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McGill professor wins international award for study of bone mineralization


Toronto, ON July 17, 2003 – Dr Marc McKee, a member of the Canadian Arthritis Network, is the winner of the 2003 Award for Basic Research in Biological Mineralization, presented by the International Association for Dental Research (IADR). The announcement was made today by Chris Nelson, president of the network.

Dr McKee is an associate professor, William Dawson scholar and associate dean of graduate studies and research in the Faculty of Dentistry at McGill University, with a joint appointment also in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology in the Faculty of Medicine. He received the award primarily for the innovative use of electron microscopy to study the formation of mineral crystals in bones and teeth, and in diseases having debilitating, pathologic mineralization.

Dr McKee’s work contributes to understanding proteins that regulate the crystal growth that makes bones, cartilage and teeth hard, as well as the role of proteins in abnormally mineralizing tissue as seen in diseases such as arthritis, atherosclerosis and kidney stones. The information generated from Dr McKee’s research could contribute to new therapies for osteoporosis and the bone loss associated with periodontal disease, and to treating undesirable pathologic calcification.

Dr Jane Aubin, of the University of Toronto, the network’s scientific co-director describes Dr McKee as “an outstanding scientist who has made a significant contribution to our knowledge of how bone and other mineralized tissues mature and mineralize. It moves us closer to finding a treatment for abnormalities in cartilage and bone that are characteristics of arthritis.”