University of Calgary

$3 million for stroke research

Posted November 22, 2010

Dr. Janel Nadeau and Dr. Andrew Demchuk (right): photo credit: Bruce PerraultDr. Janel Nadeau and Dr. Andrew Demchuk (right): photo credit: Bruce PerraultDr. Andrew Demchuk is the first recipient of the Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Stroke Research at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI) of the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine. The award winning stroke neurologist will use the gift to provide leadership in stroke research - helping the university develop, attract and retain talented people, strengthening capacity for leading edge research.

“Stroke remains an extremely challenging disease with few effective treatments,” says Demchuk, an Associate Professor in the Department of Clinical Neurosciences and Co-leader of the Stroke and Vascular Dementia Program at the HBI. “But we are making a difference. Neuroimaging has advanced dramatically and is simplifying the disease. There is a need to build upon the Faculty’s main international strength in the area of stroke image analysis using MRI, CT and ultrasound.”

Dr. Janel Nadeau knows what it’s like to deal with the challenges of suffering a stroke and life afterwards. She was only 19-years-old when she faced a life threatening bleed in the brain – or a hemorrhagic stroke. The situation inspired her to go to medical school. She is now a third year neurology resident who plans to specialize in the treatment of stroke. “It’s so thrilling working and mentoring from the same team of doctors that brought me through my stroke. And it is remarkable to see stroke care evolve, even in the nine years since my stroke, that wouldn’t happen without the research done here,” says Nadeau.

“Because of research advances, you are far more likely to survive a stroke today than 30 years ago.  But there is so much more we can do to improve the quality of life for stroke survivors,” says Diana Krecsy, CEO the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Alberta, NWT & Nunavut.  “We are excited about the potential through the level of leadership that Dr. Demchuk will bring to this position.  In his role as research chair he will maintain a world class research program with the capacity to shift entire systems of care.”

Dr.Tom Feasby, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, says the Heart and Stroke Foundation makes a tremendous difference at the University of Calgary.  “The investment made by the Foundation in 1995 in the first stroke professorship was the key building block that lead to creating North America’s best stroke program right here in Calgary,” he says.

The Heart and Stroke Foundation has a long history of supporting the University of Calgary, the Libin Cardiovascular Institute and the Hotchkiss Brain Institute (HBI). The Foundation has supported a Chair in Cardiovascular Research since 1980, and in the past seven years it has contributed more than $13 million in support of researchers at the university. 

During the past year, the Heart and Stroke Foundation has funded 30 University of Calgary researchers in many areas including stroke prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. “The secret of its success is the seamless combination of researchers, educators and clinicians. It’s no accident that Calgary has the best stroke outcomes in Canada,” says Feasby.

The $3 million endowment for the Heart and Stroke Foundation Chair in Stroke Research was established with $1.5 million in funding from the Foundation and a $1.5 million matching donation.

Dr. Andrew Demchuk is an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions (AIHS) scholar.