Kay, Dr. Cyril M.

2006 Alberta Science and Technology Community, Recipient

The Distinguished Career of a Scientist, Visionary and Builder

As a pioneer in biochemistry, Dr. Cyril Kay, a Member of the Order of Canada (1995), has had an impact on many researchers and universities in Canada and around the globe. His distinguished career at the University of Alberta spans almost five decades. Both within and outside of the science and technology community he has earned a solid reputation as a skilled scientist, a visionary and a builder.

Remarkable Background

A Calgary native, Dr. Kay graduated from McGill University in 1952 with a B.Sc. in Biochemistry, earned his PhD in 1956 from Harvard University and trained with a post doctoral fellowship in Biochemistry at Cambridge University. In 1958, he started at the University of Alberta as an Assistant Professor. By 1967 he was a full Professor. His research work is in the area of physical biochemistry and has focused mainly on the structure-function relationships of muscle and calcium binding proteins.

From 1974 until 1995, Dr. Kay was Co-Director of the Medical Research Council (MRC) Group on Protein Structure and Function. This collaborative research group achieved many notable research accomplishments including contributions to the understanding of the chemistry, structure and function of proteins in both muscle and non-muscle systems. For this role Dr. Kay earned the Distinguished Scientist award from the Faculty of Medicine, University of Alberta on the 75th anniversary of the medical school.

Looking Towards the Future

Over the years Dr. Kay has been involved in various capacities with a number of provincial initiatives and organizations including the Alberta Strategy Working Group that was formed to develop a strategic plan for health research for the province to 2010,  the Alberta Health Research Strategy and the Alberta Science and Research Assessment Team. This group formed to investigate the role of provincial research in developing funding and contributing to the effectiveness of Alberta’s three research intensive universities.

In 1999, Dr. Kay was named Vice President, Research for the Alberta Cancer Board (ACB). He works closely with cancer researchers, government and the private sector to ensure a strong and responsive cancer research infrastructure in Alberta. He has developed five new research initiatives in areas including: palliative care, proteomics and therapeutics, population health, genetic and molecular epidemiology and clinical investigation.

Earlier this year, the provincial government created a Cancer Legacy Endowment Fund of $500 million to be used for cancer screening and research. Dr. Kay is currently working on the framework for the development of an Alberta cancer research institute to bring provincial researchers together from institutions including the Cross Cancer Institute, the Tom Baker Cancer Centre, the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary.