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Translational Medicine

Richardson Lab

Principal Investigator

Susan Richardson, MD, FRCP(C)
Scientific profile

Research Activities

Dr. Richardson's research is focused on two main themes:

1) Improvements in the diagnosis and understanding of paediatric infectious diseases:

In these two main areas, progress is being made in the diagnosis of paediatric respiratory infections (i.e. colds, flu-like illnesses) and serious, life-threatening fungal infections in patients with cancer. Based on our experience with SARS in 2003, we have determined what are the best and quickest methods to diagnose respiratory infections from samples taken from different areas of the body. We are using very sensitive techniques based on detecting very small amounts of genetic material of the viruses in question. This will permit us to rapidly detect cases of newly emerging infections such as SARS and avian influenza and to distinguish them from other less severe infections such as RSV and parainfluenza infection. This will have a significant impact on the control of the spread of these infections should they be introduced or re-introduced into our community.

2) Fungal Infections in the Immunocompromised Host:

Work is focused on the pathogenesis, diagnosis, treatment and outcome of serious invasive fungal infections that occur primarily in the immunocommpromised host. These infections are increasing as the population of successfully treated cancer and transplant patients increases, with their concomitant immunosuppression. Laboratory work includes the development of techniques for the rapid detection of invasive fungal infections, the development of strain typing systems for the 5 most common species involved in invasive candidiasis, and the study of trends in susceptibility to antifungal agents of Candida species.


Richardson SE, Tellier R, Mahony J. The laboratory diagnosis of severe acute respiratory syndrome: emerging laboratory tests for an emerging pathogen. Clinical Biochem Rev 2004; 25:133-41

Mahony J, Petrich A, Louie L, Song X, Chong S, Smieja M, Chernesky M, Richardson S, Ontario SARS laboratory working group for the rapid diagnosis of emerging infections. Performance and cost evaluation of one commercial and six in-house conventional and real-time reverse transcription-PRC assays for detection of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus. J Clin Microbiol 2004; 42:1471-6

Gassas A, Grant R, Richardson S, Dupuis L, Doyle J, Allen Up, Abla O, Sung L. Predictors of viridans streptococcal shock syndrome in bacteremic children with cancer and stem cell transplantation recipients. J Clin Oncol 2004; 22:1222-7

Tang P, Louie M, Richardson SE, Smieja M, Simor AE, Jamieson F, Fearon M, Poutanen SM, Mazzulli T, Tellier R, Mahony J, Loeb M, Petrich A, Chernesky M, McGeer A, Low DE, Phillips E, Jones S, Bastien N, Li Y, Dick D, Grolla A, Fernando L, Booth TF, Henry B, Rachlis AR, Matukas LM, Rose DB, Lovinsky R, Walmsley S, Gold WL, Krajden S. Interpretation of diagnostic laboratory tests for severe acute respiratory syndrome: the Toronto experience. Can Med Assoc J 2004; 170(1): 47-54.

Bitnun A, Ford-Jones E, Blaser S, Richardson S. Mycoplasma pneumoniae encephalitis. Seminars in Pediatric Infectious Diseases – Infections of the CNS. 2003; 14:96-107.

Allen U, Hebert D, Churchill C, Read S, Bitnun A, Richardson S, Matlow A, Tellier R, Goldman C, Wray R, King S, Opavsky MA, Ford Jones E, Hernandez M, Kitai I. The potential impact of SARS on organ transplantation: exercise caution. Pediatr Transplant 2003; 7(5):345-7.

Bernstein S, Richardson SE. Inoculation blastomycosis. Canadian Medical Association Journal 2001; 164:1664-5.

Walmsley S, King S, McGeer A, Ye Y, Richardson SE. Oropharyngeal candidiasis in HIV/AIDS: Correlation of clinical outcome with in vitro resistance, serum azole levels, and immunosuppression. Clin Infect Dis 2001; 32:1554-1561.

Bitnun A, Ford-Jones EL, Petric M, MacGregor D, Heurter H, Nelson S, Johnson G, Richardson SE. Acute childhood encephalitis and Mycoplasma pneumoniae. Clin Infect Dis 2001; 32:1674-1684.

Friedman S, Richardson SE, Jacobs SE, O'Brien K. Systemic Candida infection in extremely low birth weight infants - short-term morbidity and long-term neurodevelopmental outcome. Ped Infect Dis J 2000; 19:4999-504.

Cowen L, Sirjusingh C, Summerbell RD, Walmsley S, Richardson SE, Kohn LM, Anderson JB. Multilocus genotypes and DNA fingerprints do not predict variation in azole resistance among clinical isolates of Candida albicans. Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 1999; 43:2930-8.

Contact Information

Admin Assistant
Effie Economidis
e-mail: effie.economidis@sickkids.ca

Mailing Address
The Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Ave.
Room 3654, Atrium
Toronto, ON M5G 1X8

Tel: (416) 813-5992
Fax: (416) 813-6257
e-mail: susan.richardson@sickkids.ca