Michael J. Fox to speak at Robarts 25th anniversary dinner

Monday, October 3, 2011

Actor Michael J. Fox will be the guest speaker at the Leaders in Innovation Dinner which celebrates the 25th anniversary of Robarts Research Institute at Western's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. The dinner will be held on November 21st at the Best Western Lamplighter Inn and Conference Centre in London. The host for the evening will be Western alumna and CBC News Morning Host Heather Hiscox.

Fox is an accomplished and popular actor, director and author. Born in Edmonton in 1961, he moved to Los Angeles when he was 18 to pursue his acting career. He starred in the television series "Family Ties" and "Spin City," as well as several films including the "Back to the Future" trilogy, "Teen Wolf," and "The American President," to name a few. He is also the bestselling author of three books: Lucky Man (2002), Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist (2009) and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future (2010). Last year, He was invested as an Officer of the Order of Canada. Fox is married to actor Tracy Pollan and has four children.

Fox was diagnosed with young-onset Parkinson's disease in 1991. Since then, he has become an advocate for increased research funding and in 2000, launched the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research. In this exclusive engagement at the Leaders in Innovation Dinner, Fox will share his personal experience which promises to be both insightful and inspirational.

"As we celebrate 25 years of research excellence at Robarts Research Institute, we are very pleased that Michael J. Fox has agreed to be our keynote speaker. He shares our passion for medical research, and we share his belief that we will see cures in our lifetime to some of life's most debilitating diseases, including Parkinson's," says Dr. Michael Strong, Dean of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and Interim Scientific Director of Robarts Research Institute. "It's what we strive for. Even our mission at Robarts speaks to it: accelerating medical discovery. This will be an evening to celebrate our many achievements, going back to Robarts' earliest days when Dr. Henry Barnett discovered Aspirin as a preventative therapy for heart attack and stroke."

The Leaders in Innovation Dinner will pay tribute to Robarts' founders: Dr. Henry Barnett, the late Walter J. Blackburn, Patrick Blewett, the late Dr. Charles Drake, Dr. Ramsay Gunton, Richard M. Ivey, Dr. Calvin Stiller and the late J. Allyn Taylor. As well, this year's J. Allyn Taylor International Prize in Medicine will be awarded to Dr. Rudolf Jaenisch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in recognition of his stem cell research. The prize is supported by Robarts and The C.H. Stiller Memorial Foundation.

Tickets for the Leaders in Innovation Dinner are $250 each, and only 300 are available. Order tickets online at www.westernconnect.ca/robarts_dinner or call 519-661-4285.

Please note that no photographs, video or audio recordings are permitted.