Associate Professor  |  Surgeon-Scientist

Kathryn Howe

Vascular Surgery


UHN - Toronto General Hospital
200 Elizabeth Street, Eaton North 6-220, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 2C4
Clinical Interests
Carotid revascularization
Appointment Status


Kathryn completed her PhD at McMaster University in the Molecular Immunology, Virology and Inflammation program. Her thesis focused on determining the mechanism behind the beneficial role of TGF-beta on enhancing intestinal epithelial barrier function and protection from EHEC O157:H7 infection. Kathryn went to medical school at the University of Toronto and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Sick Kids, publishing in several fields during this time, including infection and immunity in HIV, ethics and sustainability in global surgery, and ischemia-reperfusion. She has been awarded competitive Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowships and National scholarships throughout her research career. As part of her Vascular Surgery residency (McMaster), Kathryn completed a 3-month clinical and research fellowship at Stanford University and established her own bench research program investigating the role of endothelial microRNA in vascular disease. Kathryn was awarded FRCSC status in 2018. Her clinical initiative is carotid revascularization and stroke prevention with multi-disciplinary team engagement to triage at-risk patients for early intervention, work that dovetails with Kathryn’s bench research program (see below). 

Clinical Interests:

Carotid revascularization

Academic Interests:

Kathryn is a Surgeon-Scientist at the Toronto General Hospital Research Institute. She collaborates closely with Dr. Jason Fish. The central clinical and scientific focus is to understand the role of endothelial communication within vulnerable carotid atherosclerotic plaques to find new targets to prevent stroke. While in the Leeper lab at Stanford, Kathryn became interested in the role of cellular communication within atherosclerotic plaques and efferocytosis (‘clearance of the dead’), a process that is dysregulated in vulnerable lesions. Within this framework, the Howe lab investigates the molecular mechanisms that underlie endothelial cell function in health and disease. Projects include endothelial communication in atherosclerosis, endothelial identity in vascular diseases, endothelial dysfunction in COVID-19, vascular aging, and endothelial senescence. Studies from our lab are revealing an elaborate and directional cell-cell communication network among cells in the cardiovascular system that is mediated in part by extracellular vesicles (EVs), microRNA, proteins, and cellular signaling and transcriptional pathways. Our current work is determining the role of endothelial cell function and communication in cardiovascular health and disease (e.g., atherosclerosis, aneurysm, aging and stroke) using a multidisciplinary approach that includes cultured vascular cells, mouse models, and human samples from the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre Biobank. We seek to identify vascular disease mechanisms and endothelial biomarkers for early disease detection and are leveraging the information gleaned from endothelial-focused models to develop novel therapies to combat cardiovascular disease.




McMaster University


McMaster University


University of Toronto


Sick Kids

Basic Science Research Fellowship

McMaster University

Vascular Surgery

Stanford University

Clinical and Research Mini-Fellowship