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Prestigious national society recognizes professors

September 8, 2015 — 

Three University of Manitoba professors have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada (RSC), the country’s most esteemed association of scholars and scientists.

The three scholars are: Fikret Berkes, an internationally recognized scholar on the interrelationships between societies and their resources; James Davie, a pioneer in the field of epigenetics; and Estelle Simons, a world authority on anaphylaxis and allergic diseases.

Election to the RSC is considered the highest honour an academic can achieve in the arts, humanities and sciences. The three professors are among 87 new Fellows elected for 2015.

“I congratulate Professors Berkes, Davie and Simons on this honour and recognition for their outstanding achievements,” says Digvir Jayas, vice-president (research and international) and Distinguished Professor at the University of Manitoba. “They are deserving recipients and we are proud of their accomplishments.”

Fikret Berkes

Fikret Berkes

Fikret Berkes, Canada Research Chair in Community-Based Resource Management (Natural Resources Institute)

He is an influential scholar and international leader in the areas of commons theory and the interrelations between societies and their resources. He has been researching the conditions under which “the tragedy of the commons” may be avoided. He has produced some 230 scholarly publications, including 10 books, and contributed to the literature of linked social-ecological systems, resilience, and Indigenous ecological knowledge.

James Davie

James Davie

James Davie (biochemistry, medical genetics, cell biology; Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba; Research Institute of Oncology & Hematology)

He is a pioneer in the field of epigenetics (formerly known as the field of chromatin research). His findings have resulted in knowledge translation towards improving human health. His early studies set the foundation for development of histone deacetylase inhibitor drugs, which are approved therapeutics for hematologic malignancies and in clinical trials for a broad range of human disorders. His studies continue to advance epigenetic knowledge synthesis.

Estelle simons

Estelle Simons

Estelle Simons (pediatrics & child health; Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba)

She has developed novel approaches for investigation of the clinical pharmacology, efficacy and safety of medications used in treatment of asthma, anaphylaxis, and other allergic diseases. For more than three decades, her innovative research has helped move the pharmacologic treatment of these diseases from an empirical basis to a scientific basis and in so doing, reduced their morbidity and mortality and mitigated the impact of the allergy epidemic.


Fellows and award winners from across the country will be officially inducted and honoured on Nov. 27 in Victoria, BC. This will bring the total number of current Royal Society Fellows from the University of Manitoba to 44.

About RSC

Founded in 1882, the Royal Society’s mission is to recognize scholarly, research and artistic excellence, to advise governments and organizations, and to promote a culture of knowledge and innovation in Canada and with other national academies around the world.


Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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