Appointed to the Order of Canada

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Dr. Eleanor Fish receives top honour for groundbreaking immunology and antiviral research.

Congratulations to Dr. Eleanor Fish for being named a Member of the Order of Canada. This prestigious distinction—one of the country’s highest civilian honours—recognizes her groundbreaking immunology research and efforts to advance the development of broad-spectrum antiviral therapeutics. 

Dr. Fish is Emerita Scientist at UHN’s Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. She is a Professor in the Department of Immunology, and the Associate Chair of International Initiatives & Collaborations at the University of Toronto. 

A world-renowned immunologist, Dr. Fish is an expert in several infectious diseases including SARS, H1N1 and Ebola. Her research has shed light on how cytokines, including interferons and other naturally occurring proteins, function as part of the immune system and their therapeutic potential.  

She has conducted various studies exploring the therapeutic potential of interferon treatment for SARS, avian H5N1, pandemic H1N1 influenza and ebola—many of which have shown positive outcomes for patients. Most recently, in an exploratory clinical study in Wuhan, China at the start of the pandemic, she evaluated the therapeutic effectiveness of inhaled interferon treatment for COVID-19. Promising findings showed accelerated viral clearance and reduced lung abnormalities, leading to a number of subsequent and ongoing international clinical trials. 

In addition to her academic achievements, Dr. Fish founded the international not-for-profit Beyond Sciences Initiative. The program is helping to build capacity in science and technology among young scholars by promoting access to academic knowledge, cultural understanding and collaboration.  

The Order of Canada was created in 1967 to recognize people whose service, innovations and compassion shape Canadian society, foster imagination and unite people and communities. 

Nationally, a total of 135 appointments and promotions were announced on December 29, 2021 by the Governor General of Canada, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Mary Simon.  

To see the full list of appointees, read Governor General’s press release.