Michael R. Hayden: South African - Canadian physician (1951-) | Biography, Facts, Information, Career, Wiki, Life
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Michael R. Hayden
South African - Canadian physician

Michael R. Hayden

Michael R. Hayden
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro South African - Canadian physician
Is Neuroscientist Professor Educator Scientist Geneticist Researcher
From Canada South Africa
Field Academia Biology Science
Gender male
Birth 1951, Cape Town, South Africa
Age 72 years
Residence Vancouver, Canada
Harvard University
Member of the Order of Canada  
Canadian Medical Hall of Fame 2017
Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award 2011
Killam Prize 2011
Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada  
The details (from wikipedia)


Michael R. Hayden, CM OBC FRSC is a Killam Professor of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia and Canada Research Chair in Human Genetics and Molecular Medicine. Hayden is best known for his research in Huntington disease (HD).

He is a Senior Scientist and former director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics (CMMT) in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; a genetic research centre within UBC's Faculty of Medicine and affiliated with the BC Children's Hospital Research Institute and the BC Children's Hospital Foundation, which he founded. He is also the Program Director of the Translational Laboratory in Genetic Medicine in Singapore, and was appointed as the President of Global R&D and Chief Scientific Officer at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries from 2012–2017. During this time, approximately 35 new products were approved in major markets with many for diseases of the CNS and led the approval of Austedo for chorea in HD, the second drug ever to be approved for HD. In 2015, Teva R&D was recognized as one of the 10 most exciting innovators in Pharma by IDEA Pharma and in 2017, Teva R&D ranked top of the industry for CNS development and clinical trial success by Pharma Intelligence.

Hayden is the most cited author in the world for Huntington disease and ABCA1, and has authored over 900 publications and invited submissions (Google Scholar citations 83,789, h-index 143, i10-index 719).

Hayden is the recipient of numerous prestigious honours and awards. In 2007, he received the Prix Galien which recognizes the outstanding contribution of a researcher to Canadian pharmaceutical research; in 2008, recognition from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) as Canada's Health Researcher of the Year: CIHR Michael Smith Prizes in Health Research. In 2010, he was awarded Member of the Order of Canada, following his receipt of the Order of British Columbia in 2009. Hayden received the Canada Gairdner Foundation Wightman Award in 2011, recognizing him as a physician-scientist who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in medicine and medical science. Most recently in 2017, he was inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame. In addition to his academic work, Hayden is the co-founder of five biotechnology companies including: Prilenia, NeuroVir Therapeutics Inc., Xenon Pharmaceuticals Inc., Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Corp and 89Bio. He currently sits on different public and private boards of biotechnologies companies.


Hayden was born in Cape Town, South Africa, one of Ann Platt's and Roger Hayden's two sons. His paternal grandfather, Max Raphael Hahn , was an entrepreneur, art collector and chairman of the Jewish community in Göttingen, Germany. His father, originally named Rudolf (Rudi) Hahn, fled to London in 1939, enlisted in the British army and fought during World War II, and eventually ettled in South Africa in 1947. After the divorce of his parents, when he was eight, Hayden was raised by his single mother. He originally planned on becoming a lawyer but instead opted for medical school, as he soon realized that as a lawyer he would not be able to bring about much change. In 1975, he graduated from the University of Cape Town as the top graduate in medicine, where he also received his PhD in Genetics (1979). He completed a post-doctoral fellowship and further training in Internal Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Michael is board-certified in both Internal Medicine and Clinical Genetics. He moved to Canada and joined the University of British Columbia (UBC) in 1983 from the Children's Hospital in Boston, a teaching arm of Harvard Medical School.

He is married and has four children.


Hayden's research focus is primarily on genetic diseases, including genetics of [lipoprotein] disorders, Huntington disease, predictive medicine, personalized medicine and drug development. Along with his research team, Hayden has identified 10 disease-causing genes, which includes the identification of the major gene underlying high-density lipoprotein (HDL) in humans. This gene, known as ABCA1, has major implications for atherosclerosis and diabetes. Hayden also identified the first mutations underlying Lipoprotein lipase deficiency (LPL) and developed gene therapy approaches to treat this condition, the first approved gene therapy in the western world. He is also co-leader of the Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety project, a BC-led Genome Canada-funded, national strategy to prevent adverse drug reactions.


