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Dr. Anthony Pawson
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Dr. Anthony Pawson



Research Institute
Mount Sinai Hospital
Joseph & Wolf Lebovic Health Complex
600 University Ave
Toronto Ontario M5G 1X5

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Dr. Anthony (Tony) Pawson

Dr. Tony Pawson revolutionized our understanding of the way our cells work in health and in disease. His discoveries contribute to every aspect of medical research and have relevance for the understanding and treatment of a host of diseases including cancer, diabetes, and disorders of the immune system. In the 25 years he spent studying how cells grow and communicate with each other, he became a world leader and one of the top 25 cited scientists in his field.

In particular, Dr. Pawson studied signal transduction, in other words, the way in which cells control their own and each other's behaviour through chemical signals. Many disease processes such as diabetes, heart disease, autoimmunity and cancer arise from defects in signaling. Modern drug development therefore, is based on understanding and intervening in this process. In cancer for example, an aberrant signal causes cells to grow in an uncontrolled fashion. Dr. Pawson's groundbreaking discoveries related to signal transduction allowed for the development of a new generation of drugs that halt the proliferation of some kinds of cancer cells.

Dr. Pawson was a Distinguished Scientist and Apotex Chair in Molecular Oncology at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and a Senior Fellow, Massey College, University of Toronto. In June 2008, he was the first Canadian scientist to be named a Kyoto Prize Laureate. In 2006, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, and that same year he was named to the Order of the Companions of Honour by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, one of only nine Canadians to have received such an honour. He has received international recognition for his research achievements and his list of prestigious awards and honours includes the 2007 Premier's Summit Award for Medical Research, the Gairdner Foundation International Award, the Dr. H.P. Heineken Prize for Biochemistry and Biophysics (Netherlands), the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize (Columbia University) and the Wolf Prize in Medicine (Israel). He was elected to the Order of Ontario, and to the Royal Society of London and the Royal Society of Canada. He authored more than 370 scholarly publications.






At a Glance

  • Dr. Tony Pawson - a "cell biology revolutionist"
    - passed away in August 2013
  • He studied signal transduction (the way in which cells communicate and control their own and each other's behavior through chemical signals).
  • His research changed the way that the scientific community views signal transduction.
  • His discoveries have contributed to every aspect of medical research and have relevance for the understanding and treatment of a host of diseases including cancer, diabetes, neurobiology and disorders of the immune system.
  • His discoveries have been one factor in the development of drugs like Gleevec, now commonly used for treatment of a type of leukemia.
  • In 2008, he was named a Kyoto Prize Laureate, the first Canadian scientist to hold this title.
  • He become one of the world's most-cited researchers, and in 2010 was named a 'nation builder of the decade' by The Globe and Mail.'


Major Research Activities

The Pawson laboratory studies the mechanisms by which cells convert an external signal into an intracellular response. In analysing the signalling properties of normal and oncogenic protein-tyrosine kinases they identified a protein module, the SH2 domain, which is a common feature of many cytoplasmic signalling proteins, and acts through its ability to recognize specific phosphotyrosine-containing peptide motifs. SH2 domains therefore function to physically couple activated cell surface receptors, that regulate cell growth, differentiation and movement, to cytoplasmic biochemical pathways. SH2 domains serve as the prototype for a large family of protein modules that act in concert to control many aspects of cellular behaviour.


The Publication Network of Tony Pawson
 - A Cytoscape.js Visualisation


Recent Publications


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