McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Elite physician scientist takes new chair

Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation endows research position at McMaster University

By Suzanne Morrison
Published: January 20, 2010
Mark Tarnopolsky
Mark Tarnopolsky, professor of pediatrics and medicine

Children and adults around the world suffering from a vast array of chronic diseases — muscular dystrophy, Lou Gehrig’s disease, mitochondrial disease — are leading better lives today because of Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky's innovative research.

Senior citizens can also credit Tarnopolsky for helping them push back the march of time through his discovery that weight-training may be the "fountain of youth" for aging muscles.

Recognized as an international leader in researching neuromuscular and neurometabolic disorders, Tarnopolsky is a professor of pediatrics and medicine of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and director of the Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Clinic at McMaster Children’s Hospital.

In recognition of the importance of his area of research and its impact on patients, Tarnopolsky has become the first holder of the McMaster Children's Hospital/Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation Chair in Neuromuscular Disorders.

Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation has funded the $2 million research chair at McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

"Health research is important to our donors and, through their support, the Foundation is proud to provide the funding for this endowed chair," said Pearl Veenema, president and CEO of Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation. "We are thrilled with the appointment of Dr. Tarnopolsky as inaugural chair, and know that his research will advance treatment for people young and old who are living with chronic diseases of the muscles, nerves and mitochondria."

John Kelton, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster, said Tarnopolsky is an elite clinician scientist with an important research program.

"Dr. Tarnopolsky is making great strides as a Canadian leader in neuromuscular disorders, and we’re glad to have him based in Hamilton."

Tarnopolsky is a graduate of McMaster University, first earning a degree in physical education in 1985, a medical degree in 1988 and a PhD in cell biology and metabolism in 1991.

He is the only physician in Canada to focus most of his practice on mitochondrial diseases. (Mitochondria are the powerhouse of the muscle cells which create 90 per cent of the body’s energy).

He has been the recipient of many honours and awards, including the Premier’s Research Excellence Award in 2000 and the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Dr. David Green Award as the top clinician-scientist in Canada in 2004 - 2005.

McMaster University, one of four Canadian universities listed among the Top 100 universities in the world, is renowned for its innovation in both learning and discovery. It has a student population of 23,000, and more than 140,000 alumni in 128 countries.

Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation is a charitable organization raising funds to support the health care programs and services of Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS).

HHS is a family of six hospitals and a cancer centre, serving more than 2.3 million residents in Hamilton and central south and central west Ontario.  As the second largest hospital in Ontario, Hamilton Health Sciences is the regional centre for burns, trauma, cardiac, stroke, paediatrics, digestive diseases, high-risk obstetrics, orthopaedics and rehabilitation and cancer care. 

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