Barbara Turnbull, age 50, died Sunday, May 10th 2015, as a result of respiratory complications. Paralyzed at age 18, Barbara forged on to have a successful career as a journalist reporting for the Toronto Star. During this time, she adopted several causes, including raising awareness for organ donation programs and raising funds for scientific research. Her eventual creation of the Barbara Turnbull Foundation has led to increased public awareness and funding for spinal cord research through events such as the annual Tator-Turnbull lectureship.

Dr Michael Fehlings reflected on the loss of his long-time acquaintance, “She was a woman of fierce courage and bravery who inspired many. She will be missed.”

In recognition of Barbara’s final struggle, efforts are being made to make this year’s annual Tator-Turnbull lectureship a special one. “This year’s Tator-Turnbull lectureship will be a poignant one. As we remember Barbara Turnbull’s life, we must recognize all she accomplished and all the challenges she faced. The loss of such an inspirational individual will surely serve to drive our research efforts even harder.”

This year’s Tator-Turnbull lectureship will be held Friday, November 13th, 2015. As always, it will be free and open to the public. Information on the lectureship can be found here, and at the Barbara Turnbull Foundation website. As respiratory complications are a major cause of mortality after spinal cord injury, the Fehlings lab will also be hosting one of the world’s leading scientists investigating respiratory neural networks, Professor Jack Feldman, on Monday September 21st. Details can be found here