The John G. Fitzgerald Outstanding Microbiologist Award recognizes Canadian Microbiologists that have significantly advanced the field of medical microbiology through their contributions to clinical, academic, and/or educational pillars.

We are very pleased to celebrate Dr. Lorne Tyrrell’s extraordinary national and international contributions and leadership with the 2022 John J. Fitzgerald Outstanding Microbiologist Award.

Dr. Lorne Tyrrell is a Clinician-Scientist and Distinguished Professor at the University of Alberta with research interests in the prevention and treatment of viral diseases.  He graduated with a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Alberta in 1964 and obtained an MD from the University of Alberta (1968) and a PhD from Queen’s University (1972).  He did a residency in Internal Medicine and subspecialty training in Infectious Diseases followed by postdoctoral training in Virology at the Karolinska Institute (1978).

Since 1986, Dr. Tyrrell has focused his research on viral hepatitis and the development of antiviral therapy supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research and GlaxoSmithKline.  In collaboration with Morris Robins, this work resulted in the licensing of the first oral antiviral drug for chronic HBV (lamivudine) in 1988 and subsequently in over 200 countries.  This work was the primary basis for the establishment of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology (LKSIoV) in 2010 at the University of Alberta, for which he is the Founding Director.  The institute now has 48 principal investigators with research on 26 viruses. 

Dr. Tyrrell was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry from 1994-2004.  During this time, the faculty more than doubled tri-council peer-reviewed funding and increased research space by over 120% including the Katz Group Center for Pharmacy and Health Research and the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation.  Working with the Capital Health Authority, the Mazankowski Heart Institute and the Edmonton Clinic Health Academy were completed.  As Dean, Dr. Tyrrell was the Chair of the Association of Canadian Medical Colleges for two years.  He also co-authored, with Dale Dauphinee, a pivotal report titled “Task Force on Physician Supply in Canada”.

Since leaving the Deanship, he has taken on a number of important Board positions in healthcare in Alberta and Canada.  These include the Chair of the Board of the Institute of Health Economics (2006-2016), Chair of the Gairdner Foundation Board (2009-2019), member of the Research Advisory Committee to the President of CIFAR (2004-2020) and an appointment to the Science Advisory Board of Health Canada (2008-2018).  During the COVID-19 pandemic he was asked by the federal Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development to serve on the National Vaccine Task Force.  He was also asked by the Public Health Agency of Canada to chair the committee to recruit a new Scientific Director for the National Microbiology Laboratory in Winnipeg.

Dr. Tyrrell has received numerous awards including the Prix Galien Canada Research Award (1998), the Gold Medal of the Canadian Liver Foundation (2000), Alberta Order of Excellence (2000), Officer of the Order of Canada (2002), the Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award of the Canadian Medical Association (2004), and Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2004).  Dr. Tyrrell was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (2011) and he was awarded the Killam Prize for Health Science (2015).  Most recently, he was awarded the 2021 Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research and the 2022 Baruch S. Blumberg Prize from the Hepatitis B Foundation.

Dr. Tyrrell maintains active research programs in viral-host interactions, HCV vaccine development and on SARS-CoV-2 vaccines, diagnostics, and antivirals.  He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers. 

Updated on August 15, 2022