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Chair in musculoskeletal research appointed at Western


London, ON – The Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario recently appointed Dr David Holdsworth the first holder of the Dr Sandy Kirkley chair in musculoskeletal research. This new research chair, supported by an endowment of more than $2 million at Foundation Western, pays tribute to the late orthopaedic surgeon’s remarkable contributions to patient care and to medical research.

“David Holdsworth not only shares the same dedication to research that so exemplified Sandy, he collaborated with her on projects,” says Carol Herbert, dean of the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. “We could not have found a more fitting person to build upon Sandy’s research legacy.”

“I first became involved in arthritis research about ten years ago, when Dr Sandy Kirkley contacted me to suggest that we write a grant together, related to knee arthritis,” says Dr Holdsworth. “I was so impressed by her passion for research that I began to work much more extensively in this area, and Sandy and I eventually received grants from the Arthritis Society and the Canadian Arthritis Network to study arthritis using 3D imaging. Sadly, her friends, students, and colleagues have had to continue this work without her.

Dr Holdsworth is a scientist with Robarts Research Institute and a professor in the departments of medical biophysics and diagnostic radiology & nuclear medicine. With this appointment, he also joins the department of surgery and will be spearheading research initiatives focused on advanced imaging techniques in musculoskeletal disease, in collaboration with surgeons in the division of orthopaedics.

Sandy and Michael Kirkley died in September 2002, when their small plane crashed in New Jersey while en route to London. Both Sandy and Michael graduated from Western in the mid-1980s. With appointments at Western and London Health Sciences Centre, Sandy specialized in arthroscopic surgery for the treatment of shoulder and knee injuries.