Precision Health in Action: Making Medicine Work for You

Sep. 28, 2021 7:00 PM - 8:15 PM

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The newest frontier in health care is all about precision: diagnoses, treatments and preventive measures tailored towards a patient’s biological and environmental makeup instead of the traditional “one-size-fits all” approach. It could mean learning you have a chronic or rare disease with one simple test or being prescribed a medication that’s more effective and has fewer side effects, all because it was made with your genetics in mind. 

The University of Alberta is home to world-leading experts developing precision-health approaches to diagnosing and treating conditions such as cancer, diabetes and mental illness. On Sept. 28, five researchers and clinicians will discuss how their work is already benefiting the health of patients and communities and what new treatments we can anticipate in the near future. 

Check out the full Alumni Week(end) events listing here.


Dr. Peter Kannu is a pediatrician and clinical geneticist who works on diseases affecting the skin and bones. Before moving to Edmonton, he worked as a consultant clinical geneticist at the Victorian Clinical Genetics Service in Australia and  at Queen’s University in Ontario. In 2010, he was recruited to the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto because of his specialist skills in genetic abnormalities that affect cartilage formation. He is now the chair of medical genetics at the University of Alberta.

Dr. Lawrence Richer, ’92 BSc(Hons), ’96 MD, ’09 MSc, is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta and a practicing pediatric neurologist. He serves as the vice-dean of clinical research for the U of A’s Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, centre director of the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre and academic lead for the U of A’s Precision Health Signature Area. In his leadership roles, he is committed to maximizing the use of health data to improve patient outcomes through research and to enhancing support for innovation in clinical research.

Dr. Dean Eurich, ’03 MSc, ’07 PhD, is a professor and program director for the clinical epidemiology program within the University of Alberta’s School of Public Health. Nationally, he is the chair for the personal awards committee and board member of the National Research Council (NRC) of Diabetes Canada. His current focus is on health outcomes in patients with chronic diseases as well as quality improvement initiatives with several First Nations communities in the province.

Dr. Lisa Guirguis, ‘97 BSc Pharm, ‘00 MSc is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. She teaches and conducts pharmacy practice research that influences health policy and supports pharmacists’ roles in patient-centred care. 

Dr. James Shapiro, ‘01 PhD, was born in England and developed a longstanding interest in islet cell transplantation as a medical student. On Faculty at the UofA since 1998, he now holds the Canada Research Chair in Transplantation Surgery and Regenerative Medicine, and works as a busy liver transplant and cancer surgeon. He was the lead investigator on the famous “Edmonton Protocol” cell transplant treatment for diabetes and was the first in Canada to start clinical trials with human stem cell-derived insulin secreting cells. The recipient of numerous awards, Dr. Shapiro is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.


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