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Toronto’s Sick Kids names new research chief


Toronto, ON – Janet Rossant, PhD, has been appointed chief of research at the Hospital for Sick Children (Sick Kids), effective July 1, 2005. Dr Rossant is an internationally recognized expert in developmental biology and one of Canada’s top stem cell researchers.

“Dr Rossant was selected as the next chief of research after an extensive international search,” says Mary Jo Haddad, the hospital’s president and CEO. “She will bring exceptional leadership to the Sick Kids Research Institute and will also be an important member of the hospital’s executive team.”

Dr Rossant’s current research focuses on stem cell development and cell differentiation in the developing embryo, important areas for the study of birth defects as well as regenerative medicine. She is widely known for her work on the genes that control embryonic development in the mouse and has pioneered techniques for following cell fate and altering genes in embryos. She has been recognized for her contributions to science with many awards, including the Killam Prize for Health Sciences in 2004, and a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Distinguished Investigator Award in 2002. She is also an elected fellow of the Royal Societies of London and Canada.

“I look forward to working with the exceptional scientists in the Sick Kids Research Institute as we build on the institution’s capabilities in translating scientific discovery into improved health,” says Dr Rossant.

She is a university professor in the departments of medical genetics and microbiology and obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Toronto and currently a senior investigator in the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital. She has played a leadership role in setting Canada’s public policy regarding stem cell research and was involved with the National Academies of Science in their just-released report on stem cell guidelines for the United States.

After receiving an undergraduate degree in zoology at Oxford University and a PhD in mammalian development at Cambridge University, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Oxford. She came to Canada in 1977, first as an assistant professor at Brock University in St Catharines before coming to the University of Toronto and Mount Sinai Hospital in 1985.

She takes over the Chief of Research position from Dr Manuel Buchwald, who is retiring after 35 years as a scientist at Sick Kids and 10 years as head of the Sick Kids Research Institute.