UBC Reports | Vol. 46 | No. 16 | Oct.
A stellar scientist and friend
University to hold a celebration of Michael Smith's
Nobel prize-winner and Prof. Emeritus Michael Smith has died of
cancer. He was 68 years old.
"We at UBC feel a real sense of personal loss," says Barry McBride,
vice-president, Academic and Provost. "We've lost a colleague, a
creative and distinguished scientist and a friend -- a warm and humble
man known for his humanity and generosity. He was a great Canadian
and I will miss his friendship, his unwavering commitment to excellence
and his personal support."
Smith, who won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1993, was
director of BC Cancer Agency's Genome Sequence Centre
The prize recognized his groundbreaking work in
segments of DNA, the building blocks of life.
"Michael's work launched a new era in genetics research -- that's
his legacy to science," says Indira Samarasekera, UBC's vice-president,
Research. "His discovery has paved the way to finding new treatments
for life-threatening illness."
Born in Blackpool, England, he received his PhD in 1956 from the
University of Manchester and completed his post-doctoral fellowship
with the B.C. Research Council in 1960. He joined UBC in 1966.
In 1987, he founded UBC 's Biotechnology Laboratory which is expanding
to include a new building that will bear his name.
He was named a Peter Wall Distinguished Professor of
at UBC and many of his students have gained
A founding Scientific Leader of the Protein Engineering
of Centres of Excellence, Smith was named a Career
of the Medical Research Council of Canada in 1966.
He was appointed a director of the Canada Foundation for
Well-known for his commitment to human welfare and science
Smith donated half of his Nobel Prize to the Schizophrenia
of Canada and the Canadian Alliance for Research on
The other half of his prize established an endowment fund
income supports the Society for Canadian Women in Science
and a program for elementary school teachers provided by
The Royal Bank Award, which he received in 1999, included a companion
grant which he donated to the B.C. Cancer Foundation.
In addition, the Michael Smith Awards, sponsored by the Natural
Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, honour individuals
and organizations who make an outstanding contribution to the promotion
of science in Canada.
Smith received numerous awards and distinctions including: Companion
of the Order of Canada; Order of British Columbia; University Killam
Professor, UBC; Fellow, Royal Society of Canada; Fellow, Royal Society
of London; Canadian Medical Association Medal of Honour and Canadian
Medical Hall of Fame.
UBC will hold a celebration of the life of Michael
Monday, Nov. 6 at 4 p.m. in the Chan Centre for the
All are welcome to attend.