Constance Backhouse, one of Canada’s leading experts on gender and racial discrimination, was among five scholars named Tuesday as winners of 2008 Killam Prizes.The annual $100,000 awards are among the most distinguished in the country and are given for outstanding career achievements in engineering, natural sciences, humanities, social sciences and health sciences.
-Backhouse, University of Ottawa. She has written on sexual harassment in the workplace and other forms of gender and race discrimination. Her 1991 “Petticoats and Prejudice: Women and Law in 19th Century Canada,” (1991) won the Willard Hurst Prize in American Legal History. “Colour-Coded: A Legal History of Racism in Canada, 1900-1950” won the 2002 Joseph Brandt Award.
-Sherrill Grace, University of British Columbia. Grace is an acclaimed pioneer in Canadian literary studies and the author of “Canada and the Idea of North,” 150 years of representations of the Canadian North in art, music, fiction, poetry, and drama.
-Frank C. Hawthorne, University of Manitoba. His books and some 500 papers in scientific journals have resulted in acclamation as the world’s most highly cited geoscientist for the decade 1997-2007. He was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2006 and a Foreign Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences the same year.
-Peter St George-Hyslop, University of Toronto. His work helped pave the way for an understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying Alzheimer’s disease. He has also contributed to the understanding of Parkinson’s disease, motor neuron disease, inflammatory bowel disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. In 2007 he was made a Member of the Institute of Medicine of the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, one of only a handful of Canadians to be so honoured.
-Michael Sefton. His Toronto lab pioneered the use of biocompatible materials in artificial tissues. He created Rimon Therapeutics Ltd with a graduate student and has developed university-industry partnerships such as the Toronto Tissue Engineering Initiative and the proposed Canadian Regenerative Medicine Network.
The Killam Prizes were started in 1981 and financed through funds donated to the Canada Council by Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in memory of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam.
The Killam Fund was valued at more than $70 million as of March 31 and the Killam Trusts, which support scholarship and research at four Canadian universities, a research institute and the Canada Council, was valued at approximately $400 million.
The Canada Council will present the prizes at a dinner and ceremony June 16 in Vancouver.
-with a report from CP