Congratulations to Dr. Shaf Keshavjee, Chief of Innovation at UHN and Senior Scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, on receiving the prestigious Medawar Prize.

The award, one of the highest honours in the field of organ transplantation, recognizes outstanding investigators whose work has significantly influenced the field.

Dr. Keshavjee's transformative work includes the development of a lung preservation solution, LDP, now the global standard for lung preservation, and the Toronto Ex Vivo Lung Perfusion (EVLP) system, which has doubled the number of lungs available for transplant.

In 2008, Dr. Keshavjee co-led the development of the EVLP system at UHN. This innovative technology allows donor lungs to be maintained outside the body in a state that mimics natural conditions, supplying them with oxygen and nutrients. This process, lasting up to 12 hours, enables accurate assessment, treatment and repair of donor lungs prior to transplantation.

By 2011, EVLP was fully approved and funded as a clinical therapy, revolutionizing clinical lung transplantation.

The EVLP system has had a profound and far-reaching impact, significantly increasing the number of viable donor lungs, improving lung health post-transplant and reducing rejection rates. Leading transplant centres worldwide have adopted this system. This concept is now being expanded to other organs at UHN and worldwide.

Currently, Dr. Keshavjee's research focuses on understanding molecular mechanisms of lung preservation, injury, and repair. His team at UHN is developing diagnostics and therapies, including gene therapy and genome editing technologies like CRISPR-Cas9, to further enhance the EVLP system's lung repair capabilities.

In addition to his research roles, Dr. Keshavjee is the Director of the Toronto Lung Transplant Program within UHN's Ajmera Transplant Centre and UHN's Sprott Department of Surgery, Director of the Latner Thoracic Laboratories, and professor of thoracic surgery at the University of Toronto. His leadership and innovations have not only advanced the field of lung transplantation but have also brought new hope to patients worldwide.

The Medawar Prize, awarded biennially at The Transplantation Society's Congresses since 1990, will be officially presented to Dr. Keshavjee in September 2024.


Dr. Tirone David has been awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Society of Cardiovascular and EndoVascular and EndoVascular Surgery (ESCVS).

Dr. David, who holds the Melanie Munk Chair of Cardiovascular Surgery at UHN's Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and serves as a professor of surgery at the University of Toronto, received the accolade at the 72nd Congress of the ESCVS in Istanbul, Turkey.

Dr. David delivered the “Rene Leriche Lecture" at the Congress. The lecture was entitled, “The imperative of innovation in cardiac surgery."

Throughout a career spanning more than four decades, Dr. David has built a sterling global reputation as a cardiovascular surgeon, researcher and educator, and has pioneered numerous operative procedures to treat patients with heart valve disease and other challenges.

Congratulations to Dr. David on this achievement, his lifetime of service and all he has done for UHN, our patients, and health care in Canada.


This year, at the 50th annual Gallie Day, Dr. Anna Gagliardi, Senior Scientist at UHN's Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, was honoured with the prestigious Lister Prize.

Gallie Day is an annual event hosted by the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto to honour and recognize outstanding achievements within the surgical community. The Lister Prize, the most prestigious research award in the department, celebrates an investigator who has shown outstanding and continued productivity of international stature as evidenced by research publications, grants, mentorship and beyond.

Dr. Gagliardi's accolade stands as a testament to her unwavering dedication and impactful contributions to surgical research. Through her innovative efforts, she has not only helped advance the frontier of knowledge but has also profoundly impacted patient care and outcomes. Her work, spanning decades, has been a beacon of inspiration for colleagues, students and collaborators alike. 

“It is an immense honour to be recognized in this way for the many years of dedicated research – a journey that has been both a profession and a passionate pursuit," says Dr. Gagliardi, who is professor in the Department of Surgery and Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation as well as the Institute of Medical Science. "This award is a testament to the collective efforts of all those who have supported and inspired me throughout this transformative journey, including esteemed colleagues, diligent students, and invaluable collaborators." 

Congratulations to Dr. Gagliardi.


Congratulations to Laura Pozzobon, Manager, Strategy & Transformation, Quality, Safety & Clinical Adoption at UHN, for winning the Registered Nurses' Association of Ontario (RNAO) Leadership Award in Nursing Administration, in recognition of nursing leadership in quality and safety.

