Michael Dufresne, Ph.D

2018 Ambassador of Hope

“Without Research, Hope is Just a Word”

On May 3, 2018, at the WCRG’s Cheers to Hope Event, Dr. Michael Dufresne was awarded the 2018 Ambassador of Hope award for his dedication and commitment to cancer research in Windsor-Essex.

Dr. Dufresne completed his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta and a two-year post-doctoral fellowship in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Western Ontario. In 1976, he accepted a research and academic position in Biological Sciences at the University of Windsor and became one of the first cancer researchers in Windsor-Essex.

After twenty-seven years of service to his profession and the community, Dr. Dufresne technically retired in 2003, but, he has never stopped working for the Windsor cancer community. He remained actively involved in cancer research until 2007 with his work on an NSERC research grant, continuing to publish, and serviced as a grant reviewer for regional and national agencies across North America. However it was his appointment as the Research Grants Administrator for the Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation’s (WCCF) Seeds4Hope program that laid the foundation for WCRG and a vibrant cancer research community in our region.

Through the Seeds4Hope program that Dr. Dufresne developed in 2008 in response to a visionary commitment made by founding members of the WCCF Board, over two million dollars have been awarded to support local cancer research to date. This seed funding has stimulated tremendous growth of cancer research in our community. The program has supported the advancement of 30 programs led by clinicians from the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre and by University of Windsor researchers. Projects funded by Seeds4Hope have enabled researchers to secure the preliminary results they need to successfully apply for funding elsewhere, and to further formulate their ideas and move closer to developing promising cancer treatments. Seeds4Hope funding has resulted in numerous research awards from national agencies, securing over $3,400,000 of external research funding.

For being one of the pioneers of cancer research at the University of Windsor, for developing cancer education, raising awareness and your life-long commitment to building cancer research in our region, we thank you Dr. Dufresne.