Dr. Beverley Orser is the Chair of the Department of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is a practicing anesthesiologist at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She has a longstanding interest in patient safety and has co-founded several organizations including the Perioperative Brain Health Centre, Canada’s national agency for medication errors (https://www.ismp-canada.org) and the patient safety committee of the Canadian Anesthesiologists’ Society (CAS).
Dr. Orser's preclinical laboratory research aims to understand the role of inhibitory receptors in learning and memory and the actions of anesthetic drugs. Her lab pioneered the study of extrasynaptic GABAA receptors as novel drug targets. Her most recent results point to treatments for postoperative neurocognitive disorders. Dr. Orser’s clinical research focuses on strategies to improve drug safety and support safe anesthesia care in rural and remote regions of Canada. She has authored >200 publications and has mentored a generation of translational neuroscientists and clinician-investigators.
Her contributions and leadership has been recognized by many awards including the First Frontiers in Anesthesia Award from the International Anesthesia Research Society, the first Canada Research Chair in Anesthesia, and election to the Royal Society of Canada, the Canadian Academy of Health Science and the National Academy of Science (Medicine) of the United States. She received the CAS Gold Medal, the CAS Research Excellence Award and the 2018 Excellence in Research Award from the American Society of Anesthesiologists. In 2020, she presented the John W. Severinghaus Lecture on Translational Science at the annual meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, one of the highest recognitions in the field of anesthesia research.