D Robert Sutherland

D Robert Sutherland, MSc

I obtained a Master’s Degree in Biochemistry from the University of London England in 1975 while working with Dr. Mel Greaves at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund. I moved to the Toronto General Hospital in 1984. I became an Assistant Professor in 1989 (Dept of Medicine, University of Toronto), Associate Professor in 1997, and Full Professor in 2009.

I am a member of the Canadian Bone Marrow Transplant Group Laboratory Committee. I serve on the Council of the International Clinical Cytometry Society. I have published 90 peer-reviewed articles, 14 Reviews, 9 Editorials and 11 Technical Monographs.​

My early research interests included elucidating the structural characteristics of variety of cell surface molecules associated with normal and malignant cellular phenotypes including CD10, CD71, CD24, CD7 CD109 and CD34. My work studying the CD34 antigen led to the development of a new Flow Cytometric method to enumerate CD34+ cells. In 1996 this evolved into a clinical Guideline for ISHAGE (Int’l Soc Hematotherapy and Graft Evaluation). The ‘single platform’ variant of this is the most widely used method to assess graft adequacy in the bone marrow transplant setting and is embodied in several National and International Guidelines for graft assessment by Flow Cytometry. This work led to the Wallace H. Coulter Distinguished Lecture Award in 2006, “to recognize his lifetime contribution to the science, education and practice of Clinical Cytometry.”

Using primitive (CD34+) cells as an immunogen, we developed 4 monoclonal antibodies to a novel cell-surface antigen also present on activated T-lymphoblasts, activated platelets and endothelial cells.  Using our antibodies, the Vth and VIth HLDA workshops designation this molecule CD109. We subsequently showed that CD109 is expressed on purified CD34+ cells and that the CD109+ fraction included progenitors of megakaryocytes, myelo-erythroid cells and pluripotent hematopoietic stem cells. Most significantly, we also showed that the CD109+ subset of CD34+ cells included the most primitive pluripotent stem cells in normal bone marrow. A US patent (#5,655,557) was issued based upon this work. We have immunopurified CD109 and obtained amino-acid sequence, thereby facilitating the cloning of the human CD109 cDNA. This has also allowed us to elucidate the molecular nature of the Gov platelet alloantigen system that is associated with CD109. A US patent (#7700613) was issued based upon this work.

As part of my duties as the Technical Director of the University Health Network Clinical Flow Cytometry Facility to the Clinical Flow Cytometry Laboratory at Toronto General Hospital, I develop new flow cytometric assays for deployment in the clinical laboratory. We have developed a number of clinical flow cytometric assays for the detection of Glycophosphatidyl-inositol (GPI)-linked structures that are lacking in Paroxysmal Nocturnal Hemoglobinuria and related disorders like Aplastic Anemia. I co-authored the recent ICCS Guidelines for the diagnosis of this rare disease by flow cytometry.

Cytometry B Clin Cytom. 2017 Dec 13;:
Sutherland DR, Illingworth A, Marinov I, Ortiz F, Andreasen J, Payne D, Wallace PK, Keeney M
Clin Lab Med. 2017 Dec;37(4):855-867
Keeney M, Illingworth A, Sutherland DR
Chem Sci. 2017 Apr 01;8(4):2885-2889
Gauchot V, Sutherland DR, Lee AL
Chemistry. 2016 Nov 11;:
Webster S, Sutherland DR, Lee AL
Nanoscale. 2016 Jul 1;
Merrill DR, Sutherland DR, Ditto JJ, Moore DB, Falmbigl M, Medlin DL, Johnson DC
Mar Pollut Bull. 2015 Oct 13;
McIntosh RR, Kirkwood R, Sutherland DR, Dann P
Curr Protoc Cytom. 2015;72:6.37.1-6.37.29
Sutherland DR, Illingworth A, Keeney M, Richards SJ



Professor Department of Medicine University of Toronto​
Technical Director Clinical Flow Cytometry, Laboratory Medicine Program, UHN