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2 McGill researchers garner prestigious NSERC Steacie Fellowships

This release is available in French.

Two McGill researchers have been named as 2009 recipients of E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowships. Dr. Andrew P. Hendry an associate professor with McGill's Department of Biology and the Redpath Museum, and Dr. Karim Nader, an associate professor and Willam Dawson Chair in the Department of Psychology, will both receive the prestigious fellowships from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC).

It is somehow appropriate that as we mark in 2009 the 150th anniversary of the publication of Charles Darwin's The Origin of the Species and the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, that an evolutionary expert like Andrew Hendry is recognized. Dr. Hendry heads McGill's Hendry Lab in Eco-Evolutionary Dynamics and is a leading investigator into the interface between ecological and evolutionary processes and their influence on biodiversity. Most recently, he co-authored a much-cited study about a rarely seen pattern of "disruptive natural selection" leading to the creation of new species among the famous finches of the Galapagos Islands, originally studied by Darwin.

Karim Nader's research group specializes in the esoteric area of memory and trauma. His research has focused on victims of violence, rape and abuse who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can force them to relive their ordeals over and over again, with debilitating consequences. Dr. Nader's experiments suggest that damaging memories can be stripped of their potency by a common blood pressure medication, propranolol. News headlines around the world about this research have often made reference to the fictional Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

"McGill is extremely proud of these two outstanding researchers," said Vice-Principal (Research and International Relations) Denis Thrien. "Their work has produced important results on crucial matters related to both the human experience and the natural world. We are grateful to NSERC for recognizing the value of this top-level research."

The NSERC Steacie Fellowships honour the memory of Dr. Edgar William Richard Steacie, an outstanding chemist and research leader who made significant contributions to the development of science in Canada during, and immediately following, World War II. Dr. Steacie believed young researchers are great national assets and should be given every opportunity to develop their own ideas. Through his philosophy, summarized below, he nurtured Canadian talent and drew many promising scientists to Canada.

Every year, NSERC awards up to six Steacie Fellowships that are held for a two-year period. Successful Fellows are relieved of teaching and administrative duties, so they can devote all their time and energy to research. The Fellowships are held at a Canadian university or affiliated research institution.

The Fellowship normally includes a contribution to the university in the amount of $90,000 per year toward the Fellow's salary. As part of the Fellowship agreement, the university is expected to fund a replacement for the Fellow's teaching and administrative responsibilities or to enhance the research environment of the Fellow's department.


Contact: Mark Shainblum
McGill University

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