The University of Toronto is set to cement its position as one of the world’s leading centres for the design and manufacture of cells, tissues and organs that can be used to treat degenerative disease, thanks to a $114-million grant from the federal government.
“Our government is investing in research and innovation to create jobs, strengthen the economy and improve the quality of life of Canadians,” said the Honourable Ed Holder, Minister of State (Science and Technology). “This legacy investment in Medicine by Design will harness Canada’s strengths in regenerative medicine to treat and cure serious injuries and diseases that impact every Canadian family while creating new opportunities for Canadian health-related businesses.”
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.