Dr. Irwin received her Bachelors of Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Medical Degree from Harvard Medical School. She completed residency and fellowship training in paediatrics and Haematology/Oncology at Boston Children’s Hospital and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts followed by a research fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. William Kaelin, a Howard Hughes Medical Investigator at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute studying the role of the p53-related genes, p73 and p63, in cancer. After three years on faculty at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Dr. Irwin joined the Division of Haematology/Oncology at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) in April 2002 as a Clinician-Scientist.
She is currently a Senior Scientist in Cell Biology, Professor of Paediatrics (cross-appointed to the Departments of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology (LMP), Medical Biophysics (MBP)), and the Chair of Paediatrics/Paediatrician-in-Chief. She also holds many leadership roles in international committees including the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG), and Advances in Neuroblastoma Research (ANR).
Her laboratory research focuses on understanding the molecular determinants of neuroblastoma to identify novel therapies that target signaling pathways using a variety of cellular and animal models. Their translational research program is linked with the SickKids Kids Cancer Sequencing (KiCS) Program and national precision oncology for young people (PROFYLE) programs with a focus on modeling novel germline and somatic variants. Dr. Irwin’s research has been funded by Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), Canadian Cancer Society Research Institute (CCSRI), National Cancer Institute (NCI) and many neuroblastoma-focused foundations.
In addition to laboratory-based research she is involved in international efforts to develop risk classification systems and clinical trials for newly diagnosed and relapsed neuroblastoma. Locally, Dr. Irwin established the Neuroblastoma Program that is co-led by Dr. Daniel Morgenstern and includes a multidisciplinary team with expertise in the care of neuroblastoma patients. The program cares for local patients as well as provides expert consultations and access to local and international clinical trials and MIBG therapy.
In addition to translational neuroblastoma research Dr. Irwin is involved in the development of clinician-scientist training and education programs including the first residency research stream in Paediatrics in Canada.
Areas of Specialty:
Neuroblastoma, Solid Tumours, Precision Medicine
Clinical Care Activities:
Dr. Irwin’s clinical program specializes in the care of patients with newly diagnosed and relapsed neuroblastoma. She is also the SickKids Site PI for many COG and New Approaches to Neuroblastoma Therapy (NANT) studies for patients with neuroblastoma and has leadership roles in the COG and INRG.
- Role of p53 family genes in cancer and chemotherapy sensitivity
- Novel pathways and targeted therapies for neuroblastoma
- Molecular and genetic determinants of metastasis in neuroblastoma
- Genetic predisposition to neuroblastoma
- Prognostic factors and risk stratification for neuroblastoma
- Precision medicine
- Chair of Paediatrics/Paediatrician-in-Chief
- Paediatric Oncologist, Solid Tumour Program
- Chair, COG Neuroblastoma Biology Subcommittee
- International Neuroblastoma Risk Group (INRG) Committee
- Advances in Neuroblastoma Research (ANR)