Donnelly Centre Faculty Granted Chair Appointments for Research in Disease Biomarkers, Gene Regulation and Host-Pathogen Interactions
Three faculty members at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research have had their chair appointments renewed, and one faculty member has been newly appointed.
Research conducted by Gary Bader, Benjamin Blencowe, Timothy Hughes and Mikko Taipale will be supported by these chair appointments, which were made possible by funders dedicated to advancing health and medicine.
“Our faculty represent the best and brightest in biomedical research,” said Stephane Angers, director of the Donnelly Centre. “Four of our faculty members have been entrusted with carrying out the wishes of funders that had the vision of supporting fundamental discovery research – I am pleased to see that they recognize the expertise of our researchers and their impact.”
Ontario Research Chair in Biomarkers of Disease
Gary Bader, professor of molecular genetics, is reappointed Ontario Research Chair in Biomarkers of Disease.
Bader’s research focuses on identifying the specific cells among the 37 trillion found in the human body that play a role in the development of disease. His research group is working to find biomarkers of disease using the power of single-cell genomics. By analyzing billions of single-cell genomics data points, the group aims to pinpoint where and when disease occurs in the body to help detect and treat it earlier.
Ontario Research Chairs (ORCs) are university research professorships created to drive provincial research. Bader holds one of three ORC chair appointments at the University of Toronto, and one of eight such appointments across Ontario. The goal of these professorships is to create world-class centres of research, such as the Donnelly Centre, and to ensure Ontario’s position as a global leader in research and innovation.
Banbury Chair in Medical Research
Benjamin Blencowe, Canada Research Chair in RNA Biology and Genomics and professor of molecular genetics, is reappointed Banbury Chair in Medical Research.
The renewal of Blencowe’s chair appointment will support his ongoing research on fundamental mechanisms underlying the regulation of gene expression. Much of Blencowe’s current work focuses on understanding how alternative splicing – a process that produces different RNAs and proteins from the same gene – is normally controlled, but also how it is mis-regulated in brain disorders, including autism spectrum disorder. His research group has uncovered a reoccurring mechanism of splicing mis-regulation in autism that represents a potential target for the development of new therapeutics.
The Banbury Chair in Medical Research was established at the Temerty Faculty of Medicine in 1998 with support from the estate of the late Kathleen Banbury, in commemoration of the discovery of insulin at U of T in 1921. The donor’s husband, Perley Banbury, was one of the first people with diabetes to be successfully treated with insulin.
John W. Billes Chair in Medical Research
Timothy Hughes, Canada Research Chair in Decoding Gene Regulation and professor of molecular genetics, is reappointed John W. Billes Chair in Medical Research.
The long-standing goal of research in the Hughes lab has been to determine the relationship between DNA sequences and the products of gene regulation. Decoding gene regulation is a central issue in the fields of genetics, genomics, molecular biology and computational biology.
The John W. Billes Chair in Medical Research was established to commemorate an endowed fund from the estate of John W. Billes, co-founder of Canadian Tire, for the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research – now known as the Donnelly Centre.
Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Biomedical Research
Mikko Taipale, Canada Research Chair in Functional Proteomics and Proteostasis and associate professor of molecular genetics, is appointed Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Biomedical Research.
The chair appointment will support ongoing research in the Taipale lab on functional proteomics, including proteome-scale induced proximity screens and massively parallel host-pathogen interaction screens.
The Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair Program was endowed by the Tanenbaum family in 1996 to support exceptional biomedical scientists at U of T and its partner hospitals. Over the last 30 years, the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair program has helped advance technological development and research in neuroscience and molecular medicine.
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Funding for leadership positions will ensure that we continue to attract some of the top minds from around the world to positions at the Donnelly Centre. Your support will also help to create several Chairs in key areas of research in health and medicine.