Archived — Canadian asset map for stem cell and regenerative medicine

Key researchers and institutions


8.1 Key Researchers

There are several ways to measure the importance of a researcher, including:

Each of the six criteria metrics provides different outcomes, as described below, but the 21 researchers listed in Table 8 all score high on key contributions and/or levels of research funding ($5 million or greater used as excellence level). Three researchers score high on all criteria, while at least eight other researchers score high on a minimum of four of the six criteria (from the information that was available for this project; publication, citation, and contributions data are missing for a number of researchers):

In terms of amount of funding received within the constraints of the methodology used in this Asset Map (see Appendix 1), 51 of the 416 researchers received funding of more than $1 million over a five year period (2006/7 to 2010/11). The 13 who received funding of over $5 million are all listed in Table 8, as are two researchers who have recently received over $5 million of funding for use over the next five years from either the Ontario Government (Greenblatt) or Networks of Centres of Excellence (NCE) (Zandstra). Thirteen of the 21 key researchers are directors of or hold similar positions within their research institutions and 11 of these received funding of over $5 million.

Table 8. Researchers Who Have Made or Are Making Significant Contributions to Stem Cell Research
Researcher Research Institution and Position University Affiliation Endowed Chair Funding Between 2006/07 & 2010/11Footnote a (Million) #pubs. 2005–2010Footnote b Citation Index (H-index)Footnote b Key Contributions (from Info. Supplied By Industry Canada Only, Unless Otherwise Indicated)

a Funding (principally federal) collected according to Methodology described in Appendix 1–includes individual investigator funds from Stem Cell Network. (Return to table.)

b Only publication and citation data supplied within an internal document provided by Industry Canada's Life Science Industries Branch were used here-see above text for reference. (Return to table.)

c Also has a 2011–2014 grant from the Ontario Government of $9.2M for the Ontario Consortium for Regeneration Inducing Therapeutics (OCRiT). (Return to table.)

d Also has a 2011–2014 grant from the Ontario Government of $7.25M for a project titled: Molecular pathways of reprogramming—from discovery to novel therapeutics. (Return to table.)

