The Great Lakes Genomics Conference

Dr. H. Allen Gardner Memorial Lecture and Fund

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Dr. H. Allen Gardner Memorial Lecture and Fund

The GLCC concludes each year with an invitational lecture from a noted cytogeneticist.  Following the unexpected passing of one of the founding members of the GLCC during GLCC week in 2002, we decided to rename this lecture in his memory.

Dr. H. Allen Gardner Memorial Lecturers

2002 - Dr. Xavier Estivill, Barcelona, Spain
2003 - Dr. Douglas Boreham, Hamilton, Ontario
2004 - Dr. Neil Lamb, Atlanta, Georgia
2005 - Dr. Gordon Dewald, Rochester, Minnesota
2006 - Dr. Arthur R. Brothman, Salt Lake City, Utah
2007- Dr. Marilyn Slovak, Duarte, California
2008 - Dr. Dorothy Warburton, New York, New York
2009 - Dr. Steve Scherer, Toronto, Ontario
2010 - Dr. Jeremy Squire, Kingston, Ontario
2011 - Dr. Ron Worton, Ottawa, Ontario
2012 - Dr. Janet Rowley, Chicago, Illinois
2013 - Dr. Terry Hassold, Pullman, Washington State
2014 - Dr. Brynn Levy, New York, New York
2015 - Dr. Nyla Heerema, Columbus, Ohio

Remembering Dr. H. Allen Gardner

by Viola Freeman, ART, MLT, Ancaster, ON


On May 14,  2002, the genetics community lost one of its brightest stars.  Dr. H. Allen Gardner passed away at the age of 65. For three decades, Dr. Gardner was a leader and a pioneer in the field of cytogenetics. He had a special interest in the technologist group and actively promoted cytogenetic technology in Canada.


Dr. Gardner obtained his medical degree at the University of Toronto and his FRCPC in general pathology in medical genetics in 1961. He was a professor at the University of Toronto and Head of the Cytogenetics Laboratory at Toronto General Hospital during the 1970s and 1980s. For the past 15 years, he served as Director of Genetic Services at the Lakeridge Health Corporation (formerly the Oshawa General Hospital). Dr. Gardner was also actively involved in cytogenetics research. His collaboration and participation in genetics studies generated numerous publications.


Dr. Gardner made enormous contributions to the development of the initial cytogenetics certification examination in 1974. His continuous support, tireless effort and hours of devotion to the examination panels, both at initial and advanced levels, were exemplary. In recognition of his contributions to the certification process, CSMLS presented Dr. Gardner with an Honorary Affiliate Membership in 1995.

A passionate advocate of cytogenetic education, Dr. Gardner helped to establish the cytogenetics technology training program at The Michener Institute in Toronto in 1978. He was a valued member of the Advisory Committee and an invited instructor for 25 years.


Dr. Gardner was also actively involved in the Genetic Cell Culture Committee of the Laboratory Proficiency Testing Program, serving as chair from 1972 to 1984. In addition to his involvement with the LPTP, now known as the Quality Management Program - Laboratory Services, he also served on the Ontario Medical Association Committee and chaired the section on genetics. In May 2002, the OMA award committee presented him with a lifetime achievement award.


Joan Halbgewachs, charge technologist in the cytogenetics laboratory at Lakeridge Health Corporation, has fond memories her former supervisor.  I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Gardner for over ten years. He was a memorable presence; well-dressed with an erect posture, a warm open smile and a friendly hello to everyone he met along the corridor. One of Dr. Gardners greatest gifts was his ability to bring people together. By doing so, he helped found a newly emerging field and continued to ensure its place in laboratory medicine.


In the 1970s, Dr. Gardner helped found the Great Lakes Chromosome Conference. This annual meeting held in Toronto provides a much necessary venue for sharing cytogenetic expertise and is attended by technologists from both Canada and the United States. For many years, Dr. Gardner and his wife, Zita, hosted the opening reception at their home where a warm welcome was given to everyone.


In later years, Dr.Gardner held an annual retreat for his co-workers and their families at his cottage in Fenelon Falls. It was a wonderful way to leave our work behind and fully enjoy one anothers company, said Joan.


Dr. Gardners energy and commitment were an inspiration to me personally, and to many of my colleagues. His conviction to raise and maintain the profile and standard of cytogenetics technologists was both admirable and invigorating. He always made us feel comfortable. We will miss his smile, his sense of humour, his jokes, and above all his mentoring.  On behalf of all the technologists whose lives he touched I say, thank you Allen.


Reproduced with permission:

Canadian Journal of Medical Laboratory Science

The article appeared in the October 2002 issue, Volume 64, Number 5, page 172

A Scholarship in Memory of Dr. H. Allen Gardner


Following the passing of Dr. Gardner, former Director of Genetic Services at Lakeridge Health, Oshawa Division, interest has been expressed by the community and many of his colleagues to establish a scholarship fund in his memory to assist students in the field of Genetics Technology.  The Michener Institute for Applied Health Sciences (TMI) would be honoured to administer this fund, and has received endorsement from the Gardner family. 


Dr. Gardner was a kind, warm and gentle man.  He truly touched the lives of many people in the fields of Pathology and Genetics.  He was a strong supporter of TMI (known prior to 1990 as TIMT - The Toronto Institute of Medical Technology), and was the first Chair of the Cytogenetics Advisory, a position he held for a number of years.  I have enclosed a recent article from the CJMLS, which describes Allen's passion for his chosen field. 


In order to establish a scholarship fund at TMI in Dr. Gardner's name, a fund principle of at least $20,000 would be required to generate a minimum of $500 interest per annum to award annually to a deserving student.  Specific criteria for this scholarship would be set at a later date, in consultation with the family.


The intent of this request is to solicit pledges towards this potential scholarship.  Donations from individuals and corporations are welcome.  It is our hope that by March 31, 2003 we can pull together and obtain pledges totalling the required level in order to create this new scholarship.  Once this is achieved we will be notifying donors so that pledged funds can be remitted to TMI.


Thank you for your consideration of this initiative.  Together, we can strive to make this scholarship a reality.  It will be our way to remind ourselves and inform genetics technology students what a wonderful man Dr. Gardner was. 






Lynn Yawney,

Former Program Co-ordinator, Genetics Technology


This link leads you to the scholarships page.