Facebook Pixel Code
Banner image
About the Institute

Profile of Elinor Simons

Researcher photo
Dr. Elinor Simons

By: Daniella Vasilovsky

Dr. Elinor Simons, MD

  • Doctoral Student, Child Health Evaluative Sciences

1. Where are you from? Where did you study?
I am from Winnipeg, Manitoba. I completed a biochemistry undergraduate degree at Queen’s University, medical school at the University of Manitoba, a paediatric residency at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a paediatric allergy fellowship at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. I also completed a master’s degree in epidemiology at the State University of New York at Albany, while working as an assistant professor at Albany Medical College. I am currently pursuing my PhD in clinical epidemiology at the University of Toronto.

2. What are you researching right now?
My thesis focuses on modifiable environmental exposures and their long-term associations with childhood asthma development. Second-hand smoke exposure is the main focus of my current project and I will also be looking at changes in neighbourhood features and their associations with asthma development.

3. What are your major interests outside the lab?
I have been singing with the University of Toronto Hart House Chorus for the past three years and joined the SickKids Glee Club last fall. I enjoy canoeing, hiking, biking and running. I had a great experience running in the Toronto marathon last fall.

4. Why SickKids?
I was really drawn to Toronto and knew a lot of people here. Being a paediatrician, SickKids is a fascinating place to work. There is a lot of variety in the expertise of people here and it is wonderful to be a part of the team.

Attending paediatric Grand Rounds is something great about SickKids. Most of the time it is related to topics I haven’t thought about in years and is great to see the breadth of development that goes on here.

5. What is the most controversial question in your field of research right now?
One of my side projects that showed a protective association between full breastfeeding and asthma development has generated controversy. The issue is controversial because published studies have shown both an increased association and possible protective effect of breastfeeding on asthma development in different populations. However, we all agree that breastfeeding has many benefits, irrespective of any possible protective effect against asthma development.

6. Reading anything right now?
I have been reading an autobiography of someone who travelled from Istanbul through Mongolia on horseback. My brother will be travelling in Mongolia this summer and I am looking forward to hearing his stories as well!

7. If you could give one piece of advice to someone considering a research career, what would it be?
The advice I would give to somebody is to go with their interests! Let their questions guide them in the right direction.

I would also advise networking with other researchers in similar and related disciplines, because it often sparks interesting and exciting ideas.

Above all, be persistent! Have a few different projects going on at once and one will always be moving forward.

8. What does the SickKids Centre for Research and Learning mean to you?
I am looking forward to having more of the Child Health Evaluative Sciences researchers working in the same physical location, because some of them I don’t get to see often. I am also eager to be in the same building as researchers in other areas of the Research Institute. It’s going to be a great opportunity to interact more closely with my colleagues.

July 2012