The Libin Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Calgary is where some of Canada's top cardiologists work as clinicians and researchers.

One of the pioneers in the work now being done at the institute is Dr. George Wyse who came to Calgary in the 1970s.

Dr. Wyse earned a PHD in pharmacology before his mother's death from a stroke changed his course.

“I thought that I should do research in high blood pressure so I initially became a vascular biologist long before I was ever a cardiologist or an arrhythmia specialist,” said Dr. Wyse.

His research into irregular heartbeat, known as arrhythmia, is what put Dr. Wyse on the international stage.

He was one of the first researchers to receive funding from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and that began a relationship that continues to this day.

“He's one of our first funded researchers and he was the first researcher that received funding to do research on people regarding heart disease and prevention of heart disease and treatment related to heart disease,” said Donna Hastings, CEO Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Dr. Wyse even served a term as President of the foundation and to avoid the appearance of conflict of interest he declined any further funding from the organization for his research.

The presence of George Wyse has made it easier for the University of Calgary to attract other leading cardiologists.

“I came here to do an elective in cardiology. At that time I was not sure what I wanted to do in my medical career path and talking to George, his friendship, his wisdom and advice was, really helped me make decisions in my career path,” said Dr. Ed O'Brien, Chief of Cardiology.

“He's a rare individual that is an outstanding clinician, wonderful educator, great researcher and mentor and administrator to a number of people.  So I had the pleasure of being first a student with George and then one of the trainees when I did my cardiology training here and then a colleague and a friend,” said Dr. Todd Anderson, Division Chief Cardiology U of C.

With heart month coming up in two weeks, it is only fitting that Dr. George Wyse is this week's Inspiring Albertan.

(With files from Darrel Janz)