Nada Jabado named 2024 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America

Prestigious award honours McGill and RI-MUHC pioneer in the field of pediatric brain tumours

McGill Professor and Canada Research Chair in Pediatric Oncology, Nada Jabado, has been named the 2024 L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Laureate for North America. Dr. Jabado is a Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, a Senior Scientist in the Child Health and Human Development Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) and a Pediatric Hemato-Oncologist at the Montreal Children’s Hospital of the MUHC.

The L'Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science International awards recognize five renowned female scientists for their outstanding research and impact in five regions of the world: Africa and the Arab States, Asia and the Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as North America.

Dr. Nada Jabado
Dr. Nada Jabado

As a leading expert in pediatric neuro-oncology, Dr. Jabado has demonstrated a commitment to unraveling the complexities of childhood brain tumors — the leading cause of cancer-related mortality and morbidity in children. She has led revolutionary discoveries of the genetic and molecular differences between brain tumours in children and in adults. Her lab was the first to identify a new molecular mechanism, namely histone mutations in human disease, which has propelled the development of new and personalized treatment options that improve the lives of many children with cancer.

“McGill congratulates Dr. Jabado, a world leader in pediatric brain cancer research, for receiving this significant award,” said Martha Crago, McGill’s Vice-President, Research and Innovation. “Her exceptional contributions to expanding our understanding of the genetic mechanisms underlying pediatric brain tumours means that more children with brain tumours can live longer, fuller lives.

Dr. Jabado was lauded by the L’Oréal-UNESCO award committee for “revolutionizing our comprehension of the genetic defects responsible for aggressive pediatric brain tumours.”

The committee wrote that “her seminal discovery of the first-ever histone mutations in human disease, referred to as oncohistones, sparked a fundamental change in the cancer research sphere. Through her innovative research and effective leadership in establishing a global collaborative network, she has reshaped the medical approach to pediatric cancer, advancing both diagnostic capabilities and clinical treatments for young patients.”

“I am humbled to have been selected as the L’Oréal-UNESCO for Women in Science International Awards Laureate for North America,” said Dr. Jabado. “It is a true honour when your accomplishments are acknowledged by a distinguished international review panel, and I am grateful to be receiving such a prestigious award.”

Dr. Jabado completed her residency in pediatrics with a specialization in hemato-oncology at Paris University, followed by a PhD in Immunology at the Marie Curie Institute in Paris, and a post-doctoral fellowship in biochemistry at McGill University. In 2003, she began her career as an independent investigator at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, establishing her research program in pediatric brain tumours.

“I am honoured to congratulate Dr. Jabado on this award, which recognizes her immense contributions to the field of cancer research,” said Dr. Rhian Touyz, Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer at the RI-MUHC. “Since she opened her first laboratory at the RI-MUHC in 2003, we have seen how her groundbreaking work on the genetics and epigenetics of pediatric brain tumours has transformed the diagnosis, classification and treatment of these tumours. Her distinguished career is undoubtedly an inspiration to the next generations of women in science.”

Dr. Jabado is the recipient of other major national and international awards including the Robert L. Noble Prize, the Dr. Chew Wei Memorial Prize in Cancer Research and the Pediatric Academic Leadership Clinician-Investigator Award from the Pediatric Chairs of Canada. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has been an appointed member of the Canadian Institutions of Health Research Governing Council. She has over 200 peer-reviewed publications to her credit in journals including Nature Genetics, Nature, Science and Cell.