Dr. James Russell wins 2017 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize

Internationally recognized leader in the fields of critical care and severe infection Dr. James Russell has been named the winner of the 2017 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize.

Created in honour of MSFHR’s founding president & CEO, this award is given annually to a British Columbia clinician scientist whose work in health research has had a significant impact on advancing research and improving health, and the health system, in BC and beyond.

“The breadth and depth of Dr. Russell’s research career is remarkable,” says Dr. Bev Holmes, interim president & CEO. “Not only is he an internationally recognized leader in critical care and severe infection, and one of the most sought after experts in clinical trial design in North America, but he has dedicated time to mentor over 40 research trainees and co-found two biotechnology companies. These efforts have helped to both translate his research findings into improved health outcomes for patients, and establish BC as a leader in critical care and sepsis. We are thrilled to be able to honour these achievements by presenting Dr. Russell with the 2017 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize.”

Dr. Russell is professor of medicine at UBC and researcher in the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital where his work focuses on the acute organ failures seen in critically ill patients. In 1982, he founded the Critical Care Department at UBC and St. Paul’s, which he has grown to an internationally recognized department that provides world-class care and leads translational research to continually improve that care. This program has gone on to become one of the premier Critical Care programs both in Canada, and globally.

As a founder of the BC Personalized Medicine Initiative (est. 2011), Dr. Russell also played a major role in bringing personalized medicine to the province. This umbrella organization of personalized healthcare stakeholders is working to introduce an individualized molecular approach to health management at a preventive, diagnostic and therapeutic level. Individually, Dr. Russell was one of the first sepsis experts to recognize the importance of personalized approaches for this complicated clinical syndrome, and see its potential for reducing hospital re-admissions and improving quality of life after sepsis.

Dr. Russell’s publication record, including 237 peer-reviewed journal articles, 42 book chapters, 186 research abstracts and 270 invited talks, highlights his sustained status as a leader in critical care and sepsis research. However, he is also dedicated to applying this research beyond the lab to improve patient health outcomes. In this pursuit, the has founded two successful spin-off companies: Sirius Genomics Inc., a company that focused on discovery and development of predictive biomarkers for drugs in sepsis; and Cyon Therapeutics, now focused on development and use of a PCSK9 inhibitor in sepsis and septic shock, a recent discovery that has the potential to change the standard of care in this area. These commercialization efforts have generated not only employment and training opportunities, but also raised the profile of BC biotechnology on the world stage.

MSFHR is delighted to name Dr. Russell the recipient of the 2017 Aubrey J. Tingle Prize. The presentation will take place on April 19 at the 19th annual LifeSciences BC Awards.