McGill researchers garner three of 10 Prix du Québec for 2008


Paul-André Crépeau wins Georges-Émile Lapalme prize for the promotion of the French language

Three McGill researchers are among the winners of the Prix du Québec 2008, which were presented today at a ceremony in Quebec City . Me Paul-André Crépeau, Emeritus Professor in the Faculty of Law; Jean-Marie Dufour, of the Department of Economics in the Faculty of Arts; and Dr. Philippe Gros, of the Department of Biochemistry in the Faculty of Medicine, received the highest honour conferred by the Quebec government.

The Georges-Émile Lapalme prize went to jurist Paul-André Crépeau in recognition of his remarkable contribution to the French language through Canadian law. Father of the Quebec Civil Code, a pioneer of jurilinguistics and theoretician of private fundamental law, Me Crépeau is a prominent figure in today’s Quebec society. Through his unstinting work in creating the Quebec Civil Code, he not only gave Quebec society the opportunity to reappropriate its legal system, but also made sure that the language used would reflect Quebec identity.

Jean-Marie Dufour, winner of the Léon-Gérin prize for the humanities, has an international reputation for his original and creative scientific work in econometrics, a discipline at the crossroads of social science and mathematics. His research has led to major contributions, notably in the development of more reliable statistical methods – even when the available data include a low number of observations, as is frequently the case in economics.

One of the principal investigators in the new McGill Life Sciences Complex (Complex Traits Group), Philippe Gros received the Wilder-Penfield prize in the biomedical sciences for his advances in resistance or susceptibility to devastating diseases. Dr. Gros was the first to isolate the mdr family of genes, which gives cancer cells multidrug resistance. His research has also led to the identification of new genes that give rise to susceptibility to malaria.

“The fact that the Léon-Gérin and Wilder-Penfield prizes have once again been awarded to McGill scientists shows the authority our institution commands in domains that are crucial to the advancement of Quebec ,” said Heather Munroe-Blum, principal and vice-chancellor of McGill University . “In addition, seeing one of the architects of the legal system we have in Quebec today – and his contribution to francophone Quebec identity – recognized in this way touches us even more deeply.”

The Prix du Québec are the highest honours awarded each year by the government of Quebec in recognition of those who have had remarkable careers in the artistic and cultural sphere or have devoted their working lives to the social and scientific advancement of Quebec. Each winner receives a tax-free award of $30,000, a silver medal made by a Quebec artist, a hand-lettered certificate and a lapel pin of the Prix du Québec symbol, a piece of jewellery worn only by Prix du Québec winners.

McGill University , founded in Montreal , Que., in 1821, is Canada ’s leading post-secondary institution. It has two campuses, 11 faculties, 10 professional schools, 300 programs of study and more than 33,000 students. McGill attracts students from more than 160 countries around the world. Almost half of McGill students claim a first language other than English – including 6,000 francophones – with more than 6,200 international students making up almost 20 per cent of the student body.

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