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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Donna Wall, MD, CCPE

The Hospital for Sick Children
Section Head - Blood and Marrow Transplant

Research Institute
Senior Associate Scientist
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

University of Toronto
Department of Paediatrics

Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 202349
Fax: 416-813-5327
Email: donna.wall@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Michelle Gouveia
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 203298
Alternate Email: michelle.gouveia@sickkids.ca

For more information, visit:

Wall Lab

Brief Biography

Dr. Wall joined The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and University of Toronto in the fall of 2016 as Section Head of the Blood and Marrow Transplant/Cellular Therapy program. After completing paediatric and paediatric hematology/oncology training in New York and Boston she went on to establish BMT and public cord blood banks in St. Louis and San Antonio. Most recently she has led the Manitoba Blood and Marrow Transplant program. She has chaired the hematopoietic stem cell transplant discipline in the Children’s Oncology Group and has had leadership positions in the Paediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Group, the Canadian Blood and Marrow Transplant Group and the CIHR-funded Canadian National Transplant Research program. Her research has focused on improving the outcomes of children undergoing transplant through a better understanding of the role of the innate immune system in transplantation and the interaction between donor immune cells and their new environment as tolerance is established and as a tool to treat leukemia.

Academic Background


1981: B.Sc, Medicine, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

1981: MD, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Postgraduate, Research and Specialty Training

1985 - 1987: Research Fellowship, Pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, United States

1984 - 1987: Fellowship, Medicine (Hematology/Oncology), The Children’s Hospital,Boston, Massachusetts, United States

1984 - 1987: Fellowship, Pediatric Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, United States

1982 - 1984: Resident, Pediatrics, Tufts-New England Medical Center, Boston, United States

1981 - 1982: Intern, Pediatrics, Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, New York, United States

Research Interests

Clinical Research

Throughout my career I have been active in cooperative group trials including Children's Oncology Group (COG) and its predecessor Pediatric Oncology Group (POG), Pediatric Blood and Marrow Transplant Consortium (PBMTC), NHLBI/NCI sponsored Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN), NCIC-C17 Pediatric Phase I committee, and the Pediatric Immunodeficiency Disorder (PID) network.

While in St. Louis and San Antonio I was responsible for COG/POG activities at the institution – included the management of 50-70 trials (IRB/REB submissions, study accrual and compliance). In Manitoba I was a member of the clinical trials team actively enrolling patients on clinical trials from many cooperative groups.

Translational Research

Through the cellular therapy laboratory and related cord blood banking I have been active in the field of developmental cell therapeutics. I have worked on early stage cellular therapy trials (T cell depletion and CD34 enrichment) and the development of cord blood as a cell therapy alternative (established 2 major cord blood banks, development of cord blood banking standards and regulation, and the study of cord blood as a biologic project). When I moved to Manitoba I established a research laboratory in the Regenerative Medicine Department and built the Manitoba Centre for Advanced Cell and Tissue Therapy. My research focus has been on immune regulatory cells – myeloid derived suppressor cells and mesenchymal stem/stromal cells. The laboratory supports two major Canadian cooperative cell therapy trials – one evaluating mesenchymal cells for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MESCAMS trial) and the other evaluation a novel phototherapeutic approach to depleting alloractive T cells and enriching for T reg cells as a tool to treat steroid refractory GVHD (CARE trial of the CNTRP). Both have required development of GMP compliant cell manufacturing. The laboratory is working on the development of a relevant and reliable potency assay for mesenchymal stem cells utilizing a proteomic evaluation of resting and licensed MSC – finding that a combination of surface and intracellular changes correlates with suppressive function. The second major focus is on myeloid derived suppressor cells which are a population of immature myeloid cells with profound suppressive functions – able to shut down T, B and dendritic cell function. We have found that these cells are enriched in allogeneic stem/progenitor cell grafts and recover early post-transplant – making them excellent candidates for modulators of the immune environment post-transplant – both to prevent GVHD and enhance graft vs. leukemia/tumor activity.

Clinical Care Activities

  • Inpatient service in the BMT unit
  • Outpatient BMT clinic


2016: Chair, Garron Family/Hats off to Kidz Chair in Pediatric Leukemia research

2014 - 2016: Bihlers’ Professorship In Stem Cell Research, University of Manitoba

2013: Schilly Award, Canadian Blood Services

2001: Spirit of Health Award, American Cancer Society

1999: Wendell G. Scott Award for Contributions in Cancer Control, American Cancer Society

1989 - 1990: Young Investigator Award, American Society of Clinical Oncology

1985 - 1989: Research Fellow, Medical Research Council of Canada

1985 - 1987: Farley Fund Clinical Fellowship, Harvard Medical School

1994: Teaching Award, Tufts Medical School