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Her Royal Highness, The Princess Edward, Countess of Wessex, Dr. Don Weaver (Centre), Director of the Krembil Research Institute, and Robert Krembil, a UHN Trustee, at Friday event renaming Toronto Western Hospital’s research arm the Krembil Research Institute. (Photo: UHN)

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Krembil Research Institute Fast Facts

Institute Director: Dr. Donald Weaver
Researchers: 245
Technical/Support Staff: 275
Sq. Ft. Research Space: 161,396
Total Publications: 841
External Funding: $44,528,119​

The renaming of Toronto Western Hospital's research arm to the Krembil Research Institute brings Dr. Don Weaver's bold and ambitious vision into sharper focus.

The Director of the newly-branded Krembil, as it will be known, looks to a world without chronic, debilitating disorders. He sees the diseases of an aging population – in the brain, spine, bones, joints and eyes – being cured, easing an enormous burden on patients, their families and the healthcare system.

"The diseases we are researching don't stop, but neither do we," Dr. Weaver told an audience, which included Her Royal Highness, The Princess Edward, Countess of Wessex, on Friday at Toronto Western.

"Cures. That's why we're here," said Dr. Weaver, who envisions Krembil becoming one of the world's top five research institutes. "To find treatments and help our patients live not just longer, but better, higher quality lives."

Calling it "a new era of research at Toronto Western," Dr. Weaver said Krembil is aligning its strategic focus with the big health issues of the 21st Century, which are destined to have an increasingly large impact on society as our population grows older.

"One of the important things to recognize is that brilliant science needs support to make it come to life," said Dr. Weaver, whose research interests are focused on computer-aided drug design and medicinal chemistry with particular applications to chronic neurodegenerative disorders. "And, in our case, we have found that support from the family whose name now appropriately graces our institute.

"I say 'appropriately' because the Krembil family has been supporting our work for nearly two decades."

 

The Krembils are among Canada's leading investors in neuroscience research. Their impact at Toronto Western alone is $80 million, including the nine-storey, state-of-the-art Krembil Discovery Tower, which opened in 2013.

Robert Krembil is a UHN Trustee and Mark Krembil is a member of the Toronto General & Western Hospital Foundation Board of Directors.

"Our family has been involved with Toronto Western Hospital for more than 18 years," Robert Krembil said. "During this time, we have gained a deep appreciation for the research excellence and the scientists who are working to find cures for some of the more debilitating health issues of our day.

"We are proud to continue our support of the valuable work that happens here."

Her Royal Highness, who is the patron of Toronto Western and known more affectionately as Princess Sophie, said she was "tremendously proud and excited" to make the announcement.

"Our world-leading scientists now have a renewed sense of pride in their life's work to find cures for diseases of the brain, spine, bones joints and eyes," said Her Royal Highness, who is the wife of Prince Edward, the youngest son of Queen Elizabeth II. "And it will bring tremendous hope to our patients who will ultimately be the beneficiaries of discovery research."

UHN President and CEO, Dr. Peter Pisters, called the announcement "a major milestone" and said acknowledging the Krembil's support publicly is a way of saying thank you to them.

"The Krembil name will also provide a distinct identity for the Research Institute and become a magnet for recruiting the best scientific talent in the world," said Dr. Pisters', the event's Master of Ceremony.​​​

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