Dr. Akbar Panju is the first medical director of McMaster University’s newly established Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care. He has also been appointed to the Medard DeGroote Chair in Medicine.
Dr. Panju, who is both a professor of medicine for McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences and chief of medicine for Hamilton Health Sciences, has a particular interest in the mechanisms and treatment of pain, in addition to his interests in cardiology and thrombosis.
Trained as a physician in Britain, Dr. Panju came to Canada in 1975 and worked as a family physician for five years in the Ontario communities of Ignace, Thunder Bay and Cambridge, before completing a residency in internal medicine with further training in cardiology and thrombosis at McMaster University in 1984.
Dr. Panju has been a faculty member at McMaster since 1986 and his abilities as an instructor have been reflected in teaching awards he has received from students, medical residents and his academic peers. In 2003, he received the national Osler Award from the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine, as an individual who exemplified the best in medicine.
Previously he earned the John C. Sibley Award from McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences for his outstanding contribution to health sciences education and research.
Dr. Panju says his interest in pain was kindled by a challenging patient with thalamic pain. His investigation made it clear that there has been very little research being done in the field of thalamic and central pain.
His research has focused on chest pain, cardiology, thrombosis and general internal medicine. He has 45 publications to his credit, including contributions to book chapters, and he is a past-president of the Canadian Society of Internal Medicine.
For the pain institute he will create and co-ordinate an international database and registry for patients suffering with thalamic and central pain. A key focus of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care will be ensuring a collaborative approach in national and international research in pain.
"The Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Pain Research and Care will be a hub and magnet to attract individuals of national and international stature in pain research activity", he says.
His responsibilities include co-ordinating pain services locally and regionally and building the institute’s partnership with Hamilton Health Sciences.