Kevin Champagne-Jorgensen (courtesy of the Council of Ontario Universities)

Kevin Champagne-Jorgensen awarded 2023 John Charles Polanyi Prize in physiology and medicine

Kevin Champagne-Jorgensen, a post-doctoral fellow in the department of immunology in the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, has been awarded the prestigious John Charles Polanyi Prize in physiology and medicine for 2023.

The provincial government awards the Polanyi Prize annually to early-career researchers from Ontario universities. Established in 1987, the award is named in honour of John Charles Polanyi, University Professor Emeritus in the department of chemistry and recipient of the 1986 Nobel Prize. The winners are nominated by the deans of university graduate schools across Ontario and chosen by a selection committee organized by the Ontario Council on Graduate Studies

A researcher in the lab of Professor Jennifer Gommerman, Champagne-Jorgensen is carrying out research that aims to develop microbe-based therapeutics to improve the health of people with multiple sclerosis (MS). There is currently no effective medication to prevent progression of MS, a chronic disease affecting approximately 90,000 Canadians and more than 2.5 million people worldwide.

Champagne-Jorgensen’s research has found that gut microbes are important for healthy neurodevelopment and revealed a new mechanism whereby gut bacterial nanoparticles may enter the bloodstream, interacting with the brain and immune systems in both healthy and diseased states.

He is now expanding on these findings by focusing on microbiota from MS patients to identify which microbes affect disease progression and understand the mechanisms involved.

Read more about the Polanyi Prizes