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Dr. Dennis Ko appointed to inaugural Jack Tu Chair in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research

May 5, 2021

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Sunnybrook is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Dennis Ko to the inaugural Jack Tu Chair in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research, jointly shared by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and the University of Toronto and commenced on May 1, 2021.

Named after the late Dr. Jack Tu, a senior cardiologist and internationally acclaimed researcher, the Chair will be dedicated to realizing new possibilities for cardiac care in high-risk communities such as Chinese, East Asian and South Asian populations.

“It’s a privilege to become the inaugural research Chair in honour of the late Dr. Jack Tu,” says Dr. Dennis Ko, research director of the Schulich Heart Research Program at Sunnybrook Research Institute, interventional cardiologist at Sunnybrook’s Schulich Heart Program, and associate professor in the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation (IHPME) at the University of Toronto. “I am forever grateful for his mentorship, support, and friendship.”

Dr. Jack Tu died suddenly in May 2018, devastating colleagues at Sunnybrook, the University of Toronto and around the world. His work applied sophisticated techniques, including artificial intelligence, to analyze large amounts of data to determine the factors that impact heart disease. An early proponent of the use of “big data” as a research tool, Dr. Tu secured Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) investment for the CANHEART study, a network of investigators across the country dedicated to transforming the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases.

The Chair, along with a dedicated team, will create Canada’s first integrated database with detailed markers for heart disease, as well as the sophisticated AI algorithms to analyze it. This hub will aim to centralize millions of data points – including blood tests, lab values, X-rays, ultrasounds, CT and MRI scans, and genetic markers – and produce tailored treatment plans.

Dr. Ko joined Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre as an interventional cardiologist and later became a senior scientist at the Sunnybrook Research Institute, where he worked closely with Dr. Jack Tu for a decade. Together, they explored optimal clinical strategies for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, especially in communities not generally enrolled in clinical trials.

A leader in the field of cardiovascular outcomes and health services, Dr. Ko has published extensively with more than 250 peer-reviewed publications. His work has been highly relevant to both health policy and clinical practice in Canada, the United States, and has been cited in more than 50 national and international clinical practice guidelines.

The award-winning researcher has received several accolades, including the Heart and Stroke Mid-Career Investigator Award (2016), as well as the Senior Investigator Award from the Sunnybrook Department of Medicine (2015) for advancing clinical epidemiology and health services research. Dr. Ko holds ongoing grants as a principal investigator from the Canadian Institutes of Health Services and the Heart and Stroke Foundation.

The Jack Tu Chair in Cardiovascular Outcomes Research is made possible thanks to the support from our generous donors.