Dr. J. David Spence

Dr. J. David Spence

J. David Spence, BA, MBA, MD, FRCPC, FAHA, FCAHS Professor of Neurology and Clinical Pharmacology, Robarts Research Institute, Western University, London, Canada

Professor Spence has focused on prevention of stroke throughout his career. He pioneered the measurement of 2-dimensional carotid total plaque area beginning in 1990, and since 1994 has collaborated with Prof. Aaron Fenster and Dr. Grace Parraga at the Robarts Research Institute in measurement of 3D plaque volume, plaque ulceration and assessment of vulnerable plaque. He also pioneered a new approach to vascular prevention - "treating arteries instead of treating risk factors", that has markedly reduced risk among high-risk patients with carotid stenosis. His research program focuses on measurement of atherosclerosis by ultrasound, for patient management, genetic research and for assessing effects of new therapies. Other areas of expertise include vitamin therapy for homocysteine, the clinical pharmacology of stroke prevention, physiologically individualized therapy for resistant hypertension and identification of high-risk asymptomatic carotid stenosis. Despite a busy clinical practice, his publications include 4 books and over 450 peer-reviewed publications (not including abstracts), with an H-index of 59 on Web of Science, 61 on Scopus and 75 on Google Scholar, with an i10 index of 247.

He has been a member of the executive or operations committees of several NIH-funded trials including NASCET, ACE, VISP and IRIS, and conducted a study of resistant hypertension in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, with funding from Grand Challenges Canada. He was a member of the Leadership Committees of the American Heart Association (AHA) Stroke Council and AHA the Peripheral Vascular Disease Council, was a member of the board of the Canadian Hypertension Society, and is a member of the International Societies of Stroke, Hypertension and Atherosclerosis. He was an Assistant Editor of Stroke from 2000-2010, was a member of the Editorial Board of Stroke 2000-2016, and is presently a member of the editorial boards of two AHA journals - Hypertension and Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis & Vascular Biology - as well as the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, the Journal of Stroke and Cerebrovascular Disease, and Stroke & Vascular Neurology (the journal of the Chinese Stroke Association).

In 2008, Prof. Spence was inducted as a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. His role in teaching of stroke prevention to neurologists and general physicians includes more than 600 invited lectures in 39 countries. He was chosen by the World Congress of Neurology to teach the workshop in Bangkok, Thailand on Stroke Prevention in 2009, and by the World Stroke Organization (WSO) to coordinate the course in stroke prevention at the World Stroke Congress in Hyderabad, India in 2016, and to teach in the WSO stroke course in La Paz, Bolivia in 2017. In November 2010 he was honoured by the Universidad Católica of Cordoba, Argentina for his role in education of Argentinean physicians in vascular prevention over the previous 10 years, and by the Obra Social Ferroviaria of Argentina (a health maintenance organization operated by the Railroad Workers’ Union) for his role in establishing early atherosclerosis detection programs at a number of Obras Sociales across Argentina, based on his method for measuring carotid plaque area. In 2012 he was elected to a 4-year term on the Board of Directors of the World Stroke Organization, representing the Americas. In 2015 he received the Research Excellence Award from the Canadian Society for Atherosclerosis, Thrombosis and Vascular Biology. Prof. Spence is currently investigating, with funding from CIHR, the role of the intestinal microbiome in extremes of carotid atherosclerosis. In 2016, Prof. Spence was appointed Co-Investigator and member of the Steering Committees of the Chinese Stroke Primary Prevention Trial 2 and the Million Hypertensives project in China, and Senior Advisor to the Chinese Framingham study (the Anqing Cohort, begun in 1990).

Brief CV

Dr. David Spence CV in PDF format.


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