Keith Walley

Professor, Critical Care Medicine | MD, FRCPC, ABIMKeith Walley

After graduating with a BSc Honors in Physics from the University of Manitoba in 1978, he continued on to receive his MD in 1981. He went on to complete an Internal Medicine Residency (McGill University), a Fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine (University of Chicago), and a Sabbatical in basic mechanisms of sepsis (University of Michigan). Dr. Walley’s impressive career has centered on examining the pathophysiology of cardiovascular dysfunction in critical illness, and oxygen transport in peripheral tissues.

A Scientist and physician, Dr. Walley’s research focuses on gaining an understanding of the basic mechanisms underlying impaired myocardial function and other organ dysfunction during inflammatory disease states, including sepsis. This work extends far beyond the bedside to encompass the Genomics of Critical Care, and aims to develop a greater understanding of the genetic determinants of outcome from critical illness. Specifically, how key inflammatory and innate immunity genes are related to critical illnesses including SIRS, sepsis and septic shock, and in patients who have undergone cardiovascular surgery. To date this work has yielded 181 manuscripts, and over 90 peer reviewed grants and research awards. A recent example illustrating the clinical importance of combining genetic analysis and mechanistic basic science research was published in Science Translational Medicine. In this article Dr. Walley and collaborators have identified a potential new therapeutic target and pathways which may lead to improvements in the treatment of sepsis.

Among his many roles Dr. Walley is currently the Associate Director for the ICU at St. Paul’s Hospital, principle investigator for the IMPACT multicenter CIHR STIHR post-doctoral training program, and the Director of the Centre for Heart and Lung Innovation at St. Paul’s Hospital.

“My long term goal is to enable growth and success of all of the scientists and collaborators at the Centre for Heart Lung Innovation (HLI), previously known as iCAPTURE and the JHRC. The HLI was established as the Pulmonary Research Laboratory in 1977 by Drs. James Hogg (2013 Gairdner Wightman Award Winner) and Peter Pare. Here basic and clinician scientists work together in an exciting multidisciplinary environment to address vital issues in heart, lung, and critical care disease. Situated within Providence Health Care’s St. Paul’s Hospital, a University of British Columbia teaching hospital, the HLI is a T1 translational research centre using our basic molecular and cellular research discoveries to develop innovative approaches to prevent and treat human disease through our complementary and connected clinical research”

Through his commitment to education Dr. Walley has been actively involved in teaching and supervision of 45 graduate students and post-doctoral fellows. When asked to comment on the advantages of working within a large multidisciplinary research arena offered by UBC Department of Medicine Dr. Walley had this to say;

“The Centre for Heart Lung Innovation is the best T1 translational laboratory for critical care research in Canada and, arguably, the world. Senior investigators in the lab have provided outstanding mentorship and junior investigators and trainees have generated tremendous enthusiasm for basic research and its translation into clinical application. The ICU at St. Paul’s Hospital has been a world leader in clinical care, teaching, and research for decades. The patients in this ICU have the highest average severity of illness of any ICU in Canada and therefore St. Paul’s Hospital ICU is the perfect exposure to generate the important questions and inspire research.”