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Dr. Parameswaran Nair (left) with the late Dr. Freddy Hargreave.

Dr. Parameswaran Nair is the inaugural holder of an endowed research chair named for the mentor who brought him to Canada, McMaster University and St. Joseph's Healthcare Hamilton.

Nair, researcher at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton and a professor of medicine in respirology at McMaster University, has been appointed the first Frederick Hargreave Teva Innovation Chair in Airway Diseases, named for the late Professor Frederick (Freddy) Hargreave, who was a pioneer in asthma research and patient care.

The chair has been established through a $1 million gift by Teva, the largest manufacturer of generic drugs in the world, with additional funding from the Department of Medicine of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

Nair is a clinician-researcher at the Firestone Institute for Respiratory Health at St. Joseph’s Healthcare and directs the Severe Asthma Clinical Investigator Collaborative of AllerGen NCE. He said he was honoured to be named the Chair’s inaugural holder.

“It is indeed a privilege,” he said. “Freddy recruited me to Canada as his research fellow in 1996 from England where I was working as a research registrar in respiratory medicine.”

“He was a true mentor in every sense of the word. He and his family provided me with unselfish love and affection, expecting nothing in return. It was a very humbling experience when he retired and handed over his lab to me and entrusted his patients to my care. This Chair is important because I now have the privilege of being able to continue his legacy.”

The Chair has been established to focus on producing and maintaining a world-class program in airway diseases research which exemplifies the central values of McMaster University and the Department of Medicine, and contributing significantly to the body of scholarship in the area of airway diseases through teaching, research and/or clinical work at McMaster and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

Nair’s research focuses on developing and applying non-invasive measurements of airway inflammation in the treatment of asthma and COPD. His research has garnered many accolades, including a Canada Research Chair (2005-2015), The Asthma Society of Canada’s Bastable-Potts Asthma Research Award and the federal Grand Challenge’s Canada’s global health care program award.

“Freddy Hargreave was a brilliant international star in respirology, a true leader in patient-centred research and a wonderful friend to everyone in respirology at McMaster, including me,” said Dr. Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of McMaster’s Faculty of Health Sciences and researcher at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.

“It is very appropriate that Dr. Nair, who is also world-renowned for his research into asthma and COPD, be the inaugural holder of this important position.”

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