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About Sickkids
About SickKids

John Rubinstein, PhD

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Molecular Medicine

University of Toronto
Departments of Biochemistry and Medical Biophysics

Chair Positions
Canada Research Chair
Electron Cryomicroscopy

Phone: 416-813-7255
Fax: 416-813-5022
Email: john.rubinstein@utoronto.ca

For more information, visit:

Lab site: Rubinstein Lab

Brief Biography

John Rubinstein obtained his B.Sc from the University of Guelph in 1998. He received his PhD from Cambridge University (2002) where he worked in Medical Research Council laboratories under the supervision of Sir John E. Walker (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1997) and Dr. Richard Henderson (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2017). Dr. Rubinstein was a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology before returning to Canada for a National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) post-doctoral fellowship at the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research. He joined the Research Institute of The Hospital for Sick Children in 2006.

Research Interests

  • Structural biology and electron cryomicroscopy
  • Structure and function of macromolecular assemblies
  • Membrane protein complexes
  • Bioenergetics

Research Activities


Electron cryomicroscopy (cryo-EM) of macromolecular assemblies has become an important technique in structural biology. The method allows biologists to bridge the resolution gap between images of cells from light microscopy and conventional electron microscopy and the high-resolution information available from X-ray crystallography and NMR spectroscopy.

Membrane protein complexes

Using cryo-EM and other biophysical and biochemical tools, we have studied rotary ATPases such as the mitochondrial ATP synthase and the V-type ATPase. These macromolecular assemblies play important roles in a variety of health related phenomena such as bacterial infection, osteoclast activity, and cancer. 

Method development

Cryo-EM is an evolving method with great unexplored potential for high-resolution structure determination and the investigation of conformational changes and dynamic complexes. New techniques that will be developed, in part in this laboratory, will expand the potential of cryo-EM to address questions about macromolecular assemblies that currently frustrate crystallographic and spectroscopic approaches. The understanding of molecular processes in biology has often been tightly coupled to the development of new methods. In this tradition, our research program is a composite of the investigation of systems of fundamental biological importance with the development of electron cryomicroscopy methods. Through this combination, we intend to solve problems of importance to biology and medicine and expand our potential to address new questions in structural biology.


A listing of Dr. Rubinstein's articles is available on Pubmed. »»