Toronto (May 7, 2007) - Dr. Vivek Rao, Cardiac Surgeon and Scientist, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Toronto General Hospital and Dr. Aaron Schimmer, Clinician Scientist, Princess Margaret Hospital are among Canada's Top 40 Under 40, announced today in the Globe and Mail's annual ranking.

Canada's Top 40 Under 40 is a national program designed to celebrate our leaders of today and tomorrow, and to honour Canadians who have reached a significant level of success but have not yet reached the age of 40. The program is intended to promote mentorship and professional development by introducing these leaders to the established business community and by promoting them as role models for young Canadians.

"The entire UHN organization is proud of the accomplishments of Dr. Rao and Dr. Schimmer." said Dr. Bob Bell, President and CEO of University Health Network. "Their dedication and commitment to their patients, together with their resolve to find new and better ways to advance their particular areas of medicine are what make them such valuable members of our team."

Highlights of Dr. Rao's career include:

  • At age 33, became the youngest surgical appointee to the Division of Cardiac Surgery at Toronto General Hospital.
  • Successfully implanting Canada's first HeartMate ventricular assist device (VAD) into a patient. The VAD is a mechanical device that is used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart.
  • He was appointed surgical director of cardiac transplantation in June 2002.
  • In 2005, he was appointed to the Alfredo and Teresa DeGasperis Chair in Heart Failure Surgery at Toronto General Hospital in recognition of his international reputation as an expert in the treatment of end stage heart disease.
  • He was awarded the Paul C. Samson Resident award from the Western Thoracic Surgical Association for his unique study into a novel aortic valve substitute and the Salter-Siminovitch Award from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto as the most outstanding PhD graduate in 1998.

Highlights of Dr. Schimmer's career include:

  • Pursuing research training and receiving his PhD in Molecular Biology in 2001.
  • Following a post-doctoral fellowship at the Burnham Institute in San Diego, California, he returned to Toronto as a Staff Physician in the department of Hematology/Oncology at the Princess Margaret Hospital.
  • Identifying molecules that serve as tools to confirm potential therapeutic targets and better understand the mechanisms of cancer progression.
  • Authored of over 30 papers and is the Principal Investigator on three clinical trials of novel agents for leukemia patients.

Following a nomination process, a committee made up of several of Canada's top business and academia leaders, as well as a selection of Top 40 Under 40 alumni choose the recipients based on achievements in the following areas, vision and leadership, innovation and achievement, impact, community involvement and contribution and growth/development strategy.

About University Health Network

University Health Network consists of Toronto General, Toronto Western and Princess Margaret Hospitals. The scope of research and complexity of cases at University Health Network has made it a national and international source for discovery, education and patient care. It has the largest hospital-based research program in Canada, with major research in transplantation, cardiology, neurosciences, oncology, surgical innovation, infectious diseases, and genomic medicine. University Health Network is a teaching hospital affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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