SickKids Research Institute
Driving clinical impact with every
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.
Latest research news
January 14, 2021
Measures to preserve hospital capacity and reduce spread during the COVID-19 pandemic have resulted in broad social and clinical impacts on paediatric patients and families.
January 8, 2021
A team of researchers have now established criteria to assess whether a mouse stem cell line shows true totipotency, a long-sought goal of stem cell biologists around the world.
December 21, 2020
Dr. Lisa Robinson has been awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in vascular inflammation and kidney injury through the University of Toronto and was also appointed Vice-Dean, Strategy & Operations, at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine, U of T.
By the numbers
1,559 research trainees
362 project & team investigators
1,117 research support staff
$272M research spend
#1 research intensity among Canadian hospitals
#2 among Canada's top research hospitals in total research spending
For a more detailed breakdown of Research Institute funding sources, please refer to the most recent SickKids Annual Report.
Explore the Institute
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.
Our researchers are on the front lines of health innovation.
SickKids is recognized as a top 40 research hospital in Canada, sparking groundbreaking scientific discoveries that have since gone on to change child health outcomes, education, and policy. The Industry Partnerships & Commercialization office at SickKids partners with industry and investors to translate SickKids research into products that have health and social economic benefits.
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.
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.
Developmental & Stem Cell Biology
Using development genetics, genomics, and stem cell biology, these research teams are developing new therapeutic approaches for children and youth.
More from the Research Institute
Canada Research Chairs showcase the calibre and diversity of scientists and clinicians working at the SickKids Research Institute.
SickKids is home to 48 scientific and academic chairs. See who holds current chairs in Canada.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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, trnaslational 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.