Distinguished Researcher - 2009
Professor of Chemistry
The Distinguished Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member’s contribution to scholarship through creation, expansion, and critique of knowledge. Soledade Pedras, Canada Research Chair in Bio-organic and Agricultural Chemistry and professor in the department of chemistry, is the 2009 award recipient.
For fifteen years, Pedras has been exploring the chemical relationship between plants and their pathogens. She has earned a stellar international reputation for her innovative research and colleagues across the globe have described Pedras as a pioneer at the forefront of her field whose work has worldwide impact.
Pedras’ research has attracted funding from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and this investment has paid off. Pedras and her research team have uncovered what she calls a “green” crop protection agent, called paldoxins, that can help protect plants from a variety of diseases without harming other living organisms. Put simply, Pedras has discovered that wild species of the crucifer family of plants—including broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, as well as mustard, canola, and rapeseed—produce a chemical defense against the fungi that cause diseases that cultivated crops do not. By creating a synthetic compound, this naturally occurring defense mechanism can be transferred from the wild to the farm. This breakthrough, currently being patented, is set to have a profound effect on crop protection and increase quality and productivity around the world.
Over the course of her distinguished career, Pedras has authored or co-authored more than 100 papers in refereed journals and has presented her research at regional, national, and international conferences. She has also contributed to the academic community as a grant reviewer for NSERC and CRC, as a member of the selection committee for the prestigious Killam Prizes and Research Fellowships, and as a member of the NATO Postgraduate Fellowships Committee. Pedras has reviewed over 140 manuscripts and currently sits on the Editorial Board of Phytochemistry, a leading international journal of plant chemistry, plant biochemistry and molecular biology.
In recognition of her distinguished contributions to the field of chemistry, Pedras received the Clara Benson Award from the Canadian Society for Chemistry in 2003. She was also awarded the USSU Teaching Excellence Award and named Thorvaldson Professor in the department of chemistry from 2003 to 2008.
While Pedras is a dedicated scholar, she has also displayed tremendous commitment to teaching and learning by supervising numerous graduate theses, post-doctoral fellows, Research Associates, and Visiting Scientists.
Pedras earned a BSc from the University of Porto in Portugal and a PhD in organic chemistry from the University of Alberta. She has served as a Visiting Fellow at the NRC’s Plant Biotechnology Institute and has acted as a consultant for numerous companies and organizations such as the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool.
Pedras is one of the University of Saskatchewan’s most pre-eminent researchers and exceptionally worthy of the 2009 Distinguished Researcher Award.
New Researcher - 2009
Professor of Large Animal Clinical Sciences
The New Researcher Award recognizes a faculty member’s contribution to scholarship through creation, expansion and critique of knowledge. Cheryl Waldner, professor in the department of large animal clinical sciences at the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM), is the 2009 recipient.
Since earning her PhD in 1999, Dr. Waldner has established herself as a leader in her field, referred to by her colleagues as one of the most pre-eminent veterinary epidemiologists in North America whose scientific output and commitment to service and mentorship has been outstanding.
In 2000, Dr. Waldner was tasked with organizing and managing the multi-year, multi-million dollar Western Canadian Beef Productivity Study for the Western Interprovincial Scientific Studies Association, funded by a number of private oil and gas companies and associations, as well as the Alberta Cattle Commission and several government agencies. As the principal investigator for this project, Dr. Waldner studied the impact of exposure to oil and gas emissions on the reproductive performance of cattle and calf survival. Not only did Dr. Waldner successfully undertake what her colleagues describe as the pinnacle of applying epidemiological principles to veterinary issues, she used the opportunity of this study to look at other aspects of beef cattle health and productivity including infectious disease, vitamin deficiencies in young calves and antimicrobial resistance.
Her dedication and superb scientific contribution through this project has strengthened the reputation of the University of Saskatchewan as a hub of research excellence at the forefront of food animal medicine and environmental health.
During her career, Dr. Waldner has authored or co-authored four books and more than 90 papers in refereed journals. She has presented her research at national and international conferences, reviewed articles for top journals in her field including the Canadian Veterinary Journal, Veterinary Therapeutics and the American Journal of Veterinary Research, and acted as a consultant for a number of private and government agencies.
Dr. Waldner is actively involved in the university community as a member of numerous departmental, college and university committees and a joint member of the School for Public Health. She is a committed scientist and mentor who has supervised seven MSc and PhD students in the last 10 years. She has been recognized for her expertise and commitment, including winning the 2005 Pfizer Animal Health Award for Research Excellence from the WCVM.
Dr. Waldner earned her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine with Great Distinction from the University of Saskatchewan in 1988. She returned from private practice to earn her PhD in epidemiology and beef herd medicine from the WCVM in 1999.