Gillian Chaloner-Larsson ’54

Molecular Biologist/ Vaccine expert for the World Health Organization
The Chaloner family has long ties to GCS. Gillian’s mother, Gwen Chaloner, was a beloved fourth grade teacher and eventually head of the Lower School at GCS from 1950-1968. Her niece, Kim, has taught here since 2000, and now two great-nieces are students.
 
 
Gillian went on to Chapin, then McGill University in Montreal, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Math and Physics.  She met her husband Nils Larsson in college, and in the summer of 1966, they took their two young children and camped throughout Europe. When it was time for her daughter to start nursery school, they moved to their current home in Ottawa, Canada.  Gillian went back to school (Carleton University) in 1972 majoring in biology, and went on to get her Ph.D. in molecular biology in 1977.
 
At age 41, Gillian took a job as a scientist in the Canadian Government Bureau of Biologics (equivalent of the US FDA) in the regulations of biological and vaccines. Nine years later she became a private consultant on regulatory issues for pharmaceutical companies in Canada and the US.
 
Gillian has recently reduced her work schedule in order to travel with her husband and spend time with her grandchildren. She says, “My life has been full and fun.  I see my brother Ted and sister Joan (also GCS graduates) as often as I can, and I’m very proud of my family’s continuing connection to GCS.”
 
TRAILBLAZER FACTS:
  • In 1977, women earned only 24% of all doctoral degrees (18% in fields of Science and Engineering); Gillian Chaloner-Larsson, mother of two, was among them. 
  • By comparison, in 2012, women earned 46% of all Ph.D.s, and 42% in fields of Science and Engineering.
  • She has been a student and a lecturer (Carleton University/Ottawa University); a researcher in multiple sclerosis; a scientist for the Canadian FDA, specializing in regulations of biological and vaccines; and a consultant to pharmaceutical companies.
  • She has been involved with projects all over the world in many of the countries that make vaccines, worked for the Canadian International Development Agency in the area of vaccine development in developing countries, where she worked for the transfer of technology of rabies and polio vaccines to Pakistan.
  • In 1990 she became as a consultant to the World Health Organization in the Vaccine Quality Unit, where she worked until 2012; she wrote the book of World Health Organization standards of safe manufacturing practices for biological products, including vaccines.
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Grace Church School is a co-educational independent school in downtown Manhattan, New York City providing instruction for over 700 students in Junior Kindergarten through Grade 12.