Mar 30, 2023

Trailblazing a new niche in Reproductive Medicine

Culture & Inclusion, Rheumatology

With Associate Professor of Rheumatology Dr. Carl Laskin

Dr. Carl Laskin is the first rheumatologist to receive the Award of Excellence from the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society. He is the managing director at TRIO Fertility, and also maintains an active teaching and research career within the Division of Rheumatology.

Dr. Laskin completed his residency training in rheumatology at the University of Toronto, followed by a fellowship in Immunology at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Returning to Toronto as a cellular immunologist working in a lab at Mount Sinai, Dr. Laskin developed a research interest in the correlation between lupus and pregnancy loss. After securing CIHR funding, Dr. Laskin became the lead on a research trial examining an experimental treatment of women with autoantibodies and recurrent pregnancy loss. During the course of the eight-year study, he was introduced to the field of fertility through one of his study collaborators.

Despite his unconventional path into the field of reproductive medicine, the primary focus of his practice is supporting pregnancy in women with underlying rheumatic diseases and the investigation and management of infertility in men and women with these diseases -- a rare area of specialization. Patients with underlying autoimmune and rheumatic diseases seeking fertility support or management of high-risk pregnancies make up the largest portion of Dr. Laskin’s patient case load. Through his association with TRIO Fertility, he is able to manage all of these patients with expertise only possible in such a setting.

In addition to his practice, Dr. Laskin is also a valued and sought-after educator in the Department of Medicine. Teaching was something he knew he wanted to pursue, beginning during his residency.

His popular Friday morning rounds are, as Dr. Laskin says, a two-way learning street. He regularly learns new approaches or ways of thinking about particular cases from his trainees, as much as his trainees are provided the opportunity to learn from him. Trainees rotating through Dr. Laskin’s clinic have the unique opportunity to learn and understand the intersections of reproductive medicine, pregnancy and rheumatology, at a clinic within a collaborative research network based throughout Canada and the U.S.

As an educator, one of the most inspiring parts of teaching for Dr. Laskin, is watching the dramatic shift between a trainee entering the rotation versus one leaving the rotation two to three months later. To be able to see their confidence and expertise develop as a practitioner is incredibly rewarding to him.

With increased interest in elective opportunities within the Division of Rheumatology, Dr. Laskin is now working to secure funding to establish a new fellowship in pregnancy in rheumatic diseases. With a specialization as rare as his, Dr. Laskin feels the opportunities are endless for trainees who wish to pursue a similar path.

Incredibly rewarded by his practice and his teaching, Dr. Laskin has no plans of slowing down any time soon. Grateful to have carved out his niche, he finds it equally rewarding to be able to follow the continued journeys and successes of his trainees as they carve out their own.