Canadian stroke expert wins American Stroke Association’s highest honour

February 7, 2007

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - Dr. Antoine Hakim, Scientific Director of the Canadian Stroke Network, was today awarded stroke research’s most prestigious prize at the International Stroke Conference in San Francisco, California.

The Thomas Willis Award, the American Stroke Association’s highest honour, recognizes a senior investigator who has made outstanding contributions to the understanding of stroke over a sustained period.

Dr. Hakim is professor and chair of neurology at the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Medicine, director of neuroscience research at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute, a neurologist at the Ottawa Hospital and scientific director of the Heart and Stroke Foundation’s Centre for Stroke Recovery.

Dr. Hakim has distinguished himself through his leadership of the Canadian Stroke Network, and his efforts to promote an integrated approach to stroke prevention, care and recovery through the Canadian Stroke Strategy. The CSN unites university- and hospital-based researchers across Canada, while the CSS is an initiative developed in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

"The academic and research environment at the University of Ottawa has been greatly enhanced because of Dr. Hakim's remarkable achievements. He has been instrumental in making the Canadian Stroke Network a recognized leader in the international stroke effort," added Gilles Patry, President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ottawa.

“This international recognition of Dr. Hakim’s outstanding leadership in stroke research is richly deserved,” said Sally Brown, CEO of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “It has been the Foundation’s honour and privilege to work with him to prevent disability and death from stroke in Canada.”

Dr. Hakim will deliver the Willis Lecture today at the International Stroke Conference. It will focus on the urgent need for a coordinated response to cerebrovascular disease.

Dr. Hakim is the recipient of many national awards and honours. As a researcher, Dr. Hakim has performed extensive work on cerebral vulnerability in stroke and studied conditions and factors that promote neuroprotection against ischemic damage. He has investigated post-stroke plasticity and methods to enhance it – work that has implications for understanding of recovery and therapy after stroke.

“Dr. Hakim’s research has changed the way we think of the brain, and his enthusiasm has inspired a generation of scientists,” said Dr. Ronald Worton, CEO and Scientific Director of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.

The Willis Award is named in honour of Thomas Willis (1621-1675) who is credited with providing the first detailed description of the brain stem, cerebellum and ventricles along with hypotheses as to their function.

About the Canadian Stroke Network (
The Canadian Stroke Network includes more than 100 of Canada’s leading scientists and clinicians from 24 universities who work collaboratively on various aspects of stroke. The Network, which is headquartered at the University of Ottawa, also includes partners from industry, the non-profit sector, provincial and federal governments. The Canadian Stroke Network, one of Canada’s Networks of Centres of Excellence, is committed to reducing the physical, social and economic impact of stroke on the lives of individual Canadians and on society as a whole.

Cathy Campbell, Canadian Stroke Network
613-558-6691 (cell)
613-562-5696 (Ottawa office)