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AWARDS + HONOURS  ::  Award Winners

Award Winners

2016 CSM Murray Award for Career Achievement

William W. Mohn

William W. Mohn, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

Bill Mohn is a Professor in the Department of Microbiology & Immunology in the Life Sciences Institute at the University of British Columbia. Bill has a B.A. from Colgate University (84) and a Ph.D. from Michigan State (90). He was a Research Associate at the National Research Council of Canada, Ottawa (90-92). He was a visiting scientist at both Agriculture Canada, Ottawa (92-93), and the National Centre for Biotechnology, Spain (02-03). He was an Adjunct Professor at Royal Military College (98-06).

Bill has conducted ground-breaking research on dehalorespiration, bacterial catabolism of a variety of aromatic compounds and steroids, soil ecology and the human microbiome. He has over 120 peer-reviewed publications. Pseudomonas mohnii was named in recognition of pioneering contributions. Bill’s research has applications in forest management, conversion of biomass to commodity chemicals and fuels as well as the prevention and treatment of disease. Bill was a Section Editor for the Canadian Journal of Microbiology served on the Editorial Boards of both Applied & Environmental Microbiology and Microbial Ecology and served as an ad hoc reviewer for over 40 other journals.

He has served on grant review panels for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada and the US Department of Energy and has been an ad hoc reviewer for over 20 other granting agencies. He has served on scientific advisory boards for major research initiatives in Canada and the USA. Bill co-chaired organization of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Annual Meeting in 2012. He was elected to the Board of Directors of the International Society for Microbial Ecology (09-14). In 2015, Bill co-founded Microbiome Insights Inc. Bill has developed and taught undergraduate courses in microbial metabolism, ecology and physiology.

He has trained 18 postdoctoral fellows, 33 graduate students and 48 undergraduate researchers, and he hosted visiting scientists from Europe, Korea, Argentina and the USA.


This award is made possible by the financial support of Canadian Science Publishing (publisher of the NRC Research Press journals). Their commitment and service to microbiological research and teaching in Canada is greatly appreciated.

2016 Fisher Scientific Award

Dr. Cezar Khursigara

Dr. Cezar Khursigara, University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

I first became fascinated with the world of bacteria during a summer work-study program at Ryerson University. Under the guidance of Dr. Debora Foster, I studied how pathogenic bacteria such as enteropathogenic and enterohemorrhagic E. coli cause disease in humans. I then obtained my Ph.D. at McGill University, where I elucidated the mechanisms of iron-uptake by Gram-negative bacteria under the supervision of Dr. James Coulton.

Through this work I realized how visualizing molecular interactions using microscopy and high-resolution structural techniques could complement and greatly extend conclusions drawn from biochemical and molecular methods. This insight prompted me to become a Visiting Fellow in the lab of Dr. Sriram Subramaniam at the National Institutes of Health. Here we developed cutting-edge cryo-electron microscopy techniques, and combined these with molecular and biochemical methods, to investigate the architecture of receptor complexes involved in bacterial chemotaxis.

In 2009 I set up my laboratory at the University of Guelph, where we continue to apply this multidisciplinary approach to study the structure and function of protein complexes involved in complex biological processes. We are particularly interested in the macromolecular assemblies that govern bacterial cell division, cell-to-cell interactions, biofilm formation, motility and chemotaxis. Moreover, with the emergence of a growing number of multidrug resistant bacteria there is a pressing need to identify new drug targets. Accordingly, these essential bacterial processes provide a number of exciting candidates.

This lecture is made possible with the financial support of Fisher Scientific. Their commitment and service to microbiological research and teaching in Canada is greatly appreciated.

2016 Armand-Frappier Gold Metal Award Lecture

Ryan Gaudet

Ryan Gaudet, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

Ryan's research focuses on understanding how the mammalian innate immune system identifies and responds to microbial threats. Central to this response is the discrimination of self from non-self. Pattern recognition receptors expressed by mammalian cells detect conserved molecular signatures unique to microbes yet absent from the host. These molecules, termed pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), are invariant structures broadly represented among microbial taxa and have essential roles in microbial physiology. Consequently, only an extremely select group of molecules have been found to function as PAMPs.

Ryan’s PhD research led to the discovery of a novel PAMP that signals the host to the presence of Gram-negative bacteria. He then uncovered an immunosurveillance pathway operating in the cytosol of mammalian cells that specifically detect this PAMP. His research sheds new light on how the innate immune system interprets bacterial threats, and offers potential in immune therapy and as a vaccine adjuvant.

A native of Prince Edward Island, Ryan will soon complete his PhD training in Dr. Scott Gray-Owen's lab at the University of Toronto. He will then be joining the lab of Dr. John MacMicking at Yale University as a postdoctoral fellow, where he will continue his research on further defining the host-pathogen interface.

This lecture is made possible with the financial support of Canadian Society of Microbiologists. Their commitment and service to microbiological research and teaching in Canada is greatly appreciated.
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