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Gideon Koren

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Gideon Koren, MD, FACMT, FRCP(C) (born 1947) is a Canadian pediatrician, clinical pharmacologist, and toxicologist.


Gideon Koren is a pediatrician, pharmacologist and toxicologist at the University of Toronto and the University of Western Ontario. He is Professor of Pediatrics, Pharmacology, Pharmacy and Medical Genetics at the University of Toronto, and Professor of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Physiology-Pharmacology at the Schulich School of Medicine of the University of Western Ontario. Dr Koren is a Senior Scientist of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.[1]

Born in Israel, he received his Doctor of Medicine from the Sackler School of Medicine at Tel Aviv University in 1973. After a period of military service, he pursued postgraduate clinical studies in pediatrics and pediatric nephrology, and research training in pediatric toxicology and pharmacology and membrane biology at The Hospital for Sick Children and the University of Toronto. He joined the staff of the University and Hospital and rose rapidly through the ranks to full professorship in pediatrics, pharmacology and medicine, won a Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health and established an international reputation as an expert in the field of clinical pharmacology and toxicology.

In 1985, Dr. Gideon Koren founded and continues to direct the Toronto Hospital for Sick Children's Motherisk Program[2], which counsels women, their families and health professionals on the safety-risks of drugs, chemicals, radiation and infections during pregnancy and lactation. Since 1986, Dr Koren has trained physicians from over 30 countries, and over 80 graduate students in pharmacology, making his program the largest worldwide.[3] Despite a reprimand in 2004 for professional misconduct with regard to the controversial Olivieri affair[4], later that same year Dr. Koren was awarded the endowed Ivey Chair in Molecular Toxicology at the Schulich School of Medicine at The University of Western Ontario. At UWO, he heads the establishment of a National program in human toxicology in parallel to his continuing work at the University of Toronto and the Hospital for Sick Children.[5]

In 2004 Gideon Koren was appointed by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States Department of Health and Human Services as the inaugural chairperson of the Steering Committee for the newly created Obstetric-Fetal Pharmacology Research Unit (OPRU) Network.[6] Since 2005, Dr. Koren has been the Course Director of the Annual Summer Institute in Maternal-Fetal Pharmacology, a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health and Canadian Institutes of Health Research.[7]


Dr. Koren’s 70 member research group is studying the fetal effects of drugs and chemicals, as well the effects of medications and toxins in infants and children.

His research in maternal–fetal and pediatric pharmacology and toxicology has focused on understanding the complex interactions between drugs, both illicit and medicinal, and the developing human being. These include the effects of drugs taken by the mother on her unborn baby, the role of the placenta in modulating fetal damage, and the way babies and children handle drugs. Dr. Koren and his colleagues use research approaches ranging from those of molecular and cell biology to whole-body pharmacokinetic or dynamic experiments and population studies. They collaborate with specialists in the field of psychology in order to measure the neurobehavioural effects of drugs on infants and children.[8]


Dr. Gideon Koren is a reviewer and editor for leading journals and has published over 1000 peer review articles[9] and 15 medical books[10], among them:

  • Retinoids in Clinical Practice: The Risk-Benefit Ratio (Medical Toxicology). New York: M. Dekker, 1993. (ISBN 0824787781)
  • The Children of Neverland: The Silent Human Disaster. Toronto: Kid in Us, 1997. (ISBN 0968180108)
  • The Complete Guide to Everyday Risks in Pregnancy & Breastfeeding: Answers to Your Questions About Morning Sickness, Medications, Herbs, Diseases, Chemical Exposures & More. Toronto: R. Rose, 2004. (ISBN 0-7788-0084-9)
  • Medication Safety in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding. New York: McGraw-Hill, Health Professions Division, 2007. (ISBN 0071448284)
  • Medication Safety in Pregnancy and Breastfeeding: The Evidence-Based, A to Z Clinician's Pocket Guide. New York: McGraw-Hill Medical, 2007. (ISBN 0071448276)

FASD Focus

Gideon Koren is the founder of the FACE (Fetal Alcohol Canadian Expertise) Network[11] and founding editor of the peer reviewed Journal of FAS International (Fetal Alcohol Syndrome)[12]. At the forefront of FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder) research and the development of screening and diagnostic techniques[13], he is also committed to outreach to medical professionals and community workers in the Northwest Territories and around the globe, both in person and through the electronic media.[14] [15]


Gideon Koren has received numerous awards, including the Rawls Palmar award of the American Society of Clinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics, the Sunshine and Pippenger awards from the International Association for Therapeutic Drug Monitoring and Clinical Toxicology, the Distinguished Achievement award of the Canadian Society for Clinical Pharmacology, and the Spirit of the Community Humanitarian Award. Dr. Koren has been the recipient of several CIHR Senior Investigator (Senior and Distinguished Scientist) Awards in Population Health Sciences.[16]

In the Arts

In parallel to his academic career, Gideon Koren is an established author and composer. In 1992 he founded the Bear Theatre at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the only regular theatre worldwide where health professionals are performing weekly for hospitalized children and their families. In July 2007 the theatre celebrated 15 years and 750 shows.[17]


  1. []
  2. []
  3. Koren G, Macleod SM: The state of pediatric clinical pharmacology;an international survey of training programs, Clin. Pharm Ther 1989;46:489-93.
  4. Gatehouse, Jonathon, Maclean’s Magazine, Toronto, May 4, 2005. [] Committee summary. []
  5. []
  6. []
  7. [] []
  8. The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Annual Report 2002.
  9. Koren G. at []
  10. []
  11. []
  12. []
  13. Joey Gareri, Daphne Chan, PHD, Julia Klein, MSC, and Gideon Koren, MD, FRCPC, Screening for fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, Can Fam Physician, 2005 January 10, 51(1): 33–34. [] and others.
  14. []
  15. Gideon Koren, Irena Nulman, Albert E. Chudley and Christine Loocke, Fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, CMAJ, November 25, 2003; 169. [] and others.
  16. The Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute, Annual Report 05-06.
  17. Porter, Miriam, Reassuring message helps young patients, Weekend Living Section, p.L6, The Toronto Star, July 28, 2007. [] [] []

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