The challenge: Treating patients who have rare genetic diseases such as Huntington’s and lipid diseases.
The work: Hayden defined the mechanisms that underlie 10 genetic diseases and developed applicable treatments. He also created a network of research, clinical trials and companies now working on effective products.
Why it matters: Hayden’s leadership has had a profound impact on science in Canada and abroad and has generated hope in the effective treatment of genetic diseases.
Michael Hayden MB (1975) PhD (1979), University of Cape Town, did post-doctoral work and training in Internal Medicine at Harvard Medical School. His research focuses on genetic diseases, including genetics of lipoprotein disorders, Huntington’s disease, and predictive and personalized medicine. He is co-leader of the Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety project. Honours include the Order of Canada, Jacob Biely Prize, Prix Galien, and Order of British Columbia. In 2008 he was named CIHR’s Health Researcher of the Year. He was awarded the Leadership and Research Excellence Award by the National Centres of Excellence and the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Huntington Society of Canada (2001).
Dr. Hayden has founded three successful biotechnology companies and, in 2006, received 5 different entrepreneurial awards.
Dr. Hayden has initiated, and leads, an international effort to bring benefit to a community living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. It aims to promote responsible sexual behaviors among at-risk youth, empower HIV/AIDS-affected youth, and build a sense of self and community participation.