Distinguished Researcher Award - Spring 2009
For 15 years, Soledade Pedras, chemistry professor and Canada Research Chair in Bio-organic and Agricultural Chemistry has been exploring the chemical relationship between plants and their pathogens. She has earned an international reputation for her innovative research, making her a worthy recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Researcher Award.
Pedras and her research team have uncovered what she calls a “green” crop protection agent, called paldoxins, that can help protect plants from a variety of diseases without harming other living organisms. Put simply, Pedras has discovered that wild species of the crucifer family—including mustard, canola, and rapeseed—produce a chemical defense against disease-causing fungi that cultivated crops do not. By creating a synthetic compound, this naturally-occurring defense mechanism can be transferred from the wild to the farm.
During her career, Pedras has authored or co-authored more than 120 papers and has contributed to the academic community as a member of numerous committees. She has also received many awards, including being named Thorvaldson Professor in the Department of Chemistry from 2003-2008.
Pedras earned BSc and Licentiate degrees from the University of Porto in Portugal and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Alberta.