The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research
The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, located at Mount Sinai
Hospital, is one of the leading biomedical research facilities in the
world. Created in 1985, the institute is profoundly advancing the
understanding of human biology in health and disease. Many of the
breakthroughs that began as fundamental research have already resulted
in new and better ways to prevent, diagnose and treat common illnesses
― bringing a healthier future to Canadians.
Research institutes operating within academic hospitals have become the
hallmark of leading medical centres in North America. For more than 25
years, the partnership between the institute and Mount Sinai Hospital
has demonstrated the value of integrating research into the clinical
setting and has distinguished Mount Sinai as a top tier academic
The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum’s reputation serves as a magnet for
recruiting world-class clinicians and clinician-scientists who wish to
practice in a culture of inquiry and innovation. Close to 40
internationally-recognized principle investigators work in contemporary
fields of investigation that are aligned with the Hospital’s flagship
clinical programs and continue to make leading-edge discoveries in the
prevention, detection and treatment of diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis,
breast/prostate/ovarian cancer, sarcoma, pre-eclampsia and
complications of pregnancy, neurodegenerative and mental health
• The Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute was established in 1985 at
Mount Sinai Hospital and was co-named the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research
Institute on June 24, 2013.
• Ranked in the top ten biomedical research institutes worldwide in
terms of quality of science.
• Research budget for FY2013 was approximately $103.4 million.
• Home to 34 principal investigators, 15 associate scientists, 215
• Receives the highest competitive funding awards per investigator in
• Houses the largest women’s and infants’ health research team in North
• Considered to have the highest impact diabetes research team of any
research institute, worldwide.
• Publishes more than 350 papers in leading scientific journals every
year ― consistently achieving Canada’s highest percentage of papers
published in the top one per cent of biomedical research
• Based on strengths in genetics and system biology, the
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum and Mount Sinai Hospital have launched a high
profile initiative to integrate new advances in personalized medicine
into clinical practice ― with an initial focus on arthritis and women’s
and infants’ health.
• Over one third of Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum research scientists hold
Canadian Research Chairs, ranking among the highest proportion of any
research institute in the country.
• Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum is home to Canada’s first super-resolution
microscope and a leading edge robotics facility that can analyze
thousands of genes at a time.
• Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum’s Systems Biology team is considered to be in the
top five worldwide.
• Systems biology
• Genomic/personalized medicine
• Neurodevelopment and cognitive functions
• Cancer genetics
• Women’s & Infants’ health
• Prosserman Centre for Health Research (population health)
• Centre for stem cells and tissue engineering
• Centre for modeling human disease
• Regenerative medicine and musculoskeletal research
In a groundbreaking study published in Nature Medicine, Senior
Investigator Dr. Daniel Drucker and his team showed how a new drug ―
already helping millions of diabetes patients around the world ― can
also independently help lower risk for heart attacks and strokes, two
of the most important complications associated with type 2 diabetes.
Dr. Drucker’s work also includes the development of incretin-based
therapies for type 2 diabetes and the clinical testing of a new
once-weekly treatment to replace the common twice-daily injection.
Dr. Jeff Wrana and his team garnered media attention for their major
discovery about the way cancer spreads. The team found that proteins
produced in normal cells near the environment of a cancer tumour
influence the cancer’s ability to spread to other tissues of the body.
This alters the standard thought that cancer cells were responsible for
cancer spreading. This discovery has the potential to transform the way
cancer is treated.
In the first study of its kind published in Molecular Cell, Drs.
Daniel Durocher and Frank Sicheri have uncovered the structural
mechanism of a specific protein that inhibits the DNA damage response
in the cell. This discovery deepens our understanding of genetic
“protection” responses, opening the door to new, more sophisticated
cancer therapies. Mutations in genes involved in the DNA damage
response frequently contribute to cancer formation, as well as
infertility and immune deficiency. Targeting the proteins that regulate
DNA repair could lead to new types of therapeutics for these
In a study published in the prestigious journal Cell, researchers
Drs. Susan Quaggin and Tony Pawson made an important discovery relating
to the effects of a vital signalling protein in the kidney, potentially
impacting drug therapies and treatment for the more than 30,000
Canadians who suffer from kidney failure.
In a groundbreaking discovery published in the International Journal
of Epidemiology, Dr. Laurent Briollais and Dr. Stephen Lye found that
exclusively breastfeeding infants who are genetically predisposed to
obesity for at least 3 months can help reverse the impact of the
child’s genetic risk for obesity.
A discovery by Dr. Mei Zhen and her team, published in the journal
Neuron, is laying the groundwork for restoring movements for patients
suffering from neurodegenerative disorders, such as Huntington’s
disease, Parkinson’s and ALS. By studying the motor circuitry of C.
elegans ― a worm ― Dr. Zhen’s team was able to isolate not only
specific groups of neurons, but also the specific connections and
properties of these neurons that control specific movements.
Research by Dr. Daniel Drucker led to FDA approval for a drug to
treat patients with short bowel syndrome, a debilitating condition
often associated with colon cancer and IBD patients.
Dr. Laurence Pelletier and his team studied how chromosomes are
precisely separated into two daughter cells during cell replication and
found a new weapon to dissect the organization of a key structure
required for proper separation of chromosomes in cell division. Their
findings have implications for cancer and conditions related to defects
in chromosome segregation, such as Down’s syndrome.
Women’s and Infants’ Health
Building on Mount Sinai’s growing clinical expertise in Women’s and
Infants’ health, the Hospital has just launched the largest Canadian
study of its kind to track the health of women and their babies.
Thousands of women will participate in the Ontario Birth Study to help
understand how genes and the environment interact to shape our
potential risks. Led by Drs. Alan Bocking and Stephen Lye, world
renowned experts in developmental health and Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum
scientists, a team of more than 30 clinicians and research staff are
associated with this important study that will help transform the
standard of care for women and their babies.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer affecting women in Canada
and the latest high-profile study coming out of Mount Sinai Hospital is
helping shape our future knowledge and treatment for the disease. The
LEGACY study, led by Dr. Irene Andrulis, a leading molecular geneticist
and Senior Investigator, involves over 900 girls from across North
America, many with a family history of breast cancer. This unique study
will help further an understanding of the relationship between genetics
and environmental factors in the development of breast cancer.