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SickKids

Lisa Strug

Title: Senior Scientist, Genetics and Genome Biology
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 301762
Email: Lisa.strug@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact Name: Natalie Sun
Alternate Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 309032
Alternate Email: Natalie.sun@sickkids.ca
REACH Profile: Lisa Strug's REACH profile
Chair Positions: Canada Research Chair – Tier I in Genome Data Sciences

Research Positions

Associate Director
The Centre for Applied
Genomics

U of T Positions

Professor (status), Department of Statistical Sciences

Director, Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute
Ontario Region (CANSSI Ontario@U of T), Extra Departmental Unit C

Biography

Dr. Strug is a Senior Scientist in the Genetics and Genome Biology program at SickKids Research Institute. She is also Associate Director of The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG), which is a CFI-MSI-funded genome centre contributing to Canada’s national genome sequencing infrastructure for research. At U of T, Strug is an Associate Professor of Statistical Sciences and Biostatistics.  She is also the Lead of the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis (CF) Gene Modifier Study and Co-Lead of the International CF Gene Modifier Consortium.   
 
Dr. Strug is a statistical geneticist and her team pioneered statistical tools for modifier gene discovery.  With these tools her team has identified some of the first established CF modifier loci, demonstrated that modifiers can predict who will respond to CFTR therapies for precision medicine, and is now in partnership with industry to champion the search for modifier-directed therapies for CF and other lung diseases.  Dr. Strug has received several honors including an Early Research Career Award from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation; the 2016 CF Canada Senior Scientist Research Training award, and a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Genome Data Sciences. 

Research

Dr. Strug develops statistical methodology to identify genetic causes of disease, often motivated by challenges encountered in her role leading the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Gene Modifier consortium (GMC).  
 
Using novel methodology tailored to the study of modifier genes in Mendelian disease, her team has made great progress in identifying the genetic contributors to CF disease severity. Her research program in statistical genetics brings novel methodology to the genetics community through open-source software. Currently, Dr. Strug is a co-lead of CGEn, a federally funded national platform for genome sequencing and analysis, that has recently received $20M to rapidly sequence the genomes of 10,000 Canadians with COVID-19 and build a national databank for research. 

Education and experience

  • 2001–2003: PhD in Biostatistics, Public Health Sciences, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada. Supervisors: Dr. Charles Rohde (Johns Hopkins University) and Dr. Paul N. Corey (University of Toronto)
  • 1998–2001: ScM in Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD, USA. Supervisor: Dr. Charles Rohde
  • 1996–1998: BS in Statistics, Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 1993–1996: BA in Psychology, University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada

Postgraduate Research Training

  • 2003–2005: Postdoctoral Fellowship in Statistical Genetics as part of the Genetics of Complex Diseases Training Program, Departments of Biostatistics and Psychiatry, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA. Supervisor: Dr. Susan E. Hodge

Current Appointments

  • 2019: Associate Professor, Statistical Sciences (Status), Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Toronto
  • 2019: Director, Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI), Ontario Region
  • 2019: Director, Canadian Statistical Sciences Institute (CANSSI Ontario@UofT), Extra Departmental Unit – C, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, University of Toronto
  • 2016: Associate Director, The Centre for Applied Genomics, The Hospital For Sick Children, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2015: Associate Professor of Biostatistics (Status), Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2014: Senior Scientist, Program in Genetics and Genome Biology, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada

Past Appointments

  • 2008–2015 Assistant Professor of Biostatistics (Status), Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2007–2014 Scientist, Program in Child Health Evaluative Sciences, The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2008–2012 Associate Member, School of Graduate Studies, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • 2005–2007 Assistant Professor of Clinical Biostatistics, Division of Statistical Genetics, Department of Biostatistics, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Achievements

  • 2019: Top Downloaded Article 2017-2018, Wiley. Article: Strug, 2018. “The evidential statistical paradigm in genetics” has been recognized as a top 20 most read papers published in Genetic Epidemiology.
  • 2018–2025: Canada Research Chair, Tier I in Genome Data Sciences
  • 2017: Associate Editor with npj Genomic Medicine
  • 2016: Senior Scientist Research Training Award, Cystic Fibrosis Canada
  • 2009: Robbie Award for most promising research grant, Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, Canada
  • 2009: Early Research Career Award, Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, Ontario Provincial Government, Canada

