About Us

Vice-Dean of Research

Lawrence Richer, MD, and Richard Lehner, Ph.D.

Lawrence Richer (L) and Richard Lehner 

Lawrence Richer (L) and Richard Lehner

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry is pleased to announce the appointments of Dr. Richard Lehner as vice-dean, research (basic), and Dr. Lawrence Richer as vice-dean, research (clinical). Both appointments will be for a five-year term, commencing July 1, 2020.


Dr. Lawrence Richer (left) is a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and pediatric neurologist with clinical and research interests in the treatment of headache and disorders of the autonomic nervous system. He has also been the associate dean, clinical/translational research since 2014. He is director of the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials and Research Centre (NACTRC) and was formerly the associate director of the Women and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI). He has also served as provincial co-lead for the Pragmatic Clinical Trials platform within the Alberta SPOR SUPPORT Unit and was interim divisional director for Pediatric Neurology. As associate dean, clinical/translational research, Dr. Richer has worked to maximize the use of health data to improve patient outcomes through research and to enhance support for innovation in clinical trials. During his tenure, WCHRI led the development of a clinical trials unit that serves as the national data coordinating centre for two national networks: CHILD-BRIGHT—a SPOR network for children with neurodevelopmental disabilities—and KidsCAN Trials, a national pediatric clinical trials network. With the support of NACTRC, he helped to establish the Real-World Evidence Unit to leverage Alberta’s rich health-data assets, to improve support for clinical trials, and to pursue applications of artificial intelligence in health.

Dr. Richard Lehner obtained his undergraduate education in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Chemical Technology in Prague and then at the University of Toronto, where he also completed his PhD in biochemistry in 1993. He pursued post-doctoral training in biochemistry in France, and returned to Canada to complete a post-doctoral fellowship in biochemistry and molecular biology at the University of Alberta. Dr. Lehner joined the U of A as a faculty member in 1998. He is currently a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, an adjunct professor in the Department of Cell Biology and director of a research group on molecular and cell biology of lipids. He has served on multiple departmental and faculty committees, chaired national peer-review grant committees and is a member of several international advisory committees and boards of scientific journals related to lipid and lipoprotein research. Dr. Lehner’s research focuses on the regulation of fat storage and metabolism and identifying novel therapeutic targets for lowering hepatic and blood lipid levels. He has received numerous national and international recognitions including the Pfizer Cardiovascular Research Award, the Harvard Medical School Anna Lee Memorial Lectureship and the Canadian Lipoprotein Conference Simon Pierre Noel Lectureship.

Drs. Lehner and Richer will work closely together as we restructure administrative roles and responsibilities to meet our strategic needs, and build on our excellence in discovery and clinical research across the faculty.

Role of Vice-Dean, Research

Main Accountabilities

  • Provide strategic leadership and advice to the dean and faculty on research matters.
  • Manage the research portfolio of the faculty.
  • Administer research disputes, scientific integrity issues.
  • Represent the dean in his/her absence as delegated.
  • Chair:
    • Faculty Research Committee
    • Northern Alberta Clinical Trials Research Committee Management Board
    • Faculty Search-and-Selection Committee for Research Chairs
  • Voting member:
    • Dean's Executive Committee
    • Chairs' Executive Committee
    • Chairs' Committee
    • FoMD Buildings Update Committee

Specific Responsibilities

  • Oversee research affairs and administration of the Office of Research.
  • Oversee the review of all research grant applications.
  • Administer the allocation and management of research space.
  • Participate in the university's ethics review process.
  • Oversee Ethics and Scientific Integrity Day.
  • Manage all research grants and awards within the faculty.
  • Collaborate with the Research Services Office on effective administration support for researchers and technology transfers.
  • Oversee the faculty's core research facilities and services including HSLAS.
  • Oversee graduate and post-doctoral education.
  • Oversee MD/PhD program.
  • Oversee clinical investigator program.
  • Oversee Canada Research Chair nominations.
  • Oversee the search-and-selection process for endowed research chairs.
  • Oversee recruitment of faculty members with greater than 40 per cent research commitment.
  • Oversee the approval and review of research groups, centres and institutes.
  • Represent the faculty on the Northern Alberta Clinical Trials Board.
  • Co-ordinate faculty nominations for local, provincial, national and international awards.
  • Oversee and co-ordinate the FoMD Canada Foundation for Innovation allocations.
  • Oversee Summer Studentship Research Program.
  • Oversee Tri-council Health Support Unit and bridge funding.