Charles Tator

CM, MD, MA, PhD, FRCSC Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto / Toronto Western Hospital

Previously holding the position of Head of the Division of Neurosurgery at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Dr. Charles Tator was the Director of the Toronto Hospital Neurosciences Centre (1993-1998), Associate Director of the Playfair Neuroscience Unit at the Toronto Hospital (1990-1999), and in 1999 completed a 10-year term as Chairman of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. As well as holding positions on numerous advisory research and governance boards, he served on the Board of Directors of the Ontario Neurotrauma Foundation from 2000-2003, also holding the position of Chair of the Biomedical Research Committee during that time.

Since l969, his principal area of research has been in spinal cord injury, with additional research in brain tumors. This includes developing experimental laboratory models of acute spinal cord injury and new methods of injury evaluation, characterizing several fundamental mechanisms of injury in the traumatized spinal cord, both experimentally and in humans.

Currently, his major research program is in regeneration of the spinal cord after trauma. At the clinical level his research has shown that the development of a multidisciplinary acute spinal cord injury unit can reduce mortality, morbidity and costs of care of patients with spinal cord injury. Dr. Tator is President of Think First Canada Penser d'Abord, an injury prevention Foundation. His research into the epidemiology and prevention of spinal cord injury has revealed a rising incidence of spinal cord injury due to sports and recreation.

Dr. Tator is currently on the Editorial Boards of six scientific journals. His own extensive publication record incudes 260 papers, 43 book chapters, and 187 abstracts mostly in the field of acute spinal cord injury. He has supervised the training of 22 graduate students for MSc or PhD degrees and 11 postdoctoral fellows from Canada and other countries. The first neurosurgeon to receive the Heiner Sell Distinguished Award of the American Spinal Injury Association, he was also the first Canadian to be elected Chair of the Joint Section on Neurotrauma and Critical Care of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons and the Congress of Neurological Surgeons.

In 1999, Dr. Tator was awarded the Alan R. Hudson Teaching Award, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto for his contribution to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching. He was appointed as the Robert Campeau Family Foundation Chair in Brain and Spinal Cord Research at the University Health Network from 2001 to 2004. In 2002, he was awarded the Grass Prize for Research from the Society of Neurological Surgeons and The Annual Charles Tator Surgeon Scientist Mentoring Award established by the Deptartment of Surgery, University of Toronto to recognize excellence in mentoring by an individual in the Department participating in Surgeon-Scientist training.

Aside from numerous research grants from several major granting agencies, Dr. Tator has received awards of merit and appreciation from various levels of government and from several public and private agencies and foundations in recognition of his leading work in the field of Neurotrauma. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Canadian Brain Injury Coalition in 1997, he was appointed a Member of the Order of Canada in 2000, and was awarded the 2001 Dr. Jonas Salk Award of the Ontario March of Dimes. In September, 2003, Dr. Tator was chosen for induction into the Terry Fox Hall of Fame in recognition for his enormous contribution in the field of prevention of spinal cord injuries.