Publications

  1. Derkach A, Chiang T, Gong J, Addis L, Dobbins S, Tomlinson I, Houlston R, Pal DK, Strug LJ.  2014.  Association analysis using next generation sequence data from publicly available control groups: The robust variance score statistics. Bioinformatics, 30: 2179-88.
  2. Sun L, Rommens JM, Corvol H, Li W, Li X, Chiang TA, Lin F, Dorfman R, Busson PF, Parekh RV, Zelenika D, Blackman SM, Corey M, Doshi VK, Henderson L, Naughton KM, O'Neal WK, Pace RG, Stonebraker JR, Wood SD, Wright FA, Zielenski J, Clement A, Drumm ML, Boëlle PY, Cutting GR, Knowles MR, Durie PR, Strug LJ.  2012. Multiple apical plasma membrane constituents are associated with susceptibility to meconium ileus in individuals with cystic fibrosis.  Nat Genet. 44(5):562-9.  
  3. Soave D, Corvol H, Panjwani N, Gong J, Li W, Boelle, PY, Durie P, Paterson AD, Rommens JM, Strug LJ, Sun L. 2015.  A joint location-scale test improves power to detect associated SNPs, gene-sets and pathways. Am J Hum Genet. 2;97(1):125-38. 
  4. Gong J, Wang F, Xiao B, Panjwani N, Lin F, Keenan K, Avolio J, Esmaeili M, Zhang L, He G, Soave D, Mastromatteo S, Baskurt Z, Kim S, O’Neal WK, Polineni D, Blackman SM, Corvol H, Cutting GR, Drumm M, Knowles MR, Rommens JM, Sun L, Strug, LJ.  Genetic association and transcriptome integration identifies contributing genes and tissues at cystic fibrosis modifier loci.  PLOS Genetics 15(2): e1008007. February 26, 2019.
  5. Corvol, H, Blackman, SM, Boelle, PY, Gallins, PJ. Pace, RG, Stonebraker, JR, Accurso, FJ, Clement, A, Collaco, JM, Dang, H, Dang, AT, Franca, A, Gong, J, Guillot, L, Keenan, K, Li, W, Lin, F, Patrone, MV, Raraigh, KS, Sun, L, Zhou, Y, O’Neal, WK, Sontag, MK, Levy, H, Durie, PR, Rommens, JM, Drumm, ML, Wright, FA, Strug, LJ*, Cutting, GR*, Knowles, MR*.  Genome-wide association meta-analysis identifies five modifier loci of lung disease severity in cystic fibrosis.  Nature Communications. 6:8382. 2015.  *Co-SRA. 

See a full list of Lisa Strug's publications

Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation
Project: Determining the architecture of genetic disease: statistical methods and applications

Cystic Fibrosis Canada
Project: The Genetic Epidemiology of Cystic Fibrosis

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
Project: Clinical and Genetic Risk Factors for Atypical Femur Fractures

Canadian Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leadership Fund and Ontario Research Fund for Small Infrastructure
Project: De novo Assembled and Phased Whole Genome Sequence for the Canadian Cystic Fibrosis Population

MaRs Innovation & Evotec Lab 150 Industry Partnership Program
Project: Augmenting Lung Function in Cystic Fibrosis and Other Respiratory Disease

Genome Canada
Project: Personalized Therapy for Individuals with Cystic Fibrosis

Genome Canada Genomics Technology Platforms Operations Support and Technology Development Funds
Project: The Centre for Applied Genomics

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) – Discovery Grant
Project: Development of Evidential Methodology for Analysis of Genetic

The University of Toronto McLaughlin Centre Accelerator Grants in Genomic Medicine
Project: A unified polygenic risk score analytics platform for risk prediction, causal inference and discovery

The Waterloo Foundation
Project: REGAIN – Rolandic Epilepsy Genome-wide Association International Study

Relevant pages

Strug Lab

The Strug Lab focuses on the identification of genetic modifiers in Mendelian disease such as Cystic Fibrosis, and on identifying genetic contributors to neurodevelopmental correlates of childhood onset Epilepsy.

CGEn

CGEn is a federally funded national platform for genome sequencing and analysis.

Relevant articles

What it takes to be a successful female scientist: Celebrating International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In honour of the United Nations’ International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we talked to some notable female physicians and scientists at SickKids who work in research.

Canada seeing the largest improvements in sickest patients with cystic fibrosis compared to U.S. and Europe

Canadians living with cystic fibrosis have better lung health than their American and European counterparts and their lung health has been improving over time according to a new study from SickKids.

Go to article

SickKids researchers awarded over $11.5 million in CIHR Foundation Grants competition

SickKids researchers received over $11.5 million in funding in the latest Canadian Institutes of Health Research Foundation Grants competition.

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