Dr. Christopher Kandel

#IamMGHresearch – Meet Dr. Christopher Kandel

#IamMGHresearch tells the stories of our researchers. Meet Dr. Christopher Kandel, Infectious Disease Specialist at Michael Garron Hospital (MGH).

“I have always had a strong passion for science and knew that I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare. I began my PhD journey in Clinical Epidemiology at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in 2016 and graduated in 2021.

Prior to beginning my PhD, I was a resident in the Division of Infectious Diseases in the university’s Department of Medicine. During my time in medical school, I had the opportunity to work alongside researchers who became my mentors and introduced me to the field of clinical research. While I was pursuing my doctorate, I worked part-time clinically at MGH and have since worked to start a research program at the hospital!

I really enjoy being able to move between research and clinical practice. I believe there is great value in being able to use my clinical skills and knowledge, and applying this to my research. I feel my clinical practice and research work complement one another and my strong interest in both of these areas helps me to be a better doctor.

My research at MGH has focused on trying to understand the onward transmission of viruses, including COVID-19 and mpox, in both hospital and home environments. This helps patients and healthcare providers because it allows us to learn more about infectious diseases and how we can most effectively prevent their transmission and treat them. When the COVID-19 pandemic started, we participated in worldwide clinical trials assessing treatments for COVID-19. We were part of a study that demonstrated the effectiveness of an antiviral medicine called Remdesivir and co-led a Phase II trial evaluating peginterferon lambda, which became the first therapy to be effective among individuals immunized against COVID-19.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it became evident that research on infectious diseases, and research that guides clinical decisions, is lacking. In addition, the pandemic further highlighted that research is very important – especially in healthcare – and, at times, it may be underinvested in. In particular, I believe there is a need to understand all aspects of infection, including how diseases are transmitted, treated and prevented. Research in this area allows us to better understand, and generate evidence for, why some treatments are more effective than others for addressing health concerns such as COVID-19.

Working in research at MGH is very rewarding. I enjoy working with our patients and colleagues, and translating and sharing the knowledge we gain from research with them. Without these individuals, we would not be able to perform these studies. Research can be complex, but I see challenges as learning opportunities that can help improve and grow our hospital and community. I hope my contributions to research at MGH can improve what we know about the transmission of infectious diseases and pathogens. This can hopefully spur future studies that aim to mitigate the spread of infectious diseases at a local and global level.

Compassion and inclusion are very important values to me and align with the values of MGH. Often, research that focuses on infectious diseases excludes underprivileged communities. However, at MGH, we have expanded our research to various diverse communities and populations to maximize inclusion. Our researchers work together with teams across MGH and community partners to break down barriers to health inequities. It is truly a team effort! I am very proud to be contributing to this meaningful work and look forward to supporting emerging research on infectious diseases prevention.”

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