Profiles of BBDC Members Primarily Involved In Diabetes Research

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Banerjee, Ananya - R.Kin PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Assistant Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health – Division of Social and Behavioral Sciences (division cross appointment in Clinical Public Health)
Associate Director, Masters of Public Health – Health Promotion Program, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Assistant Professor (non-budget cross-appointment), Faculty of Kinesiology and Physical Education

Other Appointment(s): Research Fellow, Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES), Toronto

Contact Information:
Health Sciences Building - Room 514
155 College Street
Toronto, ON   M5T 3M7

Phone: 416-978-6873
Email: ananya.banerjee@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://www.dlsph.utoronto.ca/faculty-profile/banerjee-ananya/

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My program of research develops and evaluates community-based prevention programming for South Asian adults and adolescents living in Canada at risk for diabetes using mixed-methods designs from a socio-ecological perspective. A current project I am leading is the South Asian Adolescent Diabetes Awareness Program (SAADAP) funded by the Child and Youth Diabetes Strategy Fund by the Lawson Foundation. I am also a present fellow at the Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES) examining variation in the prevalence of diabetes across immigrants from the South Asian Diaspora in Ontario.

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Bazinet, Richard P. - PhD

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

Contact Information:
FitzGerald Building, Room 306
150 College St.
Toronto   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:
Translational Biology and Engineering Program (TBEP), Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research
661 University Ave., 14th Floor. Rm 1432
Toronto, ON   M5G 1M1

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:
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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