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Michael Wilson

Title: Senior Scientist, Genetics and Genome Biology
Designations: PhD
Phone: 416-813-7654 ext. 328699
Alternate Contact Name: Catherine Tan
Alternate Phone: 416-813-6385
Alternate Email:
U of T Positions: Associate Professor
Chair Positions: Canada Research Chair, Comparative Genomics


Michael D. Wilson leads a research group that uses genomic technologies, multi-species comparisons, bioinformatics and molecular biology to uncover gene and genome regulatory mechanisms that are relevant to developmental and disease processes. By comparing epigenetic regulation between species, with a focus on the cardiovascular system, his team is uncovering fundamental mechanisms of genome regulation.

Through genomics, computational analyses, functional studies and collaborations, they are putting their findings into the context of human gene function and disease. 


Current projects involve studying: a) gene regulatory elements that control acute inflammation in mammalian endothelial cells; b) ancient gene regulatory elements shared between humans and fish in the context of early heart development; c) how DNA topoisomerases regulate genome structure and function; d) gene regulatory networks that control postnatal development; d) genomic technologies that will enable help diagnosis of rare genetic disease and cancer.  

These projects require wet-bench and computational expertise and close collaborations with expert model organism researchers and clinicians. 

Education and experience

  • 2018–Present: Senior Scientist, Genetics and Genome Biology Program, SickKids Research Institute, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON 
  • 2018–Present: Associate Professor, Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 2017–Present: Faculty Member, Collaborative Program in Genome Biology and Bioinformatics, Interdepartmental M.Sc./PhD program, cross-appointment, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 2015–Present: Faculty Member, Richard Lewar Center of Excellence in Cardiovascular Research, Cardiovascular Research, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON 
  • 2007–2012: Post-doctorate, Postdoctoral Fellow, Functional genomics, Cancer Research U.K., Cambridge Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England 
  • 20052007: Post-doctorate, Postdoctoral Fellow, Developmental biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC 
  • 19982005: Doctorate, Doctorate in Biology, Comparative genomics, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC 


  • 2017–2022: Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Comparative Genomics - 500,000 (Canadian dollar), Canadian Institutes of Health Research 
  • 20162021: Ontario Early Researcher Award, Government of Ontario, Ontario Early Researcher Award, Research Disciplines: Genetics 
  • 20132018: Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Comparative Genomics - 500,000 (Canadian dollar), Canadian Institutes of Health Research 


  1. Yuan X, Song M, Devine P, Bruneau BG, Scott IC, Wilson MD. Heart enhancers with deeply conserved regulatory activity are established early in zebrafish development. Nat Commun. 2018 Nov 26;9(1):4977.
  2. Hou H, Uusküla-Reimand L, Makarem M, Corre C, Saleh S, Metcalf A, Goldenberg A, Palmert MR, Wilson MD. Gene expression profiling of puberty-associated genes reveals abundant tissue and sex-specific changes across postnatal development. Hum Mol Genet. 2017 Sep 15;26(18):3585-3599.
  3. Hayward CP, Liang M, Tasneem S, Soomro A, Waye JS, Paterson AD, Rivard GE, Wilson MD. The duplication mutation of Quebec platelet disorder dysregulates PLAU, but not C10orf55, selectively increasing production of normal PLAU transcripts by megakaryocytes but not granulocytes. PLoS One. 2017 Mar 16;12(3):e0173991. eCollection 2017.
  4. Uusküla-Reimand L*, Hou H*, Samavarchi-Tehrani P, Rudan MV, Liang M, Medina-Rivera A , Mohammed H, Schmidt D, Schwalie P, Young EJ, Reimand J, Hadjur S, Gingras A, Wilson MD*. Topoisomerase II beta interacts with cohesin and CTCF at topological domain borders. Genome Biology. 2016 Aug 31;17:172.
    *co-first authors
  5. Ballester B*#, Medina-Rivera A, Schmidt D, Gonzàlez-Porta M, Carlucci M, Chen X, Chessman K, Faure AJ, Funnell AP, Goncalves A, Kutter C, Lukk M, Menon S, McLaren WM, Stefflova K, Watt S, Weirauch MT, Crossley M, Marioni JC, Odom DT, Flicek P, Wilson MD*#. Multi-species, multi-transcription factor binding highlights conserved control of tissue-specific biological pathways. Elife. 2014 Oct 3;3.
    *co-first authors; #co-corresponding authors

See all of Michael Wilson's publications on Google Scholar.

  • CIHR
  • Genome Canada
  • NIH 
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