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Killam prizes for 2009 are announced


Montreal, QC – Five prominent scholars from McGill University, Queen’s University and the University of Toronto are the winners of the 2009 Killam Prizes, awards that salute outstanding career achievements in health sciences, engineering, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Each prize is worth $100,000 to the recipient.

The Canada Council for the Arts, which administers the Killam program, announced the scholars are Dr Philippe Gros, Dr Wagdi G Habashi, and Dr François Ricard of McGill University; Dr John P Smol of Queen’s University; and Professor Ernest J Weinrib of University of Toronto.

Dr Gros won in the health sciences category. A world expert in mouse genetics, he has invented and implemented strategies for genomic analysis, seeking to identify the key genes affecting human health by tracking responses to pathogens or therapeutic interventions. He currently teaches in McGill’s department of biochemistry and at the Centre for the Study of Host Resistance and the McGill Cancer Centre. He is also scientific director of the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network and scientific co-founder of two spin-off biotechnology companies. He earned his PhD in experimental medicine at McGill University in 1983.

Dr Habashi won in the engineering category. He has devoted his career to tackling major computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation problems. His work has allowed him to develop innovative simulation techniques for application in industrial settings. In addition to his role as professor of mechanical engineering at McGill and his post as NSERC – Bombardier – Bell Helicopter – CAE Industrial Research Chair for Multidisciplinary CFD, he established and directs the McGill CFD Laboratory. He received his PhD in aerospace engineering at Cornell University in 1975.

Dr Ricard won in the humanities category. A literary critic and essayist, he has taught in McGill’s department of French language and literature since 1971.

Dr Smol won in the natural sciences category. He is an elite environmental scientist and an international authority on Arctic freshwater conditions and environmental change. He has worked to transform a largely descriptive study of natural and human impacts on lakes into a recognized quantitative science with powerful analytical properties. He is professor in the department of biology and the School of Environmental Studies, at Queen’s University, where he also holds the Canada Research Chair in Environmental Change, and is founding director of the Paleoecological Environmental Assessment and Research Lab (PEARL), also housed at Queen’s University. He received his PhD from Queen’s University in 1982.

Professor Weinrib won in the social sciences category. Canada’s pre-eminent legal theorist and an internationally leading scholar of private law, he has taught at the University of Toronto since 1968.