Skip Navigation
Health Sciences banner, image of Lakehead University, Confederation College, Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre and laboratories

Health Sciences

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre

Healthy Together

Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC) is a world-class acute healthcare facility. With patients and families at the centre of everything, TBRHSC serves all of Northwestern Ontario – with over 250,000 people, scattered over an area the size of France.

Since it opened in 2004, TBRHSC has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s finest academic and research hospitals. Patients benefit from a team approach to healthcare delivery, state-of-the-art medical equipment, comprehensive services, a world-class cancer centre, the chance to be a part of leading edge clinical trials, and the expertise of some of the world’s leading healthcare providers.

TBRHSC is the largest employer in Thunder Bay, with over 2,600 employees. In addition, TBRHSC is the teaching hospital of choice for over 1,500 learners from nearly every healthcare discipline. 

The operating budget of approximately $300,000,000 (2012/13) contributes significantly to the local economy. In addition, patient-centred research, enabled by the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI), has generated thousands of jobs and garnered about $100 million in economic development for the region.

For more information including annual reports, please visit
Watch our video: 

Thunder Bay Regional health Research Institute (TBRHRI)

Northwestern Ontario is a unique living lab with a poorer health status than the rest of the province. This massive catchment area – a region the size of France – is home to a single, tertiary healthcare provider. Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Centre (TBRHSC), together with its research arm the Thunder Bay Regional Health Research Institute (TBRHRI) and the Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM), are advancing care for the residents of Northwestern Ontario.  Through research, innovation and partnership TBRHRI plans to change health status disparity and positively impact the economy of our region in the process.

Incorporated in 2007, TBRHRI is quickly gaining national and international recognition.  Since that time, the institute and its scientists have secured more than $65 million in funding while attracting some of the best and brightest research minds.

TBRHRI’s accomplishments and future objectives are linked to the research plan of TBRHSC and their vision as an academic health science centre to deliver outstanding patient care.  TBRHRI carries out patient centred research with a focus on medical imaging.  The research institute is home to scientific leaders in:

  • X-ray and PET detectors for lower-cost, improved breast and brain imaging;
  • Hyperpolarized gas MRI of lung disease;
  • MR-guided High Intensity Ultrasound (HIFU);
  • Functional MRI for stroke recovery;
  • Medical imaging probe development and biomarker exploration;
  • First Nations women’s health. 

TBRHRI is able to attract these scientific leaders partly due to the availability of modern high-tech equipment.  A new mid energy ACSI TR24 cyclotron and radiopharmacy will supply TBRHSC with a reliable supply of medical isotopes for diagnostic imaging of patients.  Plans are being developed to export and distribute medical isotopes such as Indium-111, Gallium-67 and Flourine-18.  TBRHRI has expertise in radiotracer production that has both preclinical and clinical relevance coupled with a dynamic small animal imaging facility with an Elixys MicroPET that allows for acceptance of animal models from anywhere in the world.  In addition, TBRHRI has offsite and hospital lab space including a vivarium, a clean room and shielded bunkers as well as wet labs.  TBRHRI facilities and expertise present pharmaceutical companies and others with advantages in expediting and lowering the costs of drug development, as well as de-risking and optimizing clinical trials.

Over 25 years TBRHSC has supported more than 200 successful global, industry sponsored clinical trials. TBRHRI and TBRHSC are evolving to support all phases of clinical trials and actively participate in, and conduct trials in areas such as oncology, cardiology, neurology, orthopedics and intensive care.  This clinical research includes local investigator initiated trials as well as industry-sponsored trials and contract research.  Offering state of the art equipment, exceptional professional support, and access to a 395 bed regional care centre, TBRHSC and TBRHRI are poised to help accelerate theory to market timelines.

TBRHRI is progressing in its mission to discover, translate through clinical trials and bring to market advances in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease for patients in Thunder Bay, Northwestern Ontario and around the world.

TBRHRI works with key partners including corporate member organizations, academic, healthcare, industry and research organizations.  Partners in science and academia include Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, Lakehead University, the Northern Ontario School of Medicine, Confederation College, and Cancer Care Ontario.  Industry partners include XLV Diagnostics Inc., Philips Healthcare, Analogic, and ANRAD.  TBRHRI is also the first member of MaRS Innovation outside of the Greater Toronto Area.

Current R & D activities seeking investment include:

  • Biphasic Ultrasound Transducer that has potential to revolutionize medical ultrasound technology and sonar industry applications.
  • Positron Emission Mammography is a next-generation imaging system specifically designed for early detection of breast cancer, significantly reducing the need for breast biopsy and especially benefits younger, high risk women.
  • Lower cost x-ray light valve mammography ideal for remote regions and under developed, highly populated countries aiming to develop cost effective breast cancer screening programs.

