2011 CSBBCS Vincent Di Lollo Early-Career Award Winner: Dr. Debbie Kelly

Dr. Kelly has established an internationally renowned and uniquely important program of research on basic and applied avian and human cognition.

There are many reasons for Dr. Kelly’s success. Her research is clever, cutting edge, and technically sophisticated. She has advanced our understanding of important cognitive processes, most notably, the way in which geometry is used for navigation. Her work is comparatively broad, including research on various species, and it is conceptually broad, with an integration of ideas and approaches from experimental psychology, biology and neuroscience.

Dr. Kelly has also had the vision to recognize and pursue important applications of avian cognition research, including the development of the first avian model for the investigation of cognitive aging and Alzheimer's disease. This research will be important for understanding and potentially treating problems associated with Canada's aging population. Dr. Kelly has established an impressive international network of collaborators to ensure the success of this exciting project. Her team has already developed an important computerized evaluation tool for investigating the degeneration of navigational abilities of both humans and non-humans.

Finally, I would like to note that Dr. Kelly is an inspirational role model for women in science, as evidenced by the National Science Foundation Women in Science fellowship that she received while at Nebraska University. In addition to providing an example of an exceptional scientist, she has also mentored and stimulated the careers of many female postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduate students and high school students. Dr. Kelly is a tribute to Canadian research and innovation.