Faculty Focus - Mark Erwin


Mark ErwinMark Erwin, DC, PhD

Dr. Mark Erwin obtained his Doctor of Chiropractic from the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College in 1984 and later completed his Ph.D. in Medical Sciences at the Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Toronto in 2004. Dr. Erwin was cross-appointed as an assistant professor and staff scientist for the Division of Orthopaedic Surgery and Division of Neurosurgery Spine Programme at the University of Toronto. Since this time, Dr. Erwin has been appointed an associate professor at the Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, a Scientist at the Toronto Western Research Institute and an Affiliate Scientist for the Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto. Dr. Erwin’s research takes a cellular/molecular approach in order to both understand and treat degenerative disc disease and associated disorders of connective tissue. His research has been facilitated by both his expertise in his field, as well as peer-reviewed funding from sources such as the AO-Spine and the North American Spine Society and philanthropic sources. Between 2003 and 2007, Dr. Erwin received the CIHR/CCA Senior Research Award and was appointed the Chiropractic Research Chair at the University of Toronto. In addition to the positions Dr. Erwin holds at the University of Toronto and Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, he is also a member of over ten scientific organizations – including the North American Spine Society, Canadian Chiropractic Association and AO Spine International – and he sits on the review board for nine academic journals.

Current Appointments

  • Assistant Professor/Staff Scientist, Division of Orthopaedic Surgery, cross-appointed to Division of Neurosurgery, The Spine Programme, University of Toronto
  • Associate Professor, Research, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College
  • Scientist, Toronto Western Research Institute
  • Cross appointed Affiliate Scientist, Division of Neurosurgery, University of Toronto
  • Executive Committee Member, University of Toronto Spine Programme

Selected Distinctions

  • Committee Member, North American Spine Society Biologics Committee and lecturer AO-Spine World Forum for Spine Research: The Intervertebral Disc, 2012
  • Gardiner Trust Regenerative Medicine Excellence Award, 2011
  • Homewood Professorship Award, Canadian Memorial Chiropractic College, 2009
  • CIHR/CCA Senior Research Award/Chiropractic Research Chair Award, 2003-2007
  • Ontario Chiropractic Association Professional Services Award: Research, 2006
  • Canadian Chiropractic Assocation Medal of Merit 2013

Selected Peer-Reviewed Funding

  • North American Spine Society Young Investigator Award, 2012.
    Mechanistic Determination of Notochordal Cell-Induced Anti-Apoptotic Signaling in Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells
    PI: Mehrkens A, Fehlings MG, Erwin WM
    $49,992.50
  • Fox Foundation.
    Motorneuron Differentiation of Nucleus Pulposus Progenitor/Stem Cells: A Possible Avenue for the treatment of ALS?
    PI: Zinman L, Robinson J, Erwin WM.
    $120,000
  • AO-Spine International Hansjorg Wyss Foundation Award, 2011.
    Intervertebral disc-derived multipotent stem cell rescue of the injured spinal cord
    PI: Erwin WM co-PI: Fehlings MG
    $30,000
  • Philanthropic/Foundation support, 2010-2013.
    Regenerative Approach to Intervertebral Disc Disease.
    PI: Erwin WM
    Non disclosed

