In 2016, the university introduced a sprawling, new 20,000 ft² ultramodern scientific research facility in North America’s largest urban innovation hub, the MaRS Discovery District. The state-of-the-art space threw the door wide open for leading researchers to create rich collaborations.
Exploration in biomedical science, in particular, has spread in exciting new directions. Over the years, our molecular and cellular scientists have peered into their microscopes to investigate the mysteries of both normal and diseased cells. Their discoveries now form the basis for the biomedical innovations of tomorrow.
Four individual spotlights provide a peek into the biomedical research taking place at the MaRS labs.
Breaking silos, forging new frontiers
As problems become more complex, scientists from completely different disciplines are joining forces to create new synergies in biomedicine. Dr. Costin Antonescu has been crisscrossing these borders for years.
His lab studies how normal cells and cancer cells interact with and respond to their environment. For over 40 years, scientists knew that the protein clathrin controls how cells take up nutrients from the outside. The Antonescu Lab revealed a surprising new role: directly controlling how cells respond to growth factors that cause cellular proliferation.
“Since coming to TMU, my research has shifted to new and exciting ideas, shaped by rich interactions with colleagues, many of whom practice well outside of my traditional cell biology background.”
Armed with deep knowledge of this uptake process, Dr. Antonescu teamed up with fellow cell biologist Dr. Roberto Botelho and TMU physicist Dr. Raffi Karshafian, an expert in ultrasound and microbubble therapy.
Together, the trio discovered that ultrasound can manipulate cells to take up materials from the outside more quickly. The development could eventually be used to deliver tiny, micro-sized bubbles impregnated with cancer-fighting drugs directly into tumor cells — without damaging healthy surrounding tissue.