Engineering professor Michael Sefton has been appointed executive director of Medicine by Design, a University of Toronto initiative that is accelerating discoveries in regenerative medicine research to improve treatments for conditions such as heart failure, diabetes and stroke.
Sefton, a pioneer in tissue engineering and biomaterials, takes over from Peter Zandstra, who is stepping down to lead a new school of biomedical engineering at the University of British Columbia.
“Regenerative medicine is a key priority for the University of Toronto, and Medicine by Design is strengthening our position as a global centre of excellence and innovation in this area,” said Vivek Goel, chair of Medicine by Design’s Executive Committee and U of T’s vice-president of research and innovation. “Michael is an internationally recognized expert in the field, and I am delighted he has agreed to lead the next phase of Medicine by Design.”
Medicine by Design was established in July 2015 with a $114-million grant — the largest single research award in U of T’s history — from the federal government’s Canada First Research Excellence Fund. The initiative builds on U of T’s rich legacy of contributions to stem cells and regenerative medicine, starting in the early 1960s with the identification of blood stem cells by biophysicist James Till and hematologist Ernest McCulloch.