The 2018 Killam Program Recipients Revealed

Celebrating the research and contributions made by Canadians dedicating their careers to break new ground and propel impactful change

May 8, 2018
Killam Program

Ottawa, May 8, 2018 – The Canada Council for the Arts proudly names this year’s winners and recipients of the 2018 Killam Prizes and Fellowships. This year’s honorees have pioneered some of the world’s forefront cultural, medical and scientific discoveries to date. From understanding language acquisition in infants to revolutionizing the way we look at the universe, documenting cultural and technological milestones to improving the quality of life for those living with disease or ailments, this year’s Killam recipients have made it their mission to find solutions that positively change and better the lives of millions of Canadians and beyond. In fact, these recipients have not only dedicated their careers to making ground-breaking discoveries, but they are teaching and inspiring the future generations of leaders in their field.

Killam Prizes

The Killam Prize honours Canadian researchers, scientists, doctors and scholars for their inimitable contribution and research in industry, government agencies, and universities. This year’s honourees are an eclectic group of innovators who have spent their lifetime working towards researching and improving the quality of life of individuals across the globe. Each recipient will receive a $100,000 prize.

  • Humanities – André Gaudreault, Université de Montréal, is a celebrated professor and scholar who was at the center of the creation of Canada’s first PhD program in Film Studies. Dr. Gaudreault’s research investigates the role that technological innovation plays in the evolution of cinematic form. The originality of his research is that it is not only uncovering various aspects of the digital shift, but that it will lay the foundation for a methodology that will be critical to our ability to understand how cinema may be shaped in the future.
  • Health Sciences – Vladimir Hachinski, Western University, is a revered clinical neuroscientist and researcher who has transformed the understanding, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the two greatest threats to the brain: stroke and dementia. He is co-founder of the world’s first successful acute stroke unit, now the standard care. He has also co-discovered a link between Alzheimer's and stroke and introduced new concepts and a new clinical diagnosis tool, the Hachinski Ischemic Score, for identifying the treatable components of dementia.
  • Engineering – Walter Herzog, University of Calgary, is a world-renowned pioneer credited for making huge strides in the field of biomechanics and muscle-contraction. His major discoveries give hope to people living with bone, joint and muscular diseases. Dr. Herzog is the Canada Research Chair for Cellular/Molecular Biomechanics, the Killam Memorial Chair for Interdisciplinary Research at the University of Calgary, and a self-proclaimed accidental scientist.
  • Natural Sciences – James Pinfold, University of Alberta, is a distinguished professor and internationally renowned particle physicist who, in 1997, became the youngest ever leader of an international collider experiment. Since then he has been at the forefront of the discovery of neutral current, a founding member of the ATLAS Experiment that announced the discovery of the Higgs boson, and leads a new experiment focusing on searching for new physics at the high-energy frontier, as well as remnants from the birth of the universe on the cosmic frontier.
  • Social Sciences – Janet Werker, University of British Columbia, is a recognized researcher and professor who examines the foundations of language acquisition in infants growing up in both monolingual and bilingual environments. Her discoveries showing how babies are ready to learn language at birth, and how very early in life language learning (through listening) begins, have had a major influence around the world.

Killam Research Fellowships

Over the span of a two-year period, the Killam Research Fellowships will grant six scholars a combined total of $840,000 for teaching and administrative release in order for them to continue to pursue their independent research projects.

  • Christine Bold, University of Guelph – Project: Indigenous Modernities: The Secret History of Vaudeville, 1880s-1930s
  • René Doyon, Université de Montréal – Project: Searching and Characterizing Nearby Habitable Worlds
  • Yong Baek Kim, University of Toronto – Project: Topological Phases of Correlated Quantum Materials
  • Chao-Jun Li, McGill University – Project: Umpolung Naturally Occurring Oxygenated Chemicals as Organometallic-Reagent-Surrogates (OMRS)
  • Hanadi Sleiman, McGill University – Project: DNA Nanostructures for Cancer Therapy and Imaging
  • Deanne Williams, York University – Project: The Girl on Stage in Early Modern England


“This year’s exceptional Killam Prize and Research Fellowship recipients have demonstrated that persistent hard work leads to ground-breaking discoveries that improve not only our depth of knowledge as a collective, but the quality of life of humanity. These remarkable scholars whose sustained leadership, commitment to curiosity, and originality of thought will continue to inspire students and colleagues alike, undoubtedly furthering even more advancements in their fields and strengthening the generations to come.”
– Simon Brault, OC, OQ Director and CEO, Canada Council for the Arts

“Created over half a century ago, the Killam Trusts continues to exemplify one of the largest philanthropic gifts and coveted awards in higher education in Canada. Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam’s generous contribution in honour of the memory and exceptional achievements of her husband, Izaak Walton Killam, has catapulted immeasurable advances in the fields of engineering, natural science, health science, social science and the humanities. It is with great honour that we stand alongside the Canada Council for the Arts, who administers the Killam Prize and Killam Research Fellowships, to warmly welcome the 2018 award recipients to the Killam family as we celebrate their passion, drive, and creativity in making the world a better place.”
– Bernard F. Miller, QC Managing Trustee, Killam Trusts

Learn more about the Killam Program

  • Winners and recipients are chosen by a selection committee of their peers.
  • The Killam Prize was first awarded in 1981.
  • Previous winners include Brenda Milner, Victoria Kaspi, Mark Wainberg, Molly Shoichet, John Borrows, Nobel Prize winners Arthur McDonald and John Polanyi – to name just a few.
  • The Canada Council received a donation through the will of Mrs. Dorothy J. Killam in 1965 to establish a Fellowship program (1967).
  • In total, the Killam Trusts are valued at approximately $450 million, of which the Canada Council portion is currently about $65 million.

Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s national public arts funder. We champion and invest in artistic excellence so that Canadians may enjoy and participate in a rich cultural life. In 2016-17 we allocated $196.8 million towards artistic creation and innovation through our grants, prizes and payments. We also conduct research, convene activities and work with partners to advance the sector and help embed the arts more deeply in communities across the country. We are responsible for the Canadian Commission for UNESCO which promotes the values and programs of UNESCO to contribute to a more peaceful, equitable and sustainable future for Canadians. The Canada Council Art Bank operates art rental programs and helps further public engagement with contemporary arts.


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