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About AARC

Founded in 1998, the Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre (AARC) at University Health Network (UHN) is Canada's largest and most comprehensive centre dedicated to research on over 100 chronic and debilitating illnesses associated with arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.

The UHN AARC research program promotes and supports basic, translational, clinical and population research to optimize the health of people with arthritis, autoimmune and musculoskeletal-related diseases.

Our research team includes internationally recognized leaders in genomic medicine, health services research, immunology, medical imaging, orthopaedics and rheumatology.

Generous support is provided by the Arthritis Research Foundation (ARF).

Funding Initiatives

Dunlop Awards

In 2001, the Arthritis & Autoimmunity Research Centre Foundation received an endowment from The Edward Dunlop Foundation. This endowment has been used to establish The Edward Dunlop Challenge Research Grant for feasibility studies or pilot projects in the area of arthritis and autoimmune disorder research.

ARF and AARC offer two major funding initiatives: SeXX Matters Grant Competition and A212 - Imaging Inflammation Program Grant Competition

SeXX Matters Grant Competition

A greater proportion of women are afflicted with arthritis than men. For example, 9 out of every 10 people affected by lupus are women. Women consistently report higher rates of both arthritis and arthritis-related physical disabilities, having a profound impact on their family, work and social capabilities.To address this, the ARF has launched a Women's Health Research Campaign to build awareness and to raise $3M over three years. Through a peer-reviewed competition, awards will be granted to the best projects focused on answering the question why women are more predisposed to these diseases than men, and how we can help them manage their disease more effectively so they can live their lives to the fullest. By doing so we will transform the lives of women with arthritis and autoimmune conditions.

October 2013 - Winners announced! See right column

A212 - Imaging Inflammation Program Grant Competition

Inflammation is a common component of all arthritis and autoimmune diseases. We know that through high resolution imaging, we will be able to diagnose the disease early, identify which cells are causing damage, determine which drug therapy is best for the patient, and then accurately measure the responsiveness. This could be life altering for patients. We are fortunate to have the state of the art STTARR Innovation Centre at MaRS, where we have over $20M high resolution imaging equipment available.

June 2013 - Winners announced! See right column.

Upcoming Events

On May 29, 2014, the Arthritis Research Foundation hosted Kick Up Your Heels, a wine and shoes fundraiser to beat arthritis. At this event, guests enjoyed an elegant evening of wine, shoes and a spectacular fashion show with local Toronto and UHN celebrities strutting their stuff down the runway as models.

Day At The Races
On Sunday October 5th, 2014, Arthritis Research Foundation will celebrate the 15th anniversary of Day at the Races. For event and sponsorship information, to purchase a ticket or make a donation, please visit

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon
Arthritis Research Foundation is taking part in the Scotiabank Group Charity Challenge 2014 on Sunday, October 19th, 2014. Sign up to walk or run at any distance and choose us as your charity of choice to do so with our team and support behind you.

Last updated March, 2015

Dunlop Awardee 2014
Dr. Joan Wither

The selection committee is pleased to announce that   The Edward Dunlop Challenge Research Grant for 2014 has been awarded  to Dr. Joan Wither for her project titled Identification of serum inhibitors of Type I interferon and pro-inflammatory cytokine production in Serologically Active Clinically Quiescent Lupus Patients. 

Dunlop Awardees 2013

Dr. Sindhu Johnson – 1st Place
Dr. Shannon Dunn – 2nd Place

A212 - Imaging Inflammation Program Grant Competition-June 2013 Winners:

Dr. Stuart Berger (PI), Dr. Ed Keystone, Dr. Lakshmi Kotra and Alison Connor - Imaging citrullination in vitro and in vivo (2 years).

Dr. Rae Yeung (PI) - From molecules to disease - Dissecting the mechanisms underlying tissue inflammation in Kawasaki Disease (2 years).

SeXX Matters Grant Competition - October 2013 Winners:

Robert Inman - Sex-related immunomodulation in ankylosing spondylitis

Joan Wither - Interplay between autoimmune disease risk variants and estrogen in the breach of B cell tolerance to nuclear antigens

Ed Keystone & Kathy Siminovitch- Defining molecular determinants of pregnancy-associated remission and postpartum relapse in rheumatoid arthritis

Monique Gignac & Sindhu Johnson - New Perspectives in arthritis and work: the role of gender in employment across the life course

Rajiv Gandhi & Anthony Perruccio - Inflammation and joint burden in osteoarthritis, as a matter of SeXX

The AARC Activity Reports are available, click here to access a copy.

Message from the Director

Dr. Eleanor Fish, Director Welcome to the AARC website.

Here you will find information about the scope of basic, clinical and population health research conducted by the AARC scientists. Our website exemplifies the multidisciplinary nature of existing programs, our strengths, and—from my perspective—identifies ways for us to develop as a centre for translational research.

I invite you to read more about us and explore opportunities for collaboration.


Dr. Eleanor Fish
AARC Director

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