Dr. John C. Roder

January 06, 2018

Dr. John Carlin Roder, FRSC, passed away on Saturday, January 6, 2018.  John was one of the Institute's first scientists, recruited by Lou Siminovitch in 1985 from Queens University. John spent over 30 years at LTRI as a Senior Scientist, before his retirement. For those who didn’t personally know John, he was an amazing scientist and truly caring person. Remarkably, in mid-career, he decided to switch his entire scientific focus from natural killer cells and immunology to the genetics of neuroscience. John went on to become a world leader in this field, developing new tests and mouse models of psychiatric disease including, as this Globe and Mail story describes, important advances in schizophrenia (https://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/a-clue-to-schizophrenias-elusive-cause/article20396778/).

John established the Lunenfeld’s neurobehavioural laboratory, which is now part of The Centre for Phenogenomics, and he was directly involved in the discovery of the R1 embryonic stem cell line that has been used by countless researchers to generate mouse models of human disease. His many contributions to science are far too numerous to list and John also mentored many of Canada’s most successful neuroscientists. John had Huntington’s disease, a progressive neurological disorder that he refused to let define or limit him. He actively participated in awareness efforts for the disease and often gave interviews (see links below).  He was featured in a documentary, "Do You Really Want to Know” about the impact of genetic diagnosis on individuals with Huntingtons in their family. His mind remained as sharp as as a razor and many of us remember being sent a list of papers John thought we should know about.

Our deepest condolences to John’s wife, Mary-Lou, and to John's family. Canada has lost a giant in neuroscience, they have lost a most wonderful man.


 John Roder (centre) with fellows, Tatiana Lipina (right) and Steven Clapcote (left)

John Roder (centre) with fellows, Tatiana Lipina (right) and Steven Clapcote (left)


Links to John’s efforts to educate and rise awareness of Huntington’s disease:



https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2013/02/10/ huntingtons_disease_does_keep_mount_sinai_scientist_from_brilliant_work.html



Link to Obituary in the Toronto Star:


Link to Guest Book:





Dr. John C. Roder is a neurobiologist, and Senior Investigator at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital. As a Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, Dr. Roder holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Learning and Memory.

Dr. Roder's ultimate goal is to discover new treatments for schizophrenia, anxiety, epilepsy, depression, and other mental disorders.

His research focuses on the roles of molecules in the central nervous system and aims to determine targeted new drug therapies for neurological and psychiatric disease. He has carried out genome-wide forward and reverse genetic screens of ENU mutagenized mice. The Roder lab is also focused on identifying new genes, synapse and signaling pathways that contribute to learning and memory.

In a groundbreaking study in 2007, Dr. Roder demonstrated for the first time in mouse models that malfunction of the gene DISC 1, previously associated with schizophrenia and depression, does, in fact, cause symptoms of those disorders.


September 2012

On Friday, September 28, 2012, Dr. John Roder received a Professional Achievement Award from the Alumni Association at Western University.

January 2011
In July of 2010, Dr. John Roder was elected into the Royal Society of Canada. In November he travelled with his wife to Ottawa to be officially inducted into the prestigeous organization. This award shows strong recognition by his peers for his excellence in learning and research.
For more on this story click here

January 13 2010

The Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) has donated $51,000 to support neurobiology research conducted by Senior Investigator Dr. John Roder. The labour union has contributed annually to Dr. Roder’s research since 1994, through funds raised at their hockey tournament. To date, the ATU’s contributions have totaled approximately $500,000 and this year’s donation is the highest ever.
For more on this story click here

Left to Right: Paul Haynes - Rocco Signorile - Dr. John Roder - Les Moore - Bill Fowlie