Director's Message


Researchers from the University of Alberta have played key roles in advancing the understanding of diabetes and its treatment - from the purification of insulin for use in the clinic one hundred years ago to successful transplantation of insulin producing cells (islets) from organ donors.

The Alberta Diabetes Institute (ADI) is a purpose built facility (opened in 2007) which enables researchers from diverse backgrounds and with different expertise to work together with the common goal of better understanding the complexity of diabetes in order to develop better approaches to prevention and treatment - and thus to improve the health and well-being of people with, or at risk for diabetes.

No stone will be left unturned. Our researchers want to know how to address the diabetes epidemic by studying populations; and work out why diabetes starts by studying single cells. The influence of nutrition and physical activity are being explored to treat or prevent diabetes in children, adults and the elderly - and even in the next generation by studying pregnant women. New treatments and technologies are being developed and evaluated in our Clinical Research Unit. Partnership and collaborations both internal and external will be key to the success of our institute. Our investigators are well connected with national and international diabetes research community providing opportunities to have an even greater impact.

The work of the ADI is hugely dependent on the contributions of many partners: funders, donors and sponsors enabling researchers to doggedly pursue answers to difficult questions and to help develop and train the next generation of scientists researchers.

Addressing diabetes is a vital and urgent task. I am privileged to work with such a large group of talented and dedicated researchers all of whom are driven by a desire to transform outcomes for people and families affected by diabetes in Alberta and around the world.

Dr. Peter Senior

Director, Alberta Diabetes Institute
Dr. Charles A. Allard Chair in Diabetes Research 

About The Dr. Charles A. Allard Chair in Diabetes Research

Established in 2006 by a generous gift from Peter A. Allard, the Dr. Charles A. Allard Chair in Diabetes Research supports the research of the Director of the Alberta Diabetes Institute at the University of Alberta. The Alberta Diabetes Institute is the largest stand-alone diabetes research institute in Canada. 

As the Dr. Charles A. Allard Chair in Diabetes Research and Alberta Diabetes Institute Director, Dr. Senior will seek to enhance the institute's impact by developing capacity in clinical and translational research to accelerate access to better treatments and care. His research and scholarship aims to improve outcomes for people with diabetes by training clinicians, developing clinical practice guidelines to improve care, and equipping persons with diabetes with tools for better self-management. Key tactics will be to develop interdisciplinary programs, promote patient oriented research and develop partnerships with the community, foundations, health charities and industry partners and academic colleagues around the world. 

Dr. Charles Allard (1919-1991)

Dr. Charles A. Allard was one of Alberta's best examples of a physician who was successful inside and outside medicine. He demonstrated how hard work, good judgment, and ability were the core competencies of success. Independent minded, he was a clear thinker who had a remarkable insight into Alberta's future.

Dr. Allard's career began as one of the first fellowship-trained surgeons in Canada. After a brief postgraduate stint at the University of Toronto, he transferred to McGill's new surgical training program in 1944 and graduated with the first class of surgical Fellows. He returned to Edmonton in 1948 to set up practice at the Edmonton General Hospital (EGH). Dr. Allard was a surgeon at the Edmonton General for almost 20 years and, in 1956, he was appointed Chief of Staff. He continued as the Chief until 1968 when he stepped down and took a leave of absence to commit more time to pursue his many business interests including real estate, the gas and petrochemical industry and his true love in broadcasting. In 1974, he launched CITV in Edmonton, the first independent television station in Western Canada.

Dr. Allard believed in giving back to the community in which he lived and his final legacy was the establishment of the Allard Foundation, which has had a significant impact within Alberta since its inception and will continue its influence in the future. The Allard Foundation has provided financial assistance to many organizations in Alberta and Canada, primarily focusing on the health sector and medical research, with education also an important priority.

Through the years, Dr. Allard received many distinguished awards including Broadcaster of the Year. In 2005, he was named one of the Edmontonians of the Century and Physicians of the Century. He was inducted into the Canadian Broadcasting Hall of Fame and the Business Hall of Fame. Dr. Allard passed away in 1991 leaving behind six children - Cam, Judy, twins Chuck and Peter, Tony and Cathy - and 12 grandchildren.

Find out more about the Allard Foundation.