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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Keith Tanswell, MBBS, DRCOG, MRCP(UK), FRCP(C)

The Hospital for Sick Children
Division Head


Research Institute
Emeritus Senior Scientist
Translational Medicine

University of Toronto
Departments of Paediatrics and Physiology

Phone: 416-813-6344
Fax: 416-813-5002
Email: keith.tanswell@sickkids.ca

Brief Biography

The Hospital for Sick Children
Holder of the Women's Auxiliary Chair in Neonatology

Tongji Medical College of Huazhong and University of Science and Technology
Honorary Professor

Keith Tanswell obtained his MBBS from St. Mary's Hospital Medical School of London University, UK in 1969. Following his initial training in the UK, he came to Canada for a Neonatology Fellowship at Queen's University, followed by research training at Queen's University, then at Duke University. He returned to Canada in 1979 as an Assistant Professor at Queen's University. This was followed by a move to the University of Western Ontario in 1982 and finally to SickKids and the University of Toronto in 1989.

A clinician-scientist, his research areas of particular interest are regulation of lung growth and injury, oxygen toxicity and free radical biology. His research has been continuously supported by the Medical Research Council of Canada (now the Canadian Institutes of Health Research-CIHR) since 1979. He has served two separate terms as Chair of the CIHR Respiratory System review panel and has been a member of the Editorial Board for the American Journal of Physiology: Lung and an Editor of Pediatric Research. He is a member of the Standing Committee for Neonatology of the Institute of Human Development and Child and Youth Health of the CIHR. He has been the Director of the CIHR Group in Lung Development from 1993 - 2009.

Clinical Care Activities

Staff Neonatologist

Research Interests

Regulation of normal and aberrant postnatal lung growth.

Bronchopulmonary dysplasia is a chronic lung injury which occurs in very premature infants. Major features of bronchopulmonary dysplasia are arrest of alveolar growth and pulmonary hypertension, which may have life-long consequences.

I use various rat models of normal and compensatory lung growth, and lung injury, to define the cellular mechanisms which contribute to growth, injury and repair. My recent foci of interest have been the role of specific growth factors in postnatal alveolar formation, and the role of inflammatory cells and mediators in causing neonatal lung injury.

External Funding

CIHR 2004-2009
Role of reactive oxygen/nitrogen species in normal and aberrant postnatal lung growth.

CIHR 2005-2010
Regulation of normal and oxygen-mediated aberrant postnatal lung growth by growth factors.

CIHR 2007-2012
Inhibition of apoptosis as a major component of chronic neonatal lung injury.


Jankov RP, Tanswell AK. Therapeutic hypercapnia and the neonate. Acta Pediatr 97:1502-1509, 2008.

Padela S, Yi M, Cabacungan J, Shek S, Belcastro R, Masood A, Jankov RP, Tanswell AK. A critical role for fibroblast growth factor-7 during early alveolar formation in the neonatal rat. Pediatr Res 63:232-238, 2008.

Yi M, Belcastro R, Shek S, Luo D, Post M, Tanswell AK. Fibroblast growth factor-2α and receptor-1(IIIc) regulate postnatal rat lung cell apoptosis. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 174:581-589, 2006.

Padela S, Cabacungan J, Shek S, Belcastro R, Yi M, Jankov RP, Tanswell AK. Hepatocyte growth factor is required for alveologenesis in the neonatal rat. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 172:907-914, 2005.

Yi M, Jankov RP, Belcastro R, Humes D, Copland I, Shek S, Sweezey NB, Post M, Albertine KH, Auten RL, Tanswell AK. Opposing effects of 60% oxygen and neutrophil influx on alveologenesis in the neonatal rat. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 170:1188-1196, 2004.

Jankov RP, Tanswell AK. Growth factors, postnatal lung growth and bronchopulmonary dysplasia. Pediatr Respir Rev 5:S265-S275, 2004.

Jankov RP, Tanswell AK. Pulmonary hypertension and oxidant-induced lung injury in the preterm newborn: new insights into pathogenesis. Recent Res Dev Physiol 1:319-345, 2003.

Jankov RP, Johnstone L, Robinson BH, Tanswell AK. Macrophages as a major source of oxygen radicals in the hyperoxic newborn rat lung. Free Radical Biol Med 35:200-209, 2003.

Jankov RP, Luo X, Campbell A, Belcastro R, Cabacungan J, Johnstone L, Frndova H, Lye SJ, Tanswell AK. Fibroblast growth factor receptor-1 and compensatory neonatal lung growth after 95% oxygen exposure. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 167:1554-1561, 2003.

Tanswell AK, Jankov RP. Bronchopulmonary dysplasia: one disease or two? (Invited editorial) Am J Respir Crit Care Med 167:1-2, 2003.