2017 Florence Bucke Science Award goes to Professor Beth Gillies

Image of Professor Beth Gillies

Western Engineering News | April 3, 2017

Beth Gillies, an associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering, was recently awarded the Florence Bucke Science prize.

This prize was made available through an endowment of the late Florence Bucke who received a BA from Western University in 1926 and went on to teach in Fort Erie until 1971.  As part of her endowment to Western, she created a prize to recognize and honour excellence in research. The Florence Bucke Science Prize is awarded annually to a faculty member who is 45 years of age or less, and is based on an assessment of the quality and importance of their research. The prize consists of a certificate, a $2000 award and public lecture which will take place during the week of April 17.

“Since I’ve been at Western, I’ve seen several of my successful colleagues in Science receive this award and deliver the award lecture. It is an honour to be included among this group of researchers,” said Gillies. “Research comes with a lot of challenges on a day-to-day basis because we are generally doing things for the first time and must overcome many technical hurdles to get things working, so it’s nice to recognize success.”

Gillies’ research involves polymer molecules in medications and in the environment. Most polymers, used in cancer-fighting drugs for example, break down inefficiently, either in the body or in the environment, causing negative side-effects.  Gillies is working on developing polymers that will respond to a specific trigger and degrade at specific times and locations.  

Gillies holds a joint appointment between the Department of Chemistry and the Department of Chemical and Biochemical Engineering.  This joint appointment has enabled her to develop many successful research collaborations with colleagues across the Faculties  of Science, Engineering, and Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry.

“I am thankful to a group of creative and motivated graduate students, undergraduates, postdoctoral fellows, and research technicians that I have worked with over the years,” said Gillies.  “They do the hard work in the lab, so they are definitely key players in the successes that we have. I have also been very fortunate to connect with a number of industry partners through Western and these collaborative projects have also brought many new expertise and resources to the group.”

To learn more about Professor Gillies click here