Biology Professor receives 2016 Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award

crop of an image of Professor Jean Paul Paluzzi
Jean Paul Paluzzi
Jean-Paul Paluzzi

Biology Professor Jean-Paul Paluzzi in the Faculty of Science has received the 2016 Petro-Canada Young Innovator Award, which is presented to outstanding early-career faculty members. The award program is a commitment by Petro-Canada (now Suncor Energy Inc.) and York University to encourage excellence in teaching and research that will enrich the learning environment and contribute to society.

“Congratulations to Jean-Paul. We are delighted to count rising researchers of his caliber in our midst,” says Ray Jayawardhana, dean of the Faculty of Science.

Paluzzi’s research is focused on blood-feeding arthropods (including mosquitoes and ticks) and aims to understand the role of peptide hormones in the control of feeding, digestion, growth, development, and hydromineral balance.

“Arthropod vector-borne diseases are of global significance for human health, causing approximately one million deaths and the infection of over 500 million people each year,” says Paluzzi. “Alarmingly, resistance to strategies that control these pests is on the rise, and drugs used to treat arthropod-borne diseases are often ineffective as infectious diseases themselves evolve.”

Having a better understanding of how blood-feeding arthropods survive and reproduce will potentially lead to new prevention and management strategies for reducing the burden of vector-borne diseases.

Since establishing his independent research laboratory at York University in 2013, Paluzzi has obtained two external grants (including an operating grant and high-value equipment grant) and received the John Charles Polanyi Early Researcher Award. He has published 23 peer-reviewed publications that include five papers since starting his independent research lab.

Paluzzi will be giving a public lecture titled “The biology of blood-thirsty disease vectors” on Oct. 25 at the Toronto Public Library (Annette branch), as part of the Faculty of Science series The Fascinating (and Sometimes Scary) World of Infectious Diseases.