Statement on the Death of Dr. Anthony (Tony) Pawson

We wish to express our profound sadness and loss over the death of Dr. Anthony (Tony) Pawson.
Dr. Pawson was a leading cancer scientist at Mount Sinai’s Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto, Ontario who was revered worldwide for his seminal, transformative and innovative work in signal transduction. He has helped to advance cancer research and research in other diseases for his understanding of how cells communicate.

His untimely death is a blow to our entire Canadian cancer research community and he will be deeply missed. Tony and his team were extremely successful in forging new and innovative advances in cancer research, and it is in this capacity that he led a long-standing New Frontiers Program Project Grant funded by the Terry Fox Foundation and the Terry Fox Research Institute. He was funded by the Terry Fox Foundation for over 25 years, and currently held a grant awarded in 2010.

Tony was the recipient of many prestigious scientific awards and among Canadian researchers was regarded as a potential recipient of a Nobel Prize in medicine for his groundbreaking work. He was awarded the Kyoto Prize (“the Japan Nobel”) in 2008. The Signal Transduction Society in 2010 presented its new honorary medal to him as “one of the founding fathers of protein – protein interaction research in cell signalling ‘for the discovery of protein interaction domains and elucidating their essential roles in the transmission of cellular signals.’”1 Dr. Pawson and his team discovered the Src Homology 2 (SH2) domains in the mid-1980s and the field subsequently expanded massively.

While we mourn his loss, we know he has left us a rich research legacy. We remain confident those who are following in his footsteps will find continued strength and inspiration in their work, knowing that they are now standing on the shoulders of a giant. Tony, we thank you for your brilliance, your discoveries, your passion and your humility.

To his colleagues, family and friends, we offer our sincere condolences at this time of great sorrow.