We are saddened to hear about the recent passing of Dr. Pat McGeer, who was not only an accomplished neuroscientist at UBC but also a career politician and star basketball player representing Canada at the 1948 Olympics.
As an innovative thought leader in the field of neuroscience, he began his research career at UBC with his wife and fellow scientist Dr. Edith McGeer in the 1950s, where they became world-renowned for their work on brain neurotransmitters and degenerative neurological disorders, especially Huntington’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Together, they are also among the top 100,000 cited researchers worldwide.
His love for science was evident as he was recently still actively involved in research as an emeritus professor in the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. McGeer was a pioneer in studying the role of inflammation in Alzheimer’s disease and also founded a biotech company working on inhibitors of complement activation. In addition, he had a significant role in establishing Neuroscience at UBC, within the Department of Psychiatry.
He was also actively involved in politics, first joining the Liberal Party of BC in the 1960s and going on to serve in various cabinet minister positions until the 1980s.
As a UBC undergraduate student, he was a star basketball player and played a key role as part of the team that defeated the Harlem Globetrotters at UBC in 1946.
He has received numerous prestigious awards during his career, including the Order of Canada, Order of British Columbia and Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada.
Dr. McGeer will be missed by UBC and the neuroscience research community for his enthusiasm and passion for research.
Photo credit: Ric Ernst, Vancouver Sun