Chairs and professorships

Heart & Stroke chairs and professorships

Chairs and professorships provide salary and infrastructure support to enable a leading researcher to develop a specific heart disease or stroke research focus at a Canadian university or its affiliated research institute. Very often these leaders build a network or centre of research excellence , attracting the best and brightest new investigators to the institution. These initiatives are typically funded through designated endowments or through partnerships with like-minded organizations.

Husam Abdel Qadir

Dr. Husam Abdel-Qadir

Early Career Women's Heart and Brain Health Chair, Women’s College Research Institute, Toronto

There is a well-established link between treatments for breast cancer and the onset of heart disease, such as a weakened heart or a predisposition to atrial fibrillation. Dr. Abdel-Qadir is working towards detecting heart disease at an earlier stage, to improve the heart and brain health outcomes for these women.

Dr. Sonia Anand

Heart & Stroke/Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Population Health Research, McMaster University, Hamilton

Dr. Anand is a vascular medical specialist and director of the Population Genomics Program at Hamilton Health Sciences. Her current research focuses upon the environmental and genetic determinants of vascular disease in populations of varying ancestral origin, as well as women and cardiovascular disease.


Dr. Harald Becher

Heart & Stroke Chair in Cardiovascular Research, University of Alberta, Edmonton

Dr. Becher’s work focuses on developing and applying new ultrasound techniques for prevention, early diagnosis and treatment of patients with heart disease or stroke. His research has demonstrated how sophisticated 3D images of the carotid artery can help identify blockages in blood flow to the brain and help prevent a stroke.

Wayne Chen

Dr. Wayne Chen

Heart & Stroke Chair in Cardiovascular Research, University of Calgary

The human heartbeat is initiated by the release of calcium, but under some circumstances – including stress, intense exercise, or disease – excessive calcium can be released, leading to heart rhythm disorders (arrythmias). Dr. Chen leads a research team that explores the causes and channels for these high levels of calcium. They have identified a drug that can stabilize this release of calcium.

Dr. Natalie Dayan

Heart & Stroke-McGill University Early Career Professorship in Women’s Heart Health, Montreal

Dr. Dayan is focused on improving women’s heart health after complications during pregnancy. Her team follows women who had conditions such as gestational hypertension (high blood pressure) or pre-eclampsia, building on her earlier findings that breastfeeding has positive health impacts for women, including lowering blood pressure.

Andrew Demchuk

Dr. Andrew Demchuk

Heart & Stroke Chair in Stroke Research, University of Calgary

Dr. Demchuk’s primary research interests focus on vascular imaging, particularly tests performed in the emergency setting and how they can be used to identify patients eligible for new stroke treatments. He co-led an international clinical trial that has revolutionized treatment for major strokes.

Bernice Downey

Dr. Bernice Downey

Indigenous Early Career Women's Heart and Brain Health Chair, McMaster University, Hamilton

Dr. Bernice Downey is exploring the culture-related factors that have led to gaps in health promotion, diagnosis, treatment and research that impact Indigenous women. Tapping into Indigenous and Western knowledge, she is looking at ways to improve training for healthcare professionals to help them work with Indigenous women in a culturally safe way that fosters trusting relationships.

Heather Foulds

Dr. Heather Foulds

Indigenous Early Career Women's Heart and Brain Health Chair, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

With a team that includes an Indigenous community advisory committee, Indigenous students and research assistants, Dr. Foulds is embarking on a series of studies to identify social and cultural factors that could influence Indigenous women’s heart and brain health, and explore ways to improve prevention, detection and treatment.

Shaun Goodman

Dr. Shaun Goodman

Heart & Stroke Polo for Heart Chair, University of Toronto

Dr. Shaun Goodman is a cardiologist at St. Michael’s Hospital, a consultant to the Canadian Heart Research Centre and co-director of the Canadian VIGOUR Centre. His research is focused on diagnosis and management of coronary artery disease, secondary prevention of heart disease, and stroke prevention and risk management in atrial fibrillation.

