Logo for People of Medicine by DesignMeet the world-class researchers who are building the future of regenerative medicine. These are the people of Medicine by Design.

“Even though I moved around quite a bit as a child and young adult, I consider Mumbai my scientific hometown because it’s where I did my undergraduate degree and it was a very formative place for me. I didn’t know any scientists as a child, so when I went to university, that was my first encounter with the concept of having a thought or an idea that you can explore without having to know where it is going or what it might do. Mumbai was the place that shaped me as a scientist.


Sidhartha Goyal, Assistant Professor, Department of Physics

I have an undergraduate and master’s degrees in engineering, and a PhD in physics. It wasn’t until I came to Toronto that I became interested in regenerative medicine. I started thinking about it because I met colleagues here in Toronto who were really exploring it, and I quickly realized that there are open fundamental questions in this field that I could get excited about and engage with.

My research is at the intersection of biology and physics, and it is structured around the idea of what kind of biological phenomena are the result of interactions between a large collection of units. For example, in tissues, multiple cell types have to come together to give rise to a function. Microbial communities are another example. When you have 10 different species of microbes together, the interactions between them become really important to understand what the collective behaviour is going to be. It’s like chess: each piece moves a certain way and that’s easy, but when you put all the pieces together and play the game, many complex outcomes result from their interactions.

It’s really the fundamental questions that drive me. In the case of regenerative medicine, I might ask, how do tissues come about? And how do they respond to injury? What are the rules of the game? I hope that one day my work on these fundamental questions might lead others to develop new therapies. I see the potential for that type of translation in the Medicine by Design projects I am a part of. We have researchers working on the whole spectrum, from fundamental questions to trying to have an effect at the level of disease, and it’s exciting to see that.

When I’m not working, I like reading fiction. I think it really energizes me because of the free flow of thoughts and ideas and stories. A writer can take a character and go anywhere with it, and I feel like science also allows me to do that. I can ask about the same problem in so many ways and take it in so many different directions. I think that multiplicity excites me.”

Why Professor Goyal‬ is one of our People of Medicine by Design: Professor Goyal is a co-investigator on two large team projects funded by Medicine by Design: One that looks at activating self-repair in the brain and another that involves growing mini-organs to study brain development and disease. He is also part of a team undertaking ambitious research as part of Medicine by Design’s Grand Questions Program.

Read more People of Medicine by Design stories.