McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

Deborah Cook and Paul O'Byrne earn University's highest honour

Published: April 23, 2015
Paul O'Byrne
Paul O'Byrne, chair and professor, Department of Medicine
Deborah Cook
Deborah Cook, professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Two of the five faculty members just named Distinguished University ProfessorsDeborah Cook and Paul O'Byrne — are from the Faculty of Health Sciences.

The title, created in 1996, is the University's highest honour and goes only to those professors who achieve the highest level of excellence in teaching, learning and research.

Those recognized with the honour are considered "complete scholars" and have demonstrated an outstanding and sustained research record, innovation in teaching and learning, and a history of service that has had an impact on the community.


Deborah Cook is a professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics and a world-leading expert in intensive care medicine.

Cook is a critical care physician, researcher and educator, widely known for her compassion, dedication to humane, holistic care, and groundbreaking research on end-of-life care. She is also a staff physician in the intensive care unit at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton, where many see her as a role model and champion for providing good palliative and spiritual care.


Paul O'Byrne is chair and a professor in the Department of Medicine, and world-renowned for his groundbreaking research on asthma that is the result of allergies.

He is the executive director of the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton and holds the E.J. Moran Campbell Chair in Respiratory Medicine. He is a prolific publisher, with nearly 400 peer-reviewed papers in high profile journals.


"These truly are 'complete scholars,'" said Provost David Wilkinson in making the announcement this week. "They represent the best of McMaster in teaching, research and community engagement, and should be proud of their accomplishments. Congratulations to all five of our newest Distinguished University Professors."

The other three professors given the honour include: Jamal Deen, a professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering; Christine Wilson, a professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Shiping Zhu, a professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

No more than two per cent of all full-time faculty can be a Distinguished University Professor. The lifetime title will be conferred upon the faculty members at spring Convocation ceremonies.

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