Dr. Fehlings is the newly appointed Vice Chair Research in the Department of Surgery and heads the Spinal Program at the Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network. Dr. Fehlings is a Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto, he holds the Gerald and Tootsie Halbert Chair in Neural Repair and Regeneration, is a Scientist at the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and a McLaughlin Scholar in Molecular Medicine. In the fall of 2008, Dr. Fehlings was appointed the inaugural Director of the University of Toronto Neuroscience Program and Co-Director of the newly formed University of Toronto Spine Program.
Dr. Fehlings combines an active clinical practice in complex spinal surgery with a translationally-oriented research program focused on discovering novel treatments for the injured brain and spinal cord. This is reflected by the publication of over 400 peer-reviewed articles chiefly in the area of spinal cord injury and complex spinal surgery. Dr. Fehlings leads a multi-disciplinary team of researchers which is examining the application of stem cells, nanotechnology and tissue engineering strategies for spinal cord repair and regeneration. He is also a principal investigator in the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation North American Clinical Trials Network (NACTN), is co-chair of the internationally renowned Spine Trauma Study Group and leads several international clinical research efforts through AOSpine.
Dr. Michael Fehlings has received numerous prestigious awards including the Gold Medal in Surgery from the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (1996), nomination to the Who’s Who list of the 1000 most influential scientists of the 21st century (2001), the Lister Award in Surgical Research (2006), the Leon Wiltse Award from the North American Spine Society for excellence in leadership and/or clinical research in spine care (2009). Furthermore, he was presented with the Olivecrona Award (2009) — the top award internationally for neurosurgeons and neuroscientists awarded by the Nobel Institute at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm for his important contributions in CNS injury repair and regeneration, was a joint recipient of the Reeve-Irvine Research Medal in Spinal Cord Injury (2012) along with his colleague and mentor Dr. Charles Tator, received the Golden Axon Leadership Award (2012), the Mac Keith Basic Science Lectureship Award for significant contributions to the basic science of cerebral palsy and childhood onset disabilities (2012), and was the Mayfield Lecturer (2012).
Dr. Fehlings is active in many medical societies and journal editorial boards including Journal of Neurosurgery: Spine (Past-Chairman Editorial Board), Journal of Neurotrauma and Spine where he holds the position of Deputy Editor. He is also an academic editor for the open access journal PLoS One.
His commitment to patients with neurotrauma is further reflected in his volunteer work for ThinkFirst, a charitable organization which is focused on preventing brain and spinal cord injuries in children.