Dr. Aaron Schimmer

Co-leader, Acute Leukemia TRI

Dr. Schimmer is a Staff Physician and Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network.  He is the interim Associate Director of the Research at the Princess Margaret and an executive member of the Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology.  He is the co-leader of OICR’s Acute Leukemia Translational Research Initiative.

The Schimmer lab is focused in on developing new therapeutic strategies for leukemia with a focus on targeting dysregulated mitochondrial pathways in leukemic stem cells.  Dr. Schimmer and his team advance novel molecules from the lab to the bedside.

Current affiliations

  • Co-leader, OICR Acute Leukemia Translational Research Initiative;
  • Senior Scientist, Princess Margaret Research Institute;
  • Staff Physician, Division of Medical Oncology Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre;
  • Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto;
  • Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto;
  • Professor, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto;
  • Associate Director of Research (Interim), Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Research Institute;
  • Executive Member, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre Research Institute;
  • Executive Member and Head of basic Research, Department of Medical Oncology and Hematology, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, University Health Network;
  • Baker Chair in Leukemia and Related Diseases, University Health Network.

Research interests

  • Leukemia;
  • Mitochondria and metabolism;
  • Stem cells;
  • Molecular biology;
  • Molecular genetics.

Select publications

Skrtic M, Sriskanthadevan S, Jhas B, Gebbia M, Wang X, Wang Z, Hurren R, Jitkova Y, Gronda M, Maclean N, Lai CK, Eberhard Y, Bartoszko J, Spagnuolo P, Rutledge AC, Datti A, Ketela T, Moffat J, Robinson BH, Cameron JH, Wrana J, Eaves CJ, Minden MD, Wang JC, Dick JE, Humphries K, Nislow C, Giaever G, Schimmer AD.
Inhibition of mitochondrial translation as a therapeutic strategy for human acute myeloid leukemia.
Cancer Cell. 2011; 20:674-88.

Sukhai MA, Prabha S, Hurren R, Rutledge AC, Lee AY, Sriskanthadevan S, Sun H, Wang X, Skrtic M, Seneviratne A, Cusimano M, Jhas B, Gronda M, MacLean N, Cho EE, Spagnuolo PA, Sharmeen S, Gebbia M, Urbanus M, Eppert K, Dissanayake D, Jonet A, Dassonville-Klimpt A, Li X, Datti A, Ohashi PS, Wrana J, Rogers I, Sonnet P, Ellis WY, Corey SJ, Eaves C, Minden MD, Wang JC, Dick JE, Nislow C, Giaever G, Schimmer AD.
Lysosomal disruption preferentially targets acute myeloid leukemia cells and progenitors.
J Clin Invest. 2013; 123:315-28.

Cole A, Wang Z, Coyaud E, Voisin V, Gronda M, Jitkova Y, Mattson R, Hurren R, Babovic S, Maclean N, Restall I, Wang X, Jeyaraju DV, Sukhai MA, Prabha S, Bashir S, Ramakrishnan A, Leung E, Qia YH, Zhang N, Combes KR, Ketela T, Lin F, Houry WA, Aman A, Al-Awar R, Zheng W, Wienholds E, Xu CJ, Dick J, Wang JC, Moffat J, Minden MD, Eaves CJ, Bader GD, Hao Z, Kornblau SM, Raught B, Schimmer AD.
Inhibition of the Mitochondrial Protease ClpP as a Therapeutic Strategy for Human Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
Cancer Cell. 2015; 27:864-76.

Sriskanthadevan S, Jeyaraju DV, Chung TE, Prabha S, Xu W, Skrtic M, Jhas B, Hurren R, Gronda M, Wang X, Jitkova Y, Sukhai MA, Lin FH, Maclean N, Laister R, Goard CA, Mullen PJ, Xie S, Penn LZ, Rogers IM, Dick JE, Minden MD, Schimmer AD.
AML cells have low spare reserve capacity in their respiratory chain that renders them susceptible to oxidative metabolic stress.
Blood. 2015; 125:2120-30.

Liyanage SU, Hurren R, Voisin V, Bridon G, Wang X, Xu C, MacLean N, Siriwardena TP, Gronda M, Yehudai D, Sriskanthadevan S, Avizonis D, Shamas-Din A, Minden MD, Bader GD, Laposa R, Schimmer AD.
Leveraging increased cytoplasmic nucleoside kinase activity to target mtDNA and oxidative phosphorylation in AML.
Blood. 2017; 129(19):2657-2666.

See Dr. Schimmer’s recent publications on PubMed.


  • University of Toronto, Department of Medicine, Eaton Scholar, Basic Research, 2018;
  • Elected to the American Society of Clinical Investigation, 2017;
  • University of Toronto, Division of Hematology, Paper of the Year Award, 2016;
  • Canadian Cancer Society, Young Investigator Award, 2013;
  • University Health Network, Inventor of the Year, 2012;
  • Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Paper of the Year, 2012;
  • Canadian Stem Cell Network, Till and McCulloch Award, 2012;
  • Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Joe Doupe Young Investigator Award, 2008;
  • Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America, Named Scholar in Clinical Research, 2008.

Previous experience

  • PhD, University of Toronto;
  • FRCPC, Hematology, Medical Council of Canada;
  • FRCPC, Internal Medicine, Medical Council of Canada;
  • MD, University of Toronto.

Opportunities to collaborate

To collaborate with Dr. Schimmer, please contact him directly.

Visit OICR’s Collaborative Research Resources directory for more opportunities to collaborate with OICR researchers.

Related links

University Health Network Researcher Page – Dr. Aaron Schimmer

The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute Team – Dr. Aaron Schimmer

University of Toronto, Department of Medical Biophysics Faculty Page – Dr. Aaron Schimmer

Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Profile – Dr. Aaron Schimmer


Dr. Aaron Schimmer