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Headshot of Sergio Grinstein

Sergio Grinstein

Title: Senior Scientist, Cell Biology
Designations: PhD
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 304488
Alternate Contact Name: Rashna Irani
Alternate Phone: 416-813-5727
Alternate Email:
U of T Positions: Professor, Department of Biochemistry


Dr. Sergio Grinstein is a senior scientist in the The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute and a professor of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He is internationally recognized for his research in two areas: the control of intracellular pH, and the elucidation of mechanisms underlying the microbicidal response of macrophages and neutrophils. 

Dr. Grinstein completed his PhD in 1976 at the Centro de Investigacion y Estudios Avanzados in Mexico City. He then spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow in Cell Biology at SickKids, followed by a year in the Department of Biochemistry at the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. He has been an International Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and recipient of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Distinguished Scientist Award and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.


Two major areas are under study in the Grinstein laboratory. The first one investigates the molecular mechanisms utilized by white blood cells to eliminate infectious organisms. More specifically, they are studying the processes whereby macrophages and neutrophils migrate to sites of infection, ingest microbes and destroy them, as well as the strategies used by certain microorganisms to outsmart the immune system and avoid killing. 

The second area deals with the role and regulation of ion transport and pH of intracellular compartments. The lab team has devised means of measuring the pH and ionic composition of individual organelles within intact live cells and are currently investigating the identity and properties of the molecules responsible for transport of ions and for intracellular acid/base regulation. 

Education and experience

  • 1978/101979/10: Postdoctorate, Post-Doctoral Training, Biochemistry, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH) Supervisor: Dr. G. Semenza 
  • 1976/101978/9: Postdoctorate, Post-Doctoral Training, Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children. Supervisor: Dr. A. Rothstein 
  • 1972/91976/4: Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy, Physiology, Centro de Investigacion. Supervisor: Dr. David Erlij 
  • 1968/91972/4: Bachelor of Science, Biology, Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biologicas, Mexico City. 


  • 2014: Visiting Professor, Rothschild-Yvette Mayent Institut Curie, Paris, France 
  • 2012present: Scientist in Residence, Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital, Toronto. 
  • 2008: Schwartz-Reismann Visiting Professor, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel. 
  • 2006: Dozor Visiting Professor, Ben Gurion University, Beer Sheva, Israel. 
  • 1989: Visiting Professor, Department of Biochemistry. University of Coimbra, Portugal. 
  • 1988/11–Present: Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry, Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario 
  • 1987/11–Present: Senior Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario 
  • 1987/112006/7: Program Head, Program in Cell Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario 
  • 1985/71988/6: Associate Professor, Dept. of Biochemistry, Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario 
  • 1979/111985/6: Assistant Professor, Dept. of Medical Biophysics, Medicine, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario


  • 19791984: Scholar, Medical Research Council of Canada  
  • 19841989: Scientist, Medical Research Council of Canada  
  • 1987: Ayerst Award of the Canadian Biochemical Society  
  • 19911996: International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute 
  • 19972002: Distinguished Scientist, Medical Research Council of Canada 
  • 19972002: International Research Scholar of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute  
  • 1998: Pitblado Chair in Cell Biology  
  • 2000: Fellow, Royal Society of Canada  
  • 2001: G. Malcolm Brown Award, Canadian Federation of Biological Societies  
  • 2002: McLaughlin Medal, Royal Society of Canada  
  • 2003: van Uden Award, University of Coimbra, Portugal  
  • 2004: Michael Smith Award, Canadian Institutes for Health Research  
  • 20082009: Zellers Senior Scientist Award, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation  
  • 2009: Honorary Professorship, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China  
  • 2010: Hugh Davson Distinguished Lecturer, American Physiological Society  
  • 2017: Senior Investigator Award of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences  
  • 20182021: Chairman, Panamerican Association of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Editorial appointments

  • 19871993: Associate Editor, American Journal of Physiology  
  • 19882001: Editorial Board Member, Journal of General Physiology  
  • 19922011: Editorial Board Member, The Biochemical Journal  
  • 19922018: Advisory Editor, The Journal of Experimental Medicine  
  • 19941999: Editorial Board Member, Journal of Biological Chemistry  
  • 19952005: Editorial Board Member, Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry  
  • 20012011: Advisory Editor, Journal of General Physiology  
  • 2010Present: Associate Editor, Traffic  
  • 2011Present: Associate Editor, Cellular Microbiology 
  • 20122019: Editorial Board Member, Journal of Cell Biology  
  • 2017Present: Editorial Board Member, Physiological Reviews  
  • 2020Present: Editorial Board Member, FEBS Open Bio


  1. Yeung, T., Terebiznik, M., Yu, L., Silvius, J., Abidi, W.M., Philips, M., Levine, T., Kapus, A. and Grinstein, S. (2006) Receptor activation alters inner surface potential during phagocytosis. Science 313(5785):347-51. Science. 2006 Jul 21;313(5785):347-51.
  2. Yeung, T. Gilbert, G., Shi, J., Silvius, J., Kapus, A. and Grinstein, S. (2008) Membrane phosphatidylserine regulates surface charge and protein localization.  Science 319(5860):210-3
  3. Freeman, S.A., Goyette, J., Furuya, W., Woods, E.C., Bertozzi, C.R., Bergmeier, W., Hinz, B., van der Merwe, P.A., Das, R., Grinstein, S. (2016) Integrins form an expanding diffusional barrier that coordinates phagocytosis.  Cell 164 128-140.
  4. Freeman, S.A., Vega, A., Riedl, M., Collins, R.F., Ostrowski, P., Woods, E.C., Bertozzi, C., Tammi, M.I., Lidke,  D.S., Johnson, P., Mayor, S., Jaqaman, K. and Grinstein. S. (2017) Transmembrane pickets connect cyto- and pericellular-skeletons forming barriers to receptor engagement.  Cell 172:305-317.e10.
  5. Freeman,  S.A., Uderhardt, S., Saric, A., Collins, R.F., Mylvaganam, S., Boroumand, P., Plumb, J., Germain, R.N., Ren, D. and Grinstein, S. (2020) Lipid-gated monovalent ion fluxes regulate endocytic traffic and support immune surveillance. Science 367(6475):301-305.

Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation Grant

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