New chair to accelerate genome research

Western recently announced the funding of the new Medical Research Chair in Pharmacogenomics.

This newly endowed chair was established by a $1.5 million gift to the university from an anonymous donor, which was matched by Western as part of its matching chairs program.

Utilizing DNA from a person’s genetic makeup while analyzing dietary and environmental influences, pharmacogenomics identifies tailored treatment options for those suffering from cardiovascular, metabolic, infectious and other diseases, including cancer and geriatric disorders.

“This is an exciting, and relatively new field of pharmacology that is already demonstrating it can reduce adverse drug reactions and improve patient outcomes,” says Dr. Michael Strong, Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry dean. “This gift will strengthen our research team which has already garnered a national reputation as a leader in personalized medicine.”

Dr. Richard Kim has been selected as the inaugural holder of the chair. In 2006, he was recruited to Western from Vanderbilt University to serve as the head of the Division of Clinical Pharmacology in the Department of Medicine.

“This is a tremendous honour and I am truly grateful to the donor and Western for creating and enabling this chair,” Kim says. “Not only does this serve as an affirmation of our long-term goal of creating an internationally recognized centre of excellence in personalized medicine research, but it also provides the additional and sustained level of research support which I am confident will enable unbridled research excellence and the pursuit of innovative ideas.”

Western also announced two new senior research fellowships, also funded by an anonymous donor: Senior Research Fellow in Steroidal Hormones in Health and Disease to be held by Dr. Bonnie Deroo, the principal investigator at Western’s Deroo Lab; and Senior Research Fellowship in Tumor Suppressor Genes to be held by Dr. Fred Dick, who leads Western’s Cell Cycle and Cancer Research Laboratory.

 

MATCHING CHAIR PROGRAM

Western has set its sights on becoming a world-class leader in research with a goal of creating 100 new endowed chairs by 2020. Five chairs have been created under the program: