John ColterProfessor emeritus at the University of Alberta, John S. Colter, 1945 BSc, has contributed significantly to Canada's standing as a leader in the field of biomedical sciences. A renowned virologist, he has made many fundamental discoveries, including his pioneering work on isolating infectious RNA from mammalian viruses.
As chair of the University's biochemistry department from 1961-87, he is credited with building it into one of the best in North America. He succeeded in attracting top-flight young scientists to the department, which in the 1980s, received more research funding than any other at the University of Alberta. During his academic career, he provided leadership to many research organizations, including the Medical Research Council of Canada and the National Cancer Institute of Canada, and he was an associate editor of Virology from 1961-88. After his retirement in 1987, he spent several years as scientific advisor to the president of the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research. Elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 1973, he received an ASTech Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Alberta Science and Technology Community in 1995, and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Science from the University of Western Ontario in 1998.
Colter is a 2006 recipient of the University of Alberta Alumni Association's Distinguished Alumni Award.