Awards and Honours

The Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology has created five named awards to honour past leaders in our department, reward exceptional and innovative research, teaching and service, and to strengthen our pride and ownership in our department. The namesakes of these awards all had a passion for discovery, a commitment to fostering curiosity in our students and a drive for excellence. These awards have been designed to reward recent success and innovation by faculty and students.

General Information

  • Five awards:
    • Jean Himms-Hagen Research Award
    • Denis Williamson Teaching Award
    • Ken Dimock Exceptional Service Award
    • Syed Sattar Student Awards (one MSc and one PhD)
    • Michael W. McBurney Postdoctoral Fellow Award and Research Assistant Award
  • If no deserving award recipient is found in a given year, the award will not be given.
  • Nominations are due by February 17th, 2017 at 5 PM. Please email all application packages to Doris Peixoto: bmiadminofficer@uottawa.ca
  • Decisions will be made by early March.
  • All awards will be presented at a ceremony in conjunction with the Spring Departmental TGIF (March 31, 2017). Each winner will receive a $500.00 award.
  • Two committees to evaluate nominees. One for faculty awards, one for student/teaching awards. Two members of the department and a member of the finance committee will compose each committee. One student nominated by BMI-GSA to serve on the Teaching and Student award committee.
The Jean Himms-Hagen Research Award

Dr. Jean Himms-Hagen D.Phil FRSC, joined the Department of Biochemistry of the Faculty of Medicine as an Associate Professor in 1967 and became a Full Professor in 1971. Throughout her 32 year academic career at the University of Ottawa she contributed greatly to all aspects of academia. Dr. Himms-Hagen directed leading-edge and internationally recognized research into the metabolic and physiologic functions of brown adipose tissue. Her research program also contributed to the successful training of 17 PhD and 4 MSc students. She authored 116 articles in highly regarded peer-reviewed journals as well as 58 invited reviews and book chapters. During her academic career, she was awarded numerous research honours and distinctions including a Career Investigator Award from the Medical Research Council (MRC) of Canada, Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and Researcher of the Year (University of Ottawa). In 1995, she received the prestigious MRC President's Award recognizing 35 years of continuous grant support from MRC. The University of Ottawa appointed her as Professor Emeritus in 1999. Dr. Himms-Hagen also provided administrative leadership during terms as Acting Chair and Chair of the Department of Biochemistry. Her exemplary teaching contributions to the Biochemistry Undergraduate Program in the Faculty of Science, resulted in her being awarded the Dean's Award for Excellence (Faculty of Medicine) in 1995. Great respect for and a strong rapport with undergraduate and graduate students combined with her very successful research program are what many academics can only aspire to achieve, and thus Dr. Jean Himms-Hagen was and still is a role model for many faculty members.

The Jean Himms-Hagen Research award will be awarded to a core or crossappointed member. This award is not a career award, but instead awards recent innovative and transformative research. Potential awardees must be nominated by a member of the department, have a 2nd supporting letter and a third letter will be solicited from a colleague in the field. The nominee will also provide a current curriculum vitae and a one page description of research contributions in the past five years.

The Denis Williamson Teaching Award

Denis Williamson, PhD. Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology for over 30 years was awarded the Excellence in Teaching Award from the University of Ottawa in 1993. He is the only member of our department to receive this award that is the highest distinction in education at the University of Ottawa. Testimonials from students revealed how effective he was at transmitting his knowledge and his teaching evaluations were among the highest at the University. His approach to teaching biochemistry was innovative and characterized by the clarity of his presentations, the focus placed on concepts rather than details and the progressive learning of simple to very complex biochemical pathways. His Introductory Biochemistry course for students in the Faculty of Health Sciences was one of the first in the university that used electronic live feeds to off-campus sites, and its success was a reflection of his flexibility and innovation. His impact also extended outside the classroom as he contributed to the training of newly recruited members in the biochemistry program, directed an active and well-funded research program in steroid biochemistry, trained many graduate students and provided administrative leadership during terms as Acting Chair and Chair of the Department. Dr. Williamson’s commitment to education and his 30 years of innovative teaching serve as a model for all members of the Department.

The Denis Williamson Teaching award will be awarded to a core or crossappointed member. This award is not a career award, but instead awards recent innovations in graduate or undergraduate education. Potential awardees must be nominated by a member of the department and have a 2nd supporting letter. Nominee will provide curriculum vitae, a one-page description of teaching contributions in the past five years, a current teaching dossier and evaluations.

The Ken Dimock Exceptional Service Award

Dr. Ken Dimock, PhD started in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1983, was promoted to Associate Professor in 1989 and to Full Professor in 1999. He was the interim chair of the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology from 2000-2002 and the Assistant Dean of Research in the Faculty of Medicine from 2004-2009. He was also an Ontario Ministry of Health Career Scientist from 1983-1993.

