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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Shinya Ito, MD, FRCP(C)

The Hospital for Sick Children
Division Head
Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Translational Medicine

University of Toronto
Professor, Medicine, Pharmacology & Pharmacy
Department of Paediatrics

Phone: 416-813-5776
Fax: 416-813-7562
Email: shinya.ito@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Hila Halshtok
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 207413
Alternate Fax: 416-813-7562
Alternate Email: hila.halshtok@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Ito Lab website

Brief Biography

Shinya Ito, MD, FRCPC, Professor and Head, Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology; Senior Scientist, Research Institute; Clinician Scientist of the Department. Cross-appointed in Departments of Pharmacology & Toxicology, Medicine, and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Chair of SickKids Drugs & Therapeutics committee. Leading the SickKids pharmacogenetics program. Directs Adverse Drug Reaction clinic.  

Graduated from Jichi Medical School, Japan, in 1979. Served as a general practitioner/Paediatrician in remote areas of Japan (1982-1986). Came to Toronto in 1989 as a clinical fellow in Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology. Became a staff of Department of Paediatrics, Division of Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology in 1995. Appointed as Division Chief in 2000.

Clinical focus

  • Drug safety in breastfeeding and pregnancy
  • Adverse drug reactions
  • Pharmacogenetics


  • President of the Canadian Society for Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Chair of the Specialty committee in Clinical Pharmacology & Toxicology in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada.

Activities and contributions

Evidence of international leadership

  • Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics 2008 organizing committee
  • Global Research in Paediatrics (EU-funded global project) Work package 1 leader
  • The WHO Expert Panel Member on Drug Evaluation

Committee membership

  • CIHR Pharmaceutical science panel (1999-2002, 2003, 2007-present)
  • President, Canadian Society for Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2013-present)
  • NIH/National Library of Medicine. Drugs in breastfeeding: Web-based database. Advisory board: 2004-present
  • Chair, Specialty committee in clinical pharmacology & toxicology, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (since 2010)
  • Drugs & Therapeutics committee, Chair (Hospital for Sick Children)

Consulting/contract activities

  • Health Canada
  • Ontario Ministry of Health
  • Ontario coroner’s offices

Supervisory experience (e.g. training of students)

Supervisor of 15 MSc students, 5 PhD students, and 14 post-docs

Presentations as guest speaker (public or invited lectures)

  • >50 invited lectures since 2006


  • Associate Editor, Clinical Pharmacology & Therapeutics
  • Editorial board, Therapeutic Drug Monitoring

Evaluation of articles for scientific, literary or artistic journals

  • American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • Annals of Pharmacotherapy
  • Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
  • Biochemical Pharmacology
  • British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
  • Canadian Medical Association Journal
  • Canadian Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
  • Cancer Letters
  • Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
  • FASEB Journal
  • Journal of Cellular Physiology
  • Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
  • Journal of Pediatrics
  • Nature Clinical Practice Rheumatology
  • Pediatrics
  • Pediatric Research
  • PLoS ONE
  • Therapeutic Drug Monitoring
  • Trends in Pharmacological Sciences

Knowledge translation/Dissemination activities

  • Various CME activities (see invited lectures)

Research Interests

  • Breastfeeding pharmacology: Clinical and basic research of drug safety during breastfeeding and drug transporting proteins (New Eng J Med 2000; Mol Pharmacol 2012, etc). Funded by CIHR.
  • Global Research in Paediatrics: This is an education research project, which develops educational infrastructure for Paediatric drug studies. One of the appointed leaders of the project, directing the global fellowship program and the scientific director of the global Master program in Paediatric pharmacology. Funded by EU.
  • Pharmacogenomics: A nominated principal investigator for a large-scale pharmacogenomic study of brain side effects of drugs in leukemia survivor children. Site director of the Canadian Pharmacogenetics Network for Drug Safety. Conducting pharmacogenetics projects (Nat Med 2009 etc).

Future Research Interests

The ultimate goal of my research program is to advance our knowledge base for better drug safety in children, especially in breastfed infants. To this end, we will continue exploring key biological functions of human milk on drug handling capability of infants, and the fundamental mechanisms of drug-induced toxicities. As a future focus, we plan to reveal the roles of the new transporter we have cloned.

External Funding

  • CIHR [Drugs and Human Milk]
  • CIHR [Novel transcriptional control of human cytochrome P450 3A]
  • Genome Canada [Genotype-specific Approaches in Therapeutics in Children (site director)]
  • PSI [Depression during breastfeeding]


1997-2002 - The Career Award in Health Sciences (CIHR/Rx&D Health Research Foundation)

1996 - Piafsky Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Society for Clinical Pharmacology.


Ito S. Drug therapy for breast-feeding women. New Engl J Med 2000; 343:118-126

Klinger G, Morad Y, Westall CA, Laskin C, Spitzer KA, Koren G, Ito S, Buncic RJ. Antenatal exposure to chloroquine or hydroxycloroquine for rheumatic diseases — Is there evidence of ocular toxicity? Lancet 2001;358:813-814

Xu H, Rajesan R, Harper P, Kim RB, Lonnerdal B, Yang M, Uematsu S, Hutson J, Watson-MacDonell J, Ito S. Induction of cytochrome P450 1A by cow milk-based formula: a comparative study between human milk and formula. Br J Pharmacology 2005: 146; 296-305

Tanaka T, Nakajima K, Murashima A, Garcia-Bournissen F, Koren G, Ito S. Safety of neuraminidase inhibitors, oseltamivir and zanamivir, for pregnant and breastfeeding women during the current pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1) virus. Can Med Assoc J 2009;181:55-58

Ross CJD, Katzov-Eckert H, Dube M-P, Brooks B, Rassekh SR, Barhdadi A, Feroz-Zada Y, Visscher H, Brown AMK, Rieder MJ, Rogers PC, Phillips MS, Carleton BC, Hayden MR & CPNDS Consortium. Genetic variants in TPMT and COMT are associated with hearing loss in children receiving cisplatin chemotherapy. Nat Genetics 2009;41:1345-1349

Tan KP, Wang B, Yang M, Boutros PC, MacAulay J, Xu H, Chuang AI, Kosuge K, Yamamoto M, Takahashi S, Wu A, Ross DD, Harper PA, Ito S.  Aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) is a transcriptional activator of human breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP/ABCG2). Mol Pharmacol 2010;78:175-185

Panchaud A, Garcia-Bournissen F, Csajka C, Kristensen JH, Taddio A, Ilet KF, Begg EJ, Ito S.  Prediction of infant drug exposure through breastfeeding: population PK modeling and simulation of fluoxetine. Clin Pharmacol Ther 2011;89: 830–836

Wu A, Dalvi P, Lu X, Yang MD, Riddick D, Matthews J, Clevenger CV, Ross DD, Harper PA, Ito S.   Induction of multidrug resistance transporter ABCG2 by prolactin in human breast cancer cells. Mol Pharmacol 2013; 83(2):377-88

Ito S. System, crowd, and communal innovation: Can the monks solve the elephant? Clin Pharmacol Ther 2013;93:369-371

Yazdani-Brojeni P, Garcia-Bournissen F, Fujii H, Tanoshima R, Ito S. Relative bioequivalence of amoxicillin dissolved in breast milk. Arch Dis Ch ild 2014, 99(3):258-61