University Of Toronto Rises In Global World Rankings

University Of Toronto Rises In Global World Rankings

U of T Ranked In The Top 10 In Nine Subject Areas Globally According To 2020 QS World Rankings

By: Zoya Retiwalla | July 8, 2019

The annual QS World University rankings were announced recently and the University of Toronto continues to enjoy top positions in numerous disciplines.

When you think of UofT, you would think of old stone buildings and new glass ones surrounded by a campus that supports the innovations and ideas of over 560,000 graduates. However, UofT’s penchant for excellence and it’s constantly expanding educational programs has led its consistent rise in World University Rankings. “Our students have the opportunity to learn from and work with preeminent thought leaders through our multidisciplinary network of teaching and research faculty, alumni and partners,” reads the QS report that placed the University of Toronto in the 29th spot from hundreds of universities worldwide.

UofT has been in the world ranks for decades now but this year the university excelled even further and is now among the 10 best universities in the world in nine subjects as diverse as psychology, clinical medicine, finance, public health, and geography. “These results recognize the University of Toronto’s excellence across a wide range of subjects,” said U of T President Meric Gertler.

The QS report further adds, “founded in 1827, the University of Toronto has evolved into Canada’s leading institution of learning, discovery and knowledge creation.” That holds true because UofT has yet again been ranked as the highest Canadian university and holds a position as one of the world’s top-ranked public universities in various international rankings.

Read More: U of T News article published on June 28th, 2019 gives a more holistic breakdown of these rankings and can be found, here.

TRP Senior Advisor receives Connaught Global Challenge Award

TRP Senior Advisor receives Connaught Global Challenge Award

Congratulations to TRP Senior Advisor & LMP Prof Avrum Gotlieb, on being one of four UofT researchers to receive the Connaught Global Challenge Award. The project will support the development of a Translational Hub, a collaborative community to mobilize knowledge & commercialization to improve impact on health & patient outcomes. Read an excerpt from UofT News below.

Professor Avrum Gotlieb, in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, will receive $247,000 to build capacity for translational research that enables scientific discoveries to move out of the lab and into the real world, where they can improve patient care, health-care policy and products like pharmaceuticals.

Gotlieb, whose academic research is focused on cardiovascular disease, is also a senior program adviser with U of T’s Translational Research Program, which seeks to move knowledge “towards mechanisms, techniques and approaches that support the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.”

The Connaught award will support the development and implementation of a Translational Hub – a community dedicated to educational programs, research collaborations and community-building that’s focused on knowledge mobilization and commercialization to improve impact on health and patient outcomes.

“Creation of a community to provide support and infrastructure at the U of T will expedite the growth and development of our local translational infrastructure and its global reach,” said Gotlieb in his project description.


Read about the 2019  winners of the Connaught Global Challenge Award.

TR Talks – Leaders Discuss Transforming Research Discoveries to Improve Patient Care

TR Talks – Leaders Discuss Transforming Research Discoveries to Improve Patient Care

Feb 4, 2019
By:  Brianne Tulk, Faculty of Medicine University of Toronto

Leaders in the basic sciences, clinical epidemiology and patient care discussed how best to translate research into new treatments for patients at a recent event presented by the Department of Medicine and the newly established Eureka HUB for Translational Research.

Called TR Talk, the event drew an interdisciplinary audience made up of researchers, clinicians, health practitioners and health innovators. Facilitated by graduate students from the Translational Research Program, it featured a panel discussion followed by smaller group discussions.

The panelists offered diverse perspectives on the barriers of translating research to humans, and also the opportunities of translational research.

“The great questions come from listening to our patients,” said Dr. Gillian Hawker, Chair of the Department of Medicine. Hawker, who has a background as a rheumatologist and clinical epidemiologist, brought perspective from the frontlines of patient care and outlined some of the challenges that surround translating research to inform treatment options.

“Most of my patients have multiple conditions that aren’t represented in the clinical trials,” Hawker said. “The perfect patients aren’t the ones showing up at our doorsteps. Translation is about getting real world data.”

By way of example, Hawker explained that research can illustrate the use of stem cell therapy to treat arthritis, however that research may not be applicable if it doesn’t consider other factors that impact the patient, such as a person’s age, sex, weight or other health issues.

“A translational researcher needs to speak two languages,” explained Dr. Martin Offringa, a neonatologist and professor of paediatrics at U of T. “They need to understand the clinician perspective and the scientist perspective. They walk between different worlds.”

Dr. Ramsey Foty from the Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and Dr. Thomas Prevot, Program Manager of the Drug Development Program in the Sibille Lab at CAMH, said some of the biggest barriers to translating research is moving it beyond the research paper and demonstrating applications for patients. For Foty, this includes repurposing a common drug for other uses.

“I’m teaching an old drug new tricks,” said Foty. “Some science isn’t ‘sexy,’ but it will make a difference to patients. So, how do you convince the ethics boards, the granting agencies, the pharmaceutical companies, that this pursuit is still worthwhile?”

“There is a barrier in moving your research past publication,” added Prevot. “A translational researcher needs a team of people with diverse expertise to go from discovery to pre-clinical studies, to clinical trials, to commercialization. Translation is too vast to be done alone.”

This TR Talk was one of a series of sessions hosted by the Translational Research Program in collaboration with Health Innovation Hub(H2i) and the Eureka Translational Hub this season. TR Talks are open to the public and are geared towards interprofessional clinicians, researchers and trainees to provoke discussion and community building.

