Saskatoon, SK – Dr Lorne Babiuk, director of the University of Saskatchewan Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO), has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada. A professor in the department of veterinary microbiology at the University of Saskatchewan, Dr Babiuk holds a Canada Research Chair in Vaccinology and Biotechnology.
Since taking the helm of VIDO in 1993, Dr Babiuk has overseen the creation of a valuable element of Canada’s national biotechnology research infrastructure. Under his leadership, VIDO researchers have developed a growing library of patented technologies, including five "world firsts" in vaccine development.
An international authority in veterinary virology and immunology, Dr Babiuk serves on several scientific advisory boards and boards of directors including the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity, the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Genome Canada, and the International Centre for Infectious Diseases.
Recently, his team of VIDO scientists and collaborators was offered $6.9 million through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative. The team will develop more effective vaccines for newborns, targeting developing countries.
Dr Babiuk is the lead proponent of the International Vaccine Centre (InterVac) which will be one of the largest vaccine research laboratories in North America when completed on the university’s campus in 2009. The centre will house Saskatchewan’s first Level 3 labs dealing with both human and animal diseases. Scientists from academic, research and government institutions in Canada and around the world will develop and test new vaccines and methods of delivering vaccines.
Dr Babiuk grew up on a farm in rural Saskatchewan. Though initially interested in soil science, a desire to protect the health of humans and animals lead him to pursue studies in virology at the University of British Columbia. Returning to Saskatchewan, he joined VIDO in 1984 as research director.
Dr Babiuk has received prestigious national and international awards for excellence in research and for transferring research into the commercial arena, including an NSERC Chair in Biotechnology, Canadian Society of Microbiology Award, and Xerox-Canada Forum Award.