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Scientist profiles A-F

SRI profiles

Dr. Sascha Drewlo
Sascha Drewlo, Ph.D.

Senior scientist and professor

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave., Room S116A
Toronto, ON
M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 683853

Administrative assistant: Michael Le
Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 685482


  • Ph.D., 2006, molecular and cell biology, anatomy, Deutsche Sporthochschule, Cologne & University Hospital Medical School, Aachen, NRW, Germany

Appointments and Affiliations:

  • Senior scientist, biological sciences platform, DAN Women and Babies program, Sunnybrook Research Institute
  • Full professor, department of obstetrics and gynaecology, University of Toronto

Research Foci:

  • Reproductive biology and medicine
  • Detection and treatment of high risk pregnancies
  • Advanced trophoblast research
  • Fundamental placental biology research

Research Summary

Dr. Sascha Drewlo is a senior scientist in the DAN Women & Babies Program based at Sunnybrook Research Institute and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at U of T since July 1, 2022.

Dr. Drewlo returned to Toronto after spending the past nine years in the United States. During his time there, he pioneered and patented several techniques related to the isolation and purification of placenta-derived trophoblast cells from within the human cervix in early pregnancy. His achievements have profound implications for prenatal diagnosis, since the risk-free collection of these cells delivers the potential to make a wide range of genetic diagnoses in a safe non-invasive manner — as early as five weeks of gestation. His scientific efforts have led to the creation of several biotech companies.

Dr. Drewlo completed his PhD in molecular and cell biology and anatomy at the Deutsche Sporthochschule Cologne & University Hospital Medical School in Aachen Germany in 2006. In 2007, he became a postdoctoral fellow with a focus on molecular placental development and pathology at the Lunenfeld Tannenbaum Research Institute.

In 2013 he was appointed as an assistant professor in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at Wayne State University. In 2017, he was promoted to associate professor with tenure at the department of obstetrics, gynecology and reproductive biology at Michigan State University. Dr Drewlo published over 60 papers and has been continuously funded by the NIH, private equity as well other funding agencies and industry partners.

Dr. Drewlo has opened his laboratory at the SRI with a focus on further advancing the scope of early prenatal molecular prenatal diagnosis and extends his work to understand the early basis of a wide range of poorly understood disorders related to placental dysfunction, namely severe preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, PPROM and preterm labour.

Selected Publications:

See current publications list at PubMed.

  1. Grimaldi B, Kohan-Ghadr HR, Drewlo S. The Potential for Placental Activation of PPARgamma to Improve the Angiogenic Profile in Preeclampsia. Cells. 2022;11(21).
  2. Kohan-Ghadr HR, Armistead B, Berg M, Drewlo S. Irisin Protects the Human Placenta from Oxidative Stress and Apoptosis via Activation of the Akt Signaling Pathway. Int J Mol Sci. 2021;22(20).
  3. Armistead B, Kadam L, Siegwald E, McCarthy FP, Kingdom JC, Kohan-Ghadr HR, et al. Induction of the PPARgamma (Peroxisome Proliferator-Activated Receptor gamma)-GCM1 (Glial Cell Missing 1) Syncytialization Axis Reduces sFLT1 (Soluble fms-Like Tyrosine Kinase 1) in the Preeclamptic Placenta. Hypertension. 2021;78(1):230-40.
  4. Drewlo S, Johnson E, Kilburn BA, Kadam L, Armistead B, Kohan-Ghadr HR. Irisin induces trophoblast differentiation via AMPK activation in the human placenta. J Cell Physiol. 2020;235(10):7146-58.
  5. Armistead B, Kadam L, Drewlo S, Kohan-Ghadr HR. The Role of NFkappaB in Healthy and Preeclamptic Placenta: Trophoblasts in the Spotlight. Int J Mol Sci. 2020;21(5).