Dr. Mark Fenton: Innovating Research in Lung Transplantation

Revolutionizing the research landscape in Saskatchewan

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Dr. Mark Fenton MD Faculty, Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine

Dr. Mark Fenton, Faculty, Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine is always at the forefront of research innovations. “The end game is always the patient and improving the quality of life, duration of life or making some positive impact on that patient or patient population.” This is the driving force behind Dr. Fenton’s research.

Dr. Fenton’s research interests have evolved to include work that addresses the respiratory health needs of Indigenous people. Starting with the initial question of: “Are we using the correct reference values for lung function testing in the indigenous community?”-- he led a SHRF supported project entitled Interpretation of Spirometry in Saskatchewan First Nations Adults focused on establishing population-specific lung function norms.  He is also a co-investigator on a CIHR funded project aimed at creating a culturally appropriate approach to identifying and responding to the unique characteristics of several Indigenous communities. Subsequent to that project, he and his co-investigators have now set their sights on expanding this research to examine sleep health in those same communities in another CIHR funded study.

Dr. Fenton’s research has gained recognition from the Parliamentary Health Research Caucus in 2018 where he was among a handful of researchers invited to present as leading experts on secondary prevention in Northern and Rural Health.

Lung transplantation is another of Dr. Fenton’s research interests. His Ideas that Inspire award from SHRF and the Lung Association is an example of his cutting-edge research in this area. Organ rejection is a major source of morbidity and mortality in patients undergoing lung transplantation. To better understand the pathobiology the various complications of the procedure, Dr. Fenton is using advanced synchrotron-based lung imaging to explore distal airway anatomy and physiological abnormalities.

Dr. Fenton was also recently recognized as a 2018 Distinguished CHEST Educator from the American College of Chest Physicians. And, he was awarded an SHRF Excellence Award during the 2018 Santé Awards Evening.  He was also recognized for his advocacy work by the Canadian Lung Association with the Heather Crowe Award in 2018.

As far as the Respiratory Research Center (RRC) is concerned, Dr. Fenton sees it as an opportunity to build a world class network of professionals and community. “The RRC allows us to build that network and expand and take things to the next level by cross-pollinating with other departments like Veterinary Medicine, pharmacy or, whomever comes to the table with an idea.” The RRC also allows the patient perspective to be included in research in a way that is both insightful and meaningful.

“I think the RRC could be a home for research but also the opportunity for it to grow beyond research and become a hub for innovation. The sky is the limit.”

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