York Gairdner Lecture features two prestigious Laureates and will take place Thursday, Oct. 15 via Zoom

Each year, York University takes part in the Gairdner Foundation National program by hosting the York Gairdner Lecture. The program brings high-profile laureates of the prestigious Canada Gairdner Awards to the Keele Campus to present a Gairdner Lecture to faculty, postdoctoral Fellows and graduate students.

Rolf Kemler

Rolf Kemler

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced the foundation to cancel all in-person activities. However, the Gairdner Lectures will continue virtually at 22 postsecondary institutions across Canada. The York University program will take place Thursday, Oct. 15, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and will feature two of this year’s Laureates: Rolf Kemler, Canada Gairdner International Laureate, and Quarraisha Abdool Karim, the John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Laureate.

“We are pleased and excited to have these two laureates who work in two diverse areas of biomedicine, cell biology and global health, 'visit' York,” says York University Professor Emeritus of Biology Ronald Pearlman, who is the associate scientific director and coordinator for Student Outreach Programs at The Gairdner Foundation. “We hope to attract a large and diverse audience of faculty and trainees to hear talks by these two exceptional researchers to celebrate Gairdner's mission of recognition of scientific excellence. As always, even though virtual this year, this is an exciting event.”

Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Quarraisha Abdool Karim

Each of the talks will last 35 minutes and will be delivered by Zoom. Following each talk, participants will have an opportunity to participate in a Q-and-A with the laureates. The title of Kemler's talk is “Cadherins in Mouse Development” and Abdool Karim is “Preventing HIV in Young Women in Africa: A Public Health Imperative.”

The event is free, but registration is required to obtain the access for the Zoom Webinar. The event will also be livestreamed on the York University YouTube channel.

To register for this event, visit https://yorku.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_mspmqd56QampzfH38AaUNQ. A Zoom link will be immediately provided after registration.

More about the 2020 York Gairdner Lecture speakers

Rolf Kemler is emeritus member and director of the Max Planck Institute of Immunobiology and Epigenetics, Freiburg, Germany. He was named a Gairdner Laureate with Masatoshi Takeichi from the Japanese Riken Center. They were honored by the Gairdner Foundation for their research on cell adhesion mechanisms, which have been central to the understanding of cell-cell adhesion as well as cell communication. Their discovery has significant implications for cancer research as misregulation by cells is a key component in the development of different types of cancer.

Quarraisha Abdool Karim is the associate scientific director of the Center for AIDS Prevention Research in South Africa (CAPRISA). She is professor in Clinical Epidemiology at Columbia University, New York and professor in Public Health at the Nelson Mandela Medical School and pro vice-chancellor of African Health at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa. She was named a Gairdner Laureate with Salim S. Abdool Karim for their discovery that antiretrovirals prevent sexual transmission of HIV, which laid the foundations for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), the HIV prevention strategy that is contributing to the reduction of HIV infection in Africa and around the world.

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