Bhatia, MickFootnote c Director and Senior Scientist, Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute McMaster University, ON CRC in Human Stem Cell Biology; Krembil Chair in Stem Cell Biology $5M+ 22 13 Developed a process to transform skin cells into stem cells.Footnote 29
Dick, John Director, Program in Cancer Stem Cells—Genesis, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research University of Toronto, ON CRC in Stem Cell Biology $5M+ 18 13 Isolated the first cancer stem cell, in acute myeloid leukemia (1994), and subsequent ones in other tumors.
Dirks, Peter Scientist & Principal Investigator, Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) University of Toronto < $1M N/A N/A Isolated and characterized cancer stem cells from human brain tumours of different phenotypes that express neural stem cell markers and have stem cell-like behaviour in vitro and in vivo.
Eaves, Connie Director, Co-founder, and Senior Scientist, Terry Fox Laboratory; VP Research BC Cancer Agency UBC, BC $1M–$2.5M 30 14 Pioneering research in basic blood stem cell biology. Discovered breast stem cells. Developed stem cell assays.
Greenblatt, Jack Principal Investigator, The Donnelly Centre, Banting and Best Department of Medical Research University of Toronto, ON $1M–$2.5M N/A N/A A $5.27M grant for 2011–2014 from the Ontario Government for Protein Complexes in the Epigenetics of Human Disease and Stem Cell Fate research.
Humphries, Keith Director & Distinguished Scientist, Terry Fox Laboratory, BC Cancer Agency UBC, BC $5M+ 15 8 N/A
Keating, Armand Director, Cell Therapy Program and the Orsino Cell Therapy Translational Research Lab., Princess Margaret Hospital University of Toronto, ON Epstein Chair in Cell Therapy & Transplantation $5M+ 33 12 N/A
Keller, Gordon Director, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine and Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute University of Toronto, ON CRC in Embryonic Stem Cell Biology $5M+ N/A N/A Demonstrated that human heart progenitor cells could be grown from embryonic stem cells (2008).Footnote 30
Korbutt, Gregory Director, Human Islet Quality Control Laboratory, Alberta Diabetes Institute University of Alberta, AB $5M+ N/A N/A N/A
Miller, Freda Senior Scientist, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology program, Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) University of Toronto, ON CRC in Developmental Neurobiology $4M–$5M 16 11 Demonstrated the existence of stem cells in adult skin tissue, and that they could be used to grow nerve cells that could potentially help people with spinal cord injuries or Parkinson's disease.
Nagy, AndrasFootnote d Senior Investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital and Investigator, McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine University of Toronto, ON CRC in Stem Cells and Regeneration $5M+ 18 8 Reconstituted a mouse from a single embryonic stem cell, thus proving the cells' inherent and defining characteristic of pluripotency.Footnote 31 Established Canada's first—and to date only—human embryonic stem cell lines (2005). Developed method to create induced pluropotent stem cells (iPS) cells without the use of retroviruses (2009).
Paige, Christopher VP Research, Ontario Cancer Institute University of Toronto, ON $5M+ N/A N/A N/A
Rossant, Janet Chief of Research, Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) University of Toronto, ON Lombard Insurance Chair $5M+ 25 11 Reconstituted a mouse from a single embryonic stem cell, thus proving the cells' inherent and defining characteristic of pluripotency.Footnote 32
Rudnicki, Michael Director and Senior Scientist, Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research (also Scientific Director, Stem Cell Network) University of Ottawa CRC in Molecular Genetics $5M+ N/A N/A Discovered adult muscle stem cells.
Sauvageau, Guy Chief Executive Officer and founding Scientific Director, Institute for Research in Immunology and Cancer University of Montréal, QC CRC in the Molecular Genetics of Stem Cells $5M+ N/A N/A Developed the use of recombinant proteins allowing for the expansion of the hematopoietic stem cells.
Sefton, Michael Principal Investigator, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research University of Toronto, ON Michael E. Charles Chair in Chemical Engineering $5M+ N/A N/A N/A
Till, Jim Senior Scientist, Ontario Cancer Institute University of Toronto, ON Semi-retired N/A N/A Demonstrated the existence of stem cells (1961).
van der Kooy, Derek Professor, Department of Medical Genetics and Microbiology University of Toronto, ON $2.5M–$4M 16 10 Identified retinal stem cells in mice (1994). Identified retinal stem cells in the human eye (2000).
Weisel, Richard Director, Toronto General Research Institute University of Toronto, ON $5M+ N/A N/A N/A
Weiss, Samuel Director, Hotchkiss Brain Institute University of Calgary, AB $1M–$2.5M N/A N/A Identified stem cells in the adult human brain (1992)—discovered a mammalian central nervous system (CNS) stem cell.
Zandstra, Peter McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, University Health Network and Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, Donnelly Centre University of Toronto, ON CRC in Stem Cell Bioengineering < $1M N/A N/A $15M from 2011 for an NCE CECR: Centre for Commercialization of Regenerative Medicine.

As mentioned above, another way of measuring a researcher's importance is whether or not (s)he holds an endowed Chair. Eighty one of the 416 researchers are Chairholders, 69 of whom are Canada Research Chairs (CRCs). The latter are high level research professorships created by the Canadian Government to attract and retain some of the world's most accomplished and promising minds. Eleven Chairholders who have made significant achievements in stem cell/regenerative medicine research and/or received high levels of funding (over $5 million) are shown in Table 8 while the rest are listed in Appendix 3a. Furthermore, using data from Scopus (www.scopus.com ), Industry Canada's Life Science Industries Branch and Science- Metrix on publications and citations,Footnote 28 at least nine of the 21 researchers had a significant number of publications and citations. The majority of the other researchers probably also had numerous well-cited publications but the data for these could not be collected for this report.

8.2 Key Research Institutions

As with researchers, there are several ways of measuring institutional importance, including:

These criteria metrics give slightly different results in terms of key institutions.

