Welcome to the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science

The Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science is home to basic science and translational research at St. Michael's Hospital. Our researchers target common and high burden illnesses that are important to patients and strive to make discoveries that will improve patient’s lives.

The Keenan Research Seminar Series

The Keenan Research Seminar Series provides a forum for presentation of the latest research advances of scientists located within, and affiliated with, the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael’s Hospital.  These are complemented by presentations from guest lecturers to foster collaboration and the wider dissemination of research discoveries.  The seminars are held on alternate Fridays at 1 p.m. throughout the academic year (October-June). Please contact KRCBSReseach@unityhealth.to for more information.

To see upcoming seminars, please see our Events Page

Our History

The Keenan Family

Named in honor of Pat and Barbara Keenan, the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science was established as a result of generous donations from the Keenan family.

They first became involved in research at St. Michael’s when Pat Keenan was appointed to the St. Michael’s Hospital Operating Board in 1985 as the Sisters of St. Joseph, who ran the hospital, were having trouble fundraising. He was chair of the board from 1990-1994 and was part of the team that brought in new management and fixed what he calls the hospital’s “near-death experience,” namely, a $64 million deficit. Keenan joined the board of St. Michael’s Hospital Foundation in 1991.

With the hospital back on its financial feet, Keenan and his wife, Barbara, set their sights on building a world-class health care provider and research institution – while at the same time continuing to care for the city’s most vulnerable populations. They donated $30 million to St. Michael’s over three decades.

Always passionately interested in advancing research, their financial support also led to the creation of:

  • The Keenan Chair in Critical Care and Respirology, which allowed the hospital to recruit Dr. Laurent Brochard, one of the world’s leading experts in mechanical ventilation. His arrival confirms the hospital’s respiratory diseases, lung injury and mechanical ventilation group as one of the best in the world.
  • The Keenan Chair in Surgery, which enabled the hospital to recruit Dr. Loch Macdonald, a neurosurgeon who is the world’s leading researcher in a kind of stroke known as a subarachnoid hemorrhage.
  • The Keenan Chair in medicine, the hospital’s first chair and one of the first in Toronto, to be held next by Dr. Arthur S. Slutsky, vice-president of research. Dr. Slutsky is one of the world’s leading experts in mechanical ventilation and was recently named Canadian Institutes of Health Research’s Health Researcher of the Year.
  • The Dr. H. Patrick Higgins Memorial Scholarship Fund, named for the hospital’s former physician-in-chief.
  • An endowment to fund research infrastructure, which was acknowledged with the naming of the Cardinal Carter Wing of the hospital in honour of their close friend Cardinal Gerald Emmett Carter. The cardinal’s father and Pat Keenan’s father were both printers and union leaders in Montreal and the two families lived within a few blocks of each other.