Profiles of BBDC Members Primarily Involved In Diabetes Research

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Bazinet, Richard P. - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Contact Information:

FitzGerald Building
150 College St., Room 306
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3E2

Phone: 416-946-8276
Fax: 416-978-5882
Email: richard.bazinet@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://nutrisci.med.utoronto.ca/content/richard-bazinet

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

1) Regulation of tissue uptake and metabolism/signaling properties of fatty acids, especially within the brain.2) Genetic and dietary regulation of plasma fatty acid concentrations.

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Belsham, Denise - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Departments of Physiology, Medicine, and Obstetrics/Gynecology

Other Appointment(s): Canada Research Chair in Neuroendocrinology, CFI Researcher
Affiliate Scientist, Division of Cellular & Molecular Biology, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network

Contact Information:
Medical Sciences Building 3344
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON   M5S 1A8

Phone: 416-946-7646
Fax: 416-978-4940
Email: d.belsham@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://www.physiology.utoronto.ca/content/denise-belsham

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Obesity is a major global health concern and is a major risk factor for other disorders, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. A complex neuronal system has evolved to maintain energy homeostasis, and also glucose homeostasis. Leptin, ghrelin, glucose, glucagon-like peptides, and insulin are known peripheral signals that act to regulate feeding and energy balance by modulating the expression of neuropeptides in the brain, specifically the hypothalamus. The afferent hormones leptin and insulin have common physiological responses and intracellular signaling mechanisms, but insulin resistance and leptin resistance are major metabolic problems, sometimes leading to type 2 diabetes. We have a strong track record of neuroendocrine research, focussing on molecular and cellular biology using hypothalamic neuronal cell models. Our research program includes studies of the regulation and signalling mechanisms in many of the neuropeptide-expressing neurons involved in energy homeostasis, and the molecular/cellular events leading to leptin/insulin resistance. Importantly, there is also a direct relationship between nutritional status and reproduction, another long-term interest of my laboratory, therefore my research program is poised to utilize all the information gained from our work to provide insight into the complex nature of integrated neuroendocrine control of basic physiology.

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Bendeck, Michelle P. - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor and Research Director, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Other Appointment(s): Career Investigator, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario

Contact Information:
Medical Sciences Building, Room 6217
1 KIng's College Circle
Toronto, ON   M5S 1A8

Phone: 416-946-7133
Fax: 416-978-5959
Email: michelle.bendeck@utoronto.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The main focus of research in my lab is on atherosclerosis and specifically on interactions between cells and extracellular matrix during vascular remodeling. We are investigating mechanisms of vessel wall thickening and remodeling using experimental models of arterial injury in mouse, rat and rabbit, studying the role of extracellular matrix, cell-surface integrin receptors, the novel discoidin-domain receptors and MMPs in mediating SMC responses.  In collaboration with Dr. Adria Giacca, we are studying the effect of high glucose and insulin on SMC growth and matrix remodeling in atherosclerosis.

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Bolz, Steffen-Sebastian - MD, PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Research, Department of Physiology

Contact Information:

University of Toronto
Medical Sciences Building, Room 3326
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8

Phone: 416-978-7529
Fax: 416-978-4373
Email: sts.bolz@utoronto.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My laboratory group recently started two projects that are related to diabetes: 

1)  The first project aims to understand the molecular signalling that underlies diabetes-associated microvascular structural and functional changes. Our special focus herein is on the role of microvascular sphingosine-1-phosphate signaling.

2)  The second project aims to understand how heart failure affects the signalling network that ultimately controls blood glucose homeostasis. The special focus here is on the effects of TNFalpha on insulin and GLP-1 secretion.

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Booth, Gillian L. - MD, FRCPC

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism; and Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation

Contact Information:
Centre for Research on Inner City Health
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
St. Michael's Hospital
209 Victoria Street
Toronto, Ontario M5B 1T8

Phone: 416-864-6060 Ext: 77448
Fax: 416-864-3025
Email: boothg@smh.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My research focuses on health outcomes and quality of care related to diabetes. Specific interests include: 1) how neighbourhood characteristics (e.g. community design, the food environment) contribute to the prevalence of obesity and diabetes; 2) gender, socioeconomic, and regional differences in diabetes outcomes; 3) health care strategies to improve the quality of diabetes care and 4) the application of geographic analytic tools to health care planning. Much of this work is done using linkage of large secondary databases including provincial administrative health care data, population-based surveys and census, retail and other environmental data sources. Students and research fellows use epidemiological and health services research methods to study diabetes and its outcomes at a population-level.

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