2006 INDUCTEE Anthony Pawson, PhD Cells, Genetics & Genomics, Cancer

Born:

October 18, 1952

(Maidstone, England)

Died:

August 7, 2013

Education:

PhD, London University (1976)

Awards & Honours:

2002: Prix Galien Canada

2000: Officer of the Order of Canada

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Picture of Anthony Pawson

Transformed our understanding of cell communication

Anthony Pawson, PhD

A cutting-edge leader in the field of cell biology

Dr. Pawson's ground-breaking studies have focused on the signals that are transmitted between cells in the human body and how these forms a pattern of communication. By understanding cellular communication, scientists can track how the pattern of communication can “breakdown” in conditions such as heart disease and immune system deficiencies.

His contributions also extend to the field of cancer research. He discovered that a certain protein molecule plays a critical role in transmitting cancer-inducing signals in malignant cells.

Key Facts

Revealed the fundamental principle of cellular organization

Facilitated the imaging of dynamic cellular processes

Served as Editor of Process in Biophysics and Molecular Biology and the Journal of Cellular Physiology

Authored more than 450 scientific papers and is among the world’s most frequently cited scientists in biomedical research

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

Dr. Pawson’s legacy lays in his important conceptual advances in the understanding cell biology. His research revolutionized the understanding of signal transduction that gave scientists a solid grasp of the fundamentals of cell organization and communication. From these insights, countless studies can proceed for future innovation. Moreover, his contributions continue to have tangible impacts on the lives of patients whose treatments would not have been possible without Dr. Pawson’s work. These include Gleevec, Herceptin and Avastin, drugs all used in the treatment of cancer. Significantly, because these drugs are better targeted to address specific issues, they cause fewer negative side effects than conventional chemotherapy.

Picture of Anthony Pawson

2006

  • Anthony Pawson Induction

    Anthony Pawson inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Edmonton, Alberta

  • Became head of the programme in Molecular Biology and Cancer at the Lunenfeld Research Institute

    In 2002, he became its Director of Research.

  • Dr. Pawson developed the concept of signaling proteins and identified the Src homology 2 (SH2) domain as the prototypic protein-interaction module

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    This research on protein interactions transformed the thinking of how cells communicate.

  • Moved to Toronto to join the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto

    At the same time, he became Senior Scientist at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto. He was one of the first appointments in the hospital’s molecular and developmental biology division.

  • After completing a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Zoology, Dr. Pawson came to Canada

    He became Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and the University of British Columbia. At UBC, Dr. Pawson expanded his work on proteins to include the study of proteins that had the potential to cause cancer. His lab produced many important papers during this time.

  • After graduating from London University, Dr. Pawson travelled to the United States

    He became a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of California, Berkeley in the Molecular and Virus Laboratory. There, Dr. Pawson began work on the protein products of avian retroviruses.

1976

You have to have a passionate desire to understand.