Department of Medicine researchers supported by Canada Research Chairs Program

Jun 19, 2019

Three Department of Medicine faculty members have been awarded Canada Research Chairs as part of a double fall-spring cohort announced by the federal government last week. Drs. Marzyeh Ghassemi, Shiphra Ginsburg and Ken Croitoru are among 56 U of T faculty members who were awarded new Canada Research Chairs, or whose chairs were renewed.

“I want to extend my warmest congratulations to U of T's new and renewed research chairs,” said Vivek Goel, U of T's vice-president of research and innovation.

“The work supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program benefits all Canadians by advancing our shared knowledge and fostering innovation.”

Dr. Marzyeh Ghassemi Dr. Marzyeh Ghassemi Dr. Ghassemi has been awarded a tier two chair in machine learning and health, and is working to develop an algorithm to help doctors determine the best patient treatments by predicting the onset of acute conditions and the need for intervention. Dr. Ghassemi is confident that this research chair will allow her to expend the scope of her research beyond critical cases, with the aim of enhancing her research on healthy patients.

“The majority of the research we’re able to do looks at people when they’re at their very sickest, and then tries to understand whether there are small differences in outcome that we can have at these very, very sick moments,” she said.

“We don’t really know what it means for a person to be healthy.”

Dr. Shiphra GinsburgDr. Shiphra Ginsburg Dr. Ginsburg, a professor and clinician scientist in respiratory medicine, and scientist at the Wilson Centre for Research in Education, has been awarded a tier one chair in health professions education. She is committed to gaining a deeper understanding of how clinical supervisors conceptualize, assess and give feedback on the competence of their learners. Dr. Ginsburg is also studying the assessment of clinical teachers and continues her research in professionalism. More recently, she has been exploring the value of narrative assessment through a gender lens.

Dr. Croitoru is a professor, clinician scientist and a member of the Institute of Medical Sciences, with a cross-sectional appointment in the Department of Immunology. He has been awarded a tier one chair in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD). His primary research is on the fundamental mechanisms of intestinal inflammation, in particular the role of T cell effector and regulatory function in the intestinal mucosal in Inflammatory Bowel Disease. Dr. Croitoru’s goal is to understand how T cells function to maintain intestinal homeostasis in health, and what defects in regulatory T cells allow for the breakdown of these mechanisms.

Dr. Croitoru is also a project leader of the GEM Project, a global clinical study that is coordinated out of the IBD Research Group and Zane Cohen Center at Mount Sinai Hospital, aimed at exploring the genetic, microbial and environmental factors that lead to Chron’s disease. This study has received over $15 million in funding from Chron’s Colitis Canada, the Helmsley Charitable Trust and the Canadian Institute of Health Research.

Canada Research Chairs are appointed to world-class scholars and scientists from diverse backgrounds recognized for new discoveries and innovations that promote our environment, health, communities and economy. Annually, the federal program invests approximately $295 million to recruit and retain the world’s top minds in natural sciences, health sciences, social sciences and humanities.