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$20,000 Polanyi Prize recipients announced

Toronto, ON – Five Ontario university researchers have been presented with the 2008 Polanyi Prize in recognition of their work in chemistry, physiology/medicine, literature and economics.


The annual prize was established by the Ontario’s provincial government in 1986 after University of Toronto Professor John Polanyi was a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in chemistry. Valued at $20,000 each, the prize is awarded to researchers planning to continue postdoctoral studies at an Ontario university.


The Polanyi Prize recipients are: Dr Mark Taylor of the University of Toronto, for chemistry; Dr Warren Lee of the University of Toronto, for physiology/medicine; Dr Katherine Larson of the University of Toronto, for literature; Dr Philip DeCicca of McMaster University, for economics; Dr Nadine Kolas of the University of Toronto, for physiology/medicine.


Dr Taylor is an assistant professor in organic chemistry at the University of Toronto. He received his Ph.D. from Harvard University and was a post-doctoral fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His research involves finding new catalysts to control organic chemical reactions, and developing polymer-based sensors.


Dr Lee is an assistant professor in the department of medicine, University of Toronto, and a staff physician in the department of clinical care at St. Michael’s Hospital. He trained as a clinician/scientist at the university and pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at Cornell University. His research involves phagocytosis (the process by which immune cells degrade microbial pathogens); this could lead to a better understanding of inflammatory and infectious diseases such as tuberculosis and sepsis, and possibly lead to new therapies.


Dr Kolas is a post-doctoral fellow at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, University of Toronto. She received her Ph.D. from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, New York, in 2005. Her research uses state-of-the-art molecular genetic techniques to identify and characterize novel genes involved in DNA repair; this may shed new light on chromosome instability in human disease such as cancer and congenital abnormalities.