The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) is recognized as one of the world’s foremost paediatric healthcare institutions and is Canada’s leading centre dedicated to advancing children’s health through the integration of patient care, research and education.
Its mission is to provide the best in complex and specialized family-centred care; pioneer scientific and clinical advancements; share expertise; foster an academic environment that nurtures health-care professionals; and champion an accessible, comprehensive and sustainable child health system.
The SickKids Research Institute upholds an exceptional standard of scientific research and discovery which is guided by our vision of Healthier Children. A Better World. It goes to the heart of what we do to prevent disease, find cures and transform children’s health. Our scientists collaborate on hospital-wide child-centred interdisciplinary projects focusing on the life continuum from fetal origins to adult including fundamental discovery, applied research, and outcomes and impact.
Currently, there are more than 2,000 staff and trainees in the Research Institute involved in more than 2,309 funded projects, and more than 2,900 active clinical protocols. Along with 224 scientists and associate scientists and 296 project investigators, there are over 1,000 trainees including graduate students, research fellows, clinician-scientist trainees and visiting scientists from at least 25 countries, as well as laboratory technologists, research assistants and operations and administrative staff. SickKids scientists published more than 1,000 peer-reviewed articles in 2008.
The total research budget for 2008-2009 was more than $146 million. Funding for research activities and operations comes from many sources. Internal funding is provided through the SickKids Foundation, where community and corporate donors contribute to the Foundation’s endowments. External funding comes from many granting sources including government and public and private foundations. Approximately 1,800 peer-reviewed grants are awarded to our researchers each year.
Research at the SickKids Research Institute is organized into seven research programs: Cell Biology, Child Health Evaluative Sciences, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology, Genetics & Genome Biology, Molecular Structure & Function, Neurosciences & Mental Health and Physiology & Experimental Medicine. Core Research Facilities include:
Advanced Bioimaging Centre (ABC)
The Advanced Bioimaging Centre is a joint venture between SickKids and Mount Sinai Hospital. The ABC is located in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital and provides transmission and scanning electron microscopy services to scientists at these two institutions, and the research community at large.
Advanced Protein Technology Centre (APTC)
In operation for over two decades, the APTC provides protein analysis services to SickKids and the greater research community. They provide analysis in four main functional areas: amino acid analysis, peptide sequencing, peptide synthesis and mass spectrometry.
Analytical Facility For Bioactive Molecules
The Analytical Facility offers a range of services for quantitative and qualitative analysis of biological samples to the greater scientific community.
Biostatistics, Design and Analysis Unit (BDA)
Operated by the Child Health Evaluative Science Program at the Research Institute, the mandate of the BDA is to improve the quality of research at SickKids by offering consultation in the areas of study design and methodology, statistical analysis and data management.
Canadian Mouse Mutant Repository (CMMR)
The CMMR is a central repository for the cryopreservation and archiving of mutant mouse lines as spermatozoa, embryos and tissues in various formats (fixed, embedded and glass-slide mounted). The CMMR is also the repository and distribution centre for mutant mouse embryonic stem cells from the North American Conditional Mouse Mutagenesis project (NorCOMM).
The Centre For Applied Genomics
The Centre for Applied Genomics (TCAG) is comprised of facilities that provide the resources, technologies and expertise essential for disease gene research and other basic and applied genetic and genomic investigations.
Centre for Computational Biology (CCB)
The CCB provides for the computing, super computing and software needs within the Research Institute and to the greater research community.
Clinical Research Centre
The Clinical Research Centre is dedicated to providing safe and accessible facilities for physiological patient-based research. Services provided include a cardiopulmonary research exercise laboratory and a clinical investigation unit that offers general patient assessment, specialized metabolic testing and bioelectrical impedance. These services are offered to SickKids research personnel and clinical researchers from other hospitals.
Embryonic Stem Cell (ES) Facility
The ES facility provides reliable, high-quality technical service and support for the maintenance of embryonic stem cell lines and generation of targeted cell lines. They also provide materials, training and technical assistance to researchers. Feeder cells, ES cell lines and reagents are also available from outside users.
Flow Cytometry Facility (FCF)
A joint SickKids and UHN facility, the FCF provides cell analysis services using flow cytometry technology. Flow cytometers detect and quantify a number of cellular parameters as cells are carried in a liquid stream through a nozzle that is illustrated by one or more lasers emitting light of defined wavelengths. This level of analysis allows researchers to use multiple experimental parameters when processing samples.
Focus In Synthetic Chemistry (FISC)
Launched in 2008, FISC researchers within SickKids Research Institute with chemical synthetic expertise develop and improve small molecule modulators of biological systems. These syntheses are targeted to generate molecules which can function with a living system.
The Imaging Facility provides a full range of biological imaging solutions for life sciences research. Researchers are able to access cutting-edge technologies in biological imaging, which are made available on a fee-for-service basis.
Monoclonal Antibody Facility
The Monoclonal Antibody Facility produces high-quality monoclonal antibody-producing cell lines and antibody purification services to the greater research community on a fee-for-services basis.
Research MRI Facility
The research 1.5 Tesla MRI facility provides a wide range of human-imaging and animal-imaging capabilities to Toronto-area scientists. The site is staffed with two full-time research MR technologists.
Signalling Identification Network (SIDNET)
SIDNET supports high throughput screening projects by providing access to automation platforms, liquid handling systems, detection technologies cDNA expression libraries and shRNA and esiRNA knock-down libraries. SIDNET staff is available to assist in the development of custom assays and automation protocols.
Toronto Centre For Phenogenomics
Transgenic Core (TCP Tg Core) The TCP Tg Core is an amalgamation of the Transgenic Facilities at Mount Sinai Hospital and SickKids. These facilities have been operating since the early 1990s and have pioneered innovative technologies such as the production of the chimeras between genetically modified mouse ES cells and embryos using the aggregation method and the tetraploid complementation assay. The TCP Tg Core provides a range of services for genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) for research programs hosted at the TCP, TCP member institutes, throughout Toronto and around the world.
The TCP Tg Core maintains a close affiliation with the laboratories of Dr. Janet Rossant, Chief of Research at SickKids and Dr. Andras Nagy, Senior Investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai.