News

Historic $130-million gift to establish the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research

U of T professors Craig Simmons and Peter Zandstra and PhD students Jennifer Ma and Curtis Woodford are among the dozens of researchers who will work to advance treatments for heart patients at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research
U of T professors Craig Simmons and Peter Zandstra and PhD students Jennifer Ma and Curtis Woodford are among the dozens of researchers who will work to advance treatments for heart patients at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research

With the goal to reduce hospitalization for heart failure by 50 per cent over the next decade, the Hospital for Sick Children, the University Health Network and the University of Toronto have announced the creation of the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, funded by an unprecedented donation of $130 million from the Rogers family – the largest monetary gift ever made to a Canadian health-care initiative. 

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research to life,” said Loretta Rogers, wife of the late Ted Rogers. “We know Ted would have been proud of this bold initiative that will improve heart health for all.”

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Grand Challenges Canada: U of T researchers develop technologies for detecting defective drugs, printing skin

U of T Engineering researchers are developing new methods of testing drugs for contamination (photo by Meghana Kulkarni via Flickr)
U of T Engineering researchers are developing new methods of testing drugs for contamination (photo by Meghana Kulkarni via Flickr)

According to a recent article in the Toronto Star, Canadians should be worried about defective or sub-standard pharmaceutical drugs found in our pharmacies. 

But researchers at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) say other areas of the world face an epidemic of defective drugs – and they say that needs to change.

Professor Peter Zandstra and PhD students Yonatan Lipsitz and Nimalan Thavandiran are one of two groups at IBBME recently awarded Grand Challenges Canada grants. The team is developing a new tool for drug sellers to test heart medication for additives or other problems.

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Ted Sargent and Peter Zandstra named Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada

Newly named Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, professors Ted Sargent (left) and Peter Zandstra.
Newly named Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada, professors Ted Sargent (left) and Peter Zandstra.

Engineering professors Ted Sargent (ECE) and Peter Zandstra (IBBME) have been elected Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada.

Professor Sargent, of The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE), was elected to the Academy of Science in the Mathematical and Physical Sciences Division. His research has resulted in advances in nanotechnology and materials chemistry, which he has translated into new engineered devices for energy harvesting, light sensing and medical diagnosis. He pioneered solution-processed solar cells that absorb the sun’s full spectrum, including both its visible and infrared components. He has also created exceedingly sensitive light detectors to enable image acquisition in low light.

Continue reading at UofT Engineering News.

First Living 3D Model of Arrhythmic Heart Made From Stem Cells

IBBME PhD student Nimalan Thavandiran in his lab.
IBBME PhD student Nimalan Thavandiran in his lab.

Researchers at the University of Toronto’s Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) and the McEwen Centre for Regenerative Medicine have developed the first-ever method for creating living, three-dimensional human heart tissue that behaves like mature heart tissue.

Importantly, the method can be used to make models of both healthy and arrhythmic beating heart tissue. Findings were published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science) this week.

Arrhythmia is a relatively common condition in which the feedback of electrical pulses of the heart is interrupted, leading to heartbeats that might be too slow, too fast, or irregular. For some people, it can be a life-threatening condition. Having good, flexible models, such as this, can help advance strategies for treating heart disease.

Continue reading at UofT Engineering News.

Stem cells: how to predict their fate

Emanuel Nazareth is a PhD student working with Professor Peter Zandstra
Emanuel Nazareth is a PhD student working with Professor Peter Zandstra

University of Toronto researchers have developed a method that can rapidly screen human stem cells and better control what they will become – a technology that could be used for regenerative medicine and drug development. 

The findings are published in this week’s issue of the journal Nature Methods.

“The work allows for a better understanding of how to turn stem cells into clinically useful cell types more efficiently,” said Emanuel Nazareth, a PhD student at U of T’s Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME). The research comes out of the lab of Professor Peter Zandstra, Canada Research Chair in Bioengineering at U of T.

Continue reading at UofT News.