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Dr. Subodh Verma, an expert on vascular biology and endothelial dysfunction, is a cardiac surgeon at St. Michael's Hospital and an associate professor at the University of Toronto.

Born in Vancouver, Dr. Verma spent his childhood in India and came back to Canada to do his master's and PhD at the University of British Columbia. He studied pharmacology under Dr. John McNeill, who coincidentally trained Dr. Verma's father in the same field in the 1970s. The younger Dr. Verma later studied for his MD and cardiology credentials at the University of Calgary.

He believes his interest in pharmacology stemmed from his father, who was killed in a train derailment in India many years earlier.

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"My dad was one of Dr. McNeil's first graduate students and I ended up with him, as well. It was an unusual situation," he said. "He was a cardiac pharmacologist and I think I followed his footsteps and I always had a passion for medicine."

Dr. Verma also has a great passion for Canada.

"Canada has been such a great place for me. I was very fortunate to have been born here and come back and do my academics here," he said. "I feel Canada has given much more to me than I've given back. The wisdom and generosity of mentors let me move forward."

It is an exciting time to be in medicine, he adds.

"If you can do the research while having the honour of operating on human hearts, and fixing damaged hearts on a daily basis, then I think it's a unique privilege being both a scientist and a clinician."

Dr. Verma has two children, six-year-old Raj and three-year-old Meena, who get the lion's share of his attention outside of his work.

"I spend a lot of time with the kids and they've just caught the fishing bug. We did some indoor skydiving recently, with the big fan [in the floor] It was crazy! The three-year-old can do it, too. It's just amazing thinking about what they will do when they grow up."

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