Toronto (June 20, 2006) - Mr. Philip S. Orsino, O.C., Chair of the Board of Trustees of University Health Network (UHN) and Robert Bell, MD, President and CEO, today announced an impressive number of international clinical and research talents who have joined the network since the launch of its $500-million fundraising campaign. The announcement was made at UHN's Annual General Meeting, which was open to the public.

"UHN is creating a magnetic attraction in health sciences, bringing some of the most promising and renowned scientists and clinicians from around the world to Toronto," said Dr. Bell. "These leaders are choosing to come here largely because of the rich and supportive environment we've created through the success of our campaign and the deep pool of talent already in place."

"I would like to commend UHN's leadership and their teams for their bold vision of achieving global impact," said Mr. Orsino. "With the leadership of organizations like MaRS, the new Ministry of Research and Innovation, and the Canada Foundation of Innovation, we're advancing Canada's leadership position in the highly competitive global innovation economy."

The new talent will focus on research and the treatment of diseases including cancer, heart disease, arthritis and organ failure. They include:

  1. Benjamin Neel, MD, PhD is a renowned cancer cell researcher and Director of Cancer Biology recruited from Harvard Medical School. He joins as Director of the Princess Margaret Hospital's Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI).
  2. Gordon Keller, MD, PhD is a leading stem cell researcher recruited from New York's Mount Sinai Hospital. He joins as the Founding Director of the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine.
  3. Rudigervon Harsdorf, MD, is an international expert in regenerative medicine for heart diseases who was recruited from Charité University Hospitals, Germany. He joins as the inaugural Robert McEwan Chair in Cardiac Regenerative Medicine.
  4. Marc de Perrot, MD, a thoracic surgeon with expertise in lung transplantation, is recruited from Switzerland.
  5. Erwin Oeschslin, MD, an international leader in adult congenital heart diseases, is recruited from Switzerland. He is the holder of the Bitove Professorship in Adult Congenital Heart Disease.
  6. Conrad Liles, MD, PhD, recruited from Seattle Washington, is Head of Infectious Diseases at the University of Toronto.
  7. Diego Delgado, MD, a native of Argentina, was recruited from Rush Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Centre in Chicago. His interests include immunologic aspects of heart failure and transplantation and myocardial recovery post mechanical assist devices.
  8. Gang Zheng, PhD, an expert on molecular imaging, is recruited from the University of Pennsylvania. He is the holder of the Tanenbaum/Brazilian Ball Chair in Prostate Cancer Research.
  9. Geoffrey Liu, MD, is a medical oncologist recruited from the Harvard School of Public Health. A holder of the Alan B. Brown Chair of Molecular Genomics of Lung Cancer, he is working to understand genetic changes in lung, head and neck, and esophageal cancer, and evaluating molecular risk, pharmacogenetics and molecular prognostic markers.
  10. Elena Moro, MD, PhD, a neurologist trained in movement disorders and deep brain stimulation (DBS) treatment, is recruited from Niguarda Hospital in Italy.

UHN's precedent-setting fundraising campaign has enabled UHN to attract and retain leading talent, as well as purchase new capital equipment, increase research space totalling 750,000 square feet (including the new Toronto Medical Discovery Tower at MaRS), and establish 40 new research Chairs bringing the total to 60. Launched in November 2002, the campaign was the largest of its kind in Canadian history with an initial goal of $400-million. This milestone was surpassed when the goal was extended to $500-million in June 2005. The campaign raised a total of $554 million – a Canadian record for hospital fundraising.

"I've been continually impressed with the level of support and involvement that volunteers and Foundation staff have demonstrated over the five years of the Campaign. Their efforts have had a direct and immediate impact on the three hospitals and the patients they serve," said Bryce Douglas, UHN Campaign Chair. "My government is supporting our province's research talent to help build a culture of innovation in Ontario," said Premier and Minister of Research and Innovation Dalton McGuinty. "By attracting and retaining the best medical researchers, we are strengthening our health care system and solidifying Ontario's international reputation as a leader in the field of medicine."

"For a health care institution to attract this many international stars is a testament to our existing UHN talent," said Dr. Christopher J. Paige, PhD, Vice President of Research.

"Time and again we see that investment in Canada's human capital pays off in terms of research productivity and innovation outcomes."

UHN offers patients highly specialized programs and services, many unmatched by other medical institutes in North America. Some of them are: Canada's premier cardiac centre, the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, the Multi Organ Transplant Centre and the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine at Toronto General Hospital; The Krembil Neuroscience Centre, a state of the art clinical, research and teaching facility for disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerves and senses and home to Ontario's only Gamma Knife located at the Toronto Western Hospital; The Campbell Family Institute for Breast Cancer Research and the New Drug Development Centre at Princess Margaret Hospital and the Arthritis and Autoimmunity Research Centre in the MaRS Discovery District dedicated to arthritis research. UHN and its three hospital Foundations – Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation, The Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation and the Arthritis and Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation will continue to launch new fundraising initiatives to enhance the opportunities for further growth and advancement at University Health Network.

University Health Network is a major landmark in Canada's healthcare system, and a teaching partner of the University of Toronto. Building on the strengths and reputation of each of our three remarkable hospitals, Toronto General Hospital, Toronto Western Hospital and Princess Margaret Hospital, UHN brings together the innovation, talent and resources needed to achieve global impact on the health care scene and provide exemplary patient care.

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