Black innovators in research and medicine

Alexandra Merkx-Jacques, PhD

Scientific brilliance, artistic elegance: A dual force

Alexandra Merkx-Jacques, a trained molecular microbiologist, has contributed to environmental microbiology, algal biofuel and immunotherapy. Her work has resulted in multiple patents, journal articles and conference presentations. A self-taught artist, her artwork is exhibited in local galleries and sold here and abroad. Her work in art and science is inspired by the natural world and challenges stereotypes about women and scientists.

Patent CA 2991707 - Enhancing microbial metabolism of C5 organic carbon

Her innovation enables microalgae to convert agricultural waste into biofuel, a clean and eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels. This promotes cost-effective, green fuel production.

View her digital panel (PDF version, 5.0 MB, 1 page).

Dr. Bernard Thébaud, MD, PhD

Revolutionizing treatments for premature newborns

Dr. Bernard Thébaud, a neonatologist and pediatric professor at the University of Ottawa, is a pioneering clinician-scientist. His work centres on advancing stem cell and gene therapies to combat lung diseases, with a focus on genetic lung conditions and premature births, a leading cause of child mortality under age 5. Additionally, his research holds promise in addressing severe COVID-19 cases.

Patent CA 3023706 - Adeno-associated virus particle with mutated capsid and methods of use thereof

His major research contributions include the demonstration of the therapeutic potential of stem cells in experimental bronchopulmonary dysplasia, asthma, acute lung injury and pulmonary hypertension.

View his digital panel (PDF version, 4.0 MB, 1 page).

Juliet Daniel, PhD

Kaiso: The missing piece of the breast cancer puzzle

Dr. Daniel is a pioneering cancer biologist to whom we credit finding the missing puzzle piece explaining higher breast cancer mortality rates in Black women. Her research has had a profound impact on understanding and addressing breast cancer disparities in Black women. She is a professor in the Department of Biology, Associate Dean of Research and External Relations in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University and co-founder of the Canadian Black Scientists Network.

ZBTB33 - Kaiso

Dr. Daniel discovered the “Kaiso” gene, associated with cancer progression and potentially contributing to disparities in triple negative breast cancer survival among Black women.

View her digital panel (PDF version, 5.0 MB, 1 page).