November 2, 2022
Dr. Daniel Hardy has won the 2022 Dr. Joseph Gilbert Research Contribution of the Year Award for his team’s study published in Scientific Reports, which examined the effects of THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, and its potential long-term impact in fetal development in pre-clinical models.
“In 2018 Canada became the largest country in the world to legalize cannabis,” says Dr. Hardy, Lawson Scientist and Associate Professor at Western University’s Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry. “Our study looked at pre-clinical models and directly asked the question; does THC impair fetal development and lead to long-term cardiometabolic dysfunction?”
The pre-clinical study demonstrated that exposure of Delta 9 THC in pregnancy, even if a very low dose, adversely impacted the placenta, leading to a decrease in overall body weight and heart-, liver- and pancreas-to-body weight ratios, key organs involved in metabolism. His follow-up studies now indicate this culminates in glucose intolerance and cardiac dysfunction long-term.
“Our study suggests the use of THC is detrimental to fetal growth and development,” says Dr. Hardy.
Dr. Hardy presented his findings to Health Canada and is now working alongside them in the area of cannabis regulation and fetal development research.
His dedication to health research has been an inspiration to those who work with him.
“He has been a fantastic supervisor that I have known for a few years and he has been very supportive both inside and outside of research,” says Kendrick Lee, PhD candidate at Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. “Dr. Hardy is deserving of this award because there was a lot of work put into this pre-clinical model and he has also demonstrated exceptional leadership with this project.”
Dr. Hardy entered the research world as a co-op student at Lawson when he was 18, and he has never turned back.
“This has been a great recognition of our hard work,” adds Dr. Hardy. “Research has played such a huge role in my history and my career so I am really honoured for this award.”
The Lawson Impact Awards celebrates hospital-based research that makes a difference by advancing scientific knowledge and applying it directly to patient care. With awards in eight categories, the annual event honours Lawson scientists, staff, trainees and partners who demonstrate excellence.
Congratulations to Dr. Daniel Hardy and all our 2022 Lawson Impact Award winners.