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World-Renowned Scientist, Water Polo Olympian, St. Joe’s Research Leader and Delta Secondary School Graduate Receives Canada’s Highest Honour

A brilliant scientist and a world-class athlete, Jack Gauldie could have taken his career to any locale around the globe. The renowned scientist chose to maintain his address in the city where he was raised, Hamilton, while the influence of his life’s work spanned the world.

St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton Vice President (Research) and Delta Secondary School graduate has earned the country’s highest honour as a Member of the Order of Canada, which recognizes outstanding achievement, dedication to a community, and service to our nation.

The well-deserved recognition stems from achievements that have occurred over more than four decades pursuing two diverse passions, both resulting in Jack representing Canada on the world stage.

Some have called Dr. Gauldie one of the founding fathers of the field of cytokine biology. Cytokines are molecules that cells use to signal to each other. Indeed, one of Jack’s most significant contributions to health sciences was his discovery of Interleukin 6 (IL-6) and this cytokine’s role in understanding, at the molecular level, how people respond to infections, autoimmune diseases and chronic conditions, including cancer. His work with IL-6 evolved out of the most formative years of the newly discovered area of cytokine biology. Currently, drugs targeting IL-6 are being used in arthritis treatment.

In the mid-80s, Jack turned his attention to pulmonary fibrosis. His lab established that cytokines of the TGF-b family were major factors involved in the fibrotic process – the formation of scar tissue – in the lungs. The advancements spurred further interest and investigation of pulmonary fibrosis over the past 30 years, which led to the development of two new drug therapies for a lethal pulmonary disease.

Later, Jack began a close collaboration with Dr. Frank Graham at McMaster, a pioneer in the use of adenovirus as a vector for foreign genes. Jack worked with this vector system to deliver antigen genes to dendritic cells for cancer vaccine development. His work has helped the development of currently successful approaches to stimulate the human immune response to control cancer progression, and effect significant cancer regression.

After graduating from Delta Secondary School in Hamilton’s east end, Jack attended McMaster University to complete an undergraduate degree in chemistry and physics.  His professors encouraged him to continue his graduate studies at University College London, England where he received his PhD in Biological Chemistry. He then returned to Hamilton to join the faculty at McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, where he holds the highest honour of Distinguished University Professor.

“Dr. Gauldie, who is a long-time and respected colleague of mine, is a giant in the Faculty of Health Sciences.  He is renowned for his extensive scientific investigation in the molecular manipulation for the treatment of diseases,” said Dr. Paul O’Byrne, Dean and Vice President, McMaster University Faculty of Health Sciences.

Dr. Gauldie has published over 370 scientific articles and a number of book chapters, mainly dealing with the areas of biomedical research. He has received awards from the Canadian Medical Association, the Canadian Society of Clinical Chemists, the Canadian Society for Immunology, and the Distinguished Achievement Award from the American Thoracic Society.

Dr. Jack Gauldie’s impressive achievements in medical research are made even more outstanding by the fact that his second passion led him to represent Canada in water polo at the Pan American Games in 1967, and again at the Munich Olympic Games in 1972.

“Prominent among Jack’s many qualities are his strong sense of commitment and loyalty. Jack is a staunch Hamiltonian dedicated to the promotion of the city, its university and this hospital,” said Dr. Stephen Collins, Distinguished Professor, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. “As an internationally recognized scientist he has brought much recognition to our academic community. As an Olympic athlete, he served his country well. Few are more deserving of this recognition.”

Today, Dr. Gauldie is Vice President of Research at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton, and Scientific Director of its Research Institute. St. Joe’s is a McMaster University affiliated research hospital. In this role, Jack is a champion for healthcare research that is transforming clinical, translational, evaluative and fundamental research across the spectrum of mental health, kidney, genitourinary, and respiratory care. This work is also putting his beloved city of Hamilton on the map as a magnet for top medical researchers around the globe.

In praise of Jack Gauldie –

“Jack Gauldie’s induction into the Order of Canada reflects his multiple local, national and internationally acclaimed achievements.  A former Canadian Olympic waterpolo athlete, he is globally recognized for his outstanding research in immunology, cancer and fibrosis, led McMaster’s Department of Pathology and Molecular Medicine to its current preeminence and now champions and leads health research at St Joseph’s Healthcare in Hamilton.”

– John Bienenstock,
Distinguished University Professor, McMaster University

“Upon hearing that Dr. Jack Gauldie was awarded the Order of Canada, two thoughts immediately came to mind. Fantastic!….but, what took so long! The Order of Canada recognizes Canadians for their contributions to culture or communication. Others for their significant contributions to sports or the arts. Still others for their contributions to science and the betterment of humanity. Jack Gauldie is all of the above. After representing Canada in the Olympics, he became a coach/manager and later an Olympic commentator on CBC. He took a bit of time off from these activities to become a world renowned scientist developing new treatments for cancer, and training the next several generations of Canadian scientists and physicians. Beyond all of these international accomplishments, those who know Jack best appreciate he is a wonderful person full of joy, kindness, laughter, and just the right amount of impish mischief to make us all smile.”

– John G. Kelton, MD,
Executive Director, Michael G. DeGroote Initiative for Innovation in Healthcare, Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, McMaster University