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Janet Rossant

Title: Chief of Research Emeritus, Senior Scientist, The Hospital for Sick Children
Designations: CC, PhD, FRS, FRSC
Alternate Contact Name: Jody Hayer
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 304994
Alternate Email:
U of T Positions: Professor in the Departments of Molecular Genetics, Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Paediatrics
Chair Positions: President and Scientific Director, Gairdner Foundation


Dr. Janet Rossant is a world-renowned developmental biologist. She is the Chief of Research Emeritus and Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children. She also holds the position of President and Director of the Gairdner Foundation.  Additionally, Dr. Rossant is a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics and Department of Obstetrics/Gynaecology and Paediatrics at the University of Toronto (U of T). 

Her research focuses on understanding the role of genes in embryo development. Her interests in the early embryo have led to the discovery of a novel placental stem cell type, the trophoblast stem cell. 

Dr. Rossant has received several prestigious awards, including the Canada Gairdner Wightman Award and the CIHR Michael Smith Prize in Health Research, Canada’s most prestigious health research award. 


Dr. Rossant is interested in how the egg develops into an embryo and then a human being. She has discovered some of the key genes that drive the first cell differences in the early embryo and has derived stem cell lines from the mouse embryo to be able to study development in the petri dish.   

She is currently interested in deriving stem cell lines from the mouse embryo that could potentially make every cell type, including the placenta. With such cells, she will be able to model early development and understand better the reasons for early pregnancy loss in humans. 

Education and experience

  • 1972: BA, Zoology, Oxford, U.K. 
  • 1976: PhD, Mammalian Development, Cambridge, U.K. 
  • 19771985: Faculty member, Dept of Biological Sciences, Brock U, Canada 
  • 19852005: Senior Scientist, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Toronto 
  • 1988Present: Professor, Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto 
  • 2001Present: University Professor, University of Toronto, Toronto,  
  • 20052015: Chief of Research and Senior Scientist, Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto 
  • 2016Present: President and Scientific Director, Gairdner Foundation 
  • 2005: LLD (honoris causa), Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS 
  • 2013: LLD (honoris causa), Mount Allison University, Sackville, NB 
  • 2014: D.Sc. (honoris causa), University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC 
  • 2014: LLD (honoris causa), University of Windsor, Windsor, ON 
  • 2017: D.Sc. (honoris causa) Cambridge University, U.K. 
  • 2018: LLD (honoris causa) University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB 


  • 2018: L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award  
  • 2016: Henry G. Friesen International Prize in Health Research  
  • 2015: Companion of the Order of Canada 
  • 2015: Canada Gairdner Wightman Award  
  • 2014: 10th ISTT Prize, International Society for Transgenic Technologies  
  • 2014: Arthur Wynn Gold Medal, Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences  
  • 2013: Ross Harrison Prize, International Society for Developmental Biology  
  • 2010: Premier’s Summit Award, Ontario  
  • 2009: American Society for Cell Biology Senior Women in Science Award  
  • 2009: Katharine Berkan Judd Award, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center 
  • 2007: Conklin Medal, Society for Developmental Biology  
  • 2007: March of Dimes Prize in Developmental Biology 
  • 2005: Michael Smith Prize, Canadian Institutes of Health Research  
  • 2004: Killam Prize (Health Sciences), Canada Council for Arts  
  • 2004: FASEB Award of Excellence


  1. Esrrb function is required for proper primordial germ cell development in presomite stage mouse embryos. Okamura E et al., Developmental Biology. 2019 Nov 15;455(2):382-392. 
  2. Genetic control of early cell lineages in the mammalian embryo. Rossant J. Annual Review of Genetics. 2018 Nov 23;52:185-201. 
  3. Gene editing in human development: ethical concerns and practical applications. Rossant J. Development. 2018 Jul 25;145(16). 
  4. Efficient generation of targeted large insertions by microinjection into two-cell-stage mouse embryos. Gu B, et al., Nature Biotechnology. 2018 Aug;36(7):632-637. 

See all of Janet Rossant's publications on the National Library of Medicine website.

CIHR Foundation Grant, 20162022 

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