Dustin King

Dustin King

Dustin King receives the 2016 Governor General’s Gold Medal Award

Dustin King, a recent PhD graduate who grew up in Burns Lake, has been chosen as this year’s recipient.

Dustin King, a recent PhD graduate who grew up in Burns Lake, has been chosen as this year’s recipient for the 2016 Governor General’s Gold Medal Award.

This prestigious award recognizes the best doctoral recipient within the graduating class at UBC. The Governor General’s Gold Medal is awarded to the student who has achieved the most outstanding academic record as a doctoral student.

“It’s definitely an amazing award to get; this award recognizes one PHD candidate out of all subjects, so it’s really something you can never except to get,” he said. “I just feel really honoured to have been given this award.”

A second gold medal is awarded to the graduate student who has achieved most outstanding academic record as a Master’s student completing a thesis. This is an opportunity to honour the best in the graduating class within the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies, as there is only one award for approximately 1000 Master’s graduates and one award for more than 300 doctoral graduates.

Medals are presented on behalf of the Governor General of Canada by participating educational institutions, along with a personalized certificate signed by the Governor General. There is no monetary award associated with the medals.

Dustin graduates with a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. His doctoral research project takes a multi-disciplinary approach towards understanding the molecular basis of beta-lactamase antibiotic resistance.

His work, and collaborations stemming from it, has already led to numerous publications in prestigious journals such as Nature. In 2015, Dustin was also selected by the Faculty of Medicine to attend the 65th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting in Germany. He says he was extremely impressed with the topics discussed at this year’s meeting.

“I was inspired by how the Laureates shared a general interest in scientific areas that were outside their immediate field of study,” he explains. “A major topic of discussion at the meeting was climate change and the Laureates were active in advocating many different perspectives.”

A previous student of Lakes District Secondary school, King always enjoyed classes in science, but it was not until he began his studies at UNBC that he was able to pinpoint the area of study that he enjoyed the most.

In 2012, King won a Studentship from the B.C. Cancer Agency to conduct Molecular Biology research at the University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC).

He carried out cancer research under UNBC chemistry professor Chow Lee, and investigated the way certain molecules create conditions conducive to the spread of the disease in the body.

In 2012, Dr. Lee said that the community of Burns Lake should be very proud of King’s achievements.

“He is dedicated, an outstanding student and one of the very few that is truly dedicated to molecular biology, many students pass through on the way to a medical degree, but King is different,” he said.

Reflecting on this opportunity, Dustin is quick to express his gratitude.

“This was a once in a lifetime experience,” he says. “I am very grateful to have been given the opportunity to take part in such an inspiring meeting.”