TORONTO, Feb. 10, 2012 /CNW/ - Former Toronto Maple Leafs Captain Mats
Sundin announced today he will establish an elite scientific exchange
program in the field of developmental health between the University of
Toronto and Karolinska Insitutet in Stockholm, Sweden.
Sundin's gift - one-third of $1 million dollars - was announced today at
a press conference at U of T. The gift will support two fellowships at
world-renowned labs in Toronto and Stockholm where scientists are
probing how maternal health and our earliest life experiences can
determine sickness, health, learning ability and overall well-being
down the road.
"We all want our children to grow up healthy, with the best
opportunities to learn and live free of disease, but how do we make
that possible? What can we do to give our kids the best shot at
reaching their full potential?" said Sundin. "By establishing this
program at U of T and KI, we're creating an Olympic training camp for
our brightest young minds to work with global leaders and answer these
"Every player knows we have a responsibility to pass on our skills and
knowledge to the next generation - that's how the sport moves forward,
and science as well," Sundin added. "It means so much to me to be able
to support these two great universities and their incredible drive to
find the breakthroughs that can change our lives."
Historically, genetics were thought to be the sole factor in determining
whether a child would grow up to be a healthy, well-functioning adult.
Now, scientists are realizing that the interaction between genes and the environment is critical. Teams at U of T and KI
are leading the global charge to figure out what environmental factors
- from breast-feeding to stress to nutrition - might impact the way a
person's genes are expressed, effectively determining their well-being
from the early years to later on in life.
"It is becoming increasingly clear that the early environment of the
fetus and infant can have major influences on susceptibility to
developing cardiovascular, metabolic and mental health disorders in
later life, not to mention on learning and social functioning," said
Dr. Stephen Matthews, Professor of Physiology, Obstetrics and
Gynaecology and Medicine at U of T. "These elite research fellows will
help us advance our understanding of this complex relationship and
assist in our efforts to build trajectories towards health and away
The Mats Sundin Award in Medicine will establish two post-doctoral
fellowships in developmental biology - one at U of T and one at KI. The
fellows will be chosen from a highly-competitive pool of researchers at
each institution, and starting in September 2012, they will travel to
their partner institution for a year of research under the direction of
world-leading scientists in the field. At U of T, Dr. Matthews and Dr.
Stephen Lye, a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology and Physiology,
will lead the program. Dr. Ola Hermanson, Associate Professor in
Molecular Neurodevelopment, will lead the program at KI.
"Research that is happening right now at U of T and Karolinska
Institutet is resulting in unprecedented opportunities to pre-empt,
regulate and even eradicate some of the world's most common illnesses,"
said U of T President David Naylor. "By establishing these fellowships,
Mats Sundin is helping us mobilize the power of our respective research
towards areas that intrinsically shape the human condition."
"Karolinska Institutet is very proud to receive this gift. It is our
clear goal to promote interactions like this and make the future even
brighter for true young ambitious talents in science," said KI
President Harriet Wallberg-Henriksson. "The support from Mats Sundin is
a great step to improve the already fruitful collaboration between KI
and U of T."
The fellowships build on a long and successful exchange program between
U of T and Karolinska Institutet dating back to 1996. The exchange
program leverages the very best research themes from both institutions
to train and develop students into future scientific and medical
leaders, with a particular focus on maternal-infant health,
neurodevelopment and regenerative medicine.
For further background information, please visit http://media.utoronto.ca/media-releases/health-medicine/mats-sundin-establishes-medical-fellowships-at-u-of-t-karolinska-institutet/
About Mats Sundin
Mats Sundin (#13) played 981 career games with the Toronto Maple Leafs,
becoming the franchise's all-time leader in goals and points, and
captaining the team for 11 seasons (1997-2008). Hailing from Bromma,
Sweden, Sundin ranks among the NHL's greatest players, standing 21st (tie) in all-time goals and 26th (tie) in points. Internationally, he is Team Sweden's leading points-
and goal-scorer (1991-2006),having represented Sweden at three
Olympics, seven World Championships, two World Cups of Hockey, the
Canada Cup and World Junior Championships. He captained Team Sweden to
an Olympic Gold Medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics in Turin, was
selected as the recipient of the NHL's Mark Messier Leadership Award in
2008, and retired as a player in September 2009.
SOURCE University of Toronto
For further information:
University of Toronto Media Relations
Karolinska Institutet, Press Office
Tel: +46 8 524 860 77