2018 Wylie Scholar
Assistant Professor of Vascular Surgery
University of Toronto

Dr. John Byrne received the 2018 Wylie Scholar Award for his work on “Characterization of Macrophage Biology in the Pathogenesis of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms.” His research will study the inflammatory process of abdominal aortic aneurysm (AAA) development, which could improve the prediction and treatment of aortic aneurysms at high risk of a fatal rupture.

AAA is a swelling in the largest artery of the body, the aorta, most commonly occurring in the abdomen. As the aneurysm swells, there is a risk of rupture that can lead to rapid and fatal internal bleeding. There are currently no medications to prevent or slow down the growth of an aneurysm. Studies show that a type of white blood cell called a macrophage is present in excess in aneurysms. It is thought that macrophages contribute to the enlargement of AAA by weakening the walls of the aorta. Dr. Byrne’s work will focus on understanding how macrophages cause aortic aneurysm swelling. His research may enable future development of a medical treatment for AAA.

Dr. Byrne completed his medical degree and a doctorate of medicine by research at The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He has received awards in physiology and physics and is a recipient of the prestigious president’s medal from The Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. He attended a fellowship at the University of Toronto after finishing the Irish Higher Surgical Training Scheme in general/vascular surgery.

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