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Labatt Family Heart Centre

The Labatt Family Heart Centre at SickKids is among the top three heart centres in the world, driving innovation that consistently leads to better outcomes for patients with heart disease.

Paediatric cardiac research is changing, and translational work that combines basic science and clinical care is starting to show promise – particularly in the areas of genetic modification of disease and regenerative/restorative therapies.

A global leader in transformational congenital cardiac care

We aim to produce measurable, unmatched outcomes in cardiac clinical care, research, and education by:

  1. Creating an environment for staff to continuously innovate and create value; 
  2. Striving for exemplary patient and family satisfaction, and staff engagement; 
  3. Embracing and enhancing our outstanding partnerships at all levels; 
  4. Leading education and transformative research; and 
  5. Enabling our work with responsible and responsive operations.

The future of cardiac clinical care 

Our vision of premier international excellence is based on the Centre’s four pillars:

  1. Unsurpassed, measurable patient outcomes; 
  2. Innovative, practice-changing research; 
  3. Superb education, training and quality of work life; 
  4. Exemplary patient and family satisfaction. 

Healthy hearts. Healthier lives.

The Heart Centre is comprised of four Divisions, each with their own subspecialty areas. You can learn more about a particular division below!

Division of Cardiology

One of the world's largest paediatric heart institutions, the Division of Cardiology at SickKids continues to tackle critical challenges in child heart health.

Division of Cardiovascular Surgery

Together with the Labatt Centre, the Division of Cardiovascular Surgery provides care to children with congenital & acquired forms of heart disease.

Division of Cardiac Critical Care

Cardiac Critical Care manages critical illness through all modes of mechanical ventilation, mechanical support of the circulation and support of organ systems.

Division of Cardiac Anesthesia

The Division of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine at SickKids provides anesthetic care to over 20,000 infants and kids every year.


Mike Seed 

Sue Morton

Joanna Brown

  • Clinic Coordinator
  • Phone: 416-813-5848  

Stephanie Darlington

  • Clinic Nurse
  • Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 203075 

David Barron 

Allie Altomare

Maricor Fernando

Steven Schwartz 

Kathy Boyko

Seema Mital 

Michael Candito 

Shalini Chauhan 

  • Heart Function Clinic Coordinator
  • Phone: 416-813-5848 

Kristen George / Linda Fazari

  • Heart Function Clinic Nurse
  • Phone: 416-813-8766  

Bruce Macpherson 

Shue Lin Loo

Rafael Alonso-Gonzalez

  • Head, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, Toronto General Hospital 
  • Phone: 416-340-4871
  • Email:  

Jackie Hubbert 

Lorraine Sheffield

Anne-Marie Newton 

Theresa Passanha

Sue Morton

Nella Perri

Sarah Carter

Anesthesia Office

Christine Kerr

Heart Centre project investigators

Learn with the Labatt Family Centre

Heart Centre Research Fellowship Opportunity

The Labatt Family Heart Centre offers one- to two-year funded research fellowships for $55K CAD/year. Fellowships commence July 1 and the focus is to enhance cardiology research (basic, clinical, translational) among trainees, and to develop a career in the field of cardiology.

This year, fellowship funds are available to those completing research fellowships in the areas of general cardiology, cardiovascular sciences as well as areas specific to heart failure. Fellowship funding will begin on July 1, 2024. The applicants' supervising PI must also complete the PI Attestation form to indicate the source of top up funding.

Deadline to apply is Thursday, June 1, 2023. Please send completed applications and PI Attestations to Christine Kerr. 

Research Fellowship Application (.doc)

PI Attestation (PDF)

Candidates must possess an MD or PhD (or equivalent degree in a cardiac related field and be within 5 years from completion of their degree. Candidates must demonstrate at least 75 per cent protected research time. Candidates must submit the application along with the project description and an updated CV as part of the application process. 

Candidates must identify a supervisor with expertise in cardiology research at SickKids.   

Supervisors will need to provide a one- to two-page letter of support that describes: 

  • The mentorship plan 
  • Assures protected research time 
  • Demonstrates availability of funding for trainee salary supplement where applicable and for the research project 

Applications are due on June 1 of the application cycle for a fellowship funding start date of July 1 of the following year. Applicants will be notified of competition results by late August of each application cycle.

Additional paid research fellowships are available on a case by case basis.  Candidates must identify and contact a supervisor who agrees to oversee your project during your research term. Salaries for these research fellowships will either be paid by the fellow’s supervising PI or through external funding from the fellow’s home institutions or home government grant programs.