Selected Publications

  • Erwin WM. The Enigma of the Nucleus Pulposus Cell: The Search Goes On. Arthritis Research and Therapy 2010:12.
  • Standaert C, Friedly J, Rechtine G, Erwin WM, Lee M, Hennrckson N and Norvell DC Comparative Effectiveness of Exercise, Acupuncture and Spinal Manipulation for Low Back Pain: Spine 1 October 2011 - Volume 36 - Issue - p S120S130.
  • Las Heras F, DaCosta RS, Pritzker KP, Haroon N, Netchev G, Tsui HW, Chiu B, Erwin WM, Tsui FW, Inman RD. Aberrant axial mineralization precedes spinal ankylosis: a molecular imaging study in ank/ank mice. Arthritis Res Ther. 2011;13(5):R163. Epub 2011 Oct 12.
  • Erwin WM, Islam D, Inman RD, Fehlings MG, Tsui FW. Notochordal cells protect nucleus pulposus cells from degradation and apoptosis: implications for the mechanisms of intervertebral disc degeneration. Arthritis Res Thr. 2011;13(6):R215. Epub 2011 Dec 29.
  • Haldeman Scott, Kopansky-Giles Deborah, Hurwitz Eric L., Hoy Damian, Erwin W. Mark, Dagenais Simon, Kawchuk Greg, Strvmqvist Bjvrn, Walsh Nicolas. Advancements in the Management of Spine Disorders. Best Practice & Research Clinical Rheumatology. Volume 26, Issue 2 , Pages 263-280, April 2012.
  • Erwin WM, Fehlings MG Intervertebral Disc Degeneration: Genes Hold the Key. World Neurosurg. 2012 Jun 15.
  • Mehrkens A, Karim MZ, Kim S, Hilario R, Fehlings MG, Erwin WM, “Canine Notochordal Cell-Secreted Factors Protect Murine and Human Nucleus Pulposus Cells from Apoptosis by Inhibition of Activated Casease-9 and -3/7” Evidence Based Spine Journal October 2013, Issue 2 Volume 4 154-156
  • Erwin W Mark, Korpela, A Pauliina, Jones, Robert A, “Chiropractors as Primary Spine Care Providers: precedents and essential measures” Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2013; 57(4):285-291
  • Rhee JM, Shamji MF, Erwin WM, Bransford RJ, Yoon ST, Smith JS, Kim HJ, Ely CG, Dettori JR, Patel AA, Kalsi-Ryan S “Non-operative management of cervical myelopathy: a systematic review” SPINE 2013 Oct 15;38(22 Suppl 1):S55-67
  • Karadimas Spryidon, Erwin W Mark, Ely Claire G, Dettori Joseph, Fehlings MG, “The Natural History and Pathophysiology of Cervical Spondylotic Myelopathy”. SPINE 2013, Volume 38, Number 22S ppS21-S36
  • Kawchuck G, Bruno P, Busse JW, Bussieres A, Erwin WM, Passmore S, Srbely J. “Knowledge Transfer within the Canadian Chiropractic Community. Part 1: Understanding Evidence-Practice Gaps” Journal of the Canadian Chiropractic Association 2013, 57(2); June 111-115
  • Erwin WM: “Biologically-Based Therapy for the Intervertebral Disc: Who is the patient?” Global Spine Journal, May 2013 DOI: 10.1055/s-0033-1343074
  • Erwin WM: “Canonical Wnt Signaling and Caveolae Play a Role in Intervertebral Disc Degeneration; The Continuing Saga of the Mysterious Notochordal Cell” (Invited Editorial) Arthritis Research & Therapy 2013, 15:113
  • Erwin WM, Eftekharpour E, Islam D, Inman RD, Fehlings MG “Intervertebral Disc-Derived Stem Cells: Implications for Regenerative Medicine and Neural Repair” SPINE 2013 Volume 38, Number 3, pp 211–216
  • Erwin WM, Korpela AP, Jones RC. Chiropractors as Primary Spine Care Providers: precedents and essential measures. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2013 Dec;57(4):285-91.
  • Hawryluk G, Spano S, Chew D, Wang S, Erwin M, Chamankhah M, Forgione N, Fehlings M. “An Examination of The Mechanisms by Which Neural Precursors Augment Recovery Following Spinal Cord Injury: A Key Role for Remyelination” Cell Transplantation 2014 Vol 23,365-380
  • Erwin WM, Hood KE. The cellular and molecular biology of the intervertebral disc: A clinician's primer. J Can Chiropr Assoc. 2014 Sep;58(3):246-57.