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John Rubinstein

Title: Senior Scientist, Molecular Medicine
Designations: PhD
Phone: 416-813-7255
U of T Positions: Professor, Departments of Biochemistry and Medical Biophysics


John Rubinstein received his PhD from Cambridge University where he worked in Medical Research Council laboratories under the supervision of Sir John E. Walker (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 1997) and Dr. Richard Henderson (Nobel Prize for Chemistry, 2017). Dr. Rubinstein was a post-doctoral research associate at the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology before returning to Canada for a National Cancer Institute of Canada (NCIC) post-doctoral fellowship at the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research. He joined the Research Institute of The Hospital for Sick Children in 2006. 


The Rubinstein laboratory uses and develops tools to study the structure and function of biological molecules. These tools allow us to understand the molecular machines in cells involved in respiration and the flow of biological energy. The systems we study include the main producer of the cellular energy currency ATP (the ATP synthase), proton pumps that energize membranes (V-type ATPases), and the network of machines that allow cells to use oxygen to extracting energy from food (the respiratory chain). This work allows us to understand the basic biology of disease processes and the interaction of different drugs with these systems, thereby opening the path to improved therapies. 

Education and experience

  • 1994–1998: B.Sc., College of Physical and Engineering Science, University of Guelph, Canada
  • 1998–2001: PhD, Medical Research Council (LMB and DHNU), University of Cambridge, U.K.
  • 2002–2003: Postdoctoral Fellow, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, U.K.
  • 2003–2005: Postdoctoral Fellow, Banting and Best Department of Medical Research, University of Toronto, Canada


  • 2020: Doctorate of Philosophy honoris causa -Stockholm University
  • 2020: National Lecturer - Biophysical Society of Canada
  • 2014 – 2021: Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Electron cryomicroscopy
  • 2014: GE Healthcare New Investigator Award  -Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences
  • 2013: Burton Medal - Microscopy Society of America
  • 2007 – 2012: New Investigator Award -  Canadian Institutes of Health Research
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