Discovery Research Programs

Prevention And Therapy Of Diabetic Complications

Photo of George Fantus

Program Leader: Dr. George Fantus

This program promotes the collaborative research of investigators involved in the field of diabetes complications at the University of Toronto and its fully affiliated academic teaching hospitals and research institutes. Through regular meetings and presentations by participating laboratories, group interactions are fostered and collaborative research granting opportunities are facilitated. The program spans cell biology animal models and human trials featuring a comprehensive and interdisciplinary research program. A major focus of the program is diabetic nephropathy (kidney disease) in which the University of Toronto has an internationally recognized group of scientists.


Group Members

Diabetic Nephropathy

Andrew Advani
David Cherney
Richard Gilbert
Carolyn Cummins
George Fantus

James Scholey
Heather Reich
Rohan John

Diabetic Retinopathy

Carol Westall

Diabetic Neuropathy

Bruce Perkins
Vera Bril

Epidemiology of Microvascular Complications

Ravi Retnakaran 
Bernard Zinman
Jill Hamilton

Anthony Hanley

Lorraine Lipscombe
Michael Farkouh

Genetics of Microvascular Complications

Andrew Paterson

Cell Biology of Macrovascular Disease

Michelle Bendeck
Steffen-Sebastian Bolz
Adria Giacca
Tianru Jin
John Floras

Neurobiology of Diabetic Complications

Carol Greenwood
Peter Carlen

Bone Disease in Diabetes

Marc Grynpas

Complications of Pregnancy

Denice Feig
Diane Donat

Program Activities

Strategy for Patient-Oriented Research (SPOR) Network in Diabetes and Its Related Complications

In March 2016, Federal Health Minister Jane Philpott announced funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) for five SPOR Networks in Chronic Disease.  Dr. Gary Lewis, Director of the BBDC, will co-lead one of these five networks, a SPOR Network in Diabetes and its Related Complications. The SPOR Network will receive $12.45 million from CIHR over the next five years, matched by funding raised from various partners, for a total five-year investment of an additional $19 million.  Total funding is now over $31 million and rising as more partners join our Network.

The Network will be administered by the University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medicine and its administrative offices will be on the 12th floor of the Toronto General Hospital alongside the BBDC administrative offices. The SPOR Network will be administered as a separate organization from the BBDC but will interact with the BBDC, each pulling the other forward in its slipstream to support diabetes research at U of T and elsewhere. We are very grateful to Professor Catharine Whiteside, former Dean of the U of T Faculty of Medicine, who has kindly agreed to be the first Executive Director of the Network. 

How will the SPOR Network benefit BBDC Members? Many members of the BBDC are team members of the Diabetes Network and will be actively involved in its research and Knowledge Translation activities.  The Diabetes Network’s activities are extensive and include clinical trials, informatics, development of new tools and therapies for diabetes complications, knowledge translation and training, to mention just some of the planned activities.  Much of our work will focus on targeted Intervention of diabetic complications, testing new therapies, imaging techniques and repurposing of approved therapies. University of Toronto leadership of the SPOR Network for Diabetes and its Related Complications will undoubtedly provide a major boost for members of the BBDC involved in many facets of diabetes research, not least of which will be the many opportunities that will arise from national and international networking partnerships and collaborations.