Derek McKay

Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology.

Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary

Director, Calvin, Phoebe & Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Disease

Faculty Member

Host-Parasite Interactions

PhD - Enteric Parasitology

Queen’s University of Belfast, 1990

Postdoctoral Fellow - intestinal immunophysiology

Contact information

Research and teaching

Research areas

  • Parasites as models of gut dysfunction


Dr. McKay is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology and a member of the Calvin, Joan and Phoebe Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Dr. McKay is Chair of the Gastrointestinal Research Group (GIRG) at the University of Calgary and Past-President Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (2016-2018). Dr. McKay was recruited to the University of Calgary on a Canada Research Chair (CRC, Tier 1) in Intestinal Immunophysiology and was concurrently awarded an Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Scientist Award. 

Dr. McKay received his PhD in Enteric Parasitology from the Queen’s University of Belfast in 1990, and after post-doctoral training in intestinal immunophysiology he accepted a faculty position at McMaster University (1996-2006). 

He has wide-ranging interests in intestinal physiology and pathophysiology, particularly as they relate to inflammatory disease. Current projects in his laboratory include:  analysis of the impact of infection with helminth parasites on mucosal immunity and concurrent inflammatory disease, cytokine regulation of intestinal epithelial barrier function, the role of epithelial mitochondria in the control of epithelial permeability and inflammatory disease, and characterization of helminth-derived immunomodulatory molecules.  

His research program is supported by grants from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering research council (NSERC), the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada (CCFC), CRC and AHFMR (now Alberta Innovates-health Solutions). He has published 140 peer-reviewed publications and has given 130 invited presentations at National and International Congresses.  

Dr. McKay is fully committed to creating a dynamic training environment: recent trainees have gone into academic post-doctoral positions, medical school and accepted Faculty positions.