WCVM professors Dr. Cheryl Waldner and Dr. Volker Gerdts have been inducted as fellows into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS).

Two WCVM researchers join university's CAHS Fellows

Three University of Saskatchewan (USask) leaders and researchers — including two faculty members of the Western College of Veterinary Medicine (WCVM) — have been inducted as fellows into the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences (CAHS).

Gerdts is director and CEO of the Vaccine and Infectious Disease Organization (VIDO) as well as a professor in the WCVM's Department of Veterinary Microbiology. Waldner is a professor in the college's Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences and holds the NSERC/BCRC Industrial Research Chair in One Health and Production-Limiting Diseases. 

Dr. Walter Siqueira (DDS, PhD), a professor and associate dean in the USask College of Dentistry, was also inducted to the CAHS. 

“We congratulate these exceptional scholars, who exemplify USask’s strength and diversity in health research,” said USask Vice-President Research Baljit Singh. “Their leadership unlocks the creativity, innovation and community potential of interdisciplinary exploration.”

The CAHS is one of three national academies that comprise the Council of Canadian Academies, the highest honour granted to scholars in Canada. The other two CCA academies are the Royal Society of Canada and the Canadian Academy of Engineering.

Fellows of the Academy are elected based on their demonstrated leadership, creativity, distinctive competencies and commitment to advancing academic health sciences.

A total of 73 new fellows were inducted to the CAHS on Sept. 13.

Dr. Volker Gerdts

Gerdts is internationally recognized for human and animal vaccine development. Before becoming director, he was a research scientist and associate director of research at VIDO. 

Under Gerdts' direction, VIDO is playing a leadership role in Canada’s COVID-19 research response. In addition, the organization is establishing itself as Canada’s Centre for Pandemic Research. Gerdts has over 150 publications and secured more than $225 million in funding. He has also given more than 250 media interviews and presentations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I am honoured to become a member of the CAHS; this is a great recognition of the team effort at VIDO,” said Gerdts. “I am pleased to work with the academy to developing strategies for Canada to better prepare for the next disease outbreak.”

Dr. Cheryl Waldner

Waldner’s three-decade career has improved herd health, beef production and antimicrobial stewardship for beef cattle. She develops surveillance tools for improved health and productivity in beef herds and leads transdisciplinary research that includes environmental and infectious disease epidemiology in people and animals.

Her research has attracted more than $26.6 million in funding. As the NSERC/BCRC Industrial Research Chair in One Health and Production-Limiting Diseases, Waldner is leading a five-year beef cattle health productivity research program with $2.35 million in Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and federal support. She’s also co-leader of the $5.6 million Genomic ASSETS for Livestock project — a multi-year project that aims to combat the global challenge of antimicrobial resistance and improve antimicrobial stewardship in the livestock industry.

Waldner has more than 250 peer-reviewed publications, over 6,000 citations and h-index of 40. She has supervised four postdoctoral fellows, 14 PhD students, seven MSc students and nine MPH students in addition to research associates and numerous summer research students. 

“It is an honour to be included in this group of scientific leaders who are dedicated to the betterment of health for all. Animal and human health is intrinsically linked, and I am grateful to be recognized for my commitment to improving the health and lives of both animals and people,” Waldner said.

Dr. Walter Siqueira

Siqueira is internationally renowned for his expertise in saliva. Siqueira leads the Salivary Proteomics Research Laboratory at USask, a research program unique in Canada and one of only a few in the world.

Siqueira's scholarship account with over 100 publications, an h-index of 41, research funding totalling more than $9 million, and supervision of eight post-doctoral fellows, 20 graduate students, numerous undergraduate, and 26 visiting students.

In addition, Siqueira is highly involved with the Canadian Association for Dental Research — acting as president between 2019-2021— as well as other national and international oral health research organizations.

Siqueira said, "To date, only 11 dentists have been elected as a member of the CAHS. This is without question a major milestone in my career as both an academic and scientist."

Click here to read the USask news release. 

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