The University of Manitoba has received $2 million to create a position dedicated blood research, the university announced Monday.

Bayer Inc. and the family of the late Dr. Lyonel G. Israels each donated $1 million to the Lyonel G. Israels Professorship in Hematology.

The position will help advance treatment against blood diseases, such as leukemia, and improve medical students' training in the branch, a news release said.

"This gift will elevate the stature of our remarkable medical community by helping to attract leaders in the field of hematology whose discoveries will ultimately improve patients' lives," said university president Dr. David Barnard, in a news release.

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Dr. Ryan Zarychanski will be the first to hold the Lyonel G. Israels Professorship in Hematology.

Dr. Ryan Zarychanski will be the first to hold the position. He came up with a theory that challenged a traditional approach to treating anemia, a condition where a person has a low number of red blood cells. He also advanced the understanding of how a blood thinner can lower the risk of death in patients with septic shock. 

Lyonel was the head of hematology/oncology at the university for 27 years. He was also the executive director of what's now called CancerCare Manitoba. He helped establish the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology and the Manitoba Health Research Council.

"Dr. Israels was an extraordinary clinician, scientist, and educator who made outstanding scientific contributions to the field of hematology, and left a profound legacy at the U of M," Barnard said.