Research Canada announces winners of 2017 Leadership in Advocacy Award

Immediate Release


Montreal, November 23, 2017 – Two leaders in health research advocacy were presented last evening with the Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award. Christopher J. Paige, PhD, FCAHS, Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network and Eleanor N. Fish, PhD, Professor, Department of Immunology and Associate Chair, International Collaborations and Initiatives, University of Toronto; Senior Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network and Adjunct Scientist, Women’s College Research Institute, received the 2017 Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award at a ceremony in Montreal held in conjunction with the 2017 Prix Galien Canada and HRF Medal of Honour Award Ceremony.

The Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award was created to recognize outstanding champions of health research and health innovation at the local, regional and/or national level—advocates who educate policymakers, the media and the public about the health, social, and economic benefits of health research and health innovation in Canada.

“Our industry is fortunate to have many fine individuals and organizations working tirelessly to ensure that health research is supported by Canadians and their leaders,” Dr. Robert McMaster, Research Canada’s Chair and Vice President of Research at Vancouver Coastal Health said in describing the stellar list of candidates who were nominated for the 2017 award. “It is the life-changing nature of our work that makes this activity so special, and our champions so cherished,” he added.

“There is a great deal of competition for public attention and support, and it is the work of Drs. Paige and Fish and our advocacy champions that keeps health research and health innovation high priorities for all governments and for the public,” said Deborah Gordon-El-Bihbety, President and CEO of Research Canada.

Research Canada will continue to recognize the achievements of more advocates in the coming years with this annual award and thanks all of those who submitted nominations for this year.


For more information on the Research Canada Leadership in Advocacy Award:

Sean Dillon-Fordyce
Communications Manager
Research Canada
Telephone: 613-277-4757


About Research Canada

Research Canada is a national, broad-based alliance dedicated to increasing investments in health research through collaborative advocacy. We believe health research is a shared benefit, shared responsibility and an investment in Canada’s future. We engage government, academia, industry and non-profit sectors to build support for balanced and long-term health research funding – investments that strengthen Canada’s innovation system and lead to better health, sustainable health care, new commercialization opportunities, and skilled jobs for Canadians.


About the Winners


Christopher J. Paige, PhD, FCAHS

Dr. Paige earned a PhD in Immunology at the Sloan-Kettering Division of Cornell University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in 1979. He became a Member of the Basel Institute for Immunology in Switzerland where he worked from 1980-1987 before joining the Ontario Cancer Institute as a Senior Scientist in 1987. In 1990, Paige became the founding Director of the Arthritis and Autoimmunity Research Centre as well as Director of Research at The Wellesley Hospital. In 1998, he returned to the Ontario Cancer Institute to assume the role of Vice President, Research and, subsequently assumed the position of Vice President, Research at the University Health Network, which comprises four hospitals: Toronto Rehab, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Paige is a Professor in the Departments of Medical Biophysics and Immunology at the University of Toronto.

He is an internationally recognized leader in the area of lymphocyte development and antibody formation, with an active research program in training the immune system to attack cancer cells. He has served on the Research Advisory Boards of the National Cancer Institute and the Arthritis Society of Canada. He is the past Chairman of BioDiscovery Toronto, a consortium of 12 Toronto-based hospitals and universities engaged in the commercialization of research discoveries. He also serves on the Boards of the Terry Fox Research Institute and Research Canada. Paige is a Board member and Scientific Founder of AvroBio, a biotech company developing viral-based gene therapy for cancer and rare disease. He is Director General of UHN Shanghai, a drug development facility in China.


Eleanor N. Fish, PhD

Dr. Fish is the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Women’s Health & Immunobiology, a McLaughlin Scholar and was elected as a Fellow to the American Academy of Microbiologists. In 2015 Dr. Fish was elected as a Fellow to the African Academy of Sciences.

Dr. Fish received her B.Sc. degree in Biological Chemistry from the University of Manchester, England, and her M.Phil. in Virology from King’s College, University of London, England. She received her Ph.D. in Cell Biology from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, Canada.

Dr. Fish studies the interactions of interferons and chemokines, with their receptors in normal and diseased cells and tissues. A focus of Dr. Fish’s research is the investigation of host-pathogen interactions at the cellular and molecular level, specifically in the context of viruses and interferons. During the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Toronto, she initiated studies to investigate the therapeutic potential of interferon in SARS patients. Encouraging results have directed her group’s efforts toward examining interferon activity against a number of emerging infectious diseases, such as avian H5N1 and pandemic H1N1 influenza viruses. Recently, her studies have focused on investigating the therapeutic effectiveness of interferon treatment for Ebola virus disease, with a clinical trial in Guinea. Dr. Fish was a member of a WHO Working Group to evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of different vaccine and antiviral interventions against Ebola virus.  With the end of the Ebola outbreak Dr. Fish is continuing to work in Guinea, to build capacity in science and technology, focusing on medical research and clinical support. She has secured funding and international partners to that end. Another focus of her work relates to understanding the immune mechanisms that drive autoimmunity, related to rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis. Recently, Dr. Fish initiated research studies in breast cancer, within the context of understanding how chemokine-driven alterations to metabolism influence the growth and metastasis of breast tumors.

Dr. Fish’s research also extends to global outreach, specifically to resource poor regions. For many years Dr. Fish, as Visiting Professor, has been involved in curriculum development and mentoring both Faculty and students in the Department of Immunology at Moi University in Kenya. This extends now to the ongoing development of basic science courses with relevance for trainee MDs, nurses and dentists. She has made these courses available to different institutions across Kenya. In addition, she has established an international initiative – Beyond Science Initiative – a consortium connecting scholars from academic institutions around the globe. BSI provides a platform for dialogue, mentorship and outreach to local and global communities, to bridge the gap in access to academic knowledge and to foster partnerships among the next generation of global scientific leaders.