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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Benjamin Alman, BA, MD, FRCSC

Research Institute
Adjunct Scientist
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

University of Toronto
Vice Chair, Research
Department of Surgery

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 307983
Email: benjamin.alman@sickkids.ca

Brief Biography

Dr. Alman runs a basic science research program, studying the role of developmental signalling pathways in musculoskeletal tumor and reparative processes.  He is the principal investigator on several national research grants, and has over 125 peer reviewed publications in Journals such as Lancet, Cell and nature Medicine.  He has given over 150 presentations in international meetings and at invited lectures at various venues throughout the world. Dr. Alman has recently moved to the University of North Carolina but continues to be associated with the SickKids Research Institute as an adjunct scientist. 

Dr. Alman was born in Philadelphia and studied at the University of Pennsylvania, Jefferson Medical School, Pennsylvanian Hospital, and Tufts University before undertaking a clinical and research fellowship at the Hospital for Sick Children, where he has been part of the faculty the past 15 years.  he received numerous awards for his work over the years, including the Premier's Research Excellence Award for outstanding research work in Ontario, the Heune Award for outstanding contributions to Pediatric Orthopaedics, the OREF Research Award, the Royal College Medal in Surgery for best research publication by a member, the Lodwick award from Harvard University and Massachusetts General Hospital for the best publication in the musculoskeletal field and the Association for Surgical Education's 2102 Award for Excellence in Innovation. 

In addition to his research and clinical activities, Dr. Alman serves on the Research Advisory Board and Chairs the clinical research subcommittee of the Shriner's Hospitals, and is a member of the Board of Trustees at the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, which is the largest hospital in Canada treating pediatric disability. 

Research Interests

  • Musculoskeletal neoplasia
  • Musculoskeletal growth and repair
  • Neuromuscular disorders

Our laboratory studies the molecular mechanisms responsible for the deregulation of cellular growth control in aggressive fibromatosis (desmoid tumour) and cartilage neoplasms (e.g. chondrosarcomas). We identified developmental signaling pathways that are inappropriately activated in both types of lesions. Our current work focuses on determining somatic mutations that may be responsible for the activation, identifying novel mediators in the signaling pathways, and determining if a pharmacologic approach can be used to modulate the pathway activation. The long-term goal of this work is to develop novel pharmacologic therapies for these otherwise difficult to treat lesions.

Some of the information learned from our work on tumours can be applied to repair processes and bone growth. We are currently working to determine how these signaling pathways regulate normal bone growth and wound healing.

Future Research Interests

To determine genes responsible for paediatric orthopaedic disorders (eg. congenital scoliosis)


  • OREF Research Award
  • Royal College Medal
  • Premier's Research Excellence Award
  • Huene Award


For a complete list of publications, please visit PubMed.

Alman BA, Ferguson P, Kraemer W. Nousiainen MT, Resnick RK. (2013) Competency-based education: a new model for teaching orthopaedics. Instructional Course Lectures. 62:565-9. 

Camp MW, Mattingly DA, Gross AE, Nousiainen MT, Alman BA, McKneally MF. (2012) Patients' views on surgeons' financial conflicts of interest. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. 95(2):e91-8.

Ho L, Ali SA, Al-Jazrawe M, Kandel R, Wunder JS, Alman BA. (2012) Primary cilia attenuate hedgehog signalling in neoplastic chondrocytes. Oncogene. doi: 10.1038/onc.2012.588.

Bielefeld KA, Amini-Nik S, Alman BA. (2012) Cutaneous wound healing: recruiting developmental pathways for regeneration. Cellular and Molecular Life.

Hsu SH, Zhang X, Cheng S, Wunder JS, Hui CC, Alman BA. ( 2012) Suppressor of fused (Sufu) mediates the effect of parathyroid hormone-like hormone (Pthlh) on chondrocyte differentiation in the growth plate. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 287(43):36222-8.

Tsoi KM, Dai Q, Alman BA, Chan WC. (2012) Are Quantum Dots Toxic? Exploring the Discrepancy Between Cell Culture and Animal Studies. Accounts of Chemical Research. 

Black KP, Alman BA, Levine WN, Neslter SP, Pnney SJ. (2012) Orthopaedic resident education-it's a while new game: "If I'm going to be a spine surgeon, why do I need to learn how to reconstruct an anterior cruciate ligament?": AOA ctirical issues. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery. 94(13):e96.

Poon R, Hong H, Wei X, Pan J, Alman BA. (2012) A high throughput screen identifies Nefopam as targeting cell proliferation in B-cantenin driven neoplastic and reactive fibroproliferative disorders. PloS One. 7(5):e37940.

Plasschaert F, Craig C, Bell R, Cole WG, Wunder JS, Alman BA. (2002) Eosinophilic granuloma. A different behaviour in children than in adults. The Bone & Joint Journal. 84(6):870-2.

Alman BA. (2002) A classification for genetic disorders of interest to orthopaedists. Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research. (401):17-26.

Cheon SS, Cheah AY, Turley S, Nadesan P, Poon R, Clevers H, Alman BA. (2002) Beta-Catenin stabilization dysregulates mesenchymal cell proliferation, motility, and invasiveness and causes aggressive fibromatosis and hyperplastic cutaneous wounds. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 99(10):6973-8.

Hopyan S, Gokgoz N, Poon R, Gensure RC, Yu C, Cole WG, Bell RS, Juppner H, Andrulis IL, Wunder JS, Alman BA. (2002) A mutant PTH/PTHrP type I receptor in enchondromatosis. Nature Genetics. 30:303-310.

Meng X, Poon R, Zhang X, Cheah A, Ding Q, Hui CC, Alman BA. (2001) Suppressor of fused negatively regulates beta-catenin signaling. The Journal of Biological Chemistry. 276(43):40113-9.

Tejpar S, Li C, Yu C, Poon R, Denys H, Sciot R, Van Cutsem E, Cassiman JJ, Alman BA. (2001) Tcf-3 expression and beta-catenin mediated transcriptional activation in aggressive fibromatosis (desmoid tumour). British Journal of Cancer. 85(1):98-10.

Li C, Nguyen Q, Cole WG, Alman BA. (2001) Potential treatment for clubfeet based on growth factor blockade. Journal of Pediatric Orthpaedics. 21(3):372-7.

Poon R, Smits R, Li C, Jagmohan-Changur S, Kong M, Cheon S, Yu C, Fodde R, Alman BA. (2001) Cyclooxygenase-two (COX-2) modulates proliferation in aggressive fibromatosis (desmoid tumor). Oncogene. 20(4):451-60.

Couture J, Mitri A, Lagace R, Smits R, Berk T, Bouchard HL, Fodde R, Alman BA, Bapat B. (2000) A germline mutation at the extreme 3' end of the APC gene results in a severe desmoid phenotype and is associated with overexpression of beta-catenin in the desmoid tumor. Clinical Genetics. 57(3):205-12.

Tejpar S, Nollet F, Li C, Wunder JS, Michils G, dal Cin P, Van Cutsem E, Bapat B, van Roy F, Cassiman JJ, Alman BA. (1999) Predominance of beta-catenin mutations and beta-catenin dysregulation in sporadic aggressive fibromatosis (desmoid tumor). Oncogene. 18(47):6615-20.

Hopyan S, Gokgoz N, Bell RS, Andrulis IL, Alman BA, Wunder JS. (1999) Expression of osteocalcin and its transcriptional regulators core-binding factor alpha 1 and MSX2 in osteoid-forming tumours. Journal of Orthopaedic Research. 17(5):633-8.