Each research Theme is led by an Academic Lead, supported by an Academic Co-Lead, a Patient Co-Lead and a group of expert advisors, along with a Theme Manager to help coordinate and enhance communications and collaboration across the CDTRP.


The CDTRP is committed to integrating four cross-cutting Research Priorities within each Theme:


  • Sex and Gender

  • Pediatric, adolescent and elderly age groups

  • Indigenous, rural and remote populations

  • Policy, commercialization and knowledge transfer


To support the five Themes and continue to build capacity, the CDTRP offers exclusive services to its members via four Platforms:

  • Research Services

  • Data Innovations

  • Education and Career Development 

  • Patient Researcher Partnership



Theme 1: Create a culture of donation

Creating a culture of donation in our hospitals, governments and society is an essential component of improving the performance of the donation system. This Theme will study methods to measure, create and implement a culture where the benefits of organ, tissue and cell donation are valued by stakeholders across the donation process. 


Key research areas:

  • Increase understanding of the stakeholder experience during the donation process

  • Develop and implement knowledge transfer tools

  • Explore the ethical, legal and economic impact of emerging donation practices

Theme 2: Inform universal practices for donation

As a means to continuously improve the donation process and develop the field of donation sciences in Canada, this Theme is also set to better the transplant yield from willing individuals, living or deceased, who are in a position to donate. 

Key research areas:

  • Expand the criteria for eligible donors

  • Improve care for deceased donors

  • Identify predictors of organ non-function

Theme 3: Engineer and allocate better grafts

Events occurring during the immediate pre- and post-transplant periods dictate long-term outcomes. With technological advances and building on CDTRP discoveries, investigators can begin to explore modifying and manipulating the graft as well as the recipient before transplant to improve short and long-term outcomes.


Key research areas:

  • Ex vivo organ perfusion treatments and assessment

  • Assessment of tissue damage and impact on transplant outcomes

  • Graft Engineering and Allocation

Theme 4: Tailor an optimal immune system for each patient

Patients with organ or islet transplants live with the life-long possibility of rejection, whereas recipients of HCT face the reverse problem: GVHD (where newly-transplanted immune system attacks the body). The immunosuppressive medications that keep rejection and chronic GVHD at bay do so by suppressing all immune responses, leaving patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, renal toxicity and cancer. Patients have identified the inadequacy of current medications and their toxic side-effects as a top research priority. 


Key research areas:

  • Immunomodulation strategies

  • Infections and Immunity 


Theme 5: Restore long-term health 

While quality of life generally improves after transplantation, in the long term many patients do not return to their expected level of function and fulfillment. Adverse side-effects and other complications from immunosuppressive medications, complex factors leading to graft failure and sometimes recurrence of the original disease all hinder a return to expected levels of function and fulfillment. 


Key research areas:

  • Returning to full health

  • Long-term data and metrics


Network Leads

Lori West

Scientific Director



Sonny Dhanani

Associate Director - Donation


Matthew Weiss

Lead​; Laval

Jennifer Chandler

Co-Lead; UofOttawa


Maureen Meade

Lead: McMaster

James Shapiro

Co-Lead; UAlberta




Lead; UdeMontréal

Markus Selzner

Co-Lead; UToronto


Megan Levings

Lead; UBC

Atul Humar

Co-Lead; UToronto


Tom Blydt-Hansen

Lead; UBC

Sunita Mathur

Co-Lead; UToronto

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