Contact Us

41 Ramsey Lake Road
Sudbury, ON Canada
P3E 5J1
Phone: (705) 523-7300
Fax: (705) 523-7326


Awards & Recognition

    Top 40 Research Hospital 2016  



Our Research

HSNRI’s research priorities have been strategically selected and identified and are based on the strengths of our team members, the health priorities of our region, and the needs and focus of our affiliated hospital, Health Sciences North.

Northern & Indigenous Health

Northeastern Ontario has a population of approximately 60,000 First Nations people with health outcomes that are worse than the same population throughout Ontario as a whole, in the areas of cancer, lifelong vitality and infectious disease. A driving force for HSNRI will be promoting the health of Northerners and preventing disease. This includes looking at and acting upon health factors affecting our Northern and Indigenous populations.Our region is geographically and demographically unique with numerous rural and remote communities. Northerners and Indigenous peoples face unique health challenges given the vast expanse of the region and issues with access to health care services and providers. As a result, people in this region have poorer health status and face unique challenges due to culture and geography. HSNRI promotes and supports health equity and economic prosperity in Northern Ontario through high quality and focused research translated to patient health and health care practices for improved population health for all Northerners. HSNRI’s commitment to population health is to improve the quality of care and promote better health outcomes and community-based partnerships to support healthy communities. Our Northern population health research focuses on the specialized needs of populations such as Indigenous peoples; those with chronic health conditions; and, those in rural and remote areas.

Research Chair in Indigenous and Northern Health

HSNRI’s research priority in Northern and Indigenous Health uses a community-based participatory action research (CBPAR) framework to engage communities for local community benefit. Indigenous Research Methods aim to develop equal partnerships between researchers and participants (“two-eyed seeing”) and create knowledge that leads to action and positive social change and are guided by commitment to the 4R’s: relational accountability, respect, reciprocity, and responsibility. CBPAR outcomes are then linked to large databases such as the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and regional hospital databases, to examine and evaluate our regional health characteristics with a community-based population health approach. Our research is conducted according to Tri-Council Policy on Ethics of Research in First Nations, Inuit and Métis Peoples of Canada and the principles of OCAP – Ownership, Control, Access and Possession, and is part of a larger movement toward ensuring culturally safe healthcare practices for Indigenous people. This research area intersects with each of HSNRI’s research priorities providing valuable data and informing evidence-based research, intending to improve the quality of life for all Northern and Indigenous peoples. The Laurentian University Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Health is an Affiliate Scientist with HSNRI and an ICES Scientist.

Healthy Aging

Research Chair in Healthy Aging

The Health Sciences North Volunteer Association Chair in Healthy Aging leads this important area of research, which is designed to promote healthy aging and vitality across the lifespan. The priority also focuses on the discovery of therapies and solutions for multiple conditions associated with aging. This focus on healthy aging will move toward a lifespan approach and intersect with HSN’s significant commitment to healthcare redesign to address the challenges of Mental Health and Addictions. This area of research works closely with the Infection & Immunity, Cancer Solutions, and Personalized Medicine programs to help improve the quality of life of Northern Ontarians and to other jurisdictions. It also intersects with the priority in Northern and Indigenous Health to promote healthy aging across the lifespan. HSNRI`s Healthy Aging priority is closely modeled on the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) Institute of Aging’s goal to improve the quality of life and health of older Canadians by understanding and addressing or preventing the consequences of a wide range of factors associated with aging. This research priority is supported by funding from CIHR, Northern Ontario Academic Medical Association, the Northern Ontario Heritage Fund Corporation, and the National Institutes of Health.

NEO Kids

NEO Kids is Northeastern Ontario’s hub for specialized children’s care. The goal of NEO Kids is to ensure as many children as possible can stay in Northeastern Ontario to get the care they need, in a child-and youth-centred environment. This objective has been supported by the Northeast Local Health Integration Network’s commitment to build a comprehensive children’s health centre in Northeastern Ontario, which will also provide an expanded opportunity for world-class paediatric research. For instance, a current research study funded by NEO Kids involves the investigation of whether low, long-term levels of radon are linked with child cancers such as leukemia.

