UPCM alumnus honored with Order of Ontario

Hon. Dowdeswell (woman in black with print) investing Dr. Gaisano with the Order.

DR. HERBERT GAISANO, a multi-awarded gastroenterologist and an alumnus of the UP College of Medicine, received earlier this year the Order of Ontario, the Canadian Province’s highest official honor. He was one of 27 new appointees of the civilian order who was bestowed the award during an investiture ceremony held on 20 January 2016 at the Ontario Legislature in Toronto. The Honorable Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario and Chancellor of the Order, presided over the event.

The Order of Ontario yearly recognizes current and former Ontarians whose phenomenal work in their respective fields benefitted the province or anywhere else in the world. For Dr. Herbert Gaisano, the citation for his provincial knighthood read:

“Dr. Gaisano is one of the world's leading gastroenterologists, and an innovator in life-changing research into diabetes and pancreatitis--conditions that affect millions of Canadians. With numerous international recognition awards for his scientific contributions, Dr. Gaisano has dedicated his work to the fight against diabetes by exploring the complexities of this pervasive illness and advancement of new treatment strategies. Gaisano and colleagues were first to identify how SNARE proteins, fundamental elements in secretion, could be distorted to cause these diseases--this groundbreaking work has placed him among the top five researchers in the world and first in Canada. His achievements were recognized by the 2013 Nobel Prize laureate in medicine as fundamental to advancements in the treatment of diabetes. He is also dedicated to supporting medical education in the Philippines.”

A proud product of the University of the Philippines (B. Sci. Pre-Medicine, magna cum laude, 1977; Doctor of Medicine 1981), he credited his UP and PGH days for honing in him that single-minded unwavering pursuit that spanned 35 years from a compassionate regard for his fellowman that translated into a passionate pursuit of knowledge and excellence, a “never-say-die” attitude in medical research to find a cure for diabetes and pancreatitis.

Dr. Gaisano is a professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto. He completed Gastroenterology and Internal Medicine training in 1990 at one of America’s top institutions, the Mayo Clinic (Rochester, Minnesota). He was appointed to fellowship of the Canadian Academy of Health Science (2013). His other recognitions were awards recognizing his contributions to Gastroenterology including Outstanding Scientist and Young Investigator Awards from the American Gastroenterology Association (1994), Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (1997, 2010) and American Pancreatic Association (1994); his contributions to Diabetes research recognized with a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Award (2012, federal award recommended by Canadian Diabetes Association), Mary Jane Kugel Award from international Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (2003) and Banting and Best Award (1996); and the Most Outstanding Researcher Award from the UP Medical School Alumni Association (2006). Dr. Gaisano holds a US patent on a new molecular target for anti-diabetic drugs.

After his medical training in the US, Dr. Herbert Gaisano immigrated to Ontario where he has lived for 26 years. He hailed from the Gaisano Clan of Cebu. # # #

Written by: FMJemena