As indicated in section 3.3 and Table 1, 25 of Canada's universities are associated with stem cell and regenerative medicine research. Associated with the fact that Ontario received 65 percent of funding (Figure 2 above), the University of Toronto received the lion's share of funds between 2006/7 and 2010/11, at $117 million (see Figure 3 above). This was followed by the University of Ottawa and Université de Montréal. In terms of researchers, the order of importance of the universities changes somewhat. The University of Toronto remains the most important, followed by the University of British Columbia, the University of Ottawa, McGill University, and Université de Montréal (see Figure 5 above, Table 9 and Appendix 4). The University of Toronto has the most endowed Chairs although there is a higher percentage of Chairs as a ratio of researchers at many of the other universities with more than 10 relevant investigators. On this measure, Université de Montréal comes first (Table 9).

Table 9. Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Researchers and Endowed Chairs by University
Province University # Relevant Researchers # Relevant Endowed Chairs (Percentage of researchers) # Pubs/Sci. Impact * Rank by Researcher #
Alberta University of Alberta 16 4 (25%) 116/1.7 10
University of Calgary 21 1 (5%) 60/1.6 7
British Columbia SFU 1 0 N/A 21 joint
UBC 50 7 (14%) 121/1.3 2
University of Victoria 2 1 (50%) N/A 19
Manitoba University of Manitoba 11 2 (18%) N/A 11
New Brunswick New Brunswick Heart Centre 1 0 N/A 21 joint
Newfoundland & Labrador Memorial University 1 0 N/A 21 joint
Nova Scotia Dalhousie University 11 1 (9%) N/A 12
Ontario Carleton University 1 0 N/A 21 joint
McMaster University 19 5 (26%) 75/1.1 8
Queen's University 9 1 (11%) N/A 13
University of Guelph 1 0 N/A 21 joint
University of Ottawa 34 9 (26%) N/A 3
University of Toronto 110 24 (22%) 173/1.5 1
University of Waterloo 3 0 N/A 18
University of Western Ontario 17 1 (6%) N/A 9
York University 1 1 (100%) N/A 20
Quebec École polytechnique de Montréal 7 3 (43%) N/A 14
McGill University 33 8 (24%) 89/1.1 4
University of Laval 23 1 (4%) N/A 6
University of Montréal 32 10 (31%) N/A 5
University of Quebec à Montreal 3 1 (33%) N/A 17
University of Sherbrooke 4 1 (25%) N/A 16
Saskatchewan University of Saskatchewan 5 0 N/A 15

Within or affiliated with the universities are key research organizations, listed in Appendix 4. The seven largest of these in terms of numbers of stem cell and regenerative medicine researchers are described in Table 10. Four are affiliated with the University of Toronto (in order of researcher numbers: Ontario Cancer Institute, Sick Kids, McEwen Centre, Sunnybrook) and one of each is affiliated with the University of British Columbia (Terry Fox Laboratory), Université Laval (LOEX), and the University of Ottawa (Sprott Centre). All have endowed Chairs, with the most residing at McEwen (n=6), Sprott (n=5), and Sick Kids (n=4). Table 11 lists 10 other research institutes that each house five or more investigators: three affiliated with the University of British Columbia, two with the University of Toronto, and one each with the University of Calgary, McMaster University, the University of Ottawa, McGill University and Université de Montréal. In addition, although housing fewer than five researchers (by this report's analysis), the Institute of Cell Biology at the University of Manitoba is also considered to be a key institution by interviewees.

