Our Research

Ontario has a distinguished history of ground-breaking discoveries in the stem cell field, dating back to the seminal discoveries of Till and McCulloch in Toronto in the early 1960s. Till and McCulloch proved the existence of blood stem cells and provided the rigorous and quantitative foundation upon which stem cell biology is studied around the world today. Globally, Canada ranks third in terms of the influence of its research according to impact factor, which is measured by the number of times a publication is referenced by other researchers (Thomson-Reuters 2005-2010).

Areas of research focus

Disease Team program: OIRM has over 210 scientists across the province, including stem cell bioloigists, biomaterial engineers and translational clinicians. This collaborative expertise also created the foundation for the eight Disease Teams listed below:

  • Blood Stem Cell-based Therapeutics
  • Cartilage and Bone
  • Lung Disease
  • Neural Repair
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Diabetes
  • Muscle Regeneration
  • Vision


OIRM Disease Teams focus on areas of current large costs to the healthcare system but also substantial global opportunities for improved treatments and outcomes based on regenerative medicine. These projects encompass large, collaborative teams at multiple institutions across Ontario with potential partnerships outside the province.  

For most of the disease foci, Ontario is at the leading edge in research activities, clinical programs and new commercialization efforts that are moving the field forward. This includes ground-breaking cell therapy clinical trials, drug development, technologies for manufacturing cells and small molecules that can enhance the body’s own stem cells. OIRM is open to other areas of disease focus as it continues to launch its strategic investments.

New Ideas program: The New Ideas program supports projects at the discovery level in the area of stem cell and regenerative medicine research with a goal to foster cutting-edge research in stem cell biology and/or technology. Smaller in scope than Disease Teams, the New Ideas projects are typically based at one institution with one or two investigators. The projects have clear and achievable short-term goals leading to a long-term goal for clinical or commercial activities.