uncovered the mechanisms that define cell polarity and asymmetric cell division, processes key in cell differentiation and the generation of cell diversity. He currently holds the posts of Maria Moors Cabot Professor of Biology and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor in the Faculty of Arts & Sciences at Harvard University.

Ruvkun, a professor of genetics at Harvard Medical School, was awarded a 2008 Canada Gairdner International Award for the discovery and characterization of micro-RNAs, important in the regulation of gene function.

Left: Gary Ruvkun

The Canada Gairdner Awards honour the world’s most significant medical research, with the aim of distinguishing Canada as a leader in science and elevating the profile of science in Canada.

The 2009 York Gairdner lecture is sponsored by the Gairdner Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Government of Ontario, Merck Frosst, GE Healthcare and Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The lecture for students is sponsored by the Gairdner Foundation, CIHR, the Government of Ontario, Great-West Life, London Life, Canada Life and Sanofi Pasteur/Sanofi Aventis.

For more information, visit the Gairdner Foundation Web site.