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Highest honour

Geneticist named an officer of the Order of Canada

Campus and Community

By Rebecca Rebeiro

An Honorary Research Professor in the Faculty of Medicine has been named an officer of the Order of Canada.

Dr. Jane Green is one of 105 notable Canadians receiving the prestigious honour, which was announced by Gov. Gen. Julie Payette on July 3.

Dr. Green has been at the forefront of genetic research for nearly 40 years. She is an internationally recognized human geneticist and an expert in the areas of hereditary cancers and eye diseases.

Her studies have led to numerous discoveries, including novel genes in Newfoundland and Labrador families, and a new understanding of pathways to the development of cancer and blindness.

Lifetime of work

“The recognition by the Order of Canada acknowledges that genetics research in Newfoundland and Labrador benefits families in this province, across Canada and even beyond,” said Dr. Green.

“I am proud that I have been able to work with so many families from Newfoundland and Labradro, and that they have welcomed me into their homes, shared their medical histories and provided many generations of family history information.”

Dr. Green has been commended by numerous organizations, best illustrated by her membership in the Canadian Genetic Diseases Network; appointment to the first scientific advisory board of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Institute of Genetics and her appointment as an honorary life member of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists (CCMG).

She was also inducted as a fellow in the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, considered to be one of the highest honours for a member of the Canadian health sciences community.

Three women looking over paper on a table
Dr. Jane Green sharing her research.
Photo: HSIMS

In 2012 the CCMG awarded Dr. Green with the Founders Award for Excellence in Medical Genetics, the first honorary member to receive this award. In 2014 she was one of seven exemplary individuals inducted into the Order of Newfoundland and Labrador for her dedication to the people of her research and the health-care providers who deliver aid to them.

“My research has increased the understanding of genetic diseases in Newfoundland and Labrador for members of families and their health-care professionals,” she said. “It has provided information on the risk of specific conditions to other family members, and it has allowed earlier identification and better treatment of cancers in hereditary cancer families.”

‘Patients and families come first’

She has helped build a strong foundation for research in human genetics at Memorial University and the recognition of genetic research globally.

Through collaborative research with top-ranked institutions like Johns Hopkins University, Dalhousie University and the University of Helsinki, Dr. Green has helped pave the way for future learners.

“After many years as a professor, my best advice for students is that even if your own research is in the laboratory, it is important to remember that the patients and families come first. And even though you may have a research plan, you should always be on alert for an unexpected result that serendipitously leads in a new and valuable direction.”


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