Amgen Scholars Canada Program Faculty Profiles

As an Amgen Scholar, you will join the laboratory of one of our excellent biomedical researchers from the University of Toronto Faculties of Pharmacy and Medicine. 

Take a look at the research areas of participating faculty mentors. As part of your application, you must select three potential faculty mentors and for each potential mentor describe why you would like to join their laboratory as an Amgen Scholar. 


Mohammad Akbari

My research includes searching for new cancer predisposing genes, investigating the feasibility and cost-benefit of universal population-based cancer genetic tests, evaluating the benefits of targeted treatments in mutation carrier patients and finally, extending genetic knowledge beyond hereditary cancers to all sporadic cancer cases by studying ctDNA and tracing it in blood stream.

Rima Al-awar

My group is focused on small molecule drug discovery. We are a team of chemists and biologists working together to advance cancer focused projects from target validation and screening to lead identification and optimization.

Stephane Angers My research interests lie in the study of growth factor signalling pathways in development and cancer using stem cells, CRISPR screens, antibody engineering and proteomics.

Thomas Kislinger

The major goal of the Kislinger lab is to apply proteomics technologies to cancer biology and biomarker discovery.

Joanne Kotsopoulos

Dr. Kotsopoulos directs a wide-range of research initiatives to further our understanding of BRCA-associated breast and ovarian cancer, with the goal of identifying viable strategies that confer substantial risk reduction and improve outcomes.

Ray Reilly

My research focuses on molecular imaging (PET) of cancer using radiolabeled antibodies as well as radioimmunotherapy (RIT), which is the use of radiolabeled antibodies for cancer treatment.



Brian Cox

My research group focuses on reproductive biology, where we apply cellular and molecular methods to investigate the development and pathologies of the trophoblast cells that generate the placenta.

Anthony Gramolini

My research program is aimed at providing a detailed mechanistic insight into heart failure.

Shaf Keshavjee

My research is in ex vivo repair of donor lungs for transplantation and gene modification to improve the function of organs after transplant. 

Rulan Parekh

Dr. Parekh’s research interests and expertise are in longitudinal observational studies focusing on chronic kidney disease (CKD), cardiovascular disease (CVD), and genetic or serological markers associated with CKD.

Haibo Zhang

Lung injury, sepsis, lung regeneration and human neutrophil peptides.


Cellular & Molecular Structure/Function

Ben Blencowe

Systematic investigation of RNA regulatory networks with critical roles in development and disease.

Rob Bonin

Investigation of the cellular and molecular mechanisms of chronic pain and identification of new new analgesic targets.

Grant Brown

We use functional genomics approaches to understand how cells respond to and repair DNA damage to maintain a stable genome.

Julie Claycomb

We use tiny worms as a simplified model system and work to understand how genes are switched on and off by small noncoding RNAs, enabling organisms to generate healthy sperm and eggs and ensuring the survival of species.

Walid Houry

My research aims at understanding the role of molecular chaperones and ATP-dependent proteases in maintaining protein homeostasis in the cell.

Thomas Hurd

The Hurd lab uses an integrated genetic, cell biological and imaging approach to understand how mitochondria influence development, differentiation and inheritance.

Jinrong Min

Characterize epigenetic proteins systematically by X-ray crystallography in combination with other biochemical and biophysical techniques.

Mikko Taipale

My lab uses functional proteomics approaches to characterize cellular interaction networks and how these networks impinge on rare genetic disorders. We also develop new tools for functional proteomics.

Andrew Wilde

The Wilde lab seeks to understand how cells divide successfully to maintain a stable genome using biochemical and high resolution imaging techniques.


Computational/Systems Biology

Gary Bader 

The Bader Computational Biology lab uses molecular interaction, pathway and ‘omics data to gain a causal mechanistic understanding of normal and disease phenotypes and improve human health outcomes.

Benjamin Haibe-Kains

The Haibe-Kains Lab focuses on developing predictors of cancer patients’ survival and therapy response from radiological images and pharmacogenomics data using machine learning approaches.

