November 19, 2008;  Vancouver, BC – LifeSciences BC is pleased to announce that one of British Columbia’s pre-eminent health researchers, Dr. Michael Hayden, Director and Senior Scientist at the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics, and  University Killam Professor, Department of Medical Genetics at UBC has received the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s (CIHR) Michael Smith Prize in Health Research:  Canada's Health Researcher of the Year award. Named in honor of the late Dr. Michael Smith, CIHR grants this prestigious award annually to a Canadian researcher in Biomedical and Clinical Research who has demonstrated outstanding commitment, innovation, creativity, achievement and leadership in health research.

“Clearly this is an accomplishment worthy of great celebration amongst our health research community and province as a whole,” commented Karimah Es Sabar, President, LifeSciences British Columbia.  “On behalf of this entire community, we applaud and thank Dr. Hayden for his outstanding work, and for bringing this recognition to BC. The contributions he has made to the health of patients while also the development of our biotech and life sciences industry here are immeasurable, thus extremely worthy of this honour, ” she noted.

British Columbia Minister of Health Services, the Honourable George Abbott added, “The late Dr. Michael Smith made British Columbia his home for more than 40 years, and left behind a great legacy as a scientist and humanitarian. I know all British Columbians will join me in congratulating Dr. Michael Hayden on receiving this award. We know that he and his team are building on this legacy, where world-class health research being conducted on Canada’s west coast is helping patients around the world.”

Throughout his career, Dr. Hayden has made major contributions to scientific excellence and to translating research findings into treatment approaches and services for patients.  Dr. Hayden nurtures a collaborative spirit and a supportive environment for investigators with varied expertise to work together towards a single mission:  building a healthier future. Dr. Hayden has also forged important linkages between researchers and industry, having founded multiple successful Canadian biotechnology companies in order to move research findings forward to therapeutic applications for the benefit of patients.  

As part of this distinction, Dr. Hayden will receive a research award of $500,000. During the next two years, he will use the award to support the operating costs for four new trainee awards in the areas of Global Health, Rare Diseases, Mental Health, and Biotechnology under the banner of Ripples of Hope. Dr. Hayden, a native of South Africa, has borrowed this term from a speech he attended when he was 15 years old, by Robert F. Kennedy in 1966 at the University of Cape Town. Dr. Hayden has already secured an additional $700,000 from a pharmaceutical partner that will go directly towards a related endowment, and he will continue working with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation to raise additional funds to go directly towards this endowment or as annual trainee awards.

“Essentially what I’m hoping to do with these awards is create ripples of hope, that together with support from many others, will have impact against certain things we’re fighting against,” commented Dr. Hayden. “One such award will foster someone who can work in biotechnology. I want to be able to take students at early stages of their lives, and have them work in a biotech company to be exposed to the excitement of entrepreneurship. They can also then get the bug, and understand what it is and how you translate benefits for the community,” he said.

For more information on the Canadian Health Research Awards, please visit CIHR at

About the Canadian Institutes of Health Research
The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) is the Government of Canada's agency for health research. CIHR's mission is to create new scientific knowledge and to catalyze its translation into improved health, more effective health services and products, and a strengthened Canadian health-care system. Composed of 13 Institutes, CIHR provides leadership and support to more than 11,000 health researchers and trainees across Canada.

About LifeSciences BC
LifeSciences British Columbia supports and represents the biopharmaceutical, medical device, bioproducts, bioenergy and greater life sciences community of British Columbia through leadership, advocacy, active facilitation of investment and partnering, and promotion of our world-class science and industry. Our mission is to ensure British Columbia realizes its full potential to be a world leader in life sciences; generating a robust and sustainable bio-economy in British Columbia and Canada built on strong partnerships between industry, academia and government.

About the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics

The CMMT is a synergistic group of scientists and researchers who share a strong sense of com
mitment to solve the many genetic questions surrounding human illness and well being.  Affiliated with the University of British Columbia and the Child & Family Research Institute, CMMT conducts discovery research and translates that research into effective clinical and therapeutic strategies to promote health. For more information, visit:


For more information please contact:
Barry Gee
Director, Operations and Communications
LifeSciences BC
Tel: (604) 602-5226