Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

March 10, 2003

Microbiologist wins top research award

A University of Guelph microbiology professor has received the 2003 Roche Diagnostics/CSM Award, the most prestigious award given by the Canadian Society for Microbiologists.

Chris Whitfield is the third member of Guelph’s Department of Microbiology to receive the honour, considered one of Canada’s premier microbiology science prizes. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the award, which is sponsored by Roche Diagnostics and was established to provide national recognition to outstanding Canadian microbiologists. Whitfield will give a lecture and be presented with the award at the annual CSM meeting in Quebec in May.

Whitfield, whose research focuses on the processes involved in the assembly of the cell surfaces of a variety of pathogenic bacteria, was acknowledged for his achievements in research and his contributions to the Canadian microbiological community. One of his goals is to identify alternatives to antibiotics in the fight against bacterial pathogens.

Whitfield said he was “both surprised and honoured by the award. But I am the first to acknowledge that the award recognizes the efforts of more than one person. I have been fortunate to have had a group of outstanding graduate and undergraduate students, post-doctoral fellows and research assistants contribute to my research program during my career at Guelph. We also benefit from some excellent national and international collaborations.” He added that an important element for any successful research program is the quality of the local environment. “Guelph has an exceptionally strong and diverse presence in the biological sciences.”

The Roche/CSM award is the latest in a long list of honours that Whitfield has received, including being named one of Guelph’s first Canada Research Chairs in 2001. In 2000, he was chosen to receive one of 15 Senior Scientist Awards given to Canadian researchers by the Medical Research Council (MRC). It was the first time a Guelph faculty member had received an MRC Senior Scientist Award and was also the first such award given to a researcher at a Canadian university without a medical school.

Prof. Chris Whitfield
Department of Microbiology
(519) 824-4120, Ext. 53478

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 53338, or Rachelle Cooper, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982.

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