Dr. Dimock’s research program focused on virus interactions with host cells. To support his research, Dr. Dimock held research funding from NSERC (continuous from 1984-2011), CIHR, MRC and Ontario Thoracic Society, generating 45 research publications.

Over the years, Dr. Dimock served on numerous committees such as University Commission on Graduate studies in Sciences, University Research Committee, University Animal Care Committee, University Radiation Safety Committee, Faculty of Medicine Faculty Teaching Personnel Committee, Faculty of Medicine Faculty Council, Faculty of Medicine Faculty Advisory Board. At the departmental level, Dr. Dimock participated in every possible committee; as a member and Chair/Director of Graduate Studies programs, the Chair of the BMI Space and Resources committee, member of Undergraduate and Graduate Curriculum Committees, a member and Chair of the Departmental Teaching Personnel Committee, a member of several search committees and the Chair of the Finance Committee. Most recently, Dr. Dimock was the Director of the Undergraduate Biochemistry Program, overseeing a program review that required tireless effort.

This award recognizes his incredible commitment and lasting contributions to the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, the Faculty of Medicine and the University of Ottawa

The Ken Dimock Service award will be awarded to a core or cross-appointed member. Potential awardees must be nominated by a member of the department and have a 2nd supporting letter from outside the department. The nominee will provide a current curriculum vitae and a one-page description of service contributions.

The Syed Sattar Student Awards

Dr. Syed Sattar, PhD, Professor Emeritus of Microbiology, Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology and Founding Director of the Centre of Research on Environmental Microbiology, received his PhD in 1967 from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa. He then joined the faculty of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology in 1970.

Dr. Sattar has had an extremely successful career as a research scientist. For over 40 years, Dr. Sattar’s lab has studied how the relationship between the environment and various pathogens influences human health and well-being. He has trained 19 Masters students, 7 PhD students and 14 postdoctoral fellows. He published 3 books, 5 monographs, 146 publications in peer-reviewed journals, 34 book chapters, commissioned reviews and reports. He has given over 300 invited presentations in 32 different countries and 192 presentations at scientific conferences. His career funding exceeds 22 million dollars.

Dr. Sattar has significantly impacted public health through his commitment to studying the concepts of infection control, whether it was through work in the lab, standards development or education via Webber Training’s Teleclass series (state of the art presentations for infection control professionals). In recognition of his contributions, Dr. Sattar has won numerous awards including a Commemorative Medal from Johnson and Johnson Medical, a Lifetime Achievement Award of Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation, an Award of Merit from the University of Ottawa, the Hygieia Gold Medal of the Rudolf Schulke Foundation and the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal from the Province of Ontario.

As one of the most successful graduates from our department, Dr. Sattar demonstrates to current and future students that hard work and a commitment to research is the foundation to positively impacting society.

The Syed Sattar Student award will be awarded to one PhD and one MSc student from either the Microbiology or Biochemistry graduate program. Potential awardees can self-nominate or be nominated by their advisor or TAC member. The nominee will provide a current curriculum vitae and a one-page description of why their research is important/original. The award committee will consider the nominees' contributions to published/submitted articles, as well as their contributions to the overall research program of their supervisor. The nomination process is open to all students including students who have submitted, but not yet defended their theses.

The Michael W. McBurney Postdoctoral Fellow and Research Assistant Awards

Dr. Michael W. McBurney was hired at the University of Ottawa in the Department of Biology in 1976, and then moved to the Faculty of Medicine and the Department of Biochemistry in 1981 and became a Full Professor in 1987. In 1988 he founded and became the director of research for Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, a position he still holds within the OHRI.

Dr. McBurney did pioneering work on teratocarcinoma cell differentiation which laid the foundation for current work on embryonic stem cells. More recently his laboratory has focused on the function of Sirtuins in longevity and disease susceptibility. He has been an author on 146 peer-reviewed publications and has secured continuous peer-reviewed funding from national agencies.

Dr. McBurney has also had a tremendous impact on the scientific community in Ottawa. He has mentored 29 graduate students and 27 post-doctoral fellows. Six former postdoctoral fellows are now accomplished University of Ottawa professors (Drs. Bell, Rudnicki, Skerjanc, Pratt, MacPherson, and Slack) and he recruited five others (Drs. Addison, Dimitroulakos, Vanderhyden, Gray and Lorimer) as researchers within the Centre for Cancer Therapeutics.

The Michael McBurney award will be awarded to one Postdoctoral Fellow and one Research Assistant working in the laboratory of a core or cross-appointed BMI member. The nominee will provide a current curriculum vitae, a letter of support from their supervisor, and a one-page description of why their research is important/original.

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