Colin Ross

Dr. Colin Ross’ research is using genetics to improve the safety and effectiveness of medications and to develop new genetic medicines to improve the lives of patients.

Each year in Canada, severe adverse drug reactions (ADRs), such as medication-induced heart failure, cause 3,600-10,000 deaths. Children are especially vulnerable to ADRs. In the treatment of childhood cancer, a staggering 73% of patients develop chronic health conditions from their treatment and 42% develop life-threatening ADRs.

Dr. Ross’ research is focused on identifying genetic factors of serious ADRs and using this information to develop tests that identify patients at high risk of an ADR before the patient receives a medication.

There are an estimated 8,000 rare genetic diseases which cumulatively affect 1 in 12 people and account for 50% of the costs of hospital-based pediatric practice. Genome sequencing has aided our ability to understand and diagnose genetic diseases. However, only 5% of genetic diseases have treatments and these often provide only limited benefit to patients. Dr. Ross’ research aims to treat genetic diseases at the root cause of the disease, in the DNA, by replacing or repairing the non-functioning gene.