Penney Gilbert named Canada Research Chair in Endogenous Repair

Professor Penney Gilbert

Professor Penney Gilbert’s research investigates cues that “wake up” muscle stem cells and direct them to repair skeletal damage. (Photo: Neil Ta).

December 2, 2016

Professor Penney Gilbert has been named Tier 2 Canada Research Chair (CRC) in an announcement made today by federal science minister Kirsty Duncan at the University of Toronto Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work.

The Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering (IBBME) researcher is one of two U of T Engineering professors and 25 faculty members across the University to receive CRC appointments. They join 216 current chairholders across the University of Toronto.

“I would like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to the new and renewed Canada Research Chairs. The Government of Canada is proud to support talented researchers whose hard work will improve our scientific understanding and strengthen Canada’s reputation for research excellence,” said Minister Duncan, who is herself a U of T alumna. “The Chairs’ efforts will also provide us with the evidence needed to inform decisions that help us build a vibrant society and a strong middle class.”

“I am very honoured by this appointment, and for the recognition of my research team’s efforts toward unlocking the secrets that permit the human body to heal itself,” said Gilbert, who was named the CRC in Endogenous Repair. She received the appointment for her research into the cues that “wake up” muscle stem cells and direct them to repair skeletal damage. Along with her team, Gilbert hopes to decipher these cues and inform the development of new drugs, therapies and treatments that restore strength to muscles that are wasting as a result of aging or disease.

“We’re extremely proud of the leadership and research excellence demonstrated by Professors Hatzopoulou and Gilbert, and I am pleased to congratulate them on this recognition,” said Professor David Sinton (MIE), interim vice-dean, research for the Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering. “We’re also grateful for this investment in our Faculty as our researchers continue to work across disciplines to address the world’s most pressing challenges.”

The CRC program was launched in 2000 to help the country attract and retain research leaders in engineering and the natural sciences, health sciences, humanities and social sciences. Tier 1 Chairs last for seven years, and recognize outstanding researchers acknowledged by their peers as world leaders in their fields. Tier 2 Chairs are for exceptional emerging researchers and last for five years.

—With files from Kevin Soobrian, U of T Engineering Strategic Communications