Isabella Caniggia MD, PhD
Isabella Caniggia
Lunenfeld-Tannenbaum Research Institute
Research Interests
Pre-eclampsia, IUGR

Dr. Isabella Caniggia MD, PhD is a Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital and a Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Physiology and Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. 

Dr. Caniggia received her MD cum laude from the University of Siena, Italy and completed her residency training in Pediatrics at the University of Perugia, Italy. Following research training at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, she obtained her PhD degree from the University of Parma, Italy. Dr. Caniggia is internationally recognized for her work on molecular mechanisms regulating normal placental development and diseases including preeclampsia and IUGR. She was the first to discover the importance of proper HIF-1α and TGFβ3 signaling in preeclampsia and identified a novel splice variant of the pro-apoptotic BOK protein. She has received numerous honors and awards including the Ontario Women’s Health CIHR/IGR Mid-Career Award, the Castellucci Award from the International Federation of Placental Associations that recognizes outstanding research achievements in human placental development and preeclampsia, and the National Bank Business Excellence Award in Arts, Science and Culture from the Italian Chamber of Commerce of Ontario for her innovative research. Her work is funded by CIHR and she holds 4 patents related to discovery of diagnostic markers for preeclampsia and IUGR.


Research Synopsis

The aim of my research program is to understand the cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate normal and abnormal placental development with the goal of understanding the etiology of pregnancy-associated pathologies as preeclampsia and IUGR. The long-term objective is to use the information to develop new diagnostic tests and potential therapeutic strategies. My specific research program is focused on two main areas of human placentation: 1) role of oxygen in regulating placental development and 2) role of Bcl-2 family members in regulating placental cell fate.


2011-2015 ~ CIHR HOPE-Scholarship: The role of Mcl-1 in regulating placental cell fate. Role: Principal Investigator; Awardee: Jayonta Bhattacharjee.

2014 – 2019 ~ CIHR Operating Grant: The role of Bcl-2 family members in regulating placental cell fate. Role: Principal Investigator; Co-Investigators: Drs. O Nevo and M. Post.

Publications and Awards

View PubMed search of this faculty member's recent publications.

Recent Publications

Sivasubramaniyam T, Garcia J, Tagliaferro A, Melland-Smith M, Chauvin S, Post M, Todros T, I.CANIGGIA. Where polarity meets fusion: role of Par6 in trophoblast differentiation during placental development and preeclampsia. Endocrinology. 2013 Mar;154(3):1296-309. 

Kalkat M, Garcia J, Ebrahimi J, Melland-Smith M, Todros T, Post M, I. CANIGGIA Placental autophagy regulation by the BOK-MCL1 rheostat.  Autophagy. 2013 Dec;9(12):2140-53. 

Ori Nevo, Dennis K. Lee and I. CANIGGIA.  Attenuation of VEGFR-2   expression by sFlt-1 and low oxygen in human placenta.  PLoS One. 2013 Nov 19;8(11):e81176. 

CANIGGIA I.  Preface. IFPA Meeting 2013. Placenta. 2014 Feb;35 Suppl:S2-3.

Luo D., CANIGGIA I., Post M. Hypoxia Inducible Regulation of Placental BOK Expression. Biochem J. 2014 Aug 1;461(3):391-402. Epub 2014 May 8. 

Tibboel J, Groenman FA, Selvaratnam J, Wang J, Tseu I, Huang Z, CANIGGIA I, Luo D, van Tuyl M, Ackerley C, de Jongste JC, Tibboel D, Post M. HIF-1 Stimulates Postnatal Lung Development but Does Not Prevent O2-induced Alveolar Injury.  Am J Respir Cell Mol Biol. 2014 Sep 2. 

T. Kunath, Y. Yamanaka, J. Detmar, D. MacPhee, I. CANIGGIA, J. Rossant, A. Jurisicova.  Developmental differences in the expression of FGF receptors between human and mouse embryos.  Placenta. 2014 Dec;35(12):1079-88.