Vice-President (Research), University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
THE CHALLENGE: To reduce the rate of death and disease in humans and animals by building the intellectual and physical infrastructure to create new vaccines that attack infectious diseases.
THE WORK: Dr. Babiuk connected two targets of research usually addressed separately: animals and humans. He identified a vaccine to control diarrhea from rotavirus in calves, which was then developed into a human vaccine. He was also a driving force in developing VIDO, an international vaccine facility in Saskatoon.
WHY IT MATTERS: One third of all human deaths are caused by infectious disease. About 70% of the new diseases that have emerged in the last 30 years are transmitted from animals to humans. These include Mad Cow Disease, SARS, and the E.coli water contamination in Walkerton, Ontario.
Lorne A Babiuk received his PhD (1972) from the University of British Columbia. He joined the University of Alberta as Vice-President (Research) in 2007. Prior to moving to the University of Alberta, he spent 34 years at the University of Saskatchewan where he was responsible for building the successful research institution VIDO (Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization). Under Lorne Babiuk’s leadership, VIDO became internationally recognized as a leader in novel vaccine development. While at VIDO, Babiuk completed its $19.4 million expansion (in 2005) and obtained funding for InterVac, its $140 million level-three biocontainment facility for work on infectious diseases (opened September, 2011).
In addition to being the Vice-President (Research) and former Director of VIDO, Lorne Babiuk has published over 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and 100 essays and reviews, primarily in virology and immunology. His most recent focus has been on vaccine formulation and delivery. He is a fellow of the Infectious Disease Society of America, the Royal Society of Canada and the European Academy of Sciences as well as an Officer of the Order of Canada.