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SickKids

SickKids Research Institute

Driving clinical impact with every
research question

SickKids Research Institute (RI) is where over 2,000 researchers, trainees, and staff are working together to take on the toughest challenges in child health. As Canada’s largest, hospital-based child health research institute, we conduct and translate groundbreaking research to improve child health outcomes, policy, and clinical care, train the next generation of researchers, and support global scientific communities with knowledge and state-of-the-art facilities.  

Innovation and collaboration across our seven distinct research programs have led to a number of incredible discoveries at SickKids, uncovering the mechanisms and outcomes of childhood disease. And with every research question in the lab, we are driving clinical changes.

By challenging existing care models and maximizing research translation, we’re taking more discoveries from the lab bench to the bedside, making a bigger impact on children’s lives around the world, sooner.

By the numbers

276 scientists

1,018 research trainees

394 project & team investigators

1,126 research support staff

$262.6M research spend

2,099 publications

#1 research intensity among Canadian hospitals

#2 among Canada's top research hospitals in total research spending

Explore the Institute

Our Researchers

Meet the researchers working across the spectrum of child health, from basic science at the sub-molecular level, to clinical diagnostics, treatments and prevention.

Our Labs

Browse a list of labs to learn more about the exciting research taking place at SickKids Research Institute.

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Research Training Centre

The Research Training Centre offers trainees hands-on opportunities to contribute to some of the most important research projects in Canada and to work with top scientists.

Staff member sits in front of a microscope while looking at a scientific image on a nearby computer screen

Core Facilities

Learn about our cutting-edge equipment and infrastructure that’s powering new innovation and advancements in care.

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Participate in Clinical Research

As one of Canada's top research hospitals, families that walk through our doors have a chance to participate in clinical research to help address our greatest health challenges.

Clinical Research Services

Clinical Research Services supports quality clinical research by providing research facilities, tools, education and services for SickKids staff and researchers worldwide.

Latest research news

October 8, 2021

Study confirms efficiency of app that quickly assesses risk of cancer predisposition syndromes in children with cancer

A screening tool developed at the Montreal Children’s Hospital and SickKids is able to differentiate between a low or high likelihood of having a cancer predisposition syndrome in children and youth with cancer.

Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning exterior

September 17, 2021

SickKids among top three paediatric health-care centres worldwide in Nature Index rankings

SickKids also named top Canadian health-care institution in high-quality research.

September 8, 2021

SickKids’ Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta awarded 2021 Roux Prize for public health achievement

Dr. Zulfiqar Bhutta was named the recipient of the 2021 Roux Prize, recognized for his research and public policy contributions to global maternal and child health and nutrition.

Research programs

Discover what our researchers are working on across SickKids' seven research programs that cover the spectrum of child health.

Cell Biology

Cutting-edge methods in cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, and microscopy allow us to understand how cells function, and how these functions go awry in disease states.

Visit Cell Biology

Child Health Evaluative Sciences

By conducting and translating research into clinical practice, system, and policy, this research aims to improve the health and well-being of children and their familes.

Visit Child Health Evaluative Sciences

Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

Using development genetics, genomics, and stem cell biology, these research teams are developing new therapeutic approaches for children and youth.

Visit Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

Genetics & Genome Biology

Next-generation genomic sequencing tools are revolutionizing our understanding of disease and approaches to science.

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Molecular Medicine

Researchers are developing new molecular approaches for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of human diseases.

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Neurosciences & Mental Health

This research focuses on advancing understanding of the brain to develop novel approaches to therapy and prevention strategies.

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Translational Medicine

Multidisciplinary teams across SickKids are blending their expertise to facilitate new clinical and biological ideas.

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More from the Research Institute

Canada Research Chairs showcase the calibre and diversity of scientists and clinicians working at the SickKids Research Institute.

View Canada Research Chairs

SickKids is home to 48 scientific and academic chairs. See who holds current chairs in Canada.

View Chairs

Led by internationally-recognized leaders in research, the SickKids Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) guides the strategic direction for the RI, establishes and monitors KPIs, and leads external reviews of the seven SickKids research programs.

Board Members

Dr. Nancy Cox

  • Director, Vanderbilt Genetics Institute, Director, Division of Genetic Medicine, Mary Phillips Edmonds Gray Professor of Genetics

Nancy Cox, PhD, is Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Genetic Medicine in the Department of Medicine. Dr. Cox completed her PhD at Yale University in 1982 and conducted postdoctoral research at Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 1987, where she spent her academic faculty career until she was recruited to Vanderbilt in January 2015 to lead the new Vanderbilt Genetics Institute (VGI).

