Dr. Gordon Keller receives the 2023 Till & McCulloch Award for his research focused on heart development and stem-cell derived heart cell subtypes

September 14, 2023 (OTTAWA, ON) – Dr. Gordon Keller, Director of the McEwen Stem Cell Institute, Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto has been named the 2023 Till & McCulloch Award recipient. He is recognized for his paper published in Cell Stem Cell entitled, Modeling human multi-lineage heart field development with pluripotent stem cells.

The Till & McCulloch Award is presented annually to a Canadian-based researcher who has made an exceptional contribution to global stem cell research in that year. Dr. Keller was nominated by his peers and selected by the Till & McCulloch Meetings Scientific Program Committee to be the 2023 recipient.

Following the notification of his award, Dr. Keller stated, “I am truly honoured to have been selected for the 2023 Till & McCulloch Award. Thank you to the Scientific Program Committee for recognizing and highlighting the work of my talented research team. I’m looking forward to connecting with the stem cell and regenerative medicine community in October at TMM 2023.”

Through precise cell characterization, careful use of molecular cues, and extensive analysis, Dr. Keller and his team clarified key aspects of the process of human heart development and established new methods of growing a range of pluripotent stem-cell derived heart cell subtypes. The heart is a complex organ made up of distinct chambers, valves, and cardiac cell types that all need to work in concert to develop a functional, beating heart. Different diseases target different regions of the heart, so it is essential that researchers have a full understanding of human heart development and access to the range of cardiac cells that make up the heart to test new cell therapies. The work of Dr. Keller and his team will serve as a foundational resource for future modelling of heart diseases and the production of heart cell types for use in the development of new cardiac therapies.

Also being awarded at the Till & McCulloch Meetings this year is the Drew Lyall Award of Excellence for the highest-ranked abstract in the TMM2023 abstract competition. This year the Drew Lyall Award is being presented to Dr. Murtaza Nagree for his work as lead author on A hematopoietic stem cell subset that retains memory of prior inflammatory stress accumulates in aging and clonal hematopoiesis. Dr. Nagree is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the John Dick Lab at the University Health Network who has been working with Andy Zeng under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Xie to unravel how blood stem cells react to and remember inflammation.

Dr. Keller and Dr. Nagree will accept their awards and each respectively present the Till & McCulloch Award lecture and the Drew Lyall Award of Excellence talk on October 24 at the 2023 Till & McCulloch Meetings in Toronto.


About the Till & McCulloch Award
The Till & McCulloch Award was created in honour of Canadian scientists and stem cell pioneers Drs. James Till and Ernest McCulloch, whose pioneering work established the field of stem cell research. The Till & McCulloch Award is presented annually to one researcher in Canada in recognition of their exceptional contributions to global stem cell research in that year. For a list of past awardees, visit www.tillandmcculloch.ca.

About the Drew Lyall Award of Excellence
The Drew Lyall Award of Excellence was created to honour the memory of the Stem Cell Network’s inaugural Executive Director, Drew Lyall, who died in January 2016 a few days shy of his 50th birthday after an eight-year battle with melanoma. To learn more about Drew and to view a list of past awardees, visit www.tillandmcculloch.ca.

About the Till & McCulloch Meetings
The Till & McCulloch Meetings are Canada’s premier stem cell research and regenerative medicine conference, attracting attendees from across the country and internationally since 2012. Hosted by the Stem Cell Network, the conference brings together world-class scientists, post-graduate students, industry experts and legal and policy scholars who will share the latest research advances and techniques in the field. To register or learn more about the conference visit www.tillandmcculloch.ca.

About the Stem Cell Network
The Stem Cell Network (SCN)
is a Canadian not-for-profit that supports stem cell and regenerative medicine research; training the next generation of highly qualified personnel; and knowledge mobilization and transfer of stem cell and regenerative medicine research. From the lab to the clinic, SCN’s goal is to power life-saving therapies and technologies through regenerative medicine research for the benefit of all. Created in 2001, with support from the Government of Canada, the Network has grown from a few dozen labs to more than 270 world-class research groups, supporting over 250 research projects and 30 clinical trials. Since its inception, over 25 biotech companies have been catalyzed or enhanced and more than 6,400 highly qualified personnel have been trained. In 2021, the Government of Canada demonstrated its continuing trust and support in SCN with an investment of $45 million for the 2022–2025 period.