2019 - Dr. Brendan Bell

Dr. Brendan BellDr. Brendan Bell grew up on a farm West of Donalda, Alberta. He attended elementary school in Donalda and high school at William E. Hay in Stettler. He completed a BSc in Chemistry at the University of Alberta before moving to Montreal to complete a second BSc in Honours Biochemistry at McGill University. He then went on to obtain a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of British Columbia in 1997.

He moved to the prestigious institut de génétique et biologie moléculaire et cellulaire (IGBMC) in Strasbourg, France, to perform postdoctoral work. His research in Strasbourg led to the discovery of new cellular pathway that dictates life versus death decisions in human cells. After winning a competitive Marie Curie Fellowship from the European Union, he moved to Barcelona, Spain, to the Centro de Regulación Genómica (CRG) in Barcelona, Spain as a postdoctoral researcher. In Barcelona he studied the mechanisms by which gene expression can induce a process termed programmed cell death, that is important for virtually all anti-cancer chemotherapy.

In 2004, he was recruited as a professor to the Université de Sherbrooke in Quebec via the award of the Canada Research Chair in Genomic Regulation. In 2013 he was awarded the “personality of the year” award in science by the most read French-language newspaper, La Presse and the CBC for his team’s discovery of proteins that could one day lead to a cure or vaccine for the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). He continues to train undergraduate, medical, masters and PhD students and to direct research projects that aim to bring new solutions to the cancer and AIDS problems.