Winners of the Alumni Awards of Distinction 2021
Posted on Tuesday, October 5, 2021
On behalf of Dr. Bernard Jasmin, dean of the Faculty of Medicine, here are the 2021 recipients of the Alumni Awards of Distinction. This year’s awards were presented at the Awards and Recognition Gala 2021 on the evening of Saturday, Oct. 2. View the awards ceremony video.
Aligned with our planetary health initiative, a tree has been planted in the name of each award winner.
Exceptional Leadership Awards: Dr. Ali Azizi and Dr. Lyne Pitre
The Exceptional Leadership Award is presented to an alum who has demonstrated professional excellence, leadership and dedication to the community. This award honours excellence in advancing the delivery of health care working across academic hospitals and research pillars. The recipient is a true champion in the realm of medicine who demonstrates excellence as a community leader.
Dr. Ali Azizi (PhD 2005): Dr. Ali Azizi is an immunologist who specialize in the field of vaccinology, having obtained his PhD from the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at University of Ottawa in 2005. He has over 20 years of experience in large pharma, biotech, and academia and collaborated with several partners and international organizations on various vaccine trials performed in North America and overseas. In his role at Sanofi Pasture, Ali has led, managed, and contributed to several global vaccine projects from pre-clinical to end of phase III trial (e.g. COVID-19, HIV-1, HSV-II, MenB, Influenza, etc.) for over a decade. In August, he joined Health Canada, where he is now reviewing vaccine submissions and working closely with international organizations including the World Health Organization. Ali is also founder of consulting firm “Vaccinizi” which provides scientific expertise and advice to biotech and non-profit organizations. He’s published over 30 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals and has acted as a reviewer for journals, conferences, and grant organizations.
“Remember: Excitement is contagious. If you are excited about what you are working on your team will be excited, too.” -- Dr. Ali Azizi
Dr. Lyne Pitre (MD 1986): Dr. Lyne Pitre has shaped a remarkable career as a physician and educator, championing French in medicine. An active member of les Affaires Francophones and a physician at Hôpital Montfort, she has made significant contributions to the Ontario health system and was one of the first preceptors of the University of Ottawa’s Family Medicine residency program at Hôpital Montfort, the only Francophone program of its kind in Ontario. Under her leadership, many Francophone medical residents in Ontario have better access to training in their preferred language, which means that more patients can receive care in French. A devoted family physician, Lyne continues to practice medicine in parallel with her teaching activities. She was the recipient of the 2018 Regional Family Physician of the Year and the 2018 CFPC Scholarly Work in Family Medicine Education Grant. In 2020, The uOttawa Faculty of Medicine announced that she won the Prix de l’ambassadeur du français en médecine Jacques Boulay. Also in 2020, Lyne was appointed Officer of the Order of Ontario, the province’s highest honour.
“I am so grateful to be part of a great institution that shares the mission that I have of providing Francophone medical education at its best.” – Dr. Lyne Pitre
Lifetime Achievement Awards: Dr. Khosrow Adeli and Dr. Noni E. MacDonald
The Lifetime Achievement Award honours a lifetime of significant contributions to the community and achievement in health care and medicine. Recipients are leaders in their respective field and have demonstrated professional excellence and selfless dedication over their years of work.
Dr. Khosrow Adeli (PhD 1986): Dr. Khosrow Adeli is currently the head of Clinical Biochemistry in the Department of Paediatric Laboratory Medicine; senior scientist in the Molecular Medicine Program of the Research Institute, at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada; and a full professor and vice chair of quality in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. He has been actively involved in both molecular and clinical laboratory research since 1988 and has published over 500 articles and abstracts to date. Khosrow is the principal investigator of the Canadian Laboratory Initiative on Paediatric Reference Interval Database (CALIPER) project aimed at the establishment of a laboratory reference interval database for biomarkers of paediatric disease. The CALIPER database is now used in hospitals across Canada and around the world to improve diagnosis and monitoring of children with medical concerns.
“[This award} means a lot to me as University of Ottawa was so instrumental to my education and training.” – Dr. Khosrow Adeli
Dr. Noni MacDonald (MD 1975): Dr. Noni MacDonald is a professor of Paediatrics (Infectious Diseases) at Dalhousie University and the IWK Health Centre in Halifax, Canada. Her two current major areas of interest involve global health: vaccines and microresearch. She has been a member of SAGE (the Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on immunization for the World Health Organization) since 2017. Her interest in MicroResearch (www.microresearch-international.ca) is focused on building capacity in community focused research in developing countries. She has published over 450 papers and has long been recognized in Canada and internationally as an advocate for children and youth health and as a leader in paediatric infectious disease and global health. She is an an elected Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences and of the Royal Society of Canada. She is an Officer of the Order of Canada and a recipient of the Order of Nova Scotia.
“The University of Ottawa is really my home…. Ottawa nurtured me to become who I have become over the years. They gave me freedom to do the things I needed to do in the research projects I was working on.” – Dr. Noni MacDonald
Rising Star Achievement Awards: Dr. Michael E. Fraser and Dr. Jennifer A. Watt
The Rising Star Achievement Award recognizes an outstanding alum who has demonstrated professional excellence and exceptional leadership while making significant contributions to health care and medicine. This award honours young alumni with 10 to 20 years of professional experience in their medical specialty.
Dr. Michael E. Fraser (PhD 2006): Dr. Michael Fraser completed his PhD. degree in Dr. Benjamin Tsang’s laboratory (Cellular and Molecular Medicine), followed by post-doctoral training in radiation medicine, radiobiology, and prostate cancer genomics at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto. He previously served as scientific director of the Canadian Prostate Cancer Genome Network (CPC-GENE) program, where he co-led seminal studies into the genomic, transcriptomic, and epigenomic landscapes of localized prostate cancer. Michael has authored 55 research papers in top tier international journals, and holds multiple patents related to biomarkers for improving treatment of localized prostate cancer. In 2021, Michael was appointed the inaugural director, implementation – Cancer at Movember Canada. In this role, he works with national and international partners to develop and implement research and clinical trials funding programs in prostate and testicular cancer.
“I had a fantastic experience at the University of Ottawa. …It’s an incredible institution, an incredible group of researchers and students and fellows.” – Dr. Michael E. Fraser
Dr. Jennifer A. Watt (MD 2011): Dr. Jennifer Watt is a geriatrician and clinician-scientist at St. Michael’s Hospital, and an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She has nine first author publications in high impact medical journals and has received a number of awards for her research including the 2021 Outstanding Junior Research Manuscript Award from the American Geriatrics Society. Jennifer uses knowledge synthesis methods and health administrative data to better understand the comparative efficacy and safety of pharmacologic and nonpharmacologic interventions in older adults, specifically those with geriatric syndromes such as frailty and cognitive impairment. Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, she is also supporting evidence-informed and equitable access to virtual care for older adults.
“To receive such an award from the University of Ottawa, my alma mater, is a lovely surprise and I’m deeply honored.” – Dr. Jennifer A. Watt
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