Dr. Nigil Haroon is a scientist at the Krembil Research Institute, a rheumatologist at the University Health Network and an Associate Professor of medicine and rheumatology at the University of Toronto. Being a clinician scientist Dr. Haroon understands the importance of translating novel discoveries in the bench to the bedside. Being the Co-director of one of the largest spondyloarthritis clinical programs in the world and having an advanced basic research laboratory with access to the high throughput resources of the Krembil Research Institute puts Dr. Haroon in good stead to engage in cutting edge translational research that can truly advance the field of spondyloarthritis. His area of research includes exploring biomarkers for predicting radiographic progression, identifying novel therapeutic targets and understanding the immunology and genetic basis of ankylosing spondylitis pathogenesis.
Dr.Haroon is well published in this area and has been an invited speaker in several international meetings. His studies provided the first demonstration of the functional relevance and clinical implications of ERAP1 gene polymorphisms in AS. He showed that ERAP1 alters HLA-B27 folding and that it could influence radiographic severity of AS. His studies showed that autophagy can control unfolded protein response (UPR) and B27 misfolding which is important in the context of AS pathogenesis. Dr. Haroon led a multicenter study that showed for the first time that TNFi decreases the risk of spinal fusion in AS by 50% and demonstrated a therapeutic window of opportunity in AS. he also led the largest population based study on AS till date and showed increase in vascular mortality.
Dr. Haroon has held leadership positions in the Canadian Rheumatology Association, American College of Rheumatology and chaired the CRA Wait Time Alliance Committee. He has obtained over $1,000,000 in independent operating funds. In addition to clinical trainees, he has supervised 15 research trainees in the last 4 years including undergrad, graduate, postgraduate trainees and postdoctoral fellows. Dr. Haroon has won several awards for his work as well as awards of distinction from the Canadian Rheumatology Association (Young Investigator Award) and the Spondylitis Association of America (Jane Bruckel Award).