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Queen’s University alumna named Gairdner laureate

Connie Eaves (Artsci'64, MA'66) earns the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for her work in cancer research.

Queen’s University alumna Connie Eaves (Artsci'64, MA'66) has been honoured with the prestigious Canada Gairdner Wightman Award for her pioneering work and leadership in the study of hematopoietic, mammary and cancer stem cells and her dedicated advocacy for early-career investigators and women in science.

[Connie Eaves]
Connie Eaves (Artsci'64, MA'66) is the 2019 recipient of the Canada Gairdner Awards. (Supplied Photo) 

The Canada Gairdner Awards are widely considered to be one of the world’s top medical awards. They celebrate breakthroughs in medical research and are awarded annually to scientists around the globe.

“On the 60th anniversary of the Canada Gairdner Awards, the Gairdner Foundation continues to uphold the tradition of honouring the best and brightest researchers from around the world,” says Lorne Tyrrell, Chair, Board of Directors, Gairdner Foundation. “Whether it is the field of global mental health, stem cell biology or fundamental cell biology and DNA replication, the work of each of this year’s laureates is both critical and extraordinary.”

Dr. Eaves received a bachelor’s degree in biology and chemistry and a master’s degree in biology from Queen’s in 1964 and 1966.

She then pursued doctoral training at the Paterson Laboratories of the Christie Hospital and Holt Radium Institute and obtained a PhD from the University of Manchester in England in 1969.

Dr. Eaves’ research has focused on leukemia and breast cancer and the normal tissues in which these diseases originate. Her scientific findings have been paradigm-shifting, driving the field of stem cell research forward.

Throughout her career, she has demonstrated national and international leadership. Dr. Eaves co-founded the Terry Fox Laboratory in the British Columbia Cancer Agency, was a leader in the Canadian Stem Cell Network and held multiple senior roles in the National Cancer Institute of Canada, where she spearheaded the establishment of the Canadian Breast Cancer Research Alliance to create the first national source of breast cancer research funding in Canada.

Dr. Eaves is also a passionate advocate for the advancement of women in science, a commitment that led to her recognition as a Status of Women Canada Pioneer.

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