Aaron David Schimmer, MD, PhD, FRCPC
Year elected: 2017
Current membership category: Active
University of Toronto
Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Rm 7-417
610 University Ave
Toronto, ON M5G 2M9
Phone: 416 946 2838
Dr. Schimmer graduated from medical school at the University of Toronto and completed specialty and subspecialty training in internal medicine in and hematology. He subsequently pursued research training and received his PhD in Molecular Biology in 2001. Dr. Schimmer then undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at the Burnham Institute in San Diego, California. Dr. Schimmer is currently a staff physician and member of the leukemia group at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Senior Scientist at the Ontario Cancer Institute, and a Professor at the University of Toronto.
Dr. Schimmer’s research program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in Toronto, Canada is focused on developing novel therapeutic strategies that target AML cells and stem cells. His team demonstrated that a subgroup of AML cells have dysregulated mitochondrial biogenesis with reduced spare reserve capacity in their mitochondrial respiratory chains. They showed that AML cells have a heightened sensitivity to strategies that inhibit oxidative phosphorylation. Targeting mitochondrial processes such as mitochondrial protein synthesis or the degradation of mitochondrial proteins selectively eliminates AML cells and stem cells in vitro and in vivo preferentially over normal hematopoietic cells. To translate the biological discoveries into the clinic, small molecules that act on these mitochondrial targets have been developed and are being optimized for clinical trial.