OBC ribbon

Since 2010

  • 2020- Humanitarian Award, American Friends of Soroka Medical Center
  • 2017- Inductee, Canadian Medical Hall of Fame
  • 2015- One of 100 most inspirational and influential persons in Pharma by PharmaVoice
  • 2014- Honorary Doctor of Medicine, University of Göttingen
  • 2014- Luminary of the Year, Personalized Medicine World Conference
  • 2013- Named one of 50 Canadians born in the 20th century who have changed the world in a book by Ken McGoogan (including Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Leonard Cohen, Oscar Peterson and John Kenneth Galbraith)
  • 2012- The Diamond Jubilee Medal, on behalf of HRH Queen Elizabeth II given in recognition of significant contributions and achievements.
  • 2011- Champion of Genetics, The Canadian Gene Cure Foundation (CGCF)
  • 2011- Killam Prize, Canada Council of the Arts] given in recognition of outstanding career achievements.
  • 2011- Aubrey J. Tingle Prize, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research
  • 2011- Margolese National Prize, University of British Columbia
  • 2011- Canada Gairdner Wightman, Gairdner Foundation
  • 2011- Genome BC Award for Scientific Excellence, LifeSciences British Columbia
  • 2010- Order of Canada
  • 2010- Jacob Biely Faculty Research Prize, University of British Columbia


Hayden initiated and led an international effort to bring benefit to a community living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. In collaboration with colleagues around the world, he spearheaded the development of a youth-friendly recreation, counseling, and Learning Centre in direct partnership with the township of Masiphumelele in Cape Town. This centre aims to promote responsible sexual behaviors among at-risk youth, empower HIV/AIDS-affected youth, and build a sense of self and community-participation within the township.

Hayden is also host and organizer of the Gairdner International Symposium in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. As part of the Gairdner symposium, Grade 10-12 students from all over the lower mainland are invited to discover health science careers and learn about leading edge research. These students are invited to a symposium with two Gairdner award winners, meet health sciences experts and tour research labs.

In addition to this, Hayden's lab hosts an annual lab tour for the Huntington Society of Canada Annual General Meeting. Hayden also hosts an annual research update meeting for patients with HD and their families. Patients and families are educated about HD pathology and current research and new therapeutic approaches.

Finally, Hayden is committed to empowering others. In addition to mentoring over 100 graduate students and postdocs, he is also a TED mentor.

Art and Science

In 1999, when Hayden was co-chairing a meeting in Vancouver, for the Human Genome Project, and participants were planning the announcement of the first draft of the sequence, he thought of using art as a way for scientists to enter into a dialogue with the public, as a way to communicate the massive genetic breakthrough and its implications. He commissioned the Electric Company Theatre, to produce a play about genetics. In 2005, with the support of Genome Canada, he commissioned a play, The Score, which tells the story of a brilliant geneticist who discovers that she has the same Huntington gene that killed her mother. Ethical issues and genetic determinism then surface after she discovers that she is pregnant. The Score was adapted for the big screen.

In 2002, Hayden was part of the cast of the documentary Chasing the Cure which discussed treatments for widespread killer-heart disease, cancer, and bacterial poisoning and how research findings will change the face of medicine in the next 20 years.

As part of CMMT's 15 year anniversary celebrations, Hayden made the CMMT research laboratories available for an art and science exhibit, featuring the work of local artists that examined the integration of art and science.

Hayden appears in the 2012 documentary movie Do You Really Want to Know? directed by John Zaritsky. In the film, Hayden describes his professional relationship and friendship with Huntington's disease family member and researcher Jeff Carroll and the process of guiding Carroll and his five siblings through genetic testing for the mutation that causes Huntington's.

Hayden is also a subject in the 2013 documentary, "Alive & Well", directed by Josh Taft. In the film, he discusses his mission to find a cure for Huntington's disease.

Press coverage

  • Jewish Independent, A Story of Two of Six million, Vancouver, BC, 11/19
  • The Globe and Mail, Family treasures looted during Germany’s Kristallnacht on display for the first time at Vancouver exhibition, Vancouver, BC, 11/19
  • CityNews Vancouver, Stolen Treasures on Display, Vancouver, BC, 11/19
  • Montecristo Magazine, The Most Significant Private Collection of Pre-War Jewish Artifacts Opens in Vancouver, Vancouver, BC, 11/19
  • Association for Research into Crimes Against Art – Exhibition Commemorating the 81st Anniversary of Kristallnacht, Vancouver, BC, 11/19
  • Canadian Jewish News, Uncovering a Family’s Stolen Legacy, Vancouver, BC, 11/19
  • CBC News, Glybera: World’s most expensive drug gets second chance, Vancouver, BC, 10/19
  • CBC News, The million-dollar drug, Vancouver, BC, 11/18
The contents of this page are sourced from Wikipedia article on 04 Jun 2020. The contents are available under the CC BY-SA 4.0 license.
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