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Anthropology and Social Studies in Medicine Professor Margaret Lock, has been awarded the 2007 Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) Gold Medal for Achievement in Research. Prof Lock, who has dedicated the last 30 years of her career to studying the relationships among emerging bioscientific knowledge, associated technologies, and social, political, and moral order received the council's top award, $100,000 in research funding, during a ceremony in Ottawa on October 18.
"I'm very pleased with the way my research has been received," says Prof Lock. "But I'm hoping my biggest contribution will be through my teaching. I have taught hundreds of students in the social sciences and in medicine at McGill, many of whom have said my course changed the direction of their career. That's where I feel I'm making a real and lasting contribution." Vinh-Kim Nguyen, a medical anthropologist at l'Université de Montreal and winner of this year's SSHRC Aurora Prize for the most promising up-and-coming Canadian researcher, is proof that Prof Lock's teaching is making as great an impact as her research. Nguyen was one of Prof Lock's students.
Trained as a cultural anthropologist with a particular interest in the anthropology of the body in health and illness, Prof Lock's work often focuses on medical and technological issues such as brain death and organ transplants, as well as cultural approaches to female aging. Her work exploring the social implications of biomedical technologies such as organ transplants, reproductive technology and genetic testing has helped shape policies on medical ethics and the training of medical students in Canada and around the world. She is currently examining the social repercussions associated with advances in genetics, particularly in relation to the understanding of Alzheimer's disease.
No stranger to such honours, this award represents only the latest of Prof Lock's many accolades. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Ordre national du Québec. In 2005, she was awarded the prestigious Canada Council for the Arts Killam Prize and a Trudeau Foundation Fellowship.