Photo: Tim Fraser

2020 Wylie Scholar
Kathryn Howe, MD PhD FRCSC RPVI
Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, University Health Network, Division of Vascular Surgery
Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Toronto
Toronto General Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Kathryn Howe received the 2020 Wylie Scholar Award for her project “Role of endothelial extracellular vesicle microRNA release and paracrine cellular communication in vulnerable carotid atherosclerotic plaques: a new paradigm for stroke.”

Many people have atherosclerotic plaques in the carotid arteries but only some cause strokes – the problem is scientists don’t know which ones. Dr. Howe’s laboratory is trying to understand how cells within blood vessels communicate with one another in diseases such as atherosclerosis using secreted vesicles containing genetic code. The main goal of this research is to better understand these cellular communication signals in order to identify and treat plaques that are going to cause a problem so that we can prevent a stroke.

Dr. Howe received her PhD in Molecular Immunology, Virology, and Inflammation at McMaster University. She attended medical school at the University of Toronto and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Sick Kids. Throughout her research career, she has been awarded competitive fellowships from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and national scholarships. During her Vascular Surgery residency at McMaster, Dr. Howe was a fellow at Stanford University and established her own bench research program investigating the role of endothelial microRNA in vascular disease.

Her clinical interests include carotid revascularization and stroke prevention, aneurysm repair, and peripheral vascular disease.