The scientific community mourns the loss of Dr. Pawan K. Singal, Principal Investigator
Cell Pathophysiology and one of the original founders who played a pivotal role in establishing St. Boniface Hospital Research almost four decades ago. Dr. Singal passed away after a short illness surrounded by his family.
With a career spanning several decades, Dr. Singal was a distinguished professor in the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at the University of Manitoba and the former Director of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences (2007-2017). His ground-breaking research on oxidative stress and heart failure has left an indelible mark on the medical community, leading to advancements in patient care and treatment.
“While we mourn the passing of Dr Singal and commiserate with his family, we also warmly remember the tremendous impact he made here at St Boniface Hospital Research and internationally as a researcher, educator, mentor, and leader,” said Dr. Michael Czubryt, Executive Director, Research, St. Boniface Hospital. “Over his impressive scientific career, he was a champion for students, working tirelessly to ensure they were supported and received excellent training opportunities.”
Dr. Singal began his academic journey at Punjab University in India, where he earned his BSc and MSc degrees in Biophysics. Fueled by an insatiable curiosity about the human body, he went on to complete his PhD in Physiology at the University of Alberta in 1974. In 1982, Dr. Singal joined the University of Manitoba, leaving a lasting legacy through his research, teaching, and mentorship.
With over 300 publications, Dr. Singal’s extensive body of work solidified his reputation as a global authority in the field. His laboratory at the Albrechtsen Research Centre was a hub of innovation, unraveling the complex mechanisms of heart failure. Over the years, Dr. Singal and his team gained invaluable insights into the cellular and molecular changes underlying heart failure. His research revealed the involvement of free radicals and their impact on myocardial cells, as well as the weakening of natural defense mechanisms following a heart attack.
Dr. Lorrie Kirshenbaum, Director Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences remembers Singal as a compassionate and deeply caring man who loved his family and lived life to its fullest. “His warm welcoming smile was infectious and his outlook on life was always positive even at times of adversity. Pawan touched the lives of many people and made the world a better place,” he said. “I have very fond memories of Pawan as a mentor, teacher and most importantly as my friend and he will be sadly missed. I would like to express my heartfelt condolences to his immediate family, Rohit, Mona and grandchildren.”
Dr. Singal’s dedication to mentoring the next generation of researchers is exemplified by his role as a mentor to more than 100 trainees, many of whom have achieved success in their own health and research-related careers.
“He has always held my admiration as a scientist, a teacher and mentor, an administrator, a family man, and a member of the community at large. He excelled in all these domains,” said Dr. Elissavet Kardami, Principal Investigator, Muscle Cell Biochemistry, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences, “I send my heartfelt condolences to his immediate family.”
“We have lost a great leader, an internationally recognized scientist, a proud Canadian, and a wonderful soul. He will be missed,” offered another long-time colleague, Dr. Grant Pierce, President, International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences.
Throughout his illustrious career, Dr. Singal received numerous accolades and honors in recognition of his exceptional contributions to the field. In 2018, the University of Winnipeg awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree, acknowledging his remarkable scientific research and educational career. He was also named a Distinguished Cardiovascular Scientist by the Cuban Society of Cardiology in the same year and received the prestigious Distinguished Physiologist award from the American Physiological Society in 2016. These accolades, along with the Commemorative Medal of the Slovak Academy of Sciences and University of Manitoba Merit Awards, underscore Dr. Singal’s unwavering commitment to excellence in research and teaching.
Beyond his academic achievements, Dr. Singal was a visionary leader, teacher, and dedicated community advocate for cross-cultural understanding. His commitment to the India Centre for Academic, Business, and Community Excellence—an initiative between the University of Winnipeg and the India Association of Manitoba—demonstrated his commitment to fostering a democratic and culturally diverse society.
Dr. Singal was a generous and longstanding donor to the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation, and he established the Dr. Pawan K. Singal, ICS Director Fund to support the ongoing needs of the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences. He also ably served as a member of the Foundation’s Board of Directors for six years beginning in 2016.
“Dr. Singal was a true champion of medical research and the power it has to change lives. He generously gave St. Boniface Hospital Foundation time, talent, and treasure to ensure future generations of medical scientists will have the resources they need to make game-changing discoveries. The Board of Directors and staff at the Foundation are deeply saddened by his passing and have his loved ones in our thoughts,” said Karen Fowler, President & CEO of St. Boniface Hospital Foundation.
On behalf of St. Boniface Hospital, the Research Centre and the Foundation, we extend our deepest condolences to his family, friends, colleagues, and the countless lives touched by his significant scientific contributions.
A memorial service for Dr. Singal will be held on Sunday, June 11 at 2 pm at Thompson in the Park. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the St. Boniface Hospital Foundation or CancerCare Manitoba.