Profile: Head and Senior Scientist, SickKids Research Institute
Department: Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto
Preterm birth will occur in 5 to 10 per cent of all pregnancies, leading to 75 per cent of the early (neonatal) mortality and long-term disability (including cerebral palsy, deafness, blindness, mental and respiratory problems). These complications lead to a high emotional stress for the family and result in tremendous costs to the health care system.
One major complication associated with preterm birth is immaturity of the lung and, despite modern management, such as the use of surfactant and newer modes of neonatal ventilation; pulmonary immaturity remains a leading cause of neonatal morbidity and mortality. The aim of my research program is to understand the cellular and molecular physiological mechanisms that direct lung development with the long term objective to use the information to develop new therapeutic strategies or to improve existing therapies.