New leader chosen for MUHC research institute
April 14, 2021
MONTREAL – The Board of Directors of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) announced the appointment of Professor Rhian M. Touyz (pictured) as executive director and chief scientific officer of the RI-MUHC.
Prof. Touyz is recognized internationally as an authority in vascular biology and hypertension, a prolific clinician-scientist, generous and inspiring mentor, and collegial leader. Concurrently, she becomes a Member of the MUHC Executive Team, a Full Professor with tenure in the departments of Medicine and Family Medicine, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Dr. Phil Gold Chair in Medicine at McGill University, which is endowed by the Montreal General Hospital Foundation.
Prof. Touyz, a Canadian citizen, is returning to Québec after a decade in Glasgow, United Kingdom.
“Professor Touyz was selected from an impressive pool of 75 qualified candidates following a rigorous and global search process,” said Mr. Peter Kruyt, chairman of the RI-MUHC’s Board of Directors. “Having lived and worked in multiple settings, including Montréal, she has a solid understanding of the Québec research and healthcare landscape, as well as an international mindset and track record in administration that will undoubtedly help her steward the vital funding entrusted to our researchers within the framework of a bold, collaborative and inclusive strategy for the future; we are very much looking forward to her arrival.”
Consistently ranked one of Canada’s top three hospital-based research institutes and the largest in Québec with 32,563 square metres of state-of-the-art facilities, the RI-MUHC benefited from CAN$206M in funding support in 2019-2020.
As Executive Director and Chief Scientific Officer, Prof. Touyz will oversee 458 active fundamental, clinical and evaluative researchers, 1,195 trainees and 1,209 staff, whose steadfast work aims to bridge the gap between biomedical research and clinical medicine, speed up innovation and the translation of basic discoveries to public uses, and improve the health outcomes of people across their lifespan.
“In the last two centuries, the MUHC’s hospitals have provided specialized and ultra-specialized care to a diverse population,” adds Dr. Pierre Gfeller, President and Executive Director of the MUHC. “Only recently, however, has it become abundantly clear that to have the most impact on disease outcomes and innovation, we must embrace a world view and inspire the same in others.
“In that regard, if Professor Touyz’s peers and students are any indication, she will be a valuable addition to the MUHC Executive Team because they have painted a picture of someone who brings out the best in everyone, is creative, driven and well-organized.”
“Professor Touyz brings to the McGill community an outstanding track record in leadership, science and scholarship, coupled with the exceptional qualities needed to lead an institute of world-renowned researchers that is the RI-MUHC,” notes Dr. David Eidelman, vice-principal (Health Affairs) and dean, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences at McGill University. “We are delighted to welcome Professor Touyz back to Montréal, where she will inspire new generations of leading McGill researchers and clinician-scientists in pursuit of novel therapies and treatments to improve human health worldwide.”
Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Prof. Touyz earned her BSc with Honours (1980), her MBBCh (1984), MSc (1986) and PhD (1992) in South Africa. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the Montreal Clinical Research Institute (IRCM) in 1996. Thereafter, she assumed progressively senior roles that culminated in Staff Scientist and Professor at the IRCM before being recruited as a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Hypertension to the Kidney Research Centre, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, University of Ottawa in 2005.
In 2011, she was recruited by the University of Glasgow where she has served as director of the Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences (ICAMS), British Heart Foundation (BHF) chair and professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, University of Glasgow, UK. A clinician-scientist, she is also Director of the BHF Centre of Research Excellence in Vascular Science and Medicine and a consultant in the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital.
“I am absolutely delighted, honoured and humbled to take up the position as executive director and chief scientific officer of the RI-MUHC. Returning to Montreal after 16 years is certainly coming home, but I return enriched and eager to use the skills learned in Ottawa and Glasgow to further build on the already strong foundations of the RI-MUHC. I am especially proud to be bringing a little of the contemporary University of Glasgow, the alma mater of James McGill, to the RI-MUHC and McGill University,” said Prof. Touyz.
She added, “Truly meaningful health-related research is best done when basic scientists work seamlessly with clinical researchers in an environment where the hospital is the ‘laboratory’ and patient access is across the corridor from the scientist; what better place than the RI-MUHC! I am extremely excited about the opportunities to work together with the RI-MUHC, MUHC and McGill community to take the Institute to even greater heights.”
About the Research Institute of the MUHC (RI-MUHC)
The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC) is a world-renowned biomedical and healthcare research centre. The institute, which is affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, is the research arm of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) – an academic health centre located in Montreal, Canada, that has a mandate to focus on complex care within its community. The RI-MUHC supports over 450 researchers and around 1,200 research trainees devoted to a broad spectrum of fundamental, clinical and health outcomes research at the Glen and the Montreal General Hospital sites of the MUHC. Its research facilities offer a dynamic multidisciplinary environment that fosters collaboration and leverages discovery aimed at improving the health of individual patients across their lifespan. The RI-MUHC is supported in part by the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé (FRQS). For more information, visit www.rimuhc.ca.
About the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC)
The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) is one of the world’s foremost academic health facilities. Building on the tradition of medical leadership of its founding hospitals, the MUHC provides exceptional multidisciplinary patient-centric care. Affiliated with the Faculty of Medicine of McGill University, the MUHC continues to shape the course of adult and pediatric medicine by attracting clinical and research expertise from around the world, assessing the latest in medical technology, and training the next generation of medical professionals. In collaboration with our network partners, we are building a better future for our patients and their families; for our employees, professionals, researchers and students; for our community and above all, for life. For more information, visit www.muhc.ca.