Mount Sinai Hospital researcher Dr. Tony Pawson first Canadian scientist to win prestigious $470,000 Kyoto Prize

    One of two Canadians to win "Japan's Nobel"

    TORONTO, June 20 /CNW/ - Toronto's Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of
Mount Sinai Hospital is proud to congratulate Dr. Anthony (Tony) Pawson,
Distinguished Investigator and world-renowned cell biologist, for being the
first Canadian scientist to be named a Kyoto Prize Laureate by The Inamori
Foundation of Kyoto, Japan.
    "It is an extraordinary honour to receive this year's Kyoto Prize for our
work on communication between human cells," said Dr. Pawson, a world leader in
signal transduction - the way in which cells control one another's behaviour
through chemical signals. "It is a real endorsement of the importance of
fundamental scientific discovery in the fight against diseases such as cancer,
and it is particularly exciting to see Canadian biomedical research being
recognized by such a prestigious award."
    The Kyoto Prize is an international award that honours those who have
contributed significantly to the scientific, cultural and spiritual betterment
of humankind. It is awarded annually to recipients working in advanced
technology, basic sciences, and arts and philosophy. Life sciences is honoured
once every four years. Dr. Pawson will be presented with a diploma, a 20-karat
gold Kyoto Prize medal and 50 million yen (appx. $470,000 CDN) on November 10,
2008 in Kyoto, Japan. Dr. Pawson will be joined by fellow Canadian
Dr. Charles Margrave Taylor, Kyoto Prize laureate in arts and philosophy; and
American Dr. Richard Karp, Kyoto Prize laureate in advanced technology.
    Dr. Pawson's discoveries contribute to every aspect of medical research
and have relevance for the understanding and treatment of a host of diseases
including cancer, diabetes, and disorders of the immune system. Dr. Pawson's
insights on cancer cell signaling (namely, how to "switch off" growing cancer
cells) have underpinned effective new approaches to cancer treatment.
    "We are incredibly proud to work alongside Tony. He has revolutionized
the understanding of the way human cells work in health and in disease," said
Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of Research for the Lunenfeld. "This prize is
considered the 'Nobel' of Japan."
    In 2006, Dr. Pawson was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame,
the same year that he was named to the Order of the Companions of Honour by
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, one of only nine Canadians to have received
such an honour. He has received international recognition for his research
achievements and his list of prestigious awards and honours includes a
Premier's Summit Award for Medical Research, the Gairdner Foundation
International Award, the Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and
Biophysics (Netherlands), the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (Columbia University)
and the Wolf Prize in Medicine (Israel). He has been elected to the Order of
Ontario, is a fellow of the Royal Society of London, and of the Royal Society
of Canada. He is the author of more than 340 scholarly publications.
    From 1981 to 1985, Dr. Pawson was Assistant Professor at the University
of British Columbia. In 1985 he joined the newly established Samuel Lunenfeld
Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, where he became the
Director of Research from 2002 to 2005. In 2006, the Lunenfeld named him a
Distinguished Scientist.
    Candidates for the Kyoto Prize are nominated by international experts
from Japan and other countries. Dr. Pawson joins previous Kyoto Prize
Laureates, renowned primatologist Jane Goodall, American pop artist
Roy Lichtenstein, author and linguist Noam Chomsky, computer scientist
John McCarthy, and biologists Yasutomi Nishizuka and Sydney Brenner, amongst

    About the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital

    The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital, a
University of Toronto affiliated research centre established in 1985, is one
of the world's leading centres in biomedical research. 32 principal
investigators lead research in diabetes, cancer biology, epidemiology, stem
cell research, women's and infants' health, neurobiology and systems biology.
For more information on the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, please visit

For further information:

For further information: Media Contacts: Nikki Luscombe, Communications
Specialist, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute Of Mount Sinai Hospital, Tel:
(416) 586-4800 x 2046, Email:; Melissa McDermott, Media &
Communications Specialist, Mount Sinai Hospital, Tel: (416) 586-4800 x 7746,

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