Fellowships are available across the Labatt Family Centre’s four Divisions. For more information on deadlines, dates, and details on each fellowship program, contact the respective program for each division


Ashley Cunha - Education Administrative Coordinator  

Cardiovascular Surgery

Kelly Docherty -  Education Administrative Coordinator 

Cardiac Critical Care

Nella Perri - Supervisor, Administrative Services & Fellowship Program Coordinator 

Cardiac Anesthesia

Department of Anesthesia and Pain Medicine

Heart Centre Research Fellowships

Christine Kerr - Clinical Research Manager

Educational opportunities for research students

We offer opportunities for research students to work during the summer and throughout the school year. Check out the funding opportunities within the Research Training Centre.

Students looking for summer research studentships should visit the SickKids Summer Research Program (SSuRe) page for opportunities.

Research4Kids Clinical Research Database

We carry out a large volume of research studies, including Health Canada Regulated Clinical Trials, observational studies, and retrospective research studies. For more information on Heart Centre studies that you and your child can learn from, visit Research4Kids!

Become a SickKids research volunteer

The Heart Centre welcomes research student volunteers to assist our clinicians and scientists in their studies. Research positions are available through self-referral. Contact the Principal Investigator in the program you're interested in for potential opportunities.

Research funding opportunities

The Heart Centre Innovation Fund (IF) was established in 2007 as part of the $10M Labatt Family Endowment. Deadlines are in April and October each year. The fund supports projects that require start-up funds for basic research, clinical research, or quality improvement projects that impact cardiac patients.

  • Dr. Olivier Villemain (Review Committee Chair, MD -Cardiology)
  • Azadeh Assadi (NP-CCCU) 
  • Dr. Christoph Haller (MD-Cardiovascular Surgery)
  • Jacqueline Viegas (RN-CDIU)
  • Dr. Mjaye Mazwi (MD – CCCU) 
  • Cindy Desbiens (Heart Centre Patient/Family Representative)
  • Dr. Rachel Wald (MD – Toronto General Hospital, Adult Congenital Heart Defects) 
  • Dr. Lucy Roche (MD – Toronto General Hospital, Adult Congenital Heart Defects) 

The Innovation Fund is open on a competitive basis to researchers and clinicians within the interdisciplinary Labatt Family Heart Centre.

External applicants are eligible to apply, however, the applicant must have a collaborator who is affiliated with the Heart Centre. The project should also have direct impact to cardiology patients. 

For applicants who submit multiple applications in any specific competition, only one project may be funded. 

Mid-Career and Senior Career PIs may only hold one Innovation Fund award at any time (for projects on which they are the main applicant, or for projects on which they are the supervising PI). New Investigator PI’s and Non-MD applicants may apply for and hold Innovation fund awards received in consecutive competitions.

Innovation Fund Deadlines

Fall Competition: Applications are due on October 31st 
Spring Competition: Applications are due on April 30th 

Please download and complete the online application, and send it to Christine Kerr 

Download funding application (PDF)

Up to $25,000 is available for each Innovation Fund Award. Calls for applications up to $50,000 may go out as a separate Innovation Fund Competition. Project durations should not be longer than 2 years.

Funds will be awarded only if the applicant’s proposal aligns with the future directions of the Heart Centre. Projects will be reviewed based on the following criteria.


  • Proposed work represents new, unique, high risk concepts and creative thinking.

Potential for future development / dissemination 

  • Proposed research represents work that will lead to future expansion.   
  • For research, is this an important proof of concept or pilot work that will lead to new research directions or larger funding applications or development of new research teams?   
  • For clinical, is this a program that might be applied in other settings and other centres and achieve wider dissemination? 
  • For education, is this a program that can be disseminated or expanded?

Measures of impact 

  • How will the work impact its intended target or field of inquiry?   
  • Measures must be clearly delineated and specific to the proposed work.

Quality of the proposal 

  • Is the proposal well-organized and written? 
  • Are the purposes or aims of the work clearly specified? 
  • Is the work to be performed clearly described?  
  • Is there a rigorous and relevant evaluation of outcomes?  
  • Is the work scientifically sound?


Can the work proposed be successfully performed given the expertise and resources available and requested? 


Do the applicants have sufficient expertise, experience and motivation to perform and report the work? 


  • Is the budget sufficient to perform the work proposed successfully? 
  • Is the budget reasonable and well justified?  

Grants, funding and awards

Heart Centre investigators were awarded funding for 45 new projects in 2019-2020, totaling $5.36M.

In 2019-2020, the Labatt Family Heart Centre Investment was $381K, equaling a 13-fold Return on Investment (ROI).

Funding sources for the Labatt Family Heart Centre.
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