Dr. Pieter Cullis selected for induction into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

Congratulations to Dr. Pieter Cullis (Professor, Biochemistry & Molecular Biology), a 2024 inductee into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, which recognizes “Canadian citizens whose outstanding leadership and contribution to medicine and the health sciences, in Canada and abroad, have led to extraordinary improvements in human health”. Dr. Cullis is one of six medical heroes chosen for 2024, and among only 155 laureates in history. He is being recognized for the creation of drug delivery systems to treat disease, including, notably, lipid nanoparticle (LNP) systems that were integral to the success of COVID-19 mRNA vaccines.

“I am incredibly honoured to be inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame,” said Dr. Cullis. “The lipid nanoparticle technology enabling the COVID-19 mRNA vaccines reflect the efforts of literally hundreds of people. I have been extremely fortunate to receive credit for what was really a huge collective effort.”

This year’s induction ceremony will be held on April 13, 2024, in Vancouver, British Columbia, during the International Congress on Academic Medicine. “The University of British Columbia’s Faculty of Medicine is honoured to host the 2024 Canadian Medical Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony,” says Dr. Dermot Kelleher, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, and Vice-President, Health at UBC. “We look forward to celebrating the incredible achievements of the new laureates, whose ground-breaking work has transformed the lives of patients and communities across Canada and the world, and whose commitment to mentorship has helped inspire countless medical leaders and innovators of tomorrow.”

Dr. Cullis’ bio provided alongside the award announcement:

As the world continues to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, more than 32 million Canadians have been protected by at least one dose of an approved vaccine—thanks in part to Pieter R. Cullis, PhD. Over a 40-year career in physics, biochemistry and molecular biology, Dr. Cullis has taken lipid nanoparticle (LNP) drug delivery systems from a compelling concept to cutting-edge medicines that are impacting billions of lives. Today, LNPs form a key part in the 95% effective BioNTech/Pfizer vaccine against COVID-19. Discoveries by Dr. Cullis and his teams have led to five approved LNP nanomedicines in total, opening the door for new anticancer medicines and gene therapies as well as vaccines. In this way, Dr. Cullis’ success stems not just from his ground-breaking research, but also from his passion for transforming that research into practical uses. In addition to helping develop two Canadian national centre of excellence networks, he co-founded 11 biotech companies and two not-for-profit enterprises, including adMare BioInnovations, to translate academic discoveries into new treatments. As a researcher, company founder, author and mentor, Dr. Cullis continues to shape the next generation of disease-fighting therapeutics.

This text is based on an article on the Faculty of Medicine website, as well as the award announcement on the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame site.