From Toronto -2, Gairdner Foundation Global Health Symposium


One major new initiative of the Gairdner Award at the occasion of its 50th anniversary is the launch of Global Health Award, an important issue and challenge for our global age, which thus is quite timely. The inaugural laureate is Dr. Nubia Munoz for her global epidemiological study to identify papilloma virus as the cause of cervical cancer and effects of its vaccine. 

Thus, in the afternoon of October 28th, Gairdner Global Health Symposium was held at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto and Dr Munoz as our honorable guest. I moderated the first session (of two) with Drs Jeffrey Koplan of Emory University, Tachi Yamada,  of Gates Foundation, Mark Walport of Wellcome Trust, and Peter Singer (Ref.1), of University of Toronto, as panelists, a powerful quartet of Global Health. It was fun to moderate this powerful session; I felt enthusiasm of the full audience.

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Photo 1-4: At the reception, photo 1; Dr Oliver Smithie (humorous speech typical of him); photo 2; Dr David Sackett (left), of McMaster, well known to us for clinical epidemiology and EBM, of Gairdner Wightman award, and John Dirks (President of the Gairdner Foundation); photo 3; Dr and Mrs Ogawa, Dr Yamanaka and me; and photo 4; Drs Ogawa, Mori and me

The reception of the evening was held at MaRS of the University of Toronto. It was a very enjoyable evening with friends and many past Gairdner laureates and this year’s laureates. Three Japanese laureates are there, Drs Seiji Ogawa, Shinya Yanamaka, and Kazutoshi Mori .

5img_1928_2 Photo5: with Dr Blackburn

Among many guests was Dr Elizabeth Blackburn, this year’s Nobel laureate in medicine and physiology  for her discovery of telomerase; one of three co-recipients with her is one of her former graduate student, Dr Carol Greider.  Dr Blackburn is also a recipient of the Gairdner and of the L’Oreal Woman in Science Award at its 10th anniversary, which I served as a proud member of the Jury.

What a wonderful and stimulating day it was, indeed, my honor and privilege.

From Toronto -1, Encounter to a ‘Wikinomics’ figure


As reported in my last posting, I am in Toronto working with University of Toronto for our collaborative program with GRIPS from early this year (Ref.1).

After my session at Munk Center, I was invited to dinner reception for the 50th anniversary of the Gairdner Award hosted by Rob McEwen, a major business leader of Canada (Ref.1), and a significant figure in the Wiki-age business as I will explain to you below.

His huge house is located in the most exclusive area of Toronto, as you may expect, as I know him one of major supporters of medical research and education. He founded McEwen Center of Regenerative Medicine focusing on stem cell research, at Toronto General Hospital, an affiliated hospital of the University of Toronto. I knew his support of medical research, thus he is particularly pleased to meet Professor Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University (Ref.1),  one of this year’s Gairdner Laureates; Dr Yamanaka made a landmark discovery of iPS, reprogramming of skin and other cells to stem cells, bypassing ethical issues of using embryonic stem cells.

Img_1913 Photo; with Rob McEwen

As I discussed with Rob various issues of mutual interests including his business, suddenly it occurred to me that he MUST be a person who appeared as a major innovator entrepreneur on Open Innovation in a book ‘Wikinomics’, in its Chapter one. I asked him ‘Is that YOU?’’ and his reply was’ Yes.’ In my recent speaking engagements I often cite him as a most remarkable ‘out-of-box’ thinker which saved and led to his gold-mine company, Goldcorp. This was a huge success as one can imagine based on the performance of the company. We had quite an enjoyable chatting session over how he thought of it and how he did it.

It is always fun to encounter unexpected encounters enriching your own thinking as I often posted in my blog posting. So I say “Think and Act Global, it a lot of fun.’