Born in Toronto, and educated at Princeton University and Queen's University Medical School, Dr. Rutka did an internship at McGill University before entering the University of Toronto Neurosurgery Training Program in 1982. His training included a research fellowship at the Brain Tumour Research Centre, the University of California San Francisco where he obtained his PhD in Experimental Pathology in 1987. Upon conclusion of his neurosurgical residency, Dr. Rutka did a clinical fellowship in microvascular neurosurgery with Dr Kenichiro Sugita at the University of Nagoya, and a post-doctoral research fellowship in molecular immunology at Juntendo University, Tokyo in 1990.
Dr. Rutka assumed his appointment in the Department of Surgery, Division of Neurosurgery in 1990, and has been on the surgical staff at the Hospital for Sick Children in the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery since that time. Dr. Rutka's primary research and clinical interests relate to the science and surgery of human brain tumours. His laboratory interests lie in the molecular biology of human brain tumours - specifically in the determination of the mechanisms by which brain tumours grow and invade. His recent clinical interests have centred on the surgical treatment of epilepsy in children. He has over 400 peer reviewed publications.
In 1999 he was promoted to Professor in the Department of Surgery, and was appointed Chairman of the Division of Neurosurgery at the University of Toronto. Dr Rutka has received the Grass Award from the Society of Neurological Surgeons and the Farber Award from the AANS/CNS Section on Tumours for longstanding contributions to neuro-oncology research. In 2010-11, Dr Rutka served as the President of the American Association of Neurological Surgeons. In 2011, he became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. That same year, he became President of the World Academy of Neurological Surgery, and the American Academy of Neurological Surgery, and was appointed as the RS McLaughlin Professor and Chair of the Department of Surgery at the University of Toronto. In 2013, Dr Rutka was installed as the 7th Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Neurosurgery. In 2014, he was appointed to the Order of Ontario, the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a resident in the Province, and he received an honorary degree, Honoris Causa, from the Faculty of Medicine at Bahcesehir University in Istanbul. Dr Rutka is the Director of the Arthur and Sonia Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre at the University of Toronto. He is married to Mari Rutka, a Toronto District School Board Trustee, and together they have 3 children, Daniel, Hana, and Marissa.
Dr. Rutka's primary research and clinical interests relate to the science and surgery of human brain tumors. His laboratory interests lie in the molecular biology of human brain tumors - specifically in the determination of the mechanisms by which brain tumors grow and invade.