Stem-cell pioneer named to Order of Canada

December 30, 2013

Ottawa — Ottawa researcher Dr. Michael Rudnicki was appointed as an Officer of the Order of Canada today for his significant scientific breakthroughs in the area of muscle development and his leadership in stem cell research.

Dr. Rudnicki is director of the Regenerative Medicine Program at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, scientific director of the Stem Cell Network, Canada Research Chair in Molecular Genetics, and a professor in the departments of Medicine and of Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Ottawa's Faculty of Medicine. He is also a founder of Fate Therapeutics, a publicly traded U.S.-based biopharmaceutical company. In addition, last month Dr. Rudnicki was named this year’s recipient of the Dr. J. David Grimes Research Career Achievement Award at The Ottawa Hospital Gala. (See profile outlining some of his key accomplishments.)

“Dr. Rudnicki is a scientist of exceptional talent, a global leader in his field with a pedigree of scientific achievements that rightfully place him among the best scientific minds in the nation,” says Dr. Duncan Stewart, CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI), Vice-President of Research at The Ottawa Hospital and Professor of Medicine at the University of Ottawa. “He is largely responsible for uniting stem cell researchers across the country and, as a result, Canada is well positioned at the forefront of the exciting new era of stem cell therapies and regenerative medicine.”

In 2007, the Rudnicki lab became the first to show the existence and multiple roles of satellite stem cells in adult muscle. And earlier this year, Dr. Rudnicki's group made another landmark breakthrough when they showed how uncommitted adult muscle stem cells can also become brown fat, an energy-burning form of good fat that could play a critical role in the fight against obesity. Dr. Rudnicki also identified a novel protein that shows promise for the treatment of muscle-wasting conditions, such as Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Dr. Rudnicki’s extraordinary scientific talents are accompanied by tireless leadership efforts. As well as serving as scientific director for the Stem Cell Network, he has led the international effort to map and characterize the complete repertoire of transcription factors and how this part of the genome translates our DNA’s genetic blueprint into physiological effect on our bodies.

Established in 1967 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, the Order of Canada is the cornerstone of the Canadian Honours System, and recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to the community and service to the nation. The Order recognizes people in all sectors of Canadian society. Their contributions are varied, yet they have all enriched the lives of others and made a difference to this country.

Dr. Rudnicki will be invited to accept his insignia during a ceremony to be held at a later date.

Release: Order of Canada Appointments

About the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
The Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) is the research arm of The Ottawa Hospital and is an affiliated institute of the University of Ottawa, closely associated with the university’s Faculties of Medicine and Health Sciences. OHRI includes more than 1,700 scientists, clinical investigators, graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and staff conducting research to improve the understanding, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of human disease.

Media contact
Paddy Moore
Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
613-737-8899 x 73687
613-323-5680 (cell)