Many great scientists are driven by the desire to understand and improve human health. This is a common desire—we all wish to experience good health throughout our lives, and to receive effective medical treatment if we get injured or sick. Scientists that study health-related questions are leading this journey towards improved human wellbeing. Their jobs are incredibly challenging, because the human body is extremely complex. Countless bodily processes are constantly occurring, all at the same time. Understanding even one process takes great effort, but it is an even bigger challenge to understand the relationships between processes and how these interrelated processes affect human health. Nonetheless, great advances are happening in human health research every year. Through step-by-step research, our understanding of the human body deepens, so that we can eventually manage health-related problems that were previously out of our reach—improving human health with each breakthrough.
The Gairdner Foundation was established in 1957, with the goal of recognizing and rewarding international excellence in basic research that impacts human health. Every year, the Gairdner Foundation celebrates the world’s best biomedical and global health researchers by giving eight awards to top scientists. Between 1957–2023, 418 awards were given to scientists from over 40 countries. 98 Gairdner Laureates have subsequently won prestigious Nobel Prizes in their fields of research. The Gairdner Foundation believes in coming together to openly discuss science. Open discussions can better engage the public, give us a deeper understanding of the problems we face, and motivate us to work together to find solutions. The Foundation also works hard to inspire the next generation of scientific innovators and to foster a society that is well informed about science.
In this collection, you will read about some of the great discoveries made by winners of the Canada Gairdner Awards—scientific contributions that have significantly impacted human health. These discoveries span diverse areas of science, including biology, chemistry, biomedicine, neuroscience, engineering, and technology. The articles in this collection will dive into fascinating scientific questions, such as:
• Do human cells talk with bacteria?
• Can we develop new kinds of antibiotics?
• Is there a better way to treat brain tumors?
• Can we use artificial intelligence to speed up medical research?
As you read, you will learn about the newest research addressing these intriguing questions. To continually improve our answers and our understanding of human health, scientists must keep working to deepen their knowledge of these and other scientific mysteries. Hopefully, curious minds like yours will join the efforts and contribute to the meaningful journey toward optimal human wellbeing!