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Dr. Catharine Whiteside

2007 Medal for Research Excellence
University of Toronto
“Dr. Whiteside’s kidney-related research has been excellent.”
- The Canadian Society of Nephrology

“She is a role model for just about every woman researcher in Canada.”
- Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert of the Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CHUM)

Dr. Catharine Whiteside, distinguished for the remarkable calibre of her kidney-related research, garners the 2007 Medal for Research Excellence from The Kidney Foundation of Canada.

Dr. Whiteside was recently appointed Dean of the Faculty of Medicine at her alma mater, the University of Toronto. Over the past 20 years, she has been funded as principal investigator by most of the major granting agencies relevant to this area of research in Canada.

She has made significant contributions to the understanding of the functional changes associated with diabetic glomerular disease. Dr. Whiteside’s major research focus has been on glomerular biology with particular emphasis on the processes involved in diabetic kidney disease. Her laboratory was instrumental in documenting several mechanisms relevant to the development of diabetic renal disease, specifically the role of protein kinase C and the polyol (compound) pathway leading to actin (muscle protein) disassembly in glomerular mesangial cells; and the effect of diabetes and glucose levels on the interactions of glomerular cells during injury and healing.

As a clinical scientist, Dr. Whiteside has demonstrated the prized ability to translate biological knowledge into treatment for patients. Examples of this work include extensive involvement in continuing health education, production of guidelines and most recently, as a co-principal investigator on a major Health Canada funded project focused on inter-professional health education, specifically Structuring Communication Relationships for Inter Professional Teamwork (SCRIPT) to achieve Inter-Professional Education for Collaborative Patient-Centred Practice (IECPCP).

Generating supportive training environments for nephrology and renal-related research in the country has been a priority for Dr. Whiteside. She has supervised post-doctoral, doctoral and master’s graduate students as well as clinician scientists; and was notably involved in developing and directing the Clinician Scientists Training Program within the Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto. Her recent senior administrative appointment represents a significant recognition of her contributions to academic nephrology in Canada. She has published over 72 peer-reviewed papers internationally; and has been a presenter (or supervised trainees in presentation) of over 100 abstracts at meetings.

Dr. Whiteside has also championed the value of qualitative research. As organizer and Co-Chair of the Horizons 2000 conference, she helped bring together a variety of stakeholder groups to form the basis of an enhanced national research strategy to ensure a strong future for Canadian kidney-related research. The results were greatly beneficial, not least of which was the development of the KRESCENT Kidney Research Training Program, a landmark collaboration involving The Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Society of Nephrology.