Michael Hill

Dr. Michael Hill

Heart & Stroke/Hotchkiss Brain Institute Professorship in Stroke Research, University of Calgary

Dr. Hill is a renowned stroke researcher and neurologist, and recently led an international clinical trial that has revolutionized treatment for major strokes. He is dedicated to improving treatment and giving people living with stroke the best hope for a bright future.

Janusz Kaczorowski

Dr. Janusz Kaczorowski

Chair in Hypertension Prevention and Control Initiative, University of Montreal

Dr. Kaczorowski’s mandate is to maintain and enhance Canada’s position as a world leader in hypertension prevention, detection, management and control. This will be accomplished by identifying and actively promoting comprehensive hypertension prevention and management strategies at the community, public policy and health care system level . In his work in prevention of heart disease and stroke, he is committed to a collaborative, multi-disciplinary approach that includes knowledge transfer to improve health services and population health.

Michael Kelly

Dr. Michael Kelly

Saskatchewan Research Chair in Clinical Stroke Research, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon

In his first chair term, Dr. Kelly successfully built a team to conduct research and improve stroke care. Now his focus has shifted to solidifying a comprehensive provincial strategy, including an emphasis on prevention, raising awareness of the signs of stroke and the need to call 9-1-1, and enhanced rehabilitation strategies.

Andrew Krahn

Dr. Andrew Krahn

The Sauder Family/Heart & Stroke Chair in Cardiology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Dr. Krahn is an internationally recognized expert in heart rhythm disorders or arrhythmias, with a focus on understanding their genetic causes. He is passionate about improving diagnosis and treatment of arrhythmias, and early detection of genetic conditions.

Sandra Lauck

Dr. Sandra Lauck

Inaugural Heart & Stroke Foundation Professorship in Cardiovascular Nursing, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Dr. Lauck is focused on promoting the research contributions of cardiovascular nurses to advance multidisciplinary collaboration, patient-centred care, and clinical practice. This will equip future generations of nurses to provide the highest quality of care, improving patient outcomes, saving lives and bettering the quality of life for patients and their families.

Scott Lear

Dr. Scott Lear

Pfizer/Heart & Stroke Chair in Cardiovascular Prevention Research, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

Dr. Lear is a leading researcher in the prevention and management of heart disease, focused on enhancing understanding of risk factors and prevention strategies across diverse populations. Articles from his popular blog on healthy living topics are published on

Michael McGillion

Dr. Michael McGillion

Heart & Stroke/Michael G. DeGroote Chair in Cardiovascular Nursing Research, McMaster University, Hamilton

Dr. Michael McGillion is an internationally recognized expert in postoperative care and recovery support. His research program focuses on remote automated monitoring and virtual recovery support for people recovering from cardiac, vascular and other forms of surgery. Dr. McGillion is Co-Chair of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Pan-Canadian Council on Mission: Priorities, Advice, Science and Strategy (CoMPASS).

Bijoy Menon

Dr. Bijoy Menon

Heart & Stroke Professor in Brain Imaging, University of Calgary

Dr. Menon is focused on improving the delivery of acute stroke treatment in hospitals through the development and validation of cutting-edge – but easy to use – imaging tools. His research program developed a type of imaging known as mCTA, which has been adopted by many hospitals worldwide. He is now developing automated image interpretation techniques using AI and big data, which could be used by community physicians to treat stroke. He is also developing novel clinical trial methodologies that make it possible for clinical trials to be pragmatic and fiscally efficient while using registry and administrative data sources.

Seema Mital

Dr. Seema Mital

Heart & Stroke/Robert M. Freedom Chair in Cardiovascular Science, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto

Dr. Mital, a cardiologist and senior scientist in genetics and genome biology, is studying the genomic causes of childhood heart disease including congenital heart disease and cardiomyopathies. Her goal is to apply precision medicine approaches to diagnose, prevent and treat heart failure to improve outcomes and survival.

