Holly Sparks

Assistant Professor (Large Animal Surgery)

NSERC Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Equine Regenerative Medicine

Research Chair

Full Member

Reproduction and Regenerative Medicine Research Group


Michigan State University (2008)


University of Saskatchewan (2013)


American College of Veterinary Surgeons (2015)


University of Calgary (2019)

Contact information


Office : HRICGA18

Research and teaching

Research Interests

  • Equine
  • Musculoskeletal
  • Regenerative Medicine


The equine industry is enormously important to the Canadian economy and equine athletes comprise a large proportion of the nearly 1 million horses in the country. The development of scar tissue (fibrosis) following healing of a musculoskeletal injury is an unfortunately common cause of poor performance and recurring lameness amongst Canadian horses. By using comparative healing models, this research program aims to identify signals underlying tissue regeneration and discover therapeutics capable of fostering a pro-regenerative environment during musculoskeletal healing in equine subjects historically prone to fibrosis.


Dr. Holly Sparks is a large animal surgeon, stem cell biologist, and assistant professor at the University of Calgary. Originally from Michigan, she completed her DVM at Michigan State University in 2008. From here, she completed an internship at a busy specialty equine practice in Oklahoma (Oakridge Equine) then was accepted into an equine orthopedic research program at Cornell University. After, she was selected to complete a surgical residency at the University of Saskatchewan which culminated in board certification in large animal surgery in 2015.  After exclusive clinical practice, she shifted her career back into academia beginning with the completion of her PhD in regenerative medicine and stem cell biology in mesenchymal tissues in Dr. Jeff Biernaskie's laboratory at the University of Calgary in 2019.



Alberta Innovates:Health Solutions Clinician Scientist Fellow, 2017-2020