It is with deep sadness that we share news of the passing of Dr. Connie Eaves, distinguished scientist at BC Cancer’s Terry Fox Laboratory and professor in the Department of Medical Genetics and the School of Biomedical Engineering at UBC. 

It is difficult to convey what a great loss this is to the cancer research community not only in British Columbia and Canada, but throughout the world. Connie leaves a lasting international legacy as trailblazer in the field of stem cell research and an advocate for more women in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). 

Upon moving to Vancouver in 1973, Connie was the second research scientist to be hired to the staff of the BC Cancer Institute. She later co-founded the Terry Fox Laboratory in 1981 with her husband Dr. Allen Eaves. With over 50 years of service, she was the longest-serving BC Cancer Research employee. 

Over that time, Connie became a global authority on stem cells with translational impact on bone marrow transplantation and treatments for leukemia and breast cancer. Her discoveries have advanced knowledge on the origin of these cancers and her pioneering research methodologies, including developing a technique to separate cancerous from normal stem cells, have become gold standard approaches used by laboratories around the world. 

Connie’s work has been celebrated both nationally and internationally. Here is a brief timeline of some of her many awards and recognitions:  
•    2022: received Till and McCulloch Lifetime Achievement Award
•    2021: appointed to the Order of Canada
•    2021: elected into the Royal Society (London)
•    2019: inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame 
•    2019: received the Gairdner Wightman Award
•    2019: named as one of Chatelaine’s Women of the Year
•    2016: recognized as a Status of Women Canada Pioneer by the Government of Canada

Her passion extended beyond the laboratory. In her first year of medical school, Connie was one of just 10 women in a class of 70. Since then, she continued to advocate for more women in STEM as they remain underrepresented in those areas. Connie also played a major role in the recruitment and training of graduate students and post-doctoral fellows at the Terry Fox Laboratory.

Connie was a mother of four, grandmother of 11, mentor, close advisor, friend, and inspiration to many. Our heartfelt condolences go out to Connie’s family and friends. She will be dearly missed. 

In lieu of flowers, donations honouring Connie’s incredible career and legacy can be made to the BC Cancer Foundation to support research taking place at the Terry Fox Laboratory. Please visit to make a donation or mail your donation, noting support of research at the Terry Fox Laboratory, to BC Cancer Foundation 150-686 West Broadway, Vancouver, BC, V5Z 1G1. 

A Celebration of Life for Dr. Connie Eaves will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 5 at the Chan Centre at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. For planning purposes, we kindly ask that anyone who would like to attend complete the short form found here.

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