2017 INDUCTEE Michael Hayden, MD PhD Cells, Genetics & Genomics


November 21, 1951

(Cape Town, South Africa)


MB ChB Medicine, University of Cape Town (1975)
PhD Genetics, University of Cape Town (1979)

Awards & Honours:

2014: Honorary Doctor of Science, University of Gottingen

2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal

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Picture of Dr. Michael Hayden

Transformed our understanding of Huntington’s Disease

Portrait of Michael Hayden

An authority on Huntington’s Disease and a pioneer in genetic research

Dr. Hayden has declared, “No diseases are hopeless anymore. The way I see them is that their secrets have just not yet been identified.” His work in deciphering vast and complex genomic and cellular data is helping to unveil secrets of intractable disease. For example, his research into the mechanisms of Huntington’s Disease (HD) has produced reliable predictive tests and new opportunities for prevention and treatment. His related research into mutations of the protein ABCA1 may hold promising applications for the understanding and treatment of diabetes and atherosclerosis.

Key Facts

Written more than 840 peer-reviewed publications and invited submissions

Is the most cited author in the world for Huntington’s Disease

Contributed to the development of personalized dosing recommendations and cautionary labelling to reduce adverse drug reactions

Founded three Canadian biotechnology companies

With colleagues, he built a recreation, counselling and learning centre in Cape Town that aims to reduce HIV/AIDS infection rates by providing a safe and open environment for local youth

Organized the first summer camp for patients with Huntington’s Disease

Professional timeline

Impact on lives today

By successfully translating his pioneering work into effective therapeutic strategies, along with his ability to foster networks of scientists, Dr. Hayden has greatly contributed to the field of genetic research and patient well-being. In particular, his work on Huntington’s Disease has laid the groundwork for an effective approach to therapy for this rare condition.

Picture of Dr. Michael Hayden


  • Michael Hayden on stage with fellow Laureates

    Michael Hayden inducted into the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame

    Quebec City, Quebec

  • Dr. Hayden was recognized as one of the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Pharmaceutical Industry by Pharmavoice

  • Dr. Hayden became the Director of the Translational Laboratory in Genetic Medicine in Singapore

    The following year he began serving as President of Global R &D and Chief Scientific Officer of Teva Pharmaceuticals headquartered in Israel.

  • Along with Dr. Bruce Carleton, Dr. Hayden created Genotype-Specific Approaches to Therapy in Childhood

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    This revolutionary network brings together experts from across many institutions and disciplines.

  • Learning from the success of the South Africa Clinic, Dr. Hayden founded BC’s first Huntington’s Disease Clinic

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

  • Dr. Hayden served as Editor-in-Chief of Clinical Genetics until 2015

  • As part of an effort to translate scientific discoveries into commercial products, Dr. Hayden established NeuroVir Pharmaceutic

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    In 1997 and 2001, he also founded Xenon Genetics, Inc. and Aspreva Pharmaceuticals Inc.

  • For 19 years, Dr. Hayden served as the Director of the Centre for Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics in Vancouver

  • To facilitate increased scientific collaboration, Dr. Hayden established the Canadian Collaborative Network on Predictive Testing for Huntington's Disease

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics

    He later established two other research networks: the Canadian Genetics Disease Network and the Canadian Pharmacogenomics Network for Drug Safety.

  • BC’s first annual summer camp for Huntington’s Disease patients was established by Dr. Hayden

  • Dr. Hayden came to Canada and joined the medical faculty at the University of British Columbia

  • Dr. Michael Hayden established the 1st Huntington’s Disease Clinic in South Africa

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics, Service Abroad

    The clinic was the first of its kind in Africa.

  • Medical Student Charles Oscar Waters authored the first description of Huntington’s Disease (HD)

    Cells, Genetics & Genomics


An explorer in medicine and never afraid to push new boundaries.