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In Memoriam: Dr. Dan Dumont, July 22, 1960 to December 17, 2015

December 18, 2015

Friday, December 18, 2015


Husband to Anne; father to Jennifer and Christopher; and friend, mentor and colleague to many, Dr. Dan Dumont, senior scientist in Biological Sciences at Sunnybrook Research Institute (SRI) and professor in medical biophysics at the University of Toronto, passed away suddenly yesterday, December 17, 2015.

Dan joined SRI in 1998 as a scientist in what was then the division of molecular and cellular biology. He was promoted to senior scientist in 2000, and then in 2002 led the division as its director for eight years. At the University of Toronto, he was appointed as an assistant professor in 1994, an associate professor in 2000 and a full professor in 2004, all in the department of medical biophysics.

His awards were many. He was named a scientist by the Medical Research Council of Canada in 2000, the same year he received a Premier’s Research Excellence Award. The National Cancer Institute of Canada (now the Canadian Cancer Society) bestowed upon him the William E. Rawls Prize in 2003. Then, in 2005, he was awarded a Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Angiogenic and Lymphangiogenic Signalling, the most prestigious academic award the federal government gives, an honour that renewed in 2012.

All of these were to recognize his pioneering work as the first to identify, clone and map the Tie2 gene on the human and preclinical model genomes, work he started in 1988 as a postdoctoral fellow at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto.

Most recently, and on the basis of these discoveries, he had been advancing his work on vasculotide, a novel peptide that was engineered in his lab with Dr. Paul Van Slyke, which led to the formation of spinoff company Vasomune Therapeutics in 2013.

For the many lives he touched in his almost 20 years at SRI, however, Dan will probably best be remembered as a kind, gentle and generous man who had a friendly word for everyone, the more so if it involved talk of hockey, an outside-the-lab passion he shared with his children.

He was an inspiring mentor to students and a fierce advocate for anything to do with recognizing the work that they and other trainees do. Indeed, despite a notable academic career studded with achievements, he maintained that he could not have done any of it without his postdocs, students and dedicated staff members. Such humility defined him, as did a quiet courage in the face of personal health challenges with lymphoma and colon cancer, challenges that he chose to speak openly about in the hopes of raising awareness and funding for cancer research.

A celebration of Dan's life will take place at the Glen Oaks Funeral Home and Cemetery on Saturday Jan. 2, 2016 from 2:00 to 6:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family would be grateful for donations in Dan's memory to the Canadian Cancer Society or Heart and Stroke Foundation. Please visit their memorial page for details on how to contribute.

Below, we have opened up commenting, where we encourage those who knew him to leave condolences and memories of Dan that we will share with his family to show them how much he meant to all of us here. He will be missed.

Dr. Dan Dumont