2020 Paterson Lecture

Dr. Gregg Semenza meeting with MSc and PhD candidates from Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Our 2020 Paterson Lecture was held on Thursday, November 19. Although this year posed unique challenges related to SARS-CoV-2 pandemic and limitations on in-person participation, the essence of our high-profile marquee event was maintained. Our invited guest, Dr. Gregg Semenza, is a Professor of Pediatrics, Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences, Biological Chemistry, Medicine, and Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is also the Director of the Vascular Program at the Institute for Cell Engineering.

Dr. Semenza is perhaps best known for his discovery of hypoxia-inducible factor, a molecule that is activated by reduced oxygen and plays a critical role in certain diseases. Dr. Semenza’s work has sparked extensive research and development of novel treatments for diseases such as cancer and ischemic cardiovascular disease, in which reduced oxygen is a major feature of the disease. For his discoveries, he was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine (shared with William G. Kaelin, Jr., and Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe).

Prior to delivering the Paterson Lecture, Dr. Semenza met with our young researchers from the MSc and PhD programs. Although the meeting was conducted virtually, all trainees appreciated the opportunity and felt inspired. Following this meeting, Dr. Semenza delivered the Paterson Lecture through Zoom webinar with 150 participants from across Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and affiliated hospitals. He took the participants through an engaging and inspiring journey that led to his seminal discoveries and presented some highlights from his ongoing efforts to understand oxygen sensing in cells and its relation to human diseases. The overall event was very successful, and we are thankful to Dr. Semenza for sharing his wonderful research.

As always, this event is only possible because of the hard work of many. Special thank you to Angela DeCandido, Nan Meng, Tracey Koning, Kathilyn Allewell, and Cheryl Campbell for their hard work in organizing the Paterson Lecture.