Dr. Barry I. Posner is Professor of Medicine, Anatomy & Cell Biology, and Director of the Polypeptide and Protein Hormone Laboratory at McGill University. A gold medalist in his graduating class, Posner pursued post-graduate work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD before joining the Royal Victoria Hospital and the McGill Univ. Faculty of Medicine in 1970. In 1979 he became full Professor at McGill and Senior Physician at the Royal Victoria Hospital. He has served as Director of the McGill Endocrine training program and physician-in-chief at the Sir Mortimer B. Davis Jewish General Hospital; and currently serves as the Associate Director of the Montreal Diabetes Research Center.
His early research on insulin signaling led to the discovery of receptors in a range of newly defined insulin target tissues including the brain and vascular endothelial cells. In collaboration with J.Bergeron he identified a novel organelle – the endosomal system – and formulated the view that this is a central site for both initiating and regulating signal transduction (the Signal Endosome Hypothesis). In the late 1980s he discovered the peroxovanadium compounds as potent insulin mimetics; and in elucidating their mechanism of action defined the key role of phosphor-tyrosine phosphatases in regulating Receptor Tyrosine Kinases. His group went on to define the role of lipid rafts as sites of intense signaling at both the cell surface and within endosomes. More recently Posner’s diabetes research focused on the genes responsible for diabetes, the discovery of which will aid in the prediction and treatment of this disease.
He has published 290 scientific manuscripts, and, as a Visiting Professor, has delivered numerous prestigious lectures including the Banting and Best Memorial Lecture of the International Diabetes Federation (1991), the Pfizer Lectures at Harvard University (1993), the Joe Doupe Memorial Lecture at the University of Manitoba (1994), the Novartis lecture of the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (1997), the David M. Kovitz Memorial Lecture at the University of Calgary (2000), and the 2nd John & Mary Davidson Lecture (and Award) of the University of Toronto in 2002.
His academic contributions have been recognized by election to the Association of American Physicians (1988), receipt of the Distinguished Scientist award of the CSCI (1991), election to Fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, appointment as Officer of the Order of Canada (1999), recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism (2008), appointment to the Order of Quebec (2014), recipient of the Queen’s Golden Jubilee (2002) and Diamond Jubilee (2012) Medals, and Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Diabetes Association (2015).