Profs Appointed to Order of Canada

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A University of Guelph integrative biology professor and a retired sociology professor have been named to the Order of Canada, considered the country’s highest honour of lifetime achievement.

The announcement was made by Governor General David Johnston on Canada Day.

Prof. Paul Hebert was named an officer to the Order and professor emerita Lynn McDonald was named a member.

In total, 100 new appointees were announced July 1.

Hebert was honoured for his contributions as an evolutionary biologist, notably as a pioneer of DNA barcoding.

“This is a wonderful and well-deserved recognition for Paul,” said Serge Desmarais, interim provost and vice-president (academic).

“Paul’s work on DNA barcoding is impressive and has tremendous practical applications that will have significant impact around the world. We are proud to count him as one of U of G’s leading scientists and I am delighted that he is being honoured for his achievement and commitment.”

First proposed by Hebert, DNA barcoding allows researchers to identify animal and plant species using short, standardized regions of genetic material. The method is effective for all life stages and allows biologists to rapidly identify species from a snippet of tissue.

Hebert is director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) and the scientific director of the International Barcode of Life Project, which involves more than 1,000 researchers in 25 nations. He also holds a Canada Research Chair in molecular biodiversity and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

“It is a very great honour to join the Order of Canada, but this recognition certainly isn’t mine alone,” Hebert said. “It reflects the collective effort of my colleagues at BIO, our nation’s support for our research, and the tremendous contributions by colleagues around the world.”

McDonald was recognized for her research on Florence Nightingale and her political efforts.

She is the editor of the 16-volume Collected  Works of Florence Nightingale, which draws from some 200 archives and private collections worldwide to bring together all of Nightingale’s letters, unpublished writings and long out-of-print books and articles. The research and writing was done by McDonald with an international team of researchers. She is also the author of the book Florence Nightingale at First Hand, which was published in Japanese this year.

A former MP, McDonald authored Canada’s pioneering Non-smokers’ Health Act, the first national law to establish smoke-free work and public places. She currently works on climate change and electoral reform.

Hebert and McDonald will receive their Order of Canada membership insignias later this year.

The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service. Appointments are made on the recommendation of an advisory council, chaired by the chief justice of Canada, and the governor general is the chancellor and principal companion of the order.