Read the original article featured on the Faculty of Medicine website here.

Found In Translation: If babies can do it, why can’t we?

Found In Translation: If babies can do it, why can’t we?

by: Sandy Marshall

Meet Simon and Ian. They met when they were ~5 months old and over the following months, a friendship grew. They played, read, ate, laughed, giggled, and cried together. They learned to trust, connect, be gentle, and share with each other–all before knowing how to talk.

Trust is the piece that I envy and admire most. Trusting someone with whom you’ve never spoken. And, more impressively, earning their trust.

Science communication is starving for trust. Rival researchers competing for the next publication. Patients asking for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th opinions from health care practitioners. Health care practitioners doubting information from patients and their families.

Fritz and Holton published an article last month, called, “Too much medicine: not enough trust?”1 Tests are being ordered with increasing frequency and the threshold for treatment has lowered.2-4 Fritz and Holton propose that a lack of trust between patients and physicians has led to excess tests and treatment. They point out that ordering extra tests or prescribing extra treatments as a way to build a patient’s trust may have the opposite effect,

“The potential secondary gain of building trust for future encounters is undermined by the dishonesty which accompanies this motive: it is not trustworthy behaviour to manipulate a patient into trusting you by preforming an unnecessary test.”1

I wonder, at what age do we forget how to connect and engage with one another? Does language actually make it harder to be honest and open? Most importantly, how do we build trust?

Fritz and Holton offer continuity and questioning as solutions. Trust builds over time, so continuity of care is crucial. Welcoming questions and acknowledging uncertainty may help, too. Excellent recommendations, but these strategies still sound a bit like chess moves.

In Alan Alda’s book, “If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?”5 he emphasizes that empathy is the key to effective communication. Once we are able to understand how someone else may be feeling and thinking, we can explain what we are passionate about in a way that they will understand and may even trust.

Thinking back to Simon and Ian, I wonder, what if we brought all of the parts of engaging to the table, with the words. What if the next scientific conference you attended was full of eye contact, sharing, and giggles? What if the next medical appointment that you had was jammed with gentleness, patience, and teamwork? Notice your whole body–eyes, hands, gestures, toe-tapping–the next time you communicate science.

Through connecting we might find clarity.


  1. Fritz Z, Holton R. Too much medicine: not enough trust? J Med Ethics. 2018.
  2. Alsan M, Morden NE, Gottlieb JD, Zhou W, Skinner J. Antibiotic Use in Cold and Flu Season and Prescribing Quality: A Retrospective Cohort Study. Med Care. 2015;53(12):1066-1071.
  3. Hensher M, Tisdell J, Zimitat C. “Too much medicine”: Insights and explanations from economic theory and research. Soc Sci Med. 2017;176:77-84.
  4. Klang E, Beytelman A, Greenberg D, et al. Overuse of Head CT Examinations for the Investigation of Minor Head Trauma: Analysis of Contributing Factors. J Am Coll Radiol. 2017;14(2):171-176.
  5. Alda A. If I Understood You, Would I Have This Look on My Face? (ed First). United States: Random House; 2017.

Featured Image source.

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory

Before Fran left the TRP student partner presentations on the Thursday before her passing, she announced “That’s a great project.  If you need a partner, I’m interested”.  She was always interested and generous with her time.  She was always willing to help and to engage with students and projects that would help others. That was the kind of woman she was, curious, humble, kind and always there to help.

When we first met, Fran and I spent three hours sharing stories and towards the end of our chat, she said, “Maybe I should take the program instead of being a Mentor”.  And in a way, she was both a student and a mentor.  She attended every presentation, classes and socials, she sat during her summer mentor hours talking with every student who was looking for advice or guidance—about their projects, careers or personal lives.

Fran had to fight to get to where she was, it wasn’t always easy, and it wasn’t always pleasant.  When she was applying for her Ph.D., Fran told me during our very first conversation, her supervisor refused to support her.  He told her that investing in her education was a waste of time and effort, that she would just end up meeting some guy and having kids, that she would never become an academic.  Maybe that’s what made her so kind and giving, and so devoted to students and mentorship—she even apologized (more than once) for planned vacations that conflicted with her mentorship activities.

Fran did get accepted into her Ph.D., and she did meet ‘some guy’ and she did have kids, but she also became a professor, a researcher, an academic and a role model.  And she became part of our community, a mentor and a friend.

Thank you for all your kindness and devotion.  I’m sorry we didn’t have more time together, Fran.  Let’s grab that coffee next time we meet.


Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Article

Faculty of Medicine Dean’s Article

At the end of October, Trevor Young, the Dean of University of Toronto’s Faculty of Medicine wrote an article for their News publication. He wrote of innovation in healthcare and the various ways the Faculty of Medicine has striven to be a leader in this area. The research discoveries coming out of the University of Toronto fuel application, and the connections within and beyond the Faculty of Medicine facilitates an eco-system of innovation.

Among the infrastructure to drive the application of research are the commercialization support services, accelerators such as H2i, and the Translational Research Program.

“The University also offers more than 80 programs and courses that empower aspiring entrepreneurs to learn more about developing ideas and launching their own business. Among them is the Institute of Medical Science’s Translational Research Program (TRP), which welcomed its fourth cohort in September. This two-year master’s program helps build students’ ability to take discoveries out of labs and apply them in new ways.”

To finish off the article, Trevor Young states that collaboration is integral to innovation and stresses the importance of a network of researchers working together to drive innovation.

Read the full article here.