New $3.5M endowed chair establishes Schulich Medicine as a kidney research powerhouse

Photo of Dr. William Clark at the Chair announcement

By Prabhjot Sohal

With a $3.5 million endowment and backed by decades-long leadership in kidney research, Western has established the William F. Clark Chair in Nephrology at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, home to one of Canada’s pre-eminent nephrology divisions.

Western matched funds raised through the London Health Sciences Foundation (LHSF) and The Kidney Foundation of Canada to create the new research chair. 

“The Clark Chair in Nephrology will contribute to developing better practices, policies, tools and technology, all of which will translate into better treatments and patient care," said Western President Alan Shepard.

With one in 10 people affected by chronic kidney disease, it is projected to become the fifth most common cause of early death globally by 2040.  

“Schulich Medicine’s nephrology program, in collaboration with London Health Sciences Centre, is already among the most comprehensive programs in Canada, treating thousands of patients across Ontario and on the leading edge of breakthroughs to prevent and treat kidney disease,” said Dr. John Yoo, dean of Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “Backed by a strong partnership, powered by permanently invested funds, this new research chair will fuel the next generation of promising treatments and therapies.”  

Dr. William being interviewed by press at chair announcementDr. William F. Clark

The chair is named in honour of renowned nephrologist Dr. William F. Clark, professor emeritus at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry and an Order of Canada member.

Dr. Andrew House, chair of nephrology at Schulich Medicine and his team were instrumental in ensuring this integral new chair position would honour their long-time colleague.

“It is fitting that we name the research chair after Dr. Clark, whose contributions have influenced the practice of nephrology within Canada and internationally,” he said.

In a career spanning 40 years, Clark has made significant contributions to a broad range of areas, including myeloma kidney disease, water contamination and screening strategies for kidney disease. His groundbreaking research on the long-term health consequences of Canada’s worst-ever E. coli contamination in Walkerton, Ont. in 2000 has enhanced the knowledge and practice of nephrology globally.

“The new research chair will play an important role in ensuring this community attracts and retains innovative research talent to continue the research legacy that has been built here in London,” said Dr. Norman Muirhead, president of The Kidney Foundation of Canada, Ontario Branch.

Jackie Schleifer Taylor, president and CEO of London Health Sciences Centre, said the naming of the chair serves as a befitting tribute to Clark and she is grateful to those vital in making this chair possible.

“We extend our heartfelt thanks to Amgen Canada Inc. and GSK Canada for making this possible. Through your generosity, you are bringing hope and healing to our patients, and for that, we are forever grateful,” said Schleifer Taylor.