Media release, July 2, 2015. University of Guelph integrative biology professor Paul Hebert has been named to the Order of Canada
, considered the country’s highest honour of lifetime achievement. The announcement was made by Governor General David Johnston on Canada Day.
Hebert was named an officer to the Order and was honoured for his contributions as an evolutionary biologist, notably as a pioneer of DNA barcoding. He was one of 11 new officers named July 1. Other new appointees included two companions and 87 members.
“This is a wonderful and well-deserved recognition for Paul,” said Serge Desmarais, interim provost and vice-president (academic).
“Paul’s work on DNA barcoding is impressive and has tremendous practical applications that will have significant impact around the world. We are proud to count him as one of U of G’s leading scientists and I am delighted that he is being honoured for his achievement and commitment.”
First proposed by Hebert, DNA barcoding allows researchers to identify animal and plant species using short, standardized regions of genetic material. The method is effective for all life stages and allows biologists to rapidly identify species from a snippet of tissue.
Hebert is director of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) and the scientific director of the International Barcode of Life Project, which involves more than 1,000 researchers in 25 nations. He also holds a Canada Research Chair in molecular biodiversity and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
“It is a very great honour to join the Order of Canada, but this recognition certainly isn’t mine alone,” Hebert said. “It reflects the collective effort of my colleagues at BIO, our nation’s support for our research, and the tremendous contributions by colleagues around the world.”
Hebert will receive his Order of Canada membership insignia later this year.
The Order of Canada was established in 1967 to recognize outstanding achievement and service. Appointments are made on the recommendation of an advisory council, chaired by the chief justice of Canada, and the governor general is the chancellor and principal companion of the order.