Gregor Reid and Michael Strong, health research leaders at The University of Western Ontario and Lawson Health Research Institute, have been inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS.
The ceremony took place earlier this month at the annual CAHS meeting in Ottawa where Reid and Strong were recognized for their accomplishments and achievements in academic health sciences in Canada.
Reid is best known for his longstanding research and advocacy for the use of probiotics, or beneficial bacteria which help humans to maintain healthy digestive and urinary systems.
A professor at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Reid is assistant director at Lawson and in 2001, his work led to establishment of the Canadian Research & Development Centre for Probiotics at Lawson.
“To be inducted into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences is not only a wonderful personal honour, but it’s also recognition that studies on beneficial bacteria are being regarded as important,” says Reid.
Reid is part of Western Heads East, a volunteer organization at Western. Probiotic yogurt production has been transferred to a community in Mwanza, Tanzania. There, local mamas make the probiotic yogurt for around 350 people each day, including over 125 living with HIV/AIDS. Studies by Reid’s students have shown that the yogurt improves nutrition, improves immunity, and reduces fatigue and diarrhea.
Strong is a scientist at Lawson and Robarts Research Institute (Robarts) at Western. He is chief of Neurology and co-chair of the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences at London Health Sciences Centre and Schulich and holds the Arthur J. Hudson Chair in ALS Research.
In 2005, Strong was awarded the Sheila Essay Award from the American Academy of Neurology for his research into the pathogenesis of ALS. He was awarded the Forbes Norris Award for ALS research and patient care in 2008, and is the only Canadian to hold both major international awards.
Strong’s research labs are centred at Robarts, where he has focused on understanding the basic cellular mechanisms of ALS. His work has led to an understanding of the process by which intracellular deposits of protein (composed primarily of neurofilament) are formed, and how these aggregates contribute to the disease process of ALS.
“By recognizing the importance of research into ALS, the academy has signaled a critical need to further our understanding of this devastating disorder from which about three Canadians die daily,” says Strong.