Professor Patrick Gunning is the 2015 McLean Award recipient

Professor Patrick Gunning
Monday, August 24, 2015 - 8:22am
Carla DeMarco
Just eight years into his academic career at University of Toronto Mississauga, Professor Patrick Gunning can chalk up another major award to his ever-growing roster of impressive accolades: he is a recipient of U of T’s 2015 McLean Award.

“I am so honoured to have been selected as this year’s winner of the McLean Award, says Gunning, a faculty member in UTM’s Department of Chemical & Physical Sciences. “The award and extra financial support is a generous and much appreciated boon for my lab’s research into novel therapies for cancer treatments.”

The McLean Award, which supports exceptional emerging researchers in the sciences, will provide Gunning with an additional $125,000 for his research on the STAT3 gene and its relation to brain cancer. The Gunning lab has successfully developed the most promising inhibitors of the STAT3 protein to date, and this funding will help them to further investigate how the compound they have created will lead to an effective, molecularly targeted therapy for brain cancer and impede tumour growth.

“We are very grateful for this support of basic research, and for this recognition of the Gunning lab’s exceptional work,” says Professor Bryan Stewart, UTM’s Vice-Principal, Research. “The funding will go a long way to help further investigate the work they are doing in brain-cancer research.”

In just the past couple years Gunning has been recognized with several notable distinctions, including being named one of the “Top 10 to watch in 2013” by the Toronto Star, he is a recipient of a Canada Research Chair in Medicinal Chemistry, and he leads a team of researchers who were recently awarded a $5.9-million grant from combined funds through the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Ontario Research Fund and U of T Mississauga to establish a Centre for Cancer Stem Cell Therapeutics at UTM.

 “It was clear to the adjudication committee that Professor Gunning’s research program and exceptional record of achievement best fulfilled the McLean Award criteria,” said Professor Vivek Goel, University of Toronto’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation (OVPRI). “The work of Patrick and the Gunning Group over the past number of years has been remarkable, and we are most eager to see what will come next from this talented group.”

The McLean Award, which is funded jointly through an endowment made by alumnus William F. McLean and the University’s Connaught Fund, is given annually by U of T’s OVPRI to support a promising research leader conducting basic research in chemistry, computer science, engineering sciences, mathematics, physics, and the theory and methods in statistics. Gunning joins an impressive grouping of researchers who have garnered the McLean award in past years, including biomedical engineer Molly Shoichet, astronomer Ray Jayawardhana, bioengineers Milica Radisic and Craig Simmons, and mechanical engineer David Sinton.

By Carla DeMarco