Clinical Research Centre

The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, Ontario
What the facility does

Research studies of both healthy children and children with long-term health issues and/or disabilities

Area(s) of Expertise

The Clinical Research Centre of the CFI-funded Centre for the Study of Complex Childhood Diseases is a specialized clinical research facility designed for research studies of both healthy children (and adults) and those with long-term health issues and/or disabilities. To ensure the safety of research subjects, the centre is staffed with skilled and experienced registered nurses, respiratory therapists, exercise physiologists and technicians. There are clinical investigation rooms where registered nurses perform oral glucose-tolerance testing and therapeutic infusions and collect information on anthropometry, body composition, nasal potential difference, etc., on all ages and stages across the life cycle. An Infant Pulmonary Function Laboratory, a service that is unique to SickKids, specializes in a variety of lung-function testing in children, from infancy to early childhood. The centre also contains a state-of-the-art Exercise Medicine Research Laboratory for measuring cardiopulmonary function, muscular strength and power, activity monitoring, etc. The dedicated space plus equipment for research purposes enable us to perform quality prospective clinical research within the strict time constraints of research protocols.

Research Services
  • General research patient assessment and treatment procedures such as growth measurement / specimen or blood collection / administration of medications and monitoring of vital signs 
  • Metabolic testing includes open-circuit calorimetry under hood (measurement of O2 uptake and/or CO2 production) / respiratory quotient / resting energy expenditure / bioelectrical impedance)
  • Whole body composition measurements using air-displacement technology (BodPod and Peapod testing)
  • Cardiopulmonary exercise includes assessments of pulmonary function, maximal aerobic power (max VO2) / steady state or progressive exercise cardiac output / running economy (treadmill) / anaerobic power (sprint bike) / body composition (skin fold, bioelectric impedance) / exponential CO2 rebreath techniques to allow progressive exercise testing
  • Infant pulmonary function testing for children
  • Nasal potential difference testing
  • The research kitchen is used to prepare experimental diets / either food-based or chemically based / and includes a fridge / a microwave, an analytical balance and blenders
Sectors of Application
  • Healthcare and social services
  • Life sciences, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment

Name of specialized lab

Name of equipment

Short description of function

Cardiopulmonary exercise testing

SensorsMedics VE229 exercise system with treadmill 


Ergometers (Lode Corival, Corival Recumbent, Corival Pediatric)

MRI-compatible ergopedal


Leonardo Mechanography



iSTAT blood analyzer

Near-infrared spectrometer (NIRS)



For measuring static and exercise pulmonary function as well as respiratory muscle strength


Accurate stress-test analysis



Automatic, objective and software-based motion analysis and performance diagnosis for the early diagnosis of movement disorders and the objective and reproducible assessment of achievement potential and mobility

Hand-held blood analyzer

NIRS used to monitor muscle-tissue oxygenation

Non-invasive measurement of cardiac output during exercise by inert-gas rebreathing technique

Specialized metabolic testing

Two Vmax Encore VE29n metabolic systems

Bioelectrical impedance analyzer 


Infant pulmonary function testing

Amis 2000 respiratory mass spectrometer



Exhalyzer D infant and pediatric pulmonary function system

A powerful mass-spectrometer-based unit for the comprehensive routine determination of a wide range of pulmonary and cardiovascular parameters utilizing advanced gas-exchange techniques


Multiple breath washout test analyzer




Body composition tracking systems

Two Bod Pods, a Tod Pod and a Pea Pod

A fast, safe and easy-to-use tool for measuring body composition