Thorlakson Chair in Surgical Research

A Message from the Chair

There have been some exciting changes in the pillar of Research in the Department of Surgery over the last five years.  As the result of a generous financial contribution by the Thorlakson family’s foundation, Paul H.T. Thorlakson Foundation Fund, and a matching contribution from the GFT surgeons of the Department, a fund was reserved to establish an endowed Chair in Surgical Research in 2012. It has been an honour for me to serve as the first Thorlakson Chair in Surgical Research for the University of Manitoba.

With the help of the Surgery Research Advisory Committee, the Department created an Annual Surgery GFT Research Grant competition that was established in 2009. GFT members of the Department allocate an annual sum of money to award peer-reviewed research grant proposals for GFT members. This has been a great success! Since 2009, over $1.57 million has funded 98 grants.  These grants have resulted in a return of investment of over $4.8 million in additional grant funding; more than 120 published manuscripts; and over 200 presentations (local, North American, International).

Results from the Grant studies and other research conducted within the Department are presented in January during the Annual Department of Surgery Research Day.  Our residents and surgeons have submitted and presented more than 250 abstracts to represent their research since the inaugural Research Day in 2010.    Our Research Day is held in conjunction with the Department of Surgery Grand Rounds and we have been fortunate to have inspiring speakers who have shared their insights and expertise in surgical research with our faculty and residents.  The breadth and quality of the research presentations has resulted in very successful Research Days.

The Annual Thorlakson Lecture was established in 2013 for faculty, residents and graduate students to hear and learn about the innovations or challenges in surgical research with an opportunity for professional and networking time with our guest speaker.  Lectures are held in early spring (April/May).

Past speakers:
Dr Elizabeth van Veen-Berkx
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Benchmarking Operating Room Performance in Dutch University Medical Centers

Dr Helene Flageole
Chief of Pediatric Surgery, McMaster Children's Hospital
Demystifying Physician Burnout

Dr Justin B. Dimick
Chief of the Division of Minimally Invasive Surgery, Director for Center for Healthcare Outcomes & Policy
Innovative approaches for improving surgical quality

Dr Keith D. Lillemoe
Surgeon-in-Chief, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School
How to get your work published in the Annals of Surgery

Dr Carroll M. Harmon
Surgeon-in-Chief, Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo, University of Buffalo
Bariatric surgery: From bench to bedside

Dr Agostino Pierro
Division Head, Pediatric Surgery, University of Toronto
Randomized controlled trials in pediatric surgery

The Department of Surgery at the University of Manitoba has a rich history of surgical research and it continues to grow with active recruitment of surgeon-scientists with dedicated time to conduct research.  There is an enthusiastic and very motivated group of surgeons working to build a stronger foundation for the research pillar in the Department.

It is my mission as the Thorlakson Chair in Surgical Research to develop and establish an environment within the Department of Surgery to foster and stimulate new research initiatives undertaken by the members of our Department.  In other words, I want to make it as easy as possible for surgeons to incorporate research into their clinical practice and academic activites as a surgeon in Manitoba.



Richard Keijzer
Thorlakson Chair in Surgical Research
Department of Surgery