Cancer Solutions

Northeastern Ontario has significantly higher rates of cancer incidents and mortality than the rest of Ontario. Recognizing this is a health priority for the region, HSNRI recognizes a need for studying cancer, supporting cancer patients, promoting cancer research and providing personalized treatment solutions.

Tumour Biology

The Tumour Biology Research Program at HSNRI was founded in 1996 as part of the Northeastern Cancer Centre at HSN. The program comprises a critical mass of researchers in molecular and cellular biology who are working towards the translation of basic research into clinical practice. The research fits within the framework of the Northeast Regional Cancer Plan 2011-2015 (based upon the Ontario Cancer Plan 2011-2015), which focuses on advancing the quality of all cancer services for patients in Northeastern Ontario through integration, partnerships and innovation. Improved cancer services will benefit the patient at every step throughout the cancer journey - prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and recovery/palliative care. This area of research works closely with researchers in the other three pillars including immunotherapies, personalized medicine, and lifelong vitality for innovations that move from a focus on cancer care, to those ranging from cancer risk related to exposures in Northern Ontario through to the delivery of culturally inclusive care.

Supportive Care Oncology Research Unit (SCORU)

Understanding that exposures unique to Northern Ontario increases cancer risk through to culturally inclusive care, the Northeast Cancer Centre created the Supportive Care Oncology Research Unit (SCORU). SCORU has a mandate to undertake research broadly referred to as “supportive care” both behavioral and psychosocial within the cancer field. The research conducted by this unit includes such topics as: development and testing of psychosocial and psychoeducational interventions; description of patients’ issues and experiences; effective and efficient usage of health care resources; quality of life assessments; and evaluation of various oncology programs

Research Chair in Cancer Solutions

An internationally recognized scientist in cancer research will be recruited to build capacity and support collaborations with and among the tumor biology and other HSNRI scientists. The strategy to recruit an internationally recognized candidate is to develop national and international collaborations as well as conduct research that stimulates fund-raising for a Research Chair in Cancer Solutions.

Infection & Immunity

HSNRI's vaccine development and immunotherapy program is oriented towards combating chronic and infectious diseases that are prevalent in many Northern communities. Specific infections currently under investigation by HSNRI scientists include Clostridium difficile, Campylobacter and Influenza. Areas of study range widely from the issues of potable water in Indigenous communities through to infection control in the hospital setting. Vaccines and immunotherapies will be designed not only to prevent disease but mitigate the disabling consequences of these illnesses.

This core research program is strengthened through new and existing linkages and partnerships with several leaders in vaccine research across Canada, including Health Canada, the National Research Council, the Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC), the Canadian Immunization Research Network (CIRN), as well as private industry. The research is presently funded by CIHR, Northern Ontario Academic Medicine Association (NOAMA), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Personalized Medicine

Personalized Medicine is an emerging technology that can be harnessed to research and treat many of the diseases that are more common in Northeastern Ontario. The goal of Personalized Medicine is to evaluate the unique genetic causes of each patient's illness, or predisposition to an illness, and tailor medical treatments specifically for each patient. This approach is rapidly transforming all areas of medicine and supporting research at the intersection of human biology, behaviour, genetics, environment, data science and computation, and much more to produce new knowledge with the goal of developing more effective ways to prolong health and treat disease. Our research develops a wide range of laboratory tests that have immense potential to positively impact all aspects of medicine. Ultimately, person-centred approaches to understand how values and context contribute to the clinical decision-making process will ultimately help improve health outcomes in the prevention and treatment of cancer for the people and communities of Northern Ontario.

Given the complex and dynamic nature of health and biomedical research it is not uncommon to find researchers aligned with multiple areas, an indication of the inter-disciplinary nature of the work they do. The emerging research community in the Sudbury area has significant partnership potential to integrate research programmes.