Health Sciences Dean Paul O’Byrne appointed to Order of Canada

Paul O’Byrne smiles at a podium with a Canadian flag to his left.

Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has been named an Officer of the Order of Canada.

Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences, has been appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada for his global impact on the concept and treatment of asthma.

O’Byrne’s appointment to was announced Dec. 28 by the Office of the Governor General of Canada.

The Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours, recognizes individuals with extraordinary achievements, who have demonstrated outstanding dedication to their field.

“I am deeply honoured and humbled to be appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada,” said O’Byrne, who is dean of the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

“I am grateful to my family, colleagues, mentors, students and patients for their support, and to the Canadian and global scientific community — it is a privilege to do work that impacts people’s lives in a meaningful way.”

A practising respirologist, O’Byrne is widely recognized as one of the world’s top asthma clinician-scientists. His research focuses on the mechanisms and treatment of asthma, particularly the role of environmental allergens.

O’Byrne  has authored 100 book chapters and more than 550 peer-reviewed articles in publications that include the New England Journal of Medicine, The Lancet, and Nature Medicine; and has edited 12 books.

O’Byrne is an ambassador for Canadian clinical science on a global stage, where he is frequently invited to lecture on the pathogenesis of asthma and how research findings impact patient care.

Before his appointment as dean in 2016, O’Byrne served as chair of the department of Medicine at McMaster for 14 years. In that time, the department doubled in size to more than 300 faculty members and became the dominant department for research, education and care in the faculty.

O’Byrne is a named fellow at several international colleges of physicians, was selected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2010 and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2015. He also received McMaster’s top academic award, being named a Distinguished University Professor.

“Dr. Paul O’Byrne sits at the top of all asthma researchers on a global scale. His studies have influenced the way asthma is treated and, perhaps more importantly, conceived,” said John Kelton, emeritus dean and vice-president, Michael G. DeGroote Medical School.

“These publications have not just changed opinion, but they have formed the foundation for asthma treatment guidelines, which are now being implemented around the world.

“He is indeed exceedingly deserving of this important national recognition.”

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