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Gillis was recognized for his research work on cardiac function at low temperatures.
The Scholander Prize is named in honour of marine biologist Per Scholander, who investigated how Arctic fish could swim in water colder than the freezing point of fish blood. Scholander is considered one of the top physiologists of the 20th century.
The American Physiological Society fosters scientific research and education that advances and supports programs that encourage the development of young scientists at the undergraduate and graduate levels.