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About Sickkids
About SickKids

April 1, 2013

Top scientist under 40

Dr. John Rubinstein recognized for contributions to field of microscopy and microanalysis

By Elissa Hanna

Dr. John Rubinstein, Senior Scientist in the Molecular Structure & Function program at the SickKids Research Institute is being honoured with the Microscopy Society of America (MSA) Burton Medal for 2013.  The Burton Medal is awarded to a scientist under the age of 40 in recognition of significant contributions to the field of microscopy and microanalysis.

“It is so rewarding when our researchers are recognized for their innovation,” says Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at SickKids. “It shows that SickKids researchers, like Dr. Rubinstein, are dedicated to pushing the boundaries of science. This is what makes SickKids one of the leading research institutions in the world.”

Rubinstein and his research group use electron microscopy to study the structure and function of large assemblies of proteins found in cell membranes. They have developed innovative methods and computer software that allow them to study the 3-D structures of these protein complexes at higher resolution than previously possible. Specimens studied by the group are crucial to a variety of disease processes including cancer, osteoporosis, and certain types of bacterial infection.

“The 3-D structures that we have studied allow new insight into how these molecular assemblies function in their biological roles,” says Rubinstein. “This knowledge will ultimately lead to better treatment for health conditions as we come to further understand their function in cells.”

Rubinstein is the first Canadian to win the Burton Medal, named in honour of Eli Burton, a University of Toronto professor who created one of the earliest electron microscopes.