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About the Institute

Profile of Lillian Sung

Dr. Lillian Sung

Dr. Lillian Sung, MD, PhD

Where are you from?  Where did you study?
I was born in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. I received my undergraduate degree at Queen’s University and then moved to Ottawa to pursue my medical degree at the University of Ottawa. I completed a fellowship in paediatric infectious diseases at the University of Ottawa and then a fellowship in paediatric haematology/oncology at the University of Toronto. Following my fellowships, I received my PhD in clinical epidemiology from the University of Toronto. I also did some post-doctoral work at SickKids. And this is where I still am today.

What are you researching right now?
My research is focused on supportive cancer treatment for children with cancer. More specifically, I am working on trying to better understand, prevent and treat invasive infections that children undergoing chemotherapy treatment often experience.

Who is your all-time favourite scientist, and why?
My all-time favourite scientist is Dr. Shoo Lee. Dr. Lee has created a network of neonatal intensive care units that all work together to improve care for newborn babies. The accomplishments of this network are very impressive. He is a positive, leading force in the research community.

What in your opinion is the single most important scientific breakthrough, and why?
I think that the description of the human genome is probably the most important breakthrough. It is exciting because this knowledge has given us greater understanding of health and disease. We also now have greater understanding of how our environment interacts with genetics to result in disease states.

What are your major interests outside the lab?
I love food – eating food. I suppose the food I enjoy most is spicy food. I also enjoy music. I play the piano and am learning to play the guitar. I also like to listen to all types of music. Spending time with my children is also very important to me.

Why science?
I am a scientist because of the wonderful opportunities I have to increase knowledge and then improve health and quality of life for children with cancer.

Why SickKids?
SickKids provides a fantastic environment where basic scientists, clinical scientists and highly skilled clinicians can collaborate. Having a vast network of experts, not just within SickKids but also throughout the entire University of Toronto environment, gives us a great advantage and makes SickKids an exciting place to work and conduct research.

What is the most controversial question in your field right now?
I think that the most controversial question in my field right now has to do with the role of the child as a decision maker in their own treatment as well as in their participation in research.

May 2009

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