Kara Nerenberg

Dr. Kara Nerenberg

Mid-Career Women's Heart and Brain Health Chair, University of Calgary

Women who experience a high blood pressure disorder during pregnancy are two to five times more likely to have a heart attack or stroke by age 40. Yet half of Canadian doctors are unaware of this. Dr. Nerenberg is studying ways to engage these women in managing their risks and creating tools to enable physicians to help them.

Geoffrey Pickering

Dr. Geoffrey Pickering

Heart & Stroke Barnett-Ivey Chair, University of Western Ontario, London

Dr. Pickering’s work involves the identification of pathways by which cells of the artery wall contribute to vascular disease. In 2019 his team identified a cellular process linked to an often-fatal cardiac event called ascending aortic aneurysm. He is exploring how the vascular system ages and strategies for the development of new blood vessels.

Dr. Jeff Reading

BC First Nations Health Authority Chair in Heart Health and Wellness, St. Paul’s Hospital and Simon Fraser University, Vancouver

When Dr. Reading, a Mohawk from the Tyendinaga First Nation, looks at Canada’s Indigenous communities, he sees tremendous strengths — including powerful cultural traditions, resilience and spiritual connection to the land. As chair he leads research to develop health promotion strategies that incorporate First Nations history, culture and spirit, and to produce knowledge for policies and programs.

George Schmolzer

Dr. George Schmolzer

Heart & Stroke Professorship in Neonatal Resuscitation, University of Alberta, Edmonton

At birth, around 13-26 million babies worldwide need help breathing; some receive extensive cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), including chest compressions, in the delivery room. These babies have high rates of death and brain injury. Dr. Schmolzer is aiming to develop new techniques to improve extensive CPR in the delivery room, thereby reducing the risk of brain damage and death and giving these babies a better chance of survival.

Dr. Thalia Field

Dr. Thalia Field

The Sauder Family/Heart & Stroke Professorship in Clinical Stroke Research, University of British Columbia, Vancouver

Dr. Field is a stroke neurologist and clinician-researcher with a focus on clinical trials. She is currently leading a national study on cerebral venous thrombosis, a rare cause of stroke primarily affecting younger women. She has a particular interest in process improvement in clinical trials, including working with patients to identify important outcomes, and integrating technology to enhance efficiency and engage under-represented populations. 

YuTian Wang

Dr. Yu Tian Wang

Heart & Stroke Chair in Stroke Research, University of British Columbia

 The long-standing research interest in Dr. Wang’s laboratory has been on understanding the mechanisms regulating the efficacy of communication among neurons in the brain, and how dysfunctions in these mechanisms related to stroke and other brain disorders such as epilepsy and learning deficits.

Dr. Jeffrey Weitz

Heart & Stroke / J. Fraser Mustard Chair in Cardiovascular Research, McMaster University, Hamilton

Dr. Weitz specializes in thrombosis, the formation of clots in the bloodstream. His team has identified a new drug regimen that enables thrombosis patients to recover at home. They are in the testing phase of new, more effective drugs, while also exploring the genetic and biochemical factors that cause clots.

Dr. Salim Yusuf

Heart & Stroke / Marion W. Burke Chair in Cardiovascular Disease, McMaster University, Hamilton

Dr. Yusuf is a leading clinical researcher whose focus areas include prevention of vascular diseases and heart failure, and improved approaches to the evaluation of clinical trials. He is keenly interested in societal, biological and genetic determinants in population health, and recently published a study exploring the impact of income levels on death rates from and incidence of heart disease.

Heart & Stroke Foundation Professorship in Stroke Research, University of Alberta

This professorship is currently under recruitment.

Heart & Stroke/Libin Cardiovascular Institute Professorship in Cardiovascular Research, University of Calgary

This professorship is currently under recruitment.

Heart & Stroke/Northern Ontario School of Medicine Chair in Aboriginal and Rural Health

This professorship is currently under recruitment.