Founder and Director

Portrait of Dr. Lorne Tyrrell

Message from the Director

In April 2010, the Li Ka Shing (Canada) Foundation committed a combined $28 million to establish the Li Ka Shing (LKS) Institute of Virology ($25 million) and the LKS Sino-Canadian Exchange Program ($3 million). Armed with confidence in the ability to become an international centre for cutting-edge research, the Li Ka Shing (LKS) Institute of Virology was able to attract world-class researchers, all of whom are dedicated to learning more about viruses and translating research discoveries into improved therapy for patients.

Our website gives you an overview of the enormous amount of activity in the LKS Institutes of Virology (LKSIoV) and Applied Virology (LKSAVI) from discoveries at the forefront of better health outcomes to seminars and conferences, co-operative global projects, research and publications. We have been successful in both recruiting top researchers in their respective fields to be a part of the institute and in working collaboratively with renowned researchers from afar. Partnerships and formal collaborations are taking shape and the world is taking notice. The excitement and optimism about what is happening at the institute is strong and growing.

Thank you for your interest in the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology. Scientists in the institute have had, and continue to have, profound and positive impact on the health of people in many parts of the world.

D. Lorne Tyrrell, OC, AOE, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FRSC, FCAHS
Founder and Director


(Photo: John Ulan)

Director Profile

D. Lorne Tyrrell is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Alberta. He is the Founding Director of the Li Ka Shing Institute of Virology. Beginning in 1986, he has focused his research on viral hepatitis. His work on the development of antiviral therapy for chronic hepatitis B was supported by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and Glaxo Canada. It resulted in the licensing of the first oral antiviral agent to treat chronic hepatitis B infection - lamivudine - in 1998. Today, lamivudine is licensed in over 200 countries worldwide for the treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV). He was also a cofounder, along with Drs. Norman Kneteman and David Mercer, of a biotech company - KMT Hepatech Inc. based on the first non-primate animal model for hepatitis C virus (HCV).

Dr. Tyrrell was the Dean of the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Alberta from 1994–2004. In this capacity, Health Sciences at UofA flourished with major capital developments, including the Katz Group – Rexall Centre for Pharmacy and Health Research and the Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation.

Since leaving the Deanship in 2004, Dr. Tyrrell has taken on a number of important board positions in healthcare in Alberta and Canada. These include the Chair of the Board of the Institute of Health Economics, Chair of the Gairdner Foundation Board, and member of the Research Advisory Council for the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. He also has been appointed to the Science Advisory Board to Health Canada.

Dr. Tyrrell has received numerous prestigious awards including the:

  • J Gordin Kaplan Award for Excellence in Research (1998),
  • Prix Galien Canada Research Award (1998),
  • Gold Medal of the Canadian Liver Foundation (2000),
  • Alberta Order of Excellence (2000),
  • Officer of the Order of Canada (2002),
  • Frederic Newton Gisborne Starr Award of the Canadian Medical Association (2004),
  • Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada (2004),
  • EnCana Principal Award, Manning Innovation Awards (2005),
  • Canadian Medical Hall of Fame (2011),
  • Killam Prize Health Sciences (2015),
  • FCIHR Award of Honour (2018),
  • Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research (2021),
  • Baruch S. Blumberg Prize (2022),
  • John G. Fitzgerald Award, Canadian Association for Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (2022).

Dr. Tyrrell maintains active research programs in viral-host interactions and the development of a HCV vaccine. He has published more than 250 peer-reviewed papers. 

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, he has worked on vaccines, diagnostics, and antivirals for SARS-CoV-2.  He is a member of the COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force that advises the Federal Government on the selection of COVID-19 vaccines based on efficacy, safety, and timely availability for Canada.

Finally, in his spare time, Dr. Tyrrell tends to his 1000-acre farm.