McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster University and AstraZeneca announce endowed chair in respirology epidemiology

Published: January 26, 2004

McMaster University and AstraZeneca Canada, Inc., today announced the appointment of Malcolm Sears, MD, as the first holder of a new chair in respirology epidemiology.

Sears is a professor in the department of Medicine at McMaster University, and Research Director of the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

The new position will support Sears and his investigation of respiratory diseases, in particular the reasons for the rapid increase in the number of people, especially children, who have asthma. His work has led to new insights into factors related to the risk of development and persistence of allergies and asthma, and to improved strategies for asthma management.

"Dr. Sears is an experienced physician and epidemiologist," said Dr. John Kelton, dean and vice president of health sciences at McMaster. "With this appointment we're very pleased and excited to be able to recognize his efforts to improve respiratory health through the study of populations."

Sears was recruited to McMaster from New Zealand in 1990, as the director of the former Firestone Regional Chest and Allergy Unit. For more than 20 years he has been conducting an important longitudinal study, investigating the incidence and impact of asthma, on a group of New Zealanders from infancy to adulthood. He has also undertaken many critical studies on the epidemiology and natural history of asthma and its management.

He has published over 150 peer-reviewed papers and book chapters, together with many research abstracts, and lectures frequently at international scientific meetings.

"It is an honour to receive the first AstraZeneca Chair in Respirology Epidemiology at McMaster University," says Dr. Sears. "My interest in epidemiology goes back three decades to observations made in New Zealand, and has continued in national studies both in New Zealand and in Canada, and in several international studies.

"The support provided by this Chair will allow greater attention to be given to important research themes, both short-term and long-term, pursuing investigations of risk factors for development of respiratory illness in early childhood, as well as studying the determinants and consequences of respiratory disease in older children and adults."

Dr. Kazi Borkowski, Vice President, Medical Affairs, AstraZeneca Canada Inc. said AstraZeneca has enjoyed a long-standing relationship with McMaster and is proud to be working with the University again.

"The establishment of the chair in respiratory epidemiology will provide an opportunity for significant research to be conducted under the leadership of Dr. Malcolm Sears. There is no doubt that the results of this research will benefit those with respiratory conditions both in Canada and around the world."

Peter Fonseca, attended the event as MPP and parliamentary secretary to the minister of health and long-term care. He said; "Today's announcement is an important step in strengthening McMaster's role as a leading centre for life sciences research."

McMaster University is one of Canada's leading research institutions and is located in Hamilton, Ontario. Its Faculty of Health Sciences is recognized internationally for its leading edge research, innovation and excellence in education. More information is available at

AstraZeneca is one of the leading global pharmaceutical companies with a formidable product portfolio spanning six major therapeutic areas: gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, oncology, respiratory, neuroscience and infection. For more information, visit the company's website at

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