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In Memoriam – Dr. John MacDonald

It is with sadness that we share that Dr. John F. MacDonald passed away on April 22. Dr. MacDonald was one of Canada's pre-eminent neurophysiologists and served as the Scientific Director at Robarts Research Institute from 2008 to 2010. With a passion for research, Dr. MacDonald continued his work in stroke, Alzheimer's disease and prevention of brain cell loss until his retirement from Robarts in 2013. From 2008 to 2013, Dr. MacDonald was also cross-appointed to the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. Dr. MacDonald will be remembered for his excellence as a scholar, leader and for his gentle, warm and thoughtful manner.

Previous to his role at Robarts, Dr. MacDonald was Chair of the Department of Physiology at the University of Toronto. There he had a research lab that investigated the cellular basis of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and stroke. Working with his colleague, Dr. Michael Tymianski he discovered that when brain cells are injured and starved of oxygen and vital nutrients, they flick a cellular switch that unleashes an outpouring of toxic chemicals that kill the surrounding cells in the following minutes and hours. According to Dr. MacDonald, it was this built-in cellular mechanism that causes more damage to the brain than the initial stroke or trauma.

Dr. MacDonald received his PhD from the University of British Columbia and trained at the University of St. Andrews, McGill University, and the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. He was an active member of the Canadian Stroke Network, as well as a founding member of NoNO Inc., a biotechnology company that develops stroke and pain therapies.

Dr. MacDonald is survived by his wife, Lidia, and their two children. Funeral and memorial services will take place on Friday, April 25 at 11:00 a.m. at R.S. Kanes Funeral Home in Toronto. Online condolences can be shared here.

R. S. Kanes Funeral Home
6150 Yonge Street Toronto
Location: R.S. Kanes Funeral Home
(416) 221-1159