The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute
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The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

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 leader.

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 disorders.

Quick Facts

• 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 trainees.
• Receives the highest competitive funding awards per investigator in Canada.
• Houses the largest women’s and infants’ health research team in North America.
• 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 journals.
• 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.

Scientific Groupings

• Systems biology
• Genomic/personalized medicine
• Neurodevelopment and cognitive functions
• Cancer genetics
• Women’s & Infants’ health
Prosserman Centre for Population Health Research
• Centre for stem cells and tissue engineering
• Centre for modeling human disease
• Regenerative medicine and musculoskeletal research

Recent Achievements


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.

DNA Repair

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 diseases.

Kidney Disease

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.

Childhood Obesity

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.

Neurodegenerative Disorders

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. 

Gastrointestinal Disorder

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.

Cell Division

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

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.




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