We have deliberately established a patient-centred research focus that is market oriented, working in partnership with industry and investors to ensure that innovation and discovery reach patients in our communities and around the world.  This is what we mean by “Bringing Discovery to Life.”

For more information or inquiries about TBRHRI please contact Janet Northan, Director, Strategic Partner Relations and Special Projects.  Janet can be reached via email at or by phone at (807) 684-7217.

St. Joseph's Care Group (SJCG)

SJCG provides programs and services throughout the community and at 8 different sites, including: Balmoral Centre, Behavioural Sciences Centre, Hogarth Riverview Manor, Lakehead Psychiatric Hospital, Sister Margaret Smith Centre, St. Joseph's Health Centre, St. Joseph's Heritage and St. Joseph's Hospital.

St. Joseph's Care Group's broad program areas are: Complex Care & Physical Rehabilitation Services, Mental Health & Addiction Services, and Long-Term Care Services.

For more information on SJCG please visit their website:

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM)

Innovative Education and Research for a Healthier North

The Northern Ontario School of Medicine (NOSM) is committed to the education of high quality physicians and health professionals, and to international recognition as a leader in distributed, learning-centred, community-engaged education and research.

When the School welcomed its first MD students in September 2005, it became the first new medical school in Canada in over 30 years, and only the second new medical school in North America during a similar period. It is the first Canadian medical school hosted by two universities, over 1,000 kilometres apart. NOSM serves as the faculty of medicine for Lakehead University in Thunder Bay and Laurentian University in Sudbury. The School has developed and delivers a distinctive model of distributed, community-engaged, and socially accountable, medical education. In addition, NOSM is the only Canadian medical school to be established as a stand-alone, not-for-profit corporation, with its own Board of Directors and corporate by-laws.

Across the region, NOSM learners (medical students, residents, and learners from other health disciplines such as rehabilitation sciences, dietetics, and physician assistants) are gaining relevant clinical experience under the guidance of health professionals in community hospitals, clinics, and family practices. The School brings together over 90 community partners, over 1300 clinical, human, and medical sciences stipendiary faculty, and approximately 200 employees.

NOSM’s success is very much a result of many partnerships and collaborations with individuals, communities and organizations including Aboriginal and Francophone, hospitals and health services, physicians and other health professionals, universities and colleges, information communication technology organizations, and other medical schools.

With learners distributed across the North, communities have a vital role in welcoming and supporting students so that they develop a better understanding of living and working in a Northern Ontario community. For more information on NOSM please visit their website:

Regional Cancer Care

Thunder Bay’s cancer care is world class. They continue to lead Ontario in cancer treatment, diagnostics, and surgical wait times, and are rated highly in Canada for overall patient satisfaction. Their cancer care services span the northern region with prevention, screening, diagnostics, education, in-patient and out-patient treatment, surgical treatment, and supportive and palliative care.

Thunder Bay has gained international recognition in the rapidly growing biotechnology sector and has established relationships with experts in fields that will aid in the development of Biomarker Discovery Platform, the multi-application molecular screening technology for the identification of cancer biomarkers.

For more information on Regional Cancer Care please visit their website:


Lakehead University Paleo-DNA Laboratory

The Lakehead University Paleo-DNA Laboratory, established in 1996, is a research laboratory affiliated with the Lakehead University Centre for Analytical Services (LUCAS). The laboratory provides three functions: research, services and teaching. The research covers many aspects of DNA analysis; from the development and implementation of new extraction and purification methods through to their application. Research projects have involved modern and ancient human identification, species identification, and plant and animal genetics.

The Paleo-DNA Laboratory is a leader in mitochondrial DNA research, continually improving methodology, sensitivity and detection methods for DNA examination. Services include archaeological testing, paternity and relationship testing, human and species identification on a variety of sample types. As a University affiliated facility, the main objective is education. Courses and training programs are available to anyone who wants to learn more about the DNA process. 

Visit the website for more information at:

C.G. Labs was incorporated in 2012 and is located in the Mckeller LifeCentre. As ancient DNA investigators C.G. Labs Inc. is at the forefront of the science of DNA preservation and recovery. As a company, C.G. Labs continue to build and strengthen our expertise in the biotechnology industry with a strong commitment to advancing scientific insight through the successful recovery of DNA from older and more complex samples, previously thought non-viable. C.G. Labs also offer training, investigation of mysteries, cold cases, invasive species and unexplained phenomena. Their core business is DNA Banking offered through the funeral industry throughout North America as our brand DNA Memorial (

For more information on Health Sciences please contact:

Piero Pucci
Supervisor - Economic Development 

Tel: (807) 625-3965

Sector/area of expertise: Energy, Health Sciences, Education, Business Retention and Expansion and ICT