Later this month, Sherry Chou will accept the Global Alumni 2016 Young Alumni Award from McGill University. The Young Alumni Award has since 2009 been presented to an alumnus or alumna “who, within 15 years of graduation, has made extraordinary contributions to McGill University, fellow alumni or society,” according to McGill’s website. Chou, who graduated from McGill’s Doctor of Medicine and Master of Surgery program in 2001, is receiving this honor because of her prominence in the emerging field of neurointensive care. She was nominated by Dr. Yael Acre, a guest lecturer at McGill, and unanimously chosen by the selection committee. Chou will be presented with this award at the Medicine Alumni Global luncheon, which will take place during McGill’s Homecoming on October 28, 2016.
An article from Medicine Focus, the magazine of McGill’s Faculty of Medicine, notes that Chou has had a significant impact on the understanding of the mechanisms of acute brain injury. Challenging the long-standing notion that vasospasm, or narrowing of the arteries, is the key to understanding how acute brain injury works, Chou’s research has helped to show that, in fact, reversing vasospasm does not improve outcomes.
Chou has figured prominently in the shift in focus in neurointensive care research towards early brain injury (EBI), which occurs immediately after subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH). While EBI has been shown to be the most important determinant of mortality after SAH, there is currently no therapy for the events that occur during this period. Having identified a few potential mechanistic biomarkers associated with poor outcome in SAH, Chou is conducting a clinical trial, funded by a grant from the University of Pittsburgh Physicians (UPP) Academic Foundation, to test an intervention that may reduce these biomarkers.
“I am very honored to receive this alumni award,” Chou said. “I have been proud to represent McGill in my career, and am grateful for the ways that McGill’s program helped prepare me for a career as a clinician and investigator.”