The nightmarish losses of the 2020 pandemic have galvanized Canada’s scientific community in a way Dr. Helen Burt says she would never have thought possible in an academic world frequently short on money and collaboration.
Now, the University of British Columbia professor, who was named to the Order of Canada on Wednesday, said she has seen the future of the ability of Canada’s scientific community to come together to innovate.
“I’m really excited,” she said.
The pandemic “has challenged scientists to truly collaborate and share our ideas and pull together as a team,” she added. A year ago, she said, it was unfathomable to think a new coronavirus could be sequenced, and then a new vaccine created, tested and approved in less than a year.
“I thought there was no way. I believed that was impossible.”
Dr. Burt, whose research has focused on nanotechnology in drug delivery, is among 13 new officers to the Order of Canada announced Wednesday. In total, 61 Canadians have been named to the three levels of Canada’s highest civilian honour. The latest list – the appointments are made twice a year – has a heavy representation of people in the scientific and health delivery fields.
They include Elizabeth Edwards, of Toronto, for contributions to bioremediation, a branch of biotechnology; health care philanthropists Peter Gilgan, of Toronto, and Myer Bick, of Côte Saint-Luc, Que.; Lori Jeanne West, of Edmonton, for her work in the field of organ transplantation; and science journalist Yanick Villedieu, of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que.
Others awarded include John W. Brink, of Edmonton, for his work to preserve Blackfoot culture; concert promoter Barbara Butler, of Mahone Bay, N.S.; and John Grigsby Geiger, of Toronto, a former member of The Globe’s editorial board and author of several books, including Frozen In Time: The Fate of the Franklin Expedition.
Vancouver’s Prof. John Challis was named an Officer of the Order of Canada for his research with colleagues from around the world focusing on pregnancy, preterm birth and the lingering impacts of stress on the fetus.
He said being a scientist right now, especially as he works to educate the next generation of researchers, has been impactful. He acknowledged that at the same time as science has taken on a pivotal role in ushering Canadians through the pandemic, so has it become the focus of attack by groups who doubt science.
That backlash will ensure the general populace will want to look for broader scientific evidence, and that’s not a bad thing, he said.
“The next generation of [scientists] are going to be really, really important.”
Companion of the Order of Canada
Robert Daniel Steadward of Edmonton
(This is a promotion within the Order)
Officers of the Order of Canada
John Borrows of Victoria
Helen M. Burt of Vancouver
John Challis of West Vancouver
Elizabeth A. Edwards of Toronto
Peter E. Gilgan of Toronto
(This is a promotion within the Order)
J. Edward Johnson of Montreal
Daniel Heath Justice of Halfmoon Bay, B.C.
Vivian McAlister of London, Ont.
Antony David John Penikett of Vancouver
The Honourable Lynn Smith of Vancouver
Daniel John Taylor of Toronto
Yanick Villedieu of Saint-Antoine-de-Tilly, Que.
Lori Jeanne West of Edmonton
Members of the Order of Canada
Mary S. Aitken of Toronto
Yaprak Baltacıoğlu of Ottawa
Arthur Frank (Art) Bergmann of Rocky View County, Alta.
Guy Berthiaume of Laval, Que.
Myer Bick of Côte Saint-Luc, Que.
Carolle Brabant of Montreal
Michael S. W. Bradstreet of Vittoria, Ont.
John W. Brink of Edmonton
Barbara Elizabeth Butler of Mahone Bay, N.S.
James Casey of Charlottetown
Brian Cherney of Montreal
Gina Parvaneh Cody of North York, Ont.
David Cooper of Vancouver
Michel Cusson of Montreal
Rita Davies of Toronto
Serge Demers of Lac-des-Aigles, Que.
Stanley Louis Dragland, of St. John’s
L. David Dubé of Saskatoon
Jacalyn Duffin of Kingston, Ont.
John Grigsby Geiger of Toronto
Susan R. George Bahl of Toronto
Vivek Goel of Toronto
Gary Gullickson of Saskatoon
John Hartman of Lafontaine, Ont.
Father James Lassiter Holland of Edmonton
Sally Horsfall Eaton of Toronto
Raymond Ivany of Wolfville, N.S.
Michael A. S. Jewett of Toronto
Elder Carolyn King of Mississaugas of the New Credit First Nation, Ont.
Robert Krell of Vancouver
Susan Keiko Langdon of Toronto
Larry J. Macdonald of Okotoks, Alta.
The Honourable Louise Mailhot of Montreal
Marilyn McHarg of Dundas, Ont.
Cheryl Lisa Meeches of Long Plain First Nation, Man.
Andrew T. Molson of Montreal
Geoffrey Molson of Montreal
Morris Moscovitch of Toronto
Ginette Noiseux of Montreal
Leonard Pennachetti of Beamsville, Ont.
Lloyd R. Posno of Mississauga, Ont.
Heather Ross of Toronto
Terry Salman of West Vancouver
Brian Segal of Toronto
Douglas R. Stollery of Edmonton
Frances Westley of New Hamburg, Ont.
Frances Elizabeth Wright of Calgary
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