Professor Brian Howard Robinson, PhD

October 30, 2021


It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Brian Robinson, a brilliant medical research scientist and kind soul, on October 30th, 2021. He was cherished by his beloved wife Joyce, his sons, grandchildren, nieces, brother, sister, and colleagues at SickKids.

Brian was appointed to the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto in 1973. He ran a world-renowned diagnostic lab at SickKids for patients with mitochondrial diseases; genetic disorders that affect energy production in our bodies. He researched these diseases and identified the genetic cause of more than 10 different types. One disorder affected children from the Saguenay region of Quebec. The Mayor of Saguenay personally thanked him for this important work in helping save so many children’s lives there.

His work earned him tremendous respect from both his peers and appreciative families – these diseases are often fatal. His diagnoses and research changed many lives. It allowed affected children to receive better treatments and provided expert guidance for families in need.

Throughout his career, Brian published 290 publications and was invited to speak at many international conferences. In 2001 he was awarded the prestigious Canada Research Chair in Nutrition and Metabolism.

Since 1980, he taught medical students, mentored 15 graduate students, and was known for his unwavering support of his staff and immense knowledge of biochemistry. He inspired those fortunate enough to work with him and trained a new generation of researchers. He continued to support them throughout their careers. His motto was “Once you join the Robinson lab, you are part of it for life!”

He retired in 2012 and has spent the last years of his life with his wife and family.  A marathon runner, folk musician, an angler, collector of antiquities and steam train enthusiast; Brian loved the outdoors and was creative, humorous, and cheerful.

A Celebration of Life will be held in the Spring in the Haliburton Highlands.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in memory of Dr. Brian Robinson to SickKids Research Institute. Please call 416 813-6166 to make a donation or visit


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