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Gilead Award for Excellence in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

January 16, 2023

Katherine Elvira in her lab

Katherine Elvira, associate professor of chemistry, Canada Research Chair and Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Scholar at the University of Victoria, has received the Gilead Award for Excellence in Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion from the Chemical Institute of Canada. The award is presented to a chemist as a mark of distinction and recognition for excellence in their work in equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives.  

“I am honoured to have received this award,” Elvira says. “It is important to remember that the EDI work we do is rarely a solitary endeavour. I have been very lucky to have worked with many amazing people over the years. I am especially awed by those who are not in positions of power and yet strongly advocate for others. There is much left to do, but I am delighted to have seen much progress during my career.” 

Elvira’s expertise lies in microfluidics for drug discovery and health care. She works at the interface of chemistry, biology, and engineering, with projects ranging from droplet-based cell assays to surfactant kinetics, artificial cells, surface chemistry and computational structure optimization. As a post-doctoral fellow at ETH Zurich, Elvira mentored young people from low-income backgrounds who were applying to top universities. At the same time, she founded and led The Society for Women in Natural Sciences as a social and scientific networking platform for all female PhD students and scientific staff in her department. Her commitment to making science inclusive is shown in the interviews she has given, the many panel discussions she has taken part in (13 EDI events in the last four years), her initiative at giving talks and workshops on these topics and her work establishing and chairing the Chemistry EDI committee. She led the first departmental Equity, Diversity and Inclusion review at UVic and led a university-wide workshop on the issues facing underrepresented groups as new professors. Elvira is a persuasive and positive voice for change and is a powerful amplifier of the opinions of those who have historically been marginalized. 


SDGs: 3 Good health and wellbeing; 4 Quality education; 5 Gender equality