As Founding Director of the VGI, Dr. Cox is focused on recruiting world-class genetics and genomics scientists to the Research Institute, with the primary goal of making Vanderbilt’s DNA databank, BioVU, into an engine for discovery and translation in human genetics and genomics. Dr. Cox initiated the first large-scale genetic/genomic consortium in type 2 diabetes, and she has active research and advisory roles in many of the top genomic consortia that provide the foundation for current studies in human genetics and genomics.

Dr. Jacques Michaud

  • Chief of Research, CHU Sainte-Justine, Full Time Professor, Department of Pediatrics & Department of Neurosciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal

Dr. Jacques Michaud is an internationally-recognized researcher in the field of rare disease genetics. After completing residencies in paediatrics and medical genetics at the Université de Montréal and the University of Toronto, he pursued postdoctoral studies in developmental genetics at the Collège de France and CNRS (Paris) and at Johns Hopkins University. (Baltimore). He began his career as an independent researcher at CHU Sainte-Justine and the Université de Montréal in 1999.

Dr. Michaud has had the opportunity to demonstrate his leadership in research on an ongoing basis over the past 18 years at CHU Sainte-Justine. His lab uses genomic approaches to identify genes for intellectual disability, epilepsy and autism. His group, among other things, discovered more than 20 genes associated with these disorders and showed that spontaneous mutations - which are not inherited from parents - represent a major cause of intellectual disability. Dr. Michaud is also studying the function of these genes in order to develop therapeutic strategies.

Dr. Bonnie Ramsey

  • Director, Center for Clinical and Translational Research, Associate Director, Pediatric Clinical Research Center

Bonnie W. Ramsey, MD, is director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Research at Seattle Childrens Research Institute. She is the co-PI of the UW Institute for Translational Health Sciences which provides extensive clinical research infrastructure at Seattle Childrens Hospital. She is also the PI for a P30 for Cystic Fibrosis Research from the NIDDK. She is Professor and Vice Chair for research in the Department of Paediatrics and holds the Endowed Chair in Cystic Fibrosis (CF) at the University of Washington School of Medicine.

Dr. David Rowitch

  • Professor and Head of Paediatrics at University of Cambridge

Dr. David Rowitch is Professor and Head of Paediatrics at University of Cambridge, and he holds a joint appointment at UCSF (Pediatrics and Neurological Surgery). He trained at UCLA Medical School, University of Cambridge and Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. 

Professor Rowitch is a neonatologist and neuroscientist whose laboratory investigates genetic factors that determine development and diversity of glial cells of the brain and the response to injury. He has applied these principles to better understand white matter injury in premature infants, brain cancer and leukodystrophy. Rowitch led the first human clinical trial of direct neural stem cell transplantation focused on the rare and fatal leukodystrophy, Pelizaeus-Merzbacher Disease. 

His work in the field of neurobiology has earned him numerous awards. He became a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator in 2008 and Professor of Paediatrics at Cambridge University and Wellcome Trust Senior Investigator in 2016. His interest in precision medicine focuses on applications of genomic technologies to diagnose and better understand the biological basis and rational treatment of rare neurological disorders.

Professor Rosalind Smyth

  • Director and Professor of Child Health, UCL Great Ormond St Institute of Child Health 

Rosalind Smyth is Director of the UCL Great Ormond Street Institute of Child Health, Honorary Consultant Respiratory Paediatrician at Great Ormond Street Hospital and Non-Executive Director of Great Ormond Street Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

Her current research interest  include clinical studies of viral/host interactions in RSV bronchiolitis, clinical trials and systematic reviews of treatments for childhood respiratory disease. Smyth previously served as Professor of Paediatric Medicine at The University of Liverpool UK and held the position of Director of the UK Medicines for Children Research Network, which supports a variety of paediatric research with children across all of England.

Dr. Ruth Lehmann

  • Chair, Department of Cell Biology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine; Director, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine; Adjunct Professor, Department of Cell Biology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine

Dr. Ruth Lehmann is Chair and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Cell Biology, NYU Grossman School of Medicine. She's also the Director of the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine.

Dr. Lehmann has over 90 scientific publications on germ cell development, stem cell biology, RNA biology, translational regulation, cell migration, and much more in the broad area of cell biology.

Currently, her research focus is on primordial germ cells (PGCs), broken down into three areas: PGC specification, PGC migration, and germ cell genome protection.

Research Awards & Financial Services (RAFS) supports researchers through the grant lifecycle, from grant applications and contract management, to monitoring and financial reporting.

Learn About RAFS

Contact the Research Institute

For all inquiries about SickKids Research Institute, please contact Jelena Djurkic, Manager, Communications (Research Institute & Strategic Initiatives), Communications & Public Affairs

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