What exactly happens in the very earliest moments following conception in embryo development? And what are the factors that influence the most intricate and significant molecular events a microscopic embryo goes through during development? How does the external environment of the early embryo affect its development? These are some of the questions that consume Dr. Miguel Ramalho-Santos, the Harvard-trained researcher newly recruited to the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute (LTRI), part of Sinai Health System. Dr. Ramalho-Santos was announced as one of four Canada 150 Chairs in the country by the Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Federal Minister of Science in Ottawa on December 12th, which provides part of the funding to transfer his lab from San Francisco to the LTRI’s facilities at its Mount Sinai Hospital campus.
“Recruitment of Miguel and designation of the Canada 150 Chair is tremendously exciting. Not only does it reinforce our ability to attract the very top scientific talent from around the world to work with us, it solidifies our role, nationally, and globally as a leader in this critically important field of research,” says Dr. Jim Woodgett, Director of Research, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.
Dr. Ramalho-Santos’ focus on how environmental cues influence early stages of fetal development and the long-term impacts of those influences to adult health bridges stem cell biology, mammalian development and epigenetics in a manner unparalleled in Canada. As the Canada 150 Chair in Developmental Epigenetics, his research holds enormous promise for improving fertility treatments, pregnancy outcomes and women’s and children’s health. He will join the largest group of investigators in the country focused on early fetal development and embryonic stem cell biology at the LTRI. He will also be appointed to University of Toronto’s renowned Department of Molecular Genetics.
“I am very excited about relocating to the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. It is a world-class research community in the fields of Developmental Biology, Stem Cell Biology and Systems Biology. Together with Mount Sinai’s strong program in Maternal-Fetal Health, this is an ideal environment for my work in Developmental Epigenetics. I very much look forward to the new interactions that I will have and the new directions that we will explore in Toronto,” said Dr. Ramalho-Santos, who will arrive in Toronto in the summer of 2018 but is already recruiting for his new team.