The Al Downe Lecture is funded from the Al Downe Memorial Fund which was initially established in 2007 via a generous donation from a former student in order to provide an opportunity for Queen’s students to experience the inspiration and knowledge of a high profile Lecturer. Subsequently the Fund has attracted donations from other students, colleagues, friends and family.

Ayward Downe, BSc (Alberta), MSc and PhD (Queen’s). Al Downe was a Fellow of the Entomological Society of Canada and of the New York Academy of Sciences. He taught at Kansas State and University of Saskatchewan, Regina before coming to Queen’s as an Associate Professor in 1967. He served as Head of the Department of Biology (1975-1980) and retired in 1993, but continued his association with the department until his death in 2002. Al Downe inspired generations of Queen’s Biology students in the classroom and also in the laboratory. His research on the biochemical and reproductive physiology of blood feeding insects was of the highest quality, and his great depth and breadth of knowledge was passed on to research students and undergraduates with rigor, energy, passion and much humor. Al was a gifted speaker, who shared his great enthusiasm for science in ways that stirred and motivated others. In recognition of this Al was awarded the 1992/93 Biology Department Student Council Award for Excellence in Teaching. It is thus fitting that he is remembered by bringing a high profile lecturer to speak to the Queen’s community on biology related topics.

Previous Al Downe Lecturers

  • Landon Getz, Dalhousie University. Editing Nature: Genetically Modified Mosquitoes and Slow Science
  • Dr. Laura Harrington, Department of Entomology, Cornell University. “Downe the line”: building on AER Downe’s legacy to understand and respond to vectorborne diseases” (2020-postponed)
  • Dr. Vett Lloyd, Professor of Biology, Mount Allison University. The trouble with tick tourism: Exotic ticks, hybrid ticks and the spread of Lyme disease. (2018)
  • Dr. Mariana Federica Wolfner, Professor in the Deptartment of Molucular Biology & Genetics, Cornell University, Ithica NY. The inside-view of reproductive interactions between males, females, & their molecules in Drosophila (2016)
  • Dr. Steve Whyard, Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Manitoba. Biotech vs Bugs - Exploring RNAi as a Strategy for Controlling Pests (2014)
  • Dr. Angela E. Douglas, Daljit S. and Elaine Sarkaria Professor of Insect Physiology and Toxicology at Cornell University. Friends Within: Interactions Between Insects and Their Resident Microbiota. (2012)
  • Dr. Anthony A. James, Distinguished Professor, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California (Irvine). Development of anti-pathogen effector genes for control of vector-borne diseases. (2011)
  • Dr. Marla B. Sokolowski, Professor of Biology and Canada Research Chair in Genetics and Behavioural Neurology, University of Toronto (Mississauga). The foraging gene: will that be to stay or to go? (2010)
  • Dr. Peter F. Billingsley, Senior Director, Entomology and Quality Systems, Sanaria Inc., Rockville, MD. Exploiting the immune interface between vectors and their hosts. (2008)