Darius Bägli

Reproduction and Development Platform


The Hospital For Sick Children, Division of Urology, 555 University Avenue, M292/299 , Toronto, Ontario Canada M5G 1X8
Research Interests
Our lab group is currently focused on the epigenetics of benign (or not) urological disease.



The Hospital for Sick Children, Associate Head, Urology
Associate Surgeon-in-Chief, Department of Surgery
Staff Urologist, Urology

Research Institute, Senior Associate Scientist, Developmental & Stem Cell Biology

University of Toronto, Professor, Department of Surgery
Full Member, Institute for Medical Sciences
Professor, Department of Physiology


Research Synopsis


Research Interests: Our lab group is currently focused on the epigenetics of benign (or not) urological disease. This interest grew out of long standing interest in cell-matrix interactions and mechanotransduction that underlie obstructive bladder disease. This pathology incites uncontrolled smooth muscle overgrowth and matrix deposition int he organ. The persistence of the disease despite relieving obstruction has led us to consider that an epigenetic mechanism may participating in a response to the altered matrix environment. This has led to additional projects in the epigenetics of bacterial-host interaction as well as environmental hormonal disruptors and genital maldevelopment, two additional major problems for uroloigical health and disease in humans.

Keywords:  Bladder, smooth (visceral) muscle, uro-epithelium, hydronephrosis, differentiation extracellular matrix, methylation, epigenetics, histones, gene regulation, urinary tract infection, stem cells, progenitor cells, hypospadias, genital development, xenoestrogens, estrogens, homonal distruptors, environment, tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, botox, cancer, cell biology, development, growth factors, hormones, molecular biology, signal trasduction, mechanotransduction, transfection, transcription, learning and surgical skills education

Detailed Description: Dr. Bägli was recruited back to Canada from the United States to initiate a new direction in the evolution of the Urology Division at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) to create a basic research sphere of activity within the division.

Dr. Bägli became a member of the surgical staff at SickKids and the Department of Surgery, University of Toronto, in 1995. He is certified in Urologic Surgery by both the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, and the American College of Surgery, and the Society For Pediatric Urology.

Dr. Bägli is a Professor of Surgery at the University of Toronto and a full member of the graduate school's Institute of Medical Science. Dr. Bägli obtained his MD from McGill University, completed an NIH Research Fellowship and Urology Residency training at Harvard Medical School, and Pediatric Urology Fellowship training at the University of Washington. Dr. Bägli is a Senior Attending Paediatric Urologist and Associate Surgeon-In-Chief at The Hospital For Sick Children, and Senior Associate Scientist in the SickKids' Research Institute where he heads translational cell and molecular biology research in smooth muscle mechanotransduction and cell signaling.

His laboratory has developed a long standing interest how tissue microenvironments influence cell growth and differentiation. His research focuses on the convergence of mechanisms regulating tissue injury and regeneration, including the role of the extracellular matrix in stem and progenitor cell differentiation and programming in the regenerative medicine context.

Dr. Bägli's interest in molecular level environmental stimuli have led to more recent interest and studies in the epigenetic regulation of cell-matrix and host-pathogen interactions.

Dr. Bägli has authored well over 120 peer reviewed scientific papers in the basic science and clinical literature and has served on numerous grants panels and advisory boards for granting agencies in both the U.S. and Canada. Dr. Bägli is a recipient of peer reviewed funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Kidney Foundation of Canada, and the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

He is currently investigating extracellular matrix biology as it pertains to wound healing and biomechanically-mediated injury in the lower urinary tract. Dr. Bägli continues to pursue innovative collaborations with clinicians and investigators at University of Toronto, in Canada and the United States.


Cell and tissue culture: Smooth muscle cells

Procedures: Immunohistochemistry, microarrays, qRT-PCR, RT-PCR, signal transduction characterization, siRNA, western blot


Benchtop centrifuge, blotting apparatus, confocal microscope, culture hood, culture incubators, cryostat, deconvolution fluorescence microscope, fluorescence microscope, gel apparatus, low and ultralow freezers, microwave oven, setups for electropherosis, stirrer/hot plate, water baths


Jia-Xin Jiang
Chris Sotiropoulos


Outside the Department of Physiology:
Norm Rosenblum, Sickkids RI (U of T)
Rosanna Weksberg, Sickkids RI (U of T)
Art Petronas, CAMH (U of T)
Lisa Robinason, Sickkids RI (U of T)

Committee member/Officer of national or international scientific organization:
American Urological Association
American Urological Association Foundation
American Academy of Pediatrics
Society For Basic Urological Research
Society For Pediatric Urology
Canadian Urological Association


Recent Publications