Distinguished Researcher Award - Spring 2011
The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member’s contribution to scholarship through the creation, expansion, and critique of knowledge. John Gordon, Director of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture and a professor in the Department of Medicine, is the 2011 recipient.
Prof. Gordon is an expert in the field of immune regulation and airway disease. He is internationally recognized as a major force in immunology who has conducted groundbreaking working on inflammatory diseases such as asthma.
One of his most notable recent achievements is the development of a new drug to treat inflammatory illnesses, including bacterial lung infections and inflammation associated with conditions such as cystic fibrosis pneumonia and ischemic heart disease. The drug, G31P, is patented by the U of S and has proven highly effective in targeting inflammatory responses and more specifically than do current corticosteroid treatments. G31P targets the proteins that activate a specific group of white blood cells known as neutrophils, thereby reducing inflammatory pathology while allowing other immune system cells that are critical to the patient’s health to function normally. Prof. Gordon has also recently developed and established proof of principle in experimental animals for new protocols that reverse established immunologic diseases such as asthma. Under these protocols, animals treated for asthma gradually lose their sensitivity to allergens over three to eight weeks, until they no longer suffer from the lung constriction and inflammation that characterizes asthma.
During the course of his career, Prof. Gordon has attracted research funding from federal and provincial funding agencies as well as the non-profit sector to carry out his work. He has authored more than 80 peer-review publications and has been invited to speak at conferences all over the world. He has served on numerous boards and review panels including the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation, and the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. He is also a tremendous mentor who has trained more than 60 undergraduate and graduate students, post-doctoral fellows and young faculty.
In recognition of his outstanding contributions to the field of immunology, Prof. Gordon was elected as a member of the prestigious Collegium Internationale Allergologicum in 2008, an international group for the study of scientific and clinical problems in allergy and related branches of medicine and immunology. Prof. Gordon was also recognized with the Saskatchewan Award of Innovation in 2007 and the Pfizer Animal Health Research Excellence Award in 2003.
Prof. Gordon earned his B.Sc. (biology) and Ph.D. (immunopathology) degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. He held post‑doctoral positions at the National Institutes for Medical Research in the United Kingdom and at Harvard Medical School in Boston before returning to the U of S in 1991.