U of G Awards Final MacMillan Laureate in Agriculture

A scientist who has helped reduce the impacts of E. coli and BSE infections on the Canadian livestock industry received the final H.R. MacMillan Laureate in Agriculture award from the University of Guelph Feb. 18.

Tim McAllister was honoured at the University’s winter convocation during the 4 p.m. ceremony for the Ontario Agricultural College (OAC).

Awarded every five years, the $10,000 prize recognizes significant leadership in Canadian agriculture. Recipients are selected by a national panel of academic and industry leaders.

The award was established in 1964 by the late H.R. MacMillan, a 1906 graduate of  OAC  to celebrate the college’s 100th anniversary. It was first presented in 1969; this is the 10th and last award.

“It’s a privilege to honour Tim’s exemplary industry and scientific leadership through the final installment of the award,” said OAC dean Rob Gordon.

“Not only is he an excellent scientist and science leader, but also he has the ability to translate his discoveries and knowledge into practical use, and this has bolstered his impact in Canada and beyond.”

McAllister is a principal research scientist — the highest research rank in the public service – for Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC). He has worked at AAFC’s Lethbridge Research Centre since 1987.

“This is a well-deserved recognition of a researcher who personifies scientific excellence,” said Gilles Saindon, acting assistant deputy minister, science and technology branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.

“Tim’s hard work, commitment, knowledge and experience are an invaluable asset not only to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada and agricultural sector, but also to the entire country.”

McAllister’s research has been crucial for the livestock industry in microbiology, nutrition and beef production, food and environmental safety, and E. coli mitigation and antimicrobial resistance in bacteria.

Most recently, his work on prion inactivation helped Canada’s beef industry manage the effects of the BSE crisis in 2003.

“Obviously this is a huge honour and represents the combined contributions of many individuals within our research team and the numerous collaborators we have had over the years,” McAllister said.

“Being paid to learn is a great job and one for which the challenges are endless, as there is always the opportunity to learn more.”

He is an adjunct professor at five Canadian universities, and at Colorado State University, the University of Sydney and China’s Dalian University of Technology.

He has written or co-authored nearly 500 peer-reviewed papers and articles, and is a sought-after speaker and scientific collaborator across Canada and globally.

A contributing member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, McAllister has received numerous international awards, including the Public Service Excellence Award from the Canadian prime minister.

He holds a B.Sc. in agriculture and an M.Sc. in animal biochemistry from the University of Alberta, and a PhD in ruminant nutrition and microbiology from U of G.

While on campus Feb. 18, McAllister gave a special nutrition seminar 10:30 a.m. in the Animal Science and Nutrition Building, Room 141. The event is free and open to the public. More information is available online.