Two careers dedicated to inspiration honoured at the CTL
Tyrrell and Gary Lopaschuk, both accomplished teachers, researchers and leaders in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry, are being honoured with this year’s title of Distinguished University Professor at the U of A’s 15th annual Celebration of Teaching and Learning Sept. 24.
Lopaschuk shares Tyrrell’s passion for teaching, and is gratified to see the students acquiring knowledge and developing their thought processes.
“My style is very much treating the student with respect and to not to be condescending; making sure they understand what you’re actually teaching.”
Lopaschuk works in both the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Pharmacology. He says the students have been the most important part of the research process, as they have helped him make huge strides in the fight against heart disease.
“They’re crucial in providing some of the initial ideas of what experiments and what approach we use, but they’re also critical in performing the research.”
Lopaschuk feels honoured to be recognized by his peers with this award and says he has felt a great sense of pride during the past 25 years teaching at the U of A.
“It’s recognition by your institution of some of your accomplishments, and I have looked at a number of past awardees—including my co-awardee—and am honoured to be in the same company.”
Tyrrell says this award means a lot to him, as he has given almost 50 years of his academic life to the
U of A, a journey that began in 1961 when he was a young and eager chemistry student. Today he holds the Canadian Institutes of Health Research/ GlaxoSmithKline Chair in virology in the Department of Medical Microbiology and Immunology and teaches students who share his thirst for knowledge. He is also the founding director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology.
“When you’re surrounded by young people who are enthusiastic and interested in the work, it gives you energy and enthusiasm for your work yourself.”
Tyrrell says a career highlight in 1986, when he discovered how to develop the world’s first antiviral therapy for hepatitis B, would not have been possible without the hard work of the trainees who put in countless hours in his lab. The product of that work, the first oral antiviral agent for the hepatitis B virus, is now being used in more than 200 countries.
“For each one of the key discoveries made in the laboratory, I can identify a student, a post-doctoral fellow, or a colleague that has contributed to pivotal or critical observations that helped in crystallizing that discovery.”