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About SickKids

November 23, 2005

Dr. Janet Rossant, SickKids’ Chief of Research, receives 2005 Michael Smith Prize in Health Research

TORONTO - Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), has received the 2005 Michael Smith Prize in Health Research, Canada's most prestigious health research award. The award was presented at the fourth annual Canadian Health Research Awards held yesterday in Ottawa.

The Michael Smith Prize in Health Research is awarded annually by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) to an outstanding Canadian researcher who has demonstrated a high degree of innovation, creativity, leadership and dedication in health research. The winner is selected on the recommendation of an international peer review committee. The award was named in honour of Dr. Michael Smith, a Canadian who shared the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993.

“Dr. Rossant has made major contributions to the field of developmental biology and is a world leader in stem cell research. That she is the 2005 recipient of the Michael Smith Prize, the most prestigious health research award in the country, speaks to the quality of her research and her contributions to Canadian science,” said Dr. Alan Bernstein, President of CIHR.

Dr. Rossant has provided significant insights into how an embryo develops, how genes control development and how embryonic and other stem cells arise. Her research interests centre on understanding the genetic control of normal and abnormal development in the early mouse embryo, work that has shed light on how congenital anomalies in the heart, blood vessels and placenta arise. Her work on the genes that control blood vessel development has been of major importance in defining novel pathways for new drug interventions in cancer. Throughout her career, Dr. Rossant has been a pioneer and innovator of new techniques to manipulate the mouse genome, enabling the mouse to become the pre-eminent model for understanding the function of the human genome sequence.

As well as being the Chief of Research at SickKids and a senior scientist in Developmental Biology in the SickKids Research Institute, Dr. Rossant holds the Lombard Insurance Chair in Paediatric Research at The Hospital for Sick Children and is a University Professor in the Departments of Medical Genetics and Microbiology and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Toronto . She is also the Deputy Director of the Canadian Stem Cell Network and the Director of the Centre for Modelling Human Disease in Toronto , which is developing new mouse models of human disease. She is actively involved in the international developmental biology community, serving as Editor of Development for many years and as President of the Society for Developmental Biology in 1996-97. Dr. Rossant also served as Chair of CIHR's Working Group on stem cell research.

Dr. Rossant trained at the Universities of Cambridge and Oxford in the United Kingdom and came to Canada in 1977. She is a Fellow of both the Royal Societies of London and Canada and a Distinguished Investigator of CIHR. She is also a two-time Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Scholar.

The recipient of the 2004 Michael Smith Prize, Dr. Sergio Grinstein, is also a senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children.

The Hospital for Sick Children, affiliated with the University of Toronto, is Canada 's most research-intensive hospital and the largest centre dedicated to improving children's health in the country. Its mission is to provide the best in family-centred, compassionate care, to lead in scientific and clinical advancement, and to prepare the next generation of leaders in child health. For more information, please visit www.sickkids.ca.

For more information, please contact:
Laura Greer, Public Affairs
The Hospital for Sick Children
Phone: 416-813-5046
laura.greer@sickkids.ca