Norman Rosenblum

Department of Paediatrics

BSc, PhD

Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids)
686 Bay Street, 16th Floor, Room 16.9706, Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1X8
Research Interests
Human Development & Aging, Molecular & Cell Biology
Appointment Status

Dr Norman Rosenblum is a paediatric nephrologist and senior scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and the SickKids Research Institute.  

Dr Rosenblum is an MD graduate of Dalhousie University. He completed his paediatric residency and fellowship in paediatric nephrology at the Children’s Hospital, Boston followed by a post-doctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr Bjorn Olsen in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Harvard Medical School.

He has received support for his research via grants from the Kidney Foundation of Canada and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. He is also the recipient of a Canada Research Chair, Tier 1 in Developmental Nephrology.  

Dr Rosenblum is a professor of physiology, laboratory medicine and pathobiology in the Department of Paediatrics at the University of Toronto and is currently the scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes.


Research Synopsis


Rosenblum Lab website

My research is focused on genetic and molecular mechanisms that control normal and disrupted mammalian renal development and clinical outcomes in affected humans.

Support for this work is provided via grants from the Kidney Foundation of Canada, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canada Research Chairs program.

My research laboratory is housed in the Peter Gilgan Centre for Research and Learning at the Hospital for Sick Children. Lab facilities include ample bench space and specialized cell culture and imaging facilities.

As a member of the SickKids Program in Developmental and Stem Cell Biology, my laboratory has access to state-of-the-art animal, genetic and proteomic core facilities.

As a clinical pediatric nephrologist specializing in renal malformation, my research focuses also on infants and children with renal and urinary tract malformation, defining clinical aspects of these disorders and genetic mechanisms. 

The major focus of my laboratory research is molecular and cellular mechanisms that control renal development in humans and animal models, a model of human renal development.

My laboratory is investigating the functions of signaling pathways controlled by Transforming Growth Factor Beta (TGFBs), Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) and Integrin-linked Kinase (ILK) proteins during normal kidney formation and in renal malformation. Work resulting from these endeavors has demonstrated distinct functions for these effectors in controlling renal branching morphogenesis and nephron formation.

Currently, a large part of my laboratory is focused on the lineage specific functions of Hedgehog signaling in controlling progenitor cell differentiation, control of nephron number, stromal cell differentiation, and renal-urinary tract pacemaker function.

We are investigating these functions in cultured cells, organ explants, transgenic mice and kidney organoids. We are also investigating the mechanisms by which Integrin Linked Kinase controls formation of the renal collecting system via a process termed renal branching morphogenesis.

Our studies focus on the normal biology of kidney development, mechanisms that cause kidney-urinary tract malformation and the functional consequences of missense variants in human genes implicated in kidney development.


Recent Publications


Hedgehog-GLI signaling in Foxd1-positive stromal cells promotes murine nephrogenesis via TGFβ signaling. Rowan CJ, Li W, Martirosyan H, Erwood S, Hu D, Kim YK, Sheybani-Deloui S, Mulder J, Blake J, Chen L, Rosenblum ND. Development. 2018 Jul 9;145(13).

Protein Kinase 2β Is Expressed in Neural Crest-Derived Urinary Pacemaker Cells and Required for Pyeloureteric Contraction. Iskander SM, Feeney MM, Yee K, Rosenblum ND. Journal of American Society of Nephrology 2018 Apr;29(4):1198-1209.

Activated Hedgehog-GLI Signaling Causes Congenital Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction. Sheybani-Deloui S, Chi L, Staite MV, Cain JE, Nieman BJ, Henkelman RM, Wainwright BJ, Potter SS, Bagli DJ, Lorenzo AJ, Rosenblum ND. Journal of American Society of Nephrology. 2018 Feb;29(2):532-544.

Origin and Function of the Renal Stroma in Health and Disease. Rowan CJ, Sheybani-Deloui S, Rosenblum ND. Results & Problems in Cell Differentiation. 2017;60:205-229.

Integrin-Linked-Kinase Controls Renal Branching Morphogenesis via Dual Specificity Phosphatase 8.  Smeeton J, Dhir P, Hu D, Feeney MM, Chen L, Rosenblum ND. Journal of the American Society of Nephrology. 2016 May;27(5):1465-77.

Urogenital Development in Pallister-Hall Syndrome is Disrupted in a Cell Lineage-Specific Manner by Constitutive Expression of GLI3 Repressor.  Blake J, Hu D, Rosenblum ND. Human Molecular Genetics. 2016 Feb 1;25(3):437-47.

Kif3a Regulates Murine Nephron Number via GLI3 Repressor, Cell Survival, and Gene Expression in a Lineage-Specific Manner. Chi L, Galtseva A, Chen L, Mo R, Hui C-C, Rosenblum ND. PLoS One. 2013 Jun 7;8(6):e65448.

GLI3 Repressor controls functional development of the mouse ureter. Cain JE, Islam E, Haxho F, Blake J, Rosenblum ND. The Journal of Clinical Investigation. 2011 Mar;121(3):1199-206.

Suppressor of Fused Controls Mid-Hindbrain Patterning and Cerebellar Morphogenesis Via GLI3 Repressor. Kim JJ, Gill PS, Rotin L, van Eede M, Henkelman M, Hui CC, Rosenblum ND. The Journal of Neuroscience: The Official Journal of the Society of Neuroscience. 2011 Feb 2;31(5):1825-36.

b-catenin causes renal dysplasia via upregulation of TGFb2 and Dkk1. Bridgewater DB, Di Giovanni V, Cain JE, Cox B, Jakobson M, Sainio K, Rosenblum ND. Journal of The American Society of Nephrology. 2011 Apr;22(4):718-31.

GLI3 repressor controls nephron number via regulation of Wnt11 and Ret in Ureteric Tip Cells. Cain, JE, Islam E, Haxho F, Chen L, Bridgewater D, Nieuwenhuis E, Hui CC, Rosenblum ND. PLoS One. 2009 Oct 7;4(10):e7313.



Scientific director of the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes



Honours and Awards

Name: Canada Research Chair, Tier 1 in Developmental Nephrology