2023 Gairdner National Program Lecture

Monday, October 23, 2023 14:30to16:30
Montreal Neurological Institute 3801 rue University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, CA
Professor Lynne E. Maquat and Dr. Demis Hassabis

Please join McGill Research + Innovation for a joint 2023 Gairdner National Program Lecture featuring two Canada Gairdner International Award winners Professor Lynne E. Maquat (2015) and Dr. Demis Hassabis (2023). The lecture will include a Q&A period with the Gairdner laureates and will be moderated by Martha Crago, Vice-Principal, Research + Innovation. A cocktail reception will follow.

Monday, October 23, 2023 | 2:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Jeanne Timmins Amphitheatre | The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital)

3801 University Street
Montreal, QC H3A 2B4

Click here to register

Space is limited and seats will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. 

About the Speakers


Prof. Lynne Maquat smiling at the camera

Professor Lynne E. Maquat

J. Lowell Orbison Endowed Chair; Professor of Biochemistry & Biophysics; Professor of Oncology, School of Medicine and Dentistry; Director, Center for RNA Biology: From Genome to Therapeutics; and Chair of Graduate Women in Science, University of Rochester.

Winner of the 2015 Canada Gairdner International Award for the discovery of the mechanism that destroys mutant messenger RNAs in human cells, nonsense-mediated mRNA decay, which is critically important in both normal and disease states.

Professor Maquat is known for her mammalian-cells studies of nonsense-mediated messenger RNA decay, which she first reported in 1981 through studies of the hemolytic anemia bo-thalassemia and from which she subsequently discovered the pioneer round of translation, the exon-junction complex (EJC), and how the EJC marks mRNAs for a first quality-control translation cycle that largely occurs as newly synthesized messenger RNAs enter the cytoplasm. She continues to make seminal contributions on mechanisms of NMD and another pathway she discovered and named Staufen-mediated mRNA decay (SMD).

Professor Maquat is an elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2006), an elected Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2006) and the National Academy of Sciences (2011), and a Batsheva de Rothschild Fellow of the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities (2012). Professor Maquat was awarded the William C. Rose Award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (2014) for research and mentoring, in particular advocacy for women in science.


Dr. Demis Hassabis smiling at the camera

Dr. Demis Hassabis

Founder & CEO, Google DeepMind; AlphaFold Project Lead

Winner of the 2023 Canada Gairdner International Award for developing AlphaFold, which has been heralded as an AI-based solution to the 50-year grand challenge of protein structure prediction and has culminated in the release of the most accurate and complete picture of the structure of the human proteome, with enormous potential to accelerate biological and medical research.

Demis Hassabis is the Founder and CEO of DeepMind, the world’s leading AI research company, and now a part of Alphabet. Founded in 2010, DeepMind has been at the forefront of the field ever since, producing landmark research breakthroughs such as AlphaGo, the first program to beat the world champion at the complex game of Go, and AlphaFold, which was heralded as a solution to the 50-year grand challenge of protein folding.

His work has been cited over 100,000 times and has been featured in Science’s top 10 Breakthroughs of the Year on 4 separate occasions. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2017 he featured in the Time 100 list of most influential people, and in 2018 he was awarded a CBE.




About the Gairdner Foundation

The Gairdner Foundation, established in 1957, is dedicated to fulfilling James A. Gairdner’s vision to recognize major research contributions to the treatment of disease and alleviation of human suffering. Through annual prestigious Canada Gairdner Awards, the Gairdner Foundation celebrates the world’s most creative and accomplished researchers whose work is improving the health and well-being of people around the world.



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