The 2021 Astell Award Winners – Saiqah Ghafoor & Heather Baker

The Astell Award is to recognize trainees at all levels in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UBC for outstanding commitment to activities related to promoting Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI).

The Astell Award was name after Dr. Caroline Astell one of the first women faculty in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at UBC. Dr. Astell completed her undergraduate degree in Math/Zoology, Masters in Genetics and PhD in Biochemistry/Nucleic Acids all at UBC. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University in the USA, she worked at the University of Toronto as a Research Associate and then as an Assistant Professor at the University of Calgary.
She then returned to UBC as a Research Associate and advanced through the ranks to Assistant, Associate and full Professor in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Dr. Astell’s research focused on understating the molecular biology of animal viruses and the structure and replication of eukaryotic chromosomes. She had both an impressive funding and publication track record, leading to over 62 published papers, numerous book chapters and patents and a co-authored book on Nobel Laureate Michael Smith. Dr. Astell was also a dedicated member of the department, leading many committees and the BC Genome Sciences Center. She was also an avid instructor in Biochemistry and directly mentored 11 graduate students and served on over 40 student supervisory committees during her career. Dr. Astell retired from UBC in 2004 and continues to serve her local community through volunteer and outreach activities.