Michael Hoffman

We develop machine learning techniques to better understand chromatin biology, transforming high-dimensional functional genomics data into interpretable patterns and leading to new biological insight.

Shana Kelley

Development of new screening and detection technologies for drug discovery and diagnostics.

Fritz Roth

Using next-generation sequencing to test the function of (nearly) all possible sequence variants in human disease genes, and to map global dynamics of protein interaction networks.

Michael Wilson

The Wilson lab uses comparative and functional genomics to understand human development and disease.



Pat Brubaker

The Brubaker laboratory studies the mechanisms underlying synthesis, secretion and biological activities of two clinically important intestinal hormones: glucagon-like peptide-1, used for the treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and obesity; and glucagon-like peptide-2, recently approved for use in patients with short bowel syndrome.

Carolyn Cummins

The Cummins lab studies the mechanisms by which nuclear hormone receptors contribute to the development of metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity.

Jill Hamilton

My research program focuses on (i) the metabolic complications of obesity in childhood, (ii) biologic and psychosocial determinants of obesity, and (iii) obesity treatment. 

Amira Klip

We use cellular models to investigate how insulin and exercise stimulate glucose entry into muscle cells; how insulin and glucose interact with endothelial cells; and how high fat environments affect those cells as well as innate immune cells.

Mathieu Lemaire

Our lab studies the mechanisms by which some rare genetic conditions cause young children to develop renal failure because of blood clots in their kidneys: our goal is to develop disease-specific therapies that will  improve patient outcomes.

Christoph Licht

Dr. Licht’s research focuses on complement-mediated renal diseases such as atypical hemolytic-uremic syndrome (aHUS) and membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN) / C3 glomerulopathy (C3G), his research has translational character and includes both clinical and basic research.

Cristina Nostro

The Nostro laboratory is interested in elucidating the molecular regulators controlling pancreatic development and beta cell maturation. To reach this goal, the lab uses directed differentiation of human embryonic and induced pluripotent stem cells to mimic embryonic development and organ morphogenesis. Ultimately, we aim to translate our findings to potential treatments for Type I Diabetes patients.

James Scholey

The national CanSOLVE Chronic Kidney Disease Research Program is part of the CIHR Strategy for Patient Oriented Research (SPOR). The aim of our specific projects within CanSOLVE CKD is to define kidney disease risk in Canadian youth with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus.



Reina Bendayan

Drug transport and therapeutics with an emphasis on HIV infection pharmacotherapy and antiretroviral drug transport at sanctuary sites of HIV infection.

Alan Cochrane

My group works on the development of novel strategies to control virus infection.

Leah Cowen

We are focused on the overarching goals of understanding what allows some microbes to exploit the host and cause disease, and developing new strategies to thwart drug resistance and treat life-threatening infections.

Alex Ensminger

The Ensminger lab uses systems biology approaches to mechanistically determine how bacterial pathogens cause disease.

Lori Frappier

Discovering new functions of Epstein-Barr virus proteins in manipulating cellular processes.

Jean-Philippe Julien

Structure-function studies of antibody-antigen immune complexes in health and disease.

Thierry Mallevaey

We study the reciprocal relationship between the intestinal microbiota and the immune system, in health and disease, focusing primarily on unconventional T lymphocytes.

Karen Maxwell

Research in the Maxwell lab is focused on how the the CRISPR-Cas bacterial immune system protects bacteria from the viruses that infect and kill them, and how these viruses overpower CRISPR-Cas using anti-CRISPR proteins.

Trevor Moraes

Research in the Moraes Lab centers around determining the atomic resolution structure of membrane proteins and complexes that function to transport molecules across lipid bilayers. The primary focus of research in the lab focuses on surface exposed transporters within pathogenic Gram negative bacterial species to aid in the development of novel antibiotics and vaccines.

Arthur Mortha

Our research aims to understand the language between the microbiome and the intestinal immune system.