The RNAO Leadership Award in Nursing Administration is offered to the registered nurse (RN) or nurse practitioner (NP) who provides exemplary nursing management by acting as a change agent, resource and mentor within their professional setting. This individual actively collaborates with health care teams to enhance patient care through the development and implementation of innovative and creative strategies. Read more about the awards.

Laura, an RN, is a nursing leader and certified health executive passionate about improving health care with patients and families. With expertise in quality and safety, she collaborates across the health system to enhance patient experiences and improve care quality.

Dedicated to continuous learning and advancing patient safety, Laura is completing her PhD in Health Quality at Queen's University. Laura actively contributes to research and developing health care professionals and learners as an adjunct lecturer at Bloomberg School of Nursing at the University of Toronto, Honorary Visiting Research Fellow at Cardiff University, and research consultant with the Institute for Safe Medication Practice Canada. 

Laura also co-leads the Toronto Academic Health Science Network Quality Improvement and Patient Safety Community of Practice's Improving Patient Safety Workstream.

Laura received the award during the RNAO's Annual General Meeting earlier this month.


Congratulations to Dr. José Zariffa on his appointment as holder of the KITE Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research at UHN, a joint Named Chair between UHN and the University of Toronto (U of T), for a five-year term, effective April 1, 2024.

The KITE Chair in Spinal Cord Injury Research was initially established in December 2007 thanks to the kind and thoughtful generosity of a variety of donors to Toronto Rehab.

Dr. Zariffa is a Senior Scientist at UHN's KITE Research Institute and an associate professor in the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at U of T. He obtained his PhD from U of T in electrical and biomedical engineering. He then completed post-doctoral fellowships at the International Collaboration On Repair Discoveries (ICORD) in Vancouver and at Toronto Rehabilitation Institute.

Dr. Zariffa's research interests focus on neuroprosthetics and technology for upper limb neurorehabilitation. His team conducts projects ranging from direct interfaces with peripheral nerves for monitoring neural signals, to wearable sensors that can capture a person's interactions with the world around them. They aim to develop tools that can provide detailed information about movement control and performance in varied contexts from the clinic to the community.

Areas of application include closed-loop neuroprosthetic and neuromodulation systems, and the evaluation and optimization of neurorehabilitation interventions, such as rehabilitation robotics and other activity-based programs. Dr. Zariffa's team was awarded the Grand Prize in the Spinal Cord Rehab Innovation Challenge, a national competition focused on new tools to measure rehab activities and their impact.

Thank you to the generous donors to Toronto Rehab who enabled the establishment of this Chair.


Congratulations to Dr. Jonathan Yeung on his appointment as holder of the Kress Family Chair in Esophageal Cancer at UHN, a joint Named Chair between UHN and the University of Toronto (U of T), for a five-year term, effective March 1, 2024.

The Kress Family Chair in Esophageal Cancer at UHN was established in September 2009 thanks to the kind and thoughtful generosity of the Kress Family. It is intended to support and advance research, teaching and patient care initiatives for the benefit of patients with esophageal cancer.

Dr. Yeung is the Director of the Thoracic Foregut Surgery Program at UHN, a thoracic surgeon within the Division of Thoracic surgery in UHN's Sprott Department of Surgery, an affiliate scientist at Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, and associate professor in the Division of Thoracic Surgery at U of T.

Dr. Yeung obtained his MD from U of T in 2005 and studied gene therapy and ex vivo lung perfusion as part of his PhD in the lab of UHN's Dr. Shaf Keshavjee. Following residency in general and thoracic surgery in Toronto, Dr. Yeung pursued fellowship training in lung transplantation in Toronto and surgical oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York. 

Dr. Yeung and his lab focus on improving the personalized care of patients using molecular and modern genomic approaches to study diseases important to esophageal cancer and lung transplantation. For esophageal cancer, he aims to improve the personalization of treatment for patients by understanding the genetic makeup of each patient's tumors using an organoid model.

Under Dr. Yeung's guidance and leadership, in 2023, UHN began offering a suite of new robotic surgery options, including robotic esophagectomy.

Thank you to the Kress Family for their generous contributions to UHN Foundation, which enabled the establishment and continuation in perpetuity of this Chair.

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