Toronto, ON – The University of Toronto has announced geneticist Dr Steve Scherer as the new director of the McLaughlin Centre. This new phase of what was previously known as the McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine, will emphasize the advancement of genomic medicine through research and education. The centre was established in 2000 with a $50-million dollar bequest from the R Samuel McLaughlin Foundation.
Dr Scherer, who holds the GlaxoSmithKline-CIHR endowed chair in genetics and genomics at the Hospital for Sick Children and University of Toronto, said “the time is right to bring to bear the strengths of the Toronto academic health science community to advance genomic medicine in Canada and abroad.”
The McLaughlin Centre will invest in research, education, training and knowledge transfer in the burgeoning area of genomic medicine. “Under Prof Scherer’s leadership, the McLaughlin Centre will serve as a hub facilitating and promoting research and educational activities, including training the next generation of physicians, health care professionals and the public in genomic medicine” said Dr Catharine Whiteside, dean of UofT’s Faculty of Medicine.
Over the years Dr Scherer’s group has made numerous contributions to medical genetics including mapping, sequencing and disease gene studies of human chromosome 7. His team also contributed to discoveries of global gene copy number variation (CNV) revealing CNV to be the most abundant type of nucleotide variation of human DNA. His group has also found CNV to contribute to the etiology of autism. The McLaughlin Centre-supported Database of Genomic Variants he founded facilitates thousands of diagnoses each year.
Dr Scherer notes that the McLaughlin Centre will fund new projects at the UofT and its teaching hospitals and research institutes, and also further leverage previous investments at prominent Toronto institutions like the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health, the Centre for Applied Genomics and the Ontario Genomics Institute, amongst others. “If the formula includes excellence and impact in genomic medicine, we will want to be involved,” he says.