By 2020, 10% of Canadians – more than 3 million people – will have diabetes.

The condition affects every organ system and is a major cause of disabilities and premature death. It currently costs the Canadian health care system $16 Billion per year and rising. The SPOR Network in Diabetes and Related Complications will bring together top researchers at our nine collaborating institutions cross Canada partnered with individuals with diabetes and their care givers.

Bringing together Canada's top researchers.


Transform the health trajectory for all Canadian men, women and children with diabetes at risk for complications by redefining interventions for earliest diagnosis, creating customized care paths and translating knowledge into health outcomes with real impact.


Bridge the knowledge translation gap to alleviate suffering, morbidity and mortality by aligning biomedical, clinical, population health and health services research with what patients, their caregivers and healthcare providers perceive as most urgent to improve diabetes and its related complications outcomes.


Establish a National Diabetes Registry to better understand the prevalence and health determinants causing progressive diabetes complications.

Create a retinopathy screening program for diabetic eye disease to prevent visual impairment

Facilitate knowledge translation by establishing the following:

  • National Aboriginal Diabetes Network
  • Quality Improvement in Diabetes Care
  • National Pharmacists Network
  • Diabetes Nursing Initiatives

Train a new generation of diabetes researchers

Develop new therapies, including novel medications, artificial pancreas and mobile phone apps to facilitate diabetes management.


Dr. Gary Lewis

Dr. Gary Lewis
Co-Lead (Academic)

Dr. Gary Lewis is a clinician-scientist, Professor of Medicine and Director of the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre (BBDC) at the University of Toronto. He has achieved international recognition for his research in diabetes-related lipid metabolism and its importance in cardiovascular complications. The BBDC, funded through a growing endowment since 1978, brings together over 100 researchers from multiple health and biomedical disciplines from across U of T and its nine fully-affiliated and 18 community-affiliated health institutions in the Greater Toronto Area. Through a rigorous peer-review process, the BBDC funds innovative research projects focused on innovation, translation and impact, research personnel and student awards. It supports novel education and clinical care projects.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Després

Dr. Jean-Pierre Després
Co-Lead (Academic)

Dr. Jean-Pierre Després is Professor of Kinesiology at Université Laval, who has achieved international recognition for his translational research on obesity, lipid metabolism and cardiovascular disease/health – the most highly published scientist worldwide in the area of the metabolic syndrome. As Scientific Director of the Cardiology Division of the Quebec Heart and Lung institute since 1999, he has recruited a powerhouse of outstanding investigators. In 2004, he launched the International Chair on Cardiometabolic Risk (ICCR) at U Laval, a multidisciplinary global organization that has played a major leadership role in merging cardiovascular and diabetes research through numerous consensus meetings, symposia and conferences. The ICCR has become an influential and recognized international academic organization engaging participation of researchers in several countries from the European Union and at WHO-Europe. In 2014, Dr. Després was recruited by U Laval to lead a new federation of scientists, research centres, hospitals and healthcare centres related to health services and health – Alliance santé Québec – which regroups all academic, public and private stakeholders in the Greater Quebec City Area to enhance strategic health and biomedical research.

Dr. Catharine Whiteside

Dr. Catharine Whiteside
Executive Director

Dr. Catharine Whiteside is Executive Director, SPOR Network in Diabetes and Related Complications and Professor Emerita and Former Dean of Medicine at the University of Toronto. From 1985 to 2005 she was a staff nephrologist at the University Health Network and was a clinician-scientist in the Department of Medicine until 2008 working on the cellular and molecular mechanisms of glomerular disease. For several years she held the positions of Graduate Coordinator in the Institute of Medical Science and Director of the Clinician Scientist program in the Department of Medicine promoting the integration of research and education in the clinical departments. From 2000 to 2005 she was Associate Dean Graduate and Inter-Faculty Affairs in the Faculty of Medicine and from 2006 to 2014 Dean of Medicine and Vice Provost Relations with Health Care Institutions at the University of Toronto. Dr. Whiteside continues to serve on hospital and foundation boards. She is a founding member and past President of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences.

News & Information


Catharine Whiteside MD PhD FRCP(C) FCAHS
Executive Director,
SPOR Network in Diabetes and Related Complications