Queen's Gazette | Queen's University

Search form

Honour will ensure Jeanette Holden is remembered

It’s been nearly a year since Jeanette Holden lost her battle with leukemia but her memory lives on. Dr. Holden is being honoured posthumously this week with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for her work as one of the country’s leading autism researchers and an advocate for people with disabilities.

“She didn’t just contribute to the field of autism through her work in genetics. In the latter years she started to advocate for the rights of people with disabilities,” says close colleague Helene Ouellette-Kuntz. “She was very much a mentor to me in how to think creatively, how to propose critical research and how to write grant applications. She was also a friend.”

Dr. Holden worked in the departments of Biology and Pediatrics at Queen’s from 1979-1986. Starting in 1986, she was a professor of psychiatry and physiology at Queen’s and director of the Autism Research Laboratory at Ongwanada. Her main research focused on the genetics of autism spectrum disorders.

“She had a passion for what she did and you can tell that by reading the comments on her memorial page,” says Dr. Ouellette-Kuntz. “She wanted to inspire and one of her best qualities was the attention she gave to students at all levels. She cared deeply.”

The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal recognizes significant contributions and achievements by Canadians.

Dr. Ouellette-Kuntz will accept the medal at a gala hosted by the Honourable David C. Onley Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and present it to Dr. Holden’s mother in Kingston.