Sept. 9, 2015

Royal Society names Veterinary Medicine founding member as fellow

Jay Cross recognized for his work in developmental and reproductive biology
Dr. Jay Cross is one of the founding faculty members of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine. His research has helped us better understand the basic biology of pregnancy and clinical conditions such as preeclampsia.

Dr. Jay Cross is one of the founding faculty members of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

Dr. James (Jay) Cross, one of the founding faculty members of the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine (UCVM), has been named a fellow to the Royal Society of Canada, the highest honour that can be attained by scholars, scientists and artists in this country.

“In receiving the recognition, my immediate reaction was to think about the wonderful group of students, postdocs, research associates and collaborators from around the world who have contributed to the work and they share in this,” says Cross, professor of developmental biology in UCVM's Department of Comparative Biology and Experimental Medicine. He is also a professor of biochemistry and molecular biology; medical genetics and obstetrics and gynaecology at the Cumming School of Medicine and a member of the  Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute.

“We are extremely proud to have one of our founding faculty members recognized by the Royal Society,” says Alastair Cribb, dean, UCVM.

Research into how the placenta functions at a molecular level

For more than two decades, Cross has been a leader in developmental and reproductive biology, advancing the understanding of the development and functions of the placenta in humans and animals at a molecular level. His research has focused on how pregnancy is established and maintained.

In addition to helping us understand the basic biology of pregnancy, his extensive work has given us a better understanding of clinical conditions such as preeclampsia. Preeclampsia is a pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure that can lead to serious — even fatal — complications for both mother and baby.

Cross has published work in 115 peer-reviewed publications in leading journals including Science, Nature, Cell, Nature GeneticsPNAS, Genes and Development, Journal of Clinical Investigation, PLoS Biology, Development, and Developmental Biology.

‘It does not feel like that work is done’

“Being named as a fellow of the Royal Society is a huge honour, as it is recognition by current fellows who are the leading scholars and scientists in Canada,” says Cross. “It is recognition for my career of work to date, though it does not feel like that work is done.”

Cross is founding director of the Institute of Maternal and Child Health — which has since been renamed the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, a multidisciplinary institute focused on biomedical, clinical and social aspects of child health and development.

He also founded the training program in Genetics, Child Development and Health, and the Clara Christie Centre for Genomics and Modeling of Human Disease. Cross was also the founding associate dean (research) in the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine.

“At the beginning of my career I could not fully imagine the path that my work would take beyond the scholarship,” says Cross. “I have great satisfaction in seeing my trainees continue on their own in Canada, U.S., U.K., Germany, Australia, China and Japan.”