(April 24, 2012—Toronto, ON) Dr. Jim Woodgett
’s leadership has continued to build and solidify the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute’s stature as one of the world’s leading centres in biomedical research. Director of Research at the Lunenfeld since 2005, Dr. Woodgett received a Diamond Jubilee Medal
last week in recognition of his pivotal research and leadership in advancing the health of Canadians through his role at the Lunenfeld.
“Since the very start of his Directorship of the Lunenfeld, Dr. Woodgett has been a leading innovator at Mount Sinai Hospital,” said Joseph Mapa, President and CEO of Mount Sinai Hospital. “We are extremely proud of Dr. Woodgett’s accomplishments, both at the helm of the Institute and among the greater scientific community.”
Dr. Woodgett is internationally renowned for his visionary approach to research into the manipulation of cell processes to treat certain cancers, diabetes and neurodegenerative conditions, and to ensuring that discoveries made by scientists at the world-renowned Institute are applied to patient care.
When asked about the award, Dr. Woodgett said, “I’d give everyone in the Institute a medal if I could — it’s their work that makes the Lunenfeld so successful and such a great place to be.”
The Woodgett lab focuses on understanding the role of a family of regulatory proteins directly implicated in human cancers (especially breast and colon cancer), as well as in diabetes and metabolism. Dr. Woodgett primarily studies a pair of enzymes that encode two forms of the protein GSK-3, and his lab has been studying its action for over 20 years.
Dr. Woodgett’s team has generated the only mouse models in which either or both genes for GSK-3 have been inactivated, and they have been studying the consequences of selectively inactivating these genes in specific tissues. Over the past few years, Dr. Woodgett’s group has focused on previously unexplored functions of GSK-3 in the brain, where it influences behaviour and the overall number of neurons that ultimately develop. These findings have implications for the treatment of certain psychiatric disorders including Alzheimer’s disease, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
Under Dr. Woodgett’s leadership, Lunenfeld researchers have received prestigious awards, secured competitive research grants and made significant discoveries that have been featured in news reports in Canada and internationally.
Dr. Woodgett is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada who has received numerous awards including a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Senior Investigator Award, Howard Hughes Medical Institute International Research Scholarship and Medical Research Council Senior Scientist award.