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The Year in Review: 2012 Highlights from the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute


In 2012, we witnessed not only key scientific breakthroughs in a number of diseases and treatment therapies, we also celebrated special moments like the appointments of some of our scientists to the Order of Canada and the Royal Society of Canada - moments which continue to show the world why the Lunenfeld is the place to be for award-winning scientists who are transforming the way we care for our patients.

Over the past year, Lunenfeld scientists made leading-edge discoveries in the prevention, detection and treatment of a variety of conditions and disorders, including cancer, kidney disease, women and infants’ health, and neurodegenerative disorders. Here are a few of our biggest highlights from 2012.





Dr. Bernie Zinman appointed to the Order of Canada

Dr. Bernie Zinman, Director, Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes, and Senior Investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, was appointed to the Order of Canada for his internationally-renowned achievements in diabetes patient care and research. Click here for more information.





New discovery provides important new insight into how cells safeguard their genetic material

Mount Sinai Hospital researchers in the labs of Drs. Daniel Durocher and Frank Sicheri, as well as colleagues in Seattle, uncovered the structural mechanism behind DNA damage response cells. This discovery has deepened our understanding of genetic “protection” responses and will open the door to new, more sophisticated cancer therapies. Click here for more information.





Mount Sinai Hospital hosts an international symposium on personalized medicine

In May, Mount Sinai hosted an international symposium featuring world-renowned experts in personalized medicine. Thanks to continued innovative work by Dr. Kathy Siminovitch’s team at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai has become a provincial leader in personalized medicine, attracting the attention of government and experts worldwide. Click here for more information.



September-Drucker September-Dennis


Dr. Dan Drucker and Dr. Jim Dennis elected to the Royal Society of Canada

Drs. Dan Drucker and Jim Dennis were among 19 life scientists elected to the Royal Society of Canada this year. Dr. Dennis has conducted ground breaking cancer research, furthering our understanding of the genetic and structural changes that promote metastasis as well as factors contributing to multiple sclerosis. Dr. Drucker has been recognized for his innovative work with glucagon-like peptides and DPP-4 inhibitors in the treatment of diabetes and intestinal disorders. Click here for more information.





Discovery by Lunenfeld researchers has potential to impact treatments of kidney disease

Led by Dr. Susan Quaggin, a team of Lunenfeld researchers made an important discovery on the effects of a vital signalling protein in the kidney. This discovery has the potential to impact drug therapies and treatment for the more than 30,000 Canadians who suffer from kidney failure. Click here for more information.




Link between breastfeeding and childhood obesity discovered

With collaborators in Australia, Dr. Laurent Briollais, Principal Investigator of the study, his postdoctoral student, Dr. Taraneh Abarin, and Dr. Stephen Lye, discovered that the length of time a baby is breastfed can help reduce a child’s risk for obesity. Click here for more information.




Breakthrough technology helps visualize cell division in unprecedented detail

Dr. Laurence Pelletier and his research team have used Mount Sinai’s super-resolution OMX microscope to conduct an innovative examination into the organization of centrosomes. This in-depth study allows for further understanding of cancer and conditions related to defects in chromosome segregation, such as Down’s syndrome. Click here for more information.




Understanding human neurodegenerative disorders: what a worm’s got to do with it

A fascinating discovery by Dr. Mei Zhen and her team, published in the journal Neuron, is laying the groundwork for restoring co-ordination in movements for patients suffering from neurodegenerative disorders such as Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s, ALS and others. The source of this discovery is the nervous system of a roundworm called C. elegans. Click here for more information.





Identifying new ways to suppress the spread of cancer

Dr. Jeff Wrana and his team made a major discovery about the way that 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, a process called metastasis. This finding holds great potential to change the way cancer spreading will be treated in cancer patients. Click here for more information.



FDA approves drug for rare gastrointestinal disorder developed by Lunenfeld scientist

Thanks to research by Dr. Daniel Drucker, Senior Lunenfeld Investigator, the FDA has approved a drug to treat patients with short bowel syndrome, a debilitating condition often associated with colon cancer and IBD patients. Click here for more information.



By Sandeep Dhaliwal

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