Each year since 1957, The Gairdner Foundation, established by James A. Gairdner, has been celebrating the world’s best biomedical and global health researchers. Here are 8 interesting facts about a few recent winners of The Gairdner Awards.

1. Dr. Akira Endo has revolutionized the prevention of coronary heart disease

Dr. Akira Endo from Tokyo, Japan, has received a Gairdner Award in 2017 for the discovery and development of statins, a class of drugs with incredible cholesterol-lowering properties. Statins have been used to revolutionize the prevention and treatment of coronary heart disease.

2. Dr. David Julius has studied how we feel temperature and pain

The Gairdner Foundation has awarded a Gairdner Award to Dr. David Julius, of San Francisco, California, for his work on somatosensation. By determining the molecular basis of how we sense heat, cold, and pain, Dr. Julius is helping us understand chronic pain syndromes.

3. Dr. Rino Rappuoli is a true pioneer in the world of vaccines

In 2017, Dr. Rino Rappuoli of Siena, Italy, received a Gairdner Award for his work on reverse vaccinology. Dr. Rappuoli is a true pioneer in the world of vaccines, and his work on developing a vaccine against meningococcus B has already saved many lives.

4. Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi has found the genetic roots of Rett syndrome

Dr. Huda Y. Zoghbi also received an award from The Gairdner Foundation in 2017, for her discovery of the genetic roots of Rett syndrome. Her work and her discovery provided a genetic test that can be used for an early diagnostic of this syndrome that mostly affects young girls.

5. Dr. Antoine M. Hakim has improved stroke prevention and treatment


Dr. Antoine M. Hakim of Ottawa is the winner of the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2017. His research and his work on strokes and their consequences have shown that strokes were preventable, treatable and repairable. The Canada Gairdner Wightman Award is always awarded to a Canadian.

6. Dr. Davor Solter and Dr. Azim Surani have researched genomic imprinting

Dr. Davor Solter and Dr. Azim Surani are the winners of a Gairdner Award for 2018. Genomic imprinting affects the development of mammals before their birth, and Dr. Solter and Dr. Surani have demonstrated that faulty imprints were responsible for different diseases and disorders.

7. Dr. Peter Hegemann has helped revolutionize neuroscience

Dr. Peter Hegemann, of Berlin Germany, is another winner of 2018. His work, in collaboration with the work of award winners Dr. Karl Deisseroth and Dr. Edward S. Boyden, has led to the discovery of optogenetics, a technology that has revolutionized the field of neuroscience by helping us understand how the human brain is wired.

8. Dr. Frances A. Shepherd has improved the survival outcomes of lung cancer patients

Dr. Frances A. Shepherd, of Toronto, was awarded the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award in 2018 for her research in the field of clinical trials for lung cancer. Her studies are improving survival for patients affected by this disease.