December 02, 2011



Polanyi prize awarded to McMaster biologist


Hamilton, Ont. December 02, 2011A McMaster University researcher has won a prestigious award for his work on how environmental extremes affect animals in the wild, research that could provide valuable insight on the impact of global change.


Graham Scott, an assistant professor in the Department of Biology, has been awarded the 2011 Polanyi prize for physiology and medicine.


His research explores how certain animals – those that are exceptionally tolerant of environmental extremes – adapt to their surroundings and the physiological systems that are key to fitness in the wild.  He has studied several different species, including birds thriving at high altitudes and fish that live in various challenging environments. 


“Our goal is to study the variation in physiology between species from different habitats and between different life stages to understand how these animals are affected by oxygen depletion and global warming in the wild,” he says.  “This award is very meaningful because it recognizes the importance of this kind of research.” 


Named in honor of the 1986 Nobel-prize winner, the John Charles Polanyi Prize recognizes outstanding researchers at Ontario universities in the early stages of their careers . The awards cover chemistry, literature, physics, economics and physiology or medicine, and recipients receive $20,000 each.


“Graham is an exceptional young scientist with a promising future ahead of him as a scientist and academic,” says John Capone, dean of the Faculty of Science. “The Polanyi Prize is a clear recognition of his past accomplishments and future potential, and we are fortunate to have someone of such talent and promise in our Faculty.  He is highly deserving of this prestigious award.” 


McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is committed to discovery and learning in teaching, research and scholarship. It has a student population of 23,000 and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.




 For more information contact:


Michelle Donovan

Public Relations Manager

McMaster University

905-525-9140 ext. 22869


Wade Hemsworth

Public Relations Manger

McMaster University

905-525-9140, ext. 27988