I would like to reflect a moment on the E.W.R. Steacie Memorial Fellowship Award… this award is a honour and I consider myself lucky to be among all the Steacie award winners of the past. One thing is certain, I could not have done this alone. First of all, I would like to thank my Family, without whose support I would be far from this success. Here is a picture of my proud Father, Said Abouheif, at the award ceremony. Of course, my Mother is equally proud and my wife is always there for me.
To my students, you are one of kind! I could not have asked for a better team of young, passionate, researchers on this journey of understanding how interactions between genes and environment affect so much of our natural living world. Without your hard work and dedication, none of the exciting discoveries would have come and I certainly would not have won this award. I am committed to your success as you have been to mine.
To my National / International Colleagues, Collaborators, and Mentors, I have learned a great deal from you as a student and professor. Your work has inspired me and has served as the building blocks on which I stand. At the risk of sounding too cliche, I truly "stand on the shoulders of giants." I consider this award, an award for our field, and this week, evolutionary developmental biology or "evodevo" has taken a huge step forward in Canada.
To my colleagues at McGill, I could not ask for a more supportive group of scientists. I have visited many great Universities around the world and one thing is clear, we have an am amazingly supportive and team oriented Department.
An old mentor renowned Physicist Professor Geza Samosi (from my days at the Science College) once told me, that you are only as good as the place you are doing research in. Of course, as with so many wisdoms my mentors have shared with me, it has taken me almost 20 years to understand the true meaning of these words. I could not have done this if I didn't have amazing colleagues around me, and once again, this award reflects the collective effort and support, both conceptual and technical, of the Department of Biology at McGill University.
Ok, now the real work begins …