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St. Boniface Hospital Executive Director of Research Dr. Grant Pierce shares a letter he received recently from Marisa Panagia, wife of Dr. Vincenzo Panagia – one of our original 5 cardiovascular researchers. Dr. Panagia, MD, PhD, was Professor of Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Manitoba, and Principal Investigator of the Membrane Biology laboratory at the Centre. Dr. Panagia passed away at the age of 61 in 2000. In his honour, The Vincenzo Panagia Distinguished Lecture Award was established by the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, and is given to an investigator whose work is internationally recognized as being at the cutting-edge in any field of cardiovascular sciences.

Dear Dr. Pierce,

Thank you very much for inviting my sons and I to come to Winnipeg for this very important celebration of the foundation of the research center at St. Boniface. Unfortunately, we all have obligations that prevent us from attending. But I did not want to pass up this occasion without at the very least sharing with you my reminiscences of the Center’s first decade.

I still remember very well the vivid and intense emotions felt by everyone who partook of this great adventure in Research – the primary researchers, of course, but also the wives and children who congregated and met at the St. Boniface Research Center over the years, and for various events including many of the International conferences organized there.

I have very clearly in my mind all the young doctors and students involved in moving to the new location. Many areas of research expertise were innovated in this ambitious place, and after a few short years the research center became a hub of international exchange where many researchers from around the world would come to work and learn, exchange ideas and expertise, but also lives.

It was always a joy for me to prepare a lot of Italian food for everyone, and to enjoy many dinner celebrations together in order to relax from all the catecholamines procured by the many, many, many funding applications!

I take this occasion to greet with joy and love all of Enzo’s friends and colleagues and I wish to all the newcomers that they enjoy the great opportunities to work and study with some of the best researchers in the world that are there.

To the young who didn’t meet my husband, I wish to pass on to you his words about the life of the researcher: work hard, be honest with yourself and your colleagues, don’t get discouraged, and with God’s help you will feel at peace.

Enjoy your celebration and and congratulations to all.

Marisa Panagia