Table 10. Institutions Housing More Than Ten Researchers in Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine Research
Research Institution University Affiliation Head # Res./Chairs * Description URL
* First number is the number of researchers/second number is number of endowed Chairs. (Return to table.)
Ontario Cancer Institute (OCI), UHN UHN also includes Toronto General Research Institute and Toronto Western Research Institute] University of Toronto, ON Director OCI: Neel, Benjamin 19/1 Researchers employ state-of-the-art tools in genomics, proteomics, structural biology, molecular biology, biophysics and the behavioural sciences. With these tools they analyze cancerous cells at the molecular level; test gene and cellular therapies for cancer and other diseases; develop new technologies for diagnosing and treating cancer; determine the effects of diet and behaviour on cancer risks; and develop and test informatics tools for the large-scale analysis of patient populations. www.uhnresearch.ca/institutes/oci
Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids) University of Toronto, ON Chief of Research: Rossant, Janet 16/4 One of the world's foremost paediatric health-care institutions and Canada's leading centre dedicated to advancing children's health through the integration of patient care, research and education. SickKids is one of Canada's most research-intensive hospitals and has generated discoveries that have helped children globally. www.sickkids.ca
Sprott Centre for Stem Cell Research, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute (OHRI) University of Ottawa, ON Director Sprott: Rudnicki, Michael; CEO & Sci. Director OHRI: Stewart, Duncan 14/5 One of the leading regenerative medicine centres in Canada. Houses the OHRI's Regenerative Medicine Program (which encompasses basic sciences such as stem cell biology, molecular genetics and molecular biology, and applied sciences such as transplantation and tissue engineering); headquarters for Canada's Stem Cell Network. Provides an important hub for stem cell research community in Ottawa. www.ohri.ca/centres/StemCellResearch/default.asp
McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network (UHN) University of Toronto, ON Director McEwan: Keller, Gordon 12/6 Aims to be a world-renowned centre for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. Working to accelerate the development of more effective treatments for conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and spinal cord injury. Distributes their stem cells globally. www.mcewencentre.com
Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI), Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre (SHSC) University of Toronto, ON VP Research SRI: Julius, Michael 12/1 Main aims are to understand and prevent disease, and develop treatments that enhance and extend life. Main areas of expertise are in clinical epidemiology and health sciences; clinical integrative biology; imaging; and molecular and cellular biology. sunnybrook.ca/research
Terry Fox Research Labs. UBC thru BCCA, BC Director: Humphries, Keith 10/1 Aims to fuel major improvements in cancer outcomes through basic and translational research with a current focus on cancer stem cells. Faculty comprise experts with diverse backgrounds in biology and medicine and internationally recognized leadership in normal and leukemic stem cell investigations, innate and acquired immunity, embryo and tissue development, telomere biology and aging, signalling, genomics, live cell banking, cell separation, imaging and molecular analysis, and bioinformatics and data management. Strategies range from the investigation of model organisms to experiments with patient's cells and the initiation and laboratory support of clinical trials. www.terryfoxlab.ca
LOEX (Experimental Organogenesis Laboratory–Laboratoire d'organogénèse expérimentale) University of Laval, QC Director: Auger, François A Sci. Director: Germain, Lucie 10/1 An international leader in tissue engineering. Its strength lies principally in epidermal culture and its self-assembly approach to tissue engineering. Activities cover four major areas: Stem cells, differentiation and cellular interactions; Cutaneous, cardiovascular, orthopedic, ophthalmologic, pulmonary and urinary tissue reconstruction; Biological applications of reconstructed tissues (physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, toxicology, transplantation) and pre-clinical trials; Clinical applications of cellular and tissue-based therapies. www.cha.quebec.qc.ca/en/research/index.html www.loex.qc.ca
Table 11. Research Institutes Housing between Five and Ten Researchers
Research Institute University Affiliation # Res./ Chairs * URL
* First number is the number of researchers/second number is number of Endowed Chairs. (Return to table.)
Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital University of Toronto, ON 8/3 www.lunenfeld.ca
The Donnelly Centre University of Toronto, ON 8/2 thedonnellycentre.utoronto.ca
Stem Cell and Cancer Research Institute McMaster University, ON 7/4 sccri.mcmaster.ca
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal University of Montreal, QC 7/3 ircm.qc.ca
Hotchkiss Brain Institute University of Calgary, AB 7/1 www.hbi.ucalgary.ca
Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute UBC, BC 7/0 www.vchri.ca
BC Cancer Agency (excluding Terry Fox Laboratory) UBC, BC 6/1 www.bccrc.ca
Biomedical Research Centre UBC, BC 6/1 www.brc.ubc.ca
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute University of Ottawa, ON 5/1 www.ohri.ca
The Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre McGill University, QC 5/0 muhc.ca

In terms of publications and citations, data from Industry CanadaFootnote 33 showed that between 1996 and 2009, Canada published over 1,050 regenerative medicine research papers. Overall, Canadian papers in regenerative medicine were cited 30 percent more often than the world average as indicated in Table 10 for our key universities: the University of Toronto, McGill University, and the University of British Columbia, as well as the University of Alberta, the University of Calgary, and McMaster University.

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