Retiring Faculty Member: Tony Farrell

Retiring Faculty Member: Tony Farrell

Tony Farrell

Professor Anthony (Tony) Farrell, a former Canada Research Chair in Fish Physiology, Culture and Conservation (Tier 1) retired this year. We asked him some questions about his distinguished career.

Can you name some achievements that made you proud?

Near the top of my list was being awarded a prestigious Canada Research Chair Tier I position, being elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and becoming President of the Society of Experiment Biologists (UK-based). My many editorial roles with various scientific journals, especially the prestigious Fish Physiology book series, which recently had its 50th anniversary, and the awardwinning Encyclopedia of Fish Physiology, certainly gave me great pride and enjoyment. However, publishing two separate papers in one year in the prestigious journal Science while at UBC is perhaps my proudest achievement.

Were you able to influence people or create the changes you wanted to in your field?

This is really for others to say. I certainly feel that I advanced the field of cardiovascular physiology with my research, which amounted to around 500 refereed publications and many book chapters and reports. I did help the Canadian government with fish management issues on many occasions and policy may have changed as a result. But most of all, I hope that the many undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows who passed through my research lab became better people, especially as researchers.

Perhaps such recognition came when I was awarded an Honorary PhD from the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. Seeing the Canadian flag flying in the centre of the plaza (a recognition of the country of origin for a recipient of an Honorary degree inside) made me feel especially proud.

How did you balance teaching and research?

I didn’t! I simply worked hard and for long hours, hoping my family would understand. I was never a good role model for work-life balance. Back then I had too much energy and too many ideas for my own good.

What advice would you give someone who wants to work in academia?

Decide on your work-life balance before setting career goals. Family is all that is left after retirement so treat them as a priority before retirement. Nonetheless, once you have made your career goals, give’er all you can while having fun in the process.