As one of the country’s best young research scientists, Dr. Trushar Patel has earned numerous honours for his expertise with viruses and RNA-based vaccines. His work in the lab and in mentoring student researchers is only a fraction of what Patel brings to the University of Lethbridge and this commitment to give freely of his time to help the community has led to his selection as the 2021 University of Lethbridge Volunteer Award recipient.
As ULethbridge looked at how it would safely reopen its campuses for the Fall 2021 semester after a year of online instruction due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for expert guidance was clear. Patel, a professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry and Canada Research Chair, volunteered to co-chair the Return to Campus Committee. The work involved in a safe reopening of campus was tremendous and required long hours, as provincial public health guidance frequently changed in response to the shifting pandemic. Patel’s expertise was invaluable in helping the University safeguard the health of the campus community during this time.
These efforts required coordinating with virtually every unit on campus, and he made a point of always making himself available to answer questions, of which there were many. Whenever he could, Patel encouraged people to get vaccinated and dispelled myths about the vaccines circulating on social media. He kept abreast of the current scientific knowledge and health advice locally, provincially, nationally and around the globe. In addition, he shared his expertise with the public through the PUBlic Professor Series and at the Southern Alberta Council on Public Affairs.
Patel is also involved with many scientific organizations and has helped organize numerous scientific and science policy conferences. His volunteerism extends to all students attending the University through the Supporting Our Students fundraising committee. He offers guest lectures and encourages local high school students to pursue scientific studies. Patel also volunteered as a judge for Sci-Fusion, the regional science fair.
Patel received the University of Lethbridge Volunteer Award at Spring 2022 Convocation Ceremony.