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Dr. Julio Montaner tours the Onsite and Insite facilities in Vancouver on July 17, 2015.Rafal Gerszak/The Globe and Mail

Leading HIV/AIDS researcher Julio Montaner is among a group of scientists, writers, doctors and researchers receiving a prestigious prize for brilliant work in fields including health sciences, engineering and humanities.

The Argentine-Canadian is among five scholars awarded this year's Killam Prize, which honours Canadian researchers and scientists whose lifetime of work has impacted Canadians and citizens around the world.

Each receives $100,000 and will be honoured at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on May 30.

The groundbreaking Vancouver doctor, who heads the British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, pioneered the highly active antiretroviral therapy and championed the "Treatment as Prevention" strategy.

Montaner is currently working with the World Health Organization on prevention strategies for viral hepatitis.

Other winners include University of Victoria scholar and lawyer John Borrows for his work to incorporate indigenous legal concepts into the practice of Canadian law, and University of Toronto philosopher Tom Hurka for his work on moral and political philosophy.

Then there's evolutionary and molecular biologist W. Ford Doolittle of Dalhousie University, recognized for integrating the philosophy of biology and genomic research on notions of the "tree of life" and Gaia Theory; and University of Toronto researcher Molly Shoichet for her work on tissue and polymer engineering, focusing on targeted drug delivery, tissue regeneration and stem cell research.

Winners are chosen by a committee of their peers. Previous winners include Victoria Kaspi, the late Mark Wainberg, and Nobel Prize winner Arthur McDonald.

The Killam program also announced recipients of its research fellowships, which dole out $840,000 over two years to six scholars for independent research projects.

This year's group includes: Roberto Abraham of the University of Toronto for a project called "Probing the Low Surface Universe with Dragonfly"; Deborah J. Cook of McMaster University for "Modifying the Microbiome in Critical Illness: The Potential of Probiotics"; Eric Helleiner of University of Waterloo for "Globalizing the Classical Foundations of International Political Economy"; Dominic McIver Lopes of University of British Columbia for "Being for Beauty: Aesthetic Agency and Value"; Louis Taillefer of Universite de Sherbrooke for "High-temperature Superconductivity"; and Christine Wilson of McMaster University for "Dense Gas and Star Formation in Galaxies: An ALMA Archival Project."

Using ground and space-borne telescopes, scientists have been able to determine that a solar system about 40 light-years away from Earth is home to a series of seven planets. While it's not possible to know what conditions are like on these alien worlds, liquid water could be present under the right conditions.

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