We are thrilled to share that U of G’s own, Dr. Paul Hebert, has been chosen as a recipient of the 2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science.

The medal is the oldest comprehensive science and technology award in the United States and past laureates include some of science’s most respected figures, such as Nikola Tesla, Pierre and Marie Curie and Albert Einstein. Previous Canadian recipients include Arthur B. McDonald, Janet Werker, and W. Richard Peltier.

Hebert is the fourth Canadian to receive the honour.

“It is thrilling to receive the 2024 Benjamin Franklin Medal in Earth and Environmental Science,” Hebert said. “Importantly, this award endorses a planetary research program led by Canada that is providing humanity with the knowledge required to better insulate biodiversity from global change.”

About Dr. Paul Hebert

An evolutionary biologist and often known as the “father of DNA barcoding,” Hebert is the founder and CEO of the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) in the College of Biological Science at U of G, which now houses the world’s largest DNA archive for biodiversity and a massive image library of these species. Hebert’s revolutionary work includes inventing a genetic barcode capable of identifying all species on the planet and is leveraged by scientists through the not-for-profit International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium based at the CBG.

As the scientific director for iBOL, Hebert unites more than 1,000 researchers in 41 countries with a shared mission to build a global barcode reference library and illuminate biodiversity on a planetary scale. The project is set to become the largest life sciences data project in the world, with scientists using DNA barcoding to identify more species by 2030 than have been identified in the last 250 years through the traditional Linnaean taxonomic system.

“This award is a much-deserved recognition of Dr. Hebert’s completely transformative work. DNA barcoding technology has literally changed how we see and know life on Earth,” said Dr. Rene Van Acker, interim vice-president research. “He leads the world’s largest life sciences big data project and has created fundamental knowledge for all efforts to sustain and improve life.”

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Hebert on this tremendous achievement.