Ontario confers knighthood on Dr. Herbert Gaisano (XS ’74)

Dr. Herbert Gaisano wearing the prestigious Order of Ontario insignia—a medal which recognises his outstanding contribution in gastroenterology and diabetes which has enriched the lives of others.

DR. HERBERT GAISANO, a world-renowned gastroenterologist and an alumnus of the UP College of Medicine, received earlier this year the Order of Ontario, the Canadian Province’s highest official honor, second only to the Order of Canada, a full knighthood. Dr. Gaisano was one of 27 new appointees of the civilian order who were bestowed the award during an investiture ceremony held on 20 January 2016 at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto. The Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order, presided over the event.

The Order of Ontario yearly recognises current and former Ontarians whose phenomenal lifelong work in their respective fields benefitted the province or anywhere else in the world. For Dr. Herbert Gaisano, the citation for his provincial knighthood read:

“Dr. Gaisano is one of the world’s leading gastroenterologists, and an innovator in life-changing research into diabetes and pancreatitis–conditions that affect millions of Canadians. With numerous international recognition awards for his scientific contributions, Dr. Gaisano has dedicated his work to the fight against diabetes by exploring the complexities of this pervasive illness and advancement of new treatment strategies. Gaisano and colleagues were first to identify how SNARE proteins, fundamental elements in secretion, could be distorted to cause these diseases–this groundbreaking work has placed him among the top five researchers in the world and first in Canada. His achievements were recognised by the 2013 Nobel Prize laureate in medicine as fundamental to advancements in the treatment of diabetes. He is also dedicated to supporting medical education in the Philippines.”

A proud product of the University of the Philippines (B. Sci. Pre-Medicine, magna cum laude, 1977; Doctor of Medicine 1981), Dr. Gaisano credited his UP and Philippine General Hospital days for honing in him that single-minded unwavering pursuit that subsequently spanned the next 35 years from a most compassionate physician rapidly evolving into a basic scientist in relentless pursuit of knowledge and excellence, to have made his many discoveries that defined mechanisms of disease in diabetes and pancreatitis, a major step towards the eventual cure of these diseases.

Dr Herbert Gaisano 1

Hon. Dowdeswell (woman in black with print) investing Dr. Gaisano with the Order.

Dr. Gaisano is a professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He completed Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine training in 1990 at one of America’s top institutions, the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota). He was appointed to fellowship of the Canadian Academy of Health Science (2013, equivalent of the U.S. Academy of Medicine). Peculiarly and rarely, Dr. Gaisano’s recognitions encompassed two disciplines. The national and international awards recognising his contributions to Gastroenterology include Young Investigator Awards from the American Gastroenterology Association (1994), the American Pancreatic Association and International Association of Pancreatology (1994), Outstanding Young Scientist (1997) and Outstanding Researcher  of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology(2010). His contributions to Diabetes research were recognised with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award (2012, federal award recommended by Canadian Diabetes Association), Mary Jane Kugel Award from international Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (2003) and Banting and Best Award from the Eli Lilly Company (1996). Dr. Gaisano was also conferred the Most Outstanding Researcher Award from the UP Medical School Alumni Association Annual Meeting in Manila (2006) and UP Alumni Association (Toronto) Centennial Distinguished Graduate Award (2008). Dr. Gaisano holds a US patent on a new molecular target for anti-diabetic drugs.

Dr. Gaisano hails from the Gaisano Clan of Cebu. He was a graduate of Xavier School in 1974.

Article Provided by: Mr. Manuel Uychiaoco II

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