We are delighted to announce that Dr. Judy Illes, professor of neurology in the department of medicine’s division of neurology, and Dr. Michael Kobor, professor in the department of medical genetics, have been awarded the 2020 Faculty of Medicine Distinguished Researcher Awards.
The awards will be presented at Building the Future: Faculty of Medicine Research Trainee Day & Lecture Series. This event is open to all faculty members, trainees, and staff.
Dr. Judy Illes, professor in the department of medicine’s division of neurology, has been recognized for outstanding applied research to improve health outcomes of populations. She is also the director of Neuroethics Canada and a faculty member at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute. She previously held a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Neuroethics for 14 years and was appointed a member of the Order of Canada in 2017.
A pioneer in the field of neuroethics, Dr. Illes leads a broad program of research focusing on the ethical, legal, social, and policy challenges at the intersection of neuroscience and biomedical ethics. She is currently co-lead of the Canadian Brain Research Strategy, one of the member platforms of the International Brain Initiative, and provides leadership on numerous advisory boards, including the Institute for Neuroscience Mental Health and Addiction of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and previously on the Standing Committee of Ethics. She is also a Director-at-Large of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.
Dr. Illes has a strong focus on justice and diversity in her work through research in Indigenous population health. This follows the successful completion in 2015 of a multidisciplinary initiative in response to the need for bioethics support in a remote First Nations community surrounding a genetic mutation causing Early Onset Familial Alzheimer’s Disease. Over the past year, she has further exemplified this commitment through her research pertaining to the brain health outcomes of vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19.
By broadening traditional Western research ethics, grappling with complex considerations such as culture in neuroscience research and dynamically engaging stakeholders, Dr. Illes delivers solutions to today’s challenging health care problems that are ethical, mutually beneficial, meaningful, and supportive.
Dr. Judy Illes will present a lecture on “Where Ethics Meets Biomedicine: The Case for Neuroscience” at the Building the Future: Faculty of Medicine Research Trainee Day & Lecture Series in November 2021.
Dr. Michael Kobor, a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in social epigenetics, has been recognized for his outstanding basic science research in the areas of health and life sciences.
Dr Kobor has made pioneering contributions to understanding the impact of social and environmental factors on health and aging. With over 200 research papers in outstanding peer-reviewed journals, works that are highly cited and are having a tremendous foundational impact in the field of social epigenetics. The Kobor Laboratory has also made fundamental improvements to technologies and tools used in the study of DNA methylation in humans and used these approaches to gain valuable and unique insight into the causes and consequences of variation in DNA methylation.
The international recognition of the Dr. Kobor’s social epigenetics research program has led to global invitations to present, and Dr. Kobor’s participation in multiple advisory panels and leadership roles. Dr. Kobor and his team of trainees and staff have attracted millions of dollars in external research funding, often through collaborations with international groups. Dr. Kobor’s expertise allowed him to communicate his concerns in the media regarding the potential long-term biological effects of COVID-19 stress on the future health and development of today’s children and youth.
As a tireless champion for translational research as the lead of the UBC Social Exposome Cluster, Dr. Kobor is building research capacity and linking researchers across disciplines and academic departments to understand how social and environmental factors become biologically embedded to influence health across the life course, with the goal of translating this research into policies and interventions to reduce health disparities.
Dr. Kobor will present a lecture entitled “Epigenetics and the Human Lifecourse” at the Building the Future: Faculty of Medicine Research Trainee Day & Lecture Series in November 2021.