Distinguished Researchers - 2000
Professor of Geological Sciences
The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member's contribution to scholarship through the creation, expansion and critique of knowledge. The University has selected Robert Kerrich, Professor of Geological Sciences as the Spring 2000 recipient of this award.
Professor Kerrich earned his Master's (1972) and Ph.D. (1975) degrees at Imperial College, London, UK. In 1996, he was awarded an Earned Doctor of Science from the University of Saskatchewan.
One of Canada's most distinguished geochemists and a world expert on the geochemistry of gold deposits, Prof. Kerrich has established an internationally recognized reputation for research excellence, bringing credit to his department and the University.
He has contributed significantly to the understanding of how the Earth's crust evolved, work which has been important to the mining industry. He has applied his understanding of earth processes to environmental science, investigating problems in fields as diverse as the agricultural and health sciences.
His international profile and prolific research record led his department to seek his appointment to the George J. McLeod Chair in 1987. His subsequent award of a prestigious NSERC Steacie Fellowship confirmed his status within the Canadian scientific community.
Prof. Kerrich was instrumental in establishing at U of S one of Canada's finest geochemical analytical facilities. Using this high-tech equipment, hundreds of scientific papers have been generated by faculty, graduate students and other members of his research team.
Prof. Kerrich is a leading advocate of "earth systems science" which brings together earth sciences and life sciences to address both scientific and social questions. For example, he has collaborated with toxicologists and epidemiologists on environmental geochemistry issues. He was a key player in the $1.9-M Tri-Council Prairie Ecosystem study known as PECOS.
He has authored 156 refereed publications in major international geoscience journals. In addition, he has authored invited articles in a host of edited volumes on geochemistry, gold mineralization, global tectonics and geodynamics. Last year, he was invited by the influential international journal Science to write about recent Australian breakthroughs in understanding how gold deposits form.
Prof. Kerrich's expertise has been sought by various national and international research organizations. He has served on NSERC grant selection committees and on the Scientific Review Group of the Federal Environmental Assessment Review Office (FEARO) that reviewed Canada's plans for nuclear waste management.
Other notable honors bestowed on Prof. Kerrich include:
- Willett G. Miller Medal of the Royal Society of Canada (1999), awarded once every two years for outstanding research in the earth sciences
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (1992 -- Kerrich was the youngest individual ever to receive the honor)
- the W.H. Gross Medal of the Geological Association of Canada (1988), awarded annually to a young geologist who has made outstanding contributions to the field of economic geology in Canada.
Prof. Kerrich has made exceptional, wide-ranging contributions to Canadian geoscience. He is a worthy recipient of this award.
Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences
The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member’s contribution to scholarship through the creation, expansion and critique of knowledge. The University has selected Roger Pierson, Professor in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, as the Fall 2000 recipient of this award.
Professor Pierson earned a Master of Science degree (1982) at Purdue University in Indiana and a Ph.D. (1987) at the University of Wisconsin. In 1988, he moved to Canada to accept a position at the U of S Reproductive Biology Research Unit. Since 1992, he has served as Director of the unit.
Prof. Pierson is a world leader in research into ovarian physiology. In 1990, he became the first scientist to use ultrasound to directly visualize human ovulation. He showed that ultrasonography could be a powerful new tool for non-invasive study of the dramatic changes that occur in the structures of the ovary just before and during ovulation. In 1993, his lab developed a unique vaginal probe for making three-dimensional ultrasound pictures of embryos and fetuses.
These discoveries have made it possible to assess the ovulation potential of individual follicles in infertile women, thereby potentially paving the way for safer and more effective fertility therapies. His investigation of the growth and development of ovarian follicles has also led to new and more effective means of contraception.
Prof. Pierson has become internationally known for developing computer-assisted imaging to analyze the high-resolution ultrasonographic images used to investigate reproductive problems. The 24 computer software programs that he has developed and copyrighted have proven useful not only to assess ovarian function but to assess the potential for cancer to develop in the ovaries and the breast.
Prof. Pierson is a leader in multidisciplinary research on campus. He is an associate member of the Department of Herd Medicine and Theriogenology at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine and a member of the Biomedical Engineering Section in the College of Engineering.
He has brought millions of dollars in research funding to the U of S through federal grants and pharmaceutical industry contracts, developed specialist post-graduate research training for residents, and contributes to continuing professional development of physicians. He takes a keen interest in the work of his many graduate students.
He has received many honors and awards and has served on the executive of several medical societies of reproductive medicine. In 1999-2000, he served as President of the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society. He has contributed to specialist medical education as co-editor of Imaging in Obstetrics, Gynecology and Infertility (1994). He is much in demand as a speaker at national and international conferences.
Prof. Pierson has made groundbreaking discoveries and has played a leading role in his field nationally and internationally. He is a worthy recipient of this award.