Jack Uetrecht

My research involves mechanistic studies of idiosyncratic adverse drug reactions with a focus immune responses to reactive metabolites.

Tania Watts

My research is focused on the immune response to viral infection, particularly how members of  tumor necrosis receptor superfamily contribute to  viral control and immune memory.


Neuroscience/Brain Health/Neurogenetics

Denise Belsham

Dr. Denise Belsham studies how the brain controls and receives signals for many of our basic physiological processes, such as feeding behaviour, circadian rhythms, and reproduction, using unique neuronal cell models and molecular/cellular technologies.

James Dowling

In my research program, we identify, develop and translate novel therapies (both small molecule and genetic) for childhood neurogenetic diseases using a multi-system approach that includes animal models (zebrafish and mice) and patient derived material.

Michael Fehlings

The Fehlings laboratory uses advanced molecular, electrophysiological, imaging and neurobehavioural techniques to study state of the art approaches, including stem cells and bioengineered strategies, to facilitate repair and regeneration of the injured spinal cord.

Sheena Josselyn

We study how mice make memories using optogenetic and imaging tools.

Julie Lefebvre

Our lab aims to identify molecular and cellular determinants that specify the development and wiring of neurons into neural circuits, and to learn how defects in these pathways underlie neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, schizophrenia, and epilepsies. 

Jeehye Park

Investigation of RNA binding proteins in brain development and disease.

Carol Schuurmans

We study how neurons are generated in the developing brain and retina, and apply this knowledge to the design of therapeutic strategies to combat neurodegenerative disease.

Bojana Stefanovic

My research is focused on development of new techniques for imaging of brain function and its compromise in Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, and traumatic brain injury.

Peter Wells

Role of oxidative stress, DNA damage and repair in neurodevelopmental disorders.

Anne Wheeler

We use brain-wide structural and functional MRI in patients and in animal models with traumatic brain injury to understand mechanisms of brain injury that are important for impairment and recovery.

Albert Wong

Animal model and human clinical studies of psychiatric disorders including schizophrenia and PTSD using behavioural, clinical trial, molecular and genetic methods.


Regenerative Medicine/Development

Vinod Chandran My translational research program focuses on understanding psoriatic disease aetiology and progression, with a particular emphasis on untargeted, global discovery of novel biomarkers using high throughput technologies, especially proteomics and metabolomics.
Ronald Cohn My laboratory focuses on developing genome editing technologies for a variety of genetic disorders with a special focus on neuromuscular diseases.
Josh Currie We want to understand how animals like the axolotl can completely regenerate their limbs and other organs in order to improve human wound repair and regeneration.
Brent Derry The research in my lab is focused on using C. elegans to understand the role of cerebral cavernous malformation (CCM) protein function in biological tube development and cell polarity.
James Eubanks Generating and employing personalized mouse models of rare genetic diseases to elucidate mechanisms of pathogenesis, and identify new targets for translational engagement.
Yun Li The Li lab uses human stem cells derived neurons and 3D brain organoids to study neural development and disorders such as autism.
Julien Muffat My lab applies novel tissue-engineering and genome editing tools to patient-derived pluripotent stem cells, aiming to understand the role of microglia, the resident immune cells of the brain, in the etiology of various nervous system disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease or Multiple Sclerosis.
Keith Pardee Our lab works in the field of synthetic biology, specifically we are pioneering in vitro devices to host cell-free synthetic gene networks for broad applications in sensing and human health.
Ian Rogers My lab is focused on generating cell therapies for the treatment of kiadney disease using stem cells.
Paul Santerre Biomaterials, tissue regeneration and innate immunity.
Molly Shoichet The Shoichet lab invents new materials to answer questions in biology.  Working at the interface of chemistry, biology and engineering, we are focused on both regenerative medicine and cancer.  We design new strategies to promote tissue and functional repair in the central nervous system – that is in stroke, spinal cord injury and blindness – and new approaches to understand cancer and screen drugs through the design of hydrogels for 3D cell culture.