Profiles of BBDC Members Primarily Involved In Diabetes Research

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Hladunewich, Michelle - MD, BSc(med), MSc, FRCP (C)

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine

Other Appointment(s): Head, Divisions of Nephrology and Obstetric Medicine, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Contact Information:

Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave.
Room A206
Toronto, ON   M4N 3M5

Phone: 416-480-6100 ext. 3863
Fax: 416-480-5040
Email: michelle.hladunewich@sunnybrook.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Dr. Hladunewich completed her Nephrology Fellowship at Stanford University Medical Center. In addition to her research training in glomerular physiology, she completed a Master’s of Science in Clinical Investigation at Stanford University. Her primary research interest is the long-term sequelae of preeclampsia, including abnormalities in the renin angiotensin system, endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance and an increased risk for the metabolic syndrome. She also conducts physiologic and outcomes research in young women with pregnancies complicated by diabetic nephropathy. She is a co-investigator in a CIHR-funded study examining the risk of microalbuminuria in women with gestational diabetes.

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Irwin, David M. - PhD

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

Contact Information:
Medical Sciences Building room 6211
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON   M5S 1A8

Phone: 416-978-0519
Email: david.irwin@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://www.lmp.utoronto.ca/research/faculty-research-database/irwin-david

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Research in the Irwin lab focuses on the evolution of genes involved in diabetes. Many of the genes and proteins (e.g., the proglucagon-derived peptides glucagon, GLP-1, and GLP-2) involved in glucose metabolism are related yet have differing function. By examining the origin and evolution of these genes we hope to identify portions of the sequences important for their unique functions. We are also interested in role of liver-specific glucokinase in glucose metabolism. We are currently using comparative and molecular approaches to identify regulatory sequences essential for regulation of expression, including insulin induction, of the glucokinase gene in the liver.

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Jenkins, David J. A. - MD, PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Departments of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine

Other Appointment(s): Director of Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael's Hospital

Contact Information:

St. Michael's Hospital Risk Factor Modification Centre
61 Queen Street East
6th Floor, Room 6133Q
Toronto, Ontario M5C 2T2

Phone: 416-867-7475
Fax: 416-867-7495
Email: nutritionproject@smh.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Dr. Jenkins research area is the use of diet in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. He has over 200 original publications on these and related topics.  His team was the first to define and explore the concept of the glycemic index of foods and demonstrate the breadth of metabolic effects of viscous soluble fiber, including blood glucose and cholesterol lowering.  His studies on combining cholesterol lowering food components (dietary portfolio) have been recognized as creating an effective dietary alternative to drug therapy (statins) for many people and was the only dietary approach referenced in the update of the guidelines of the US National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III).

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Jin, Tianru

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism

Contact Information:

MaRS Centre, Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
101 College Street
Room 10-354
Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1L7

Phone: 416-581-7670
Email: tianru.jin@utoronto.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

A) Mechanisms Underlying the Production and Function of the Incretin Hormone GLP-1. The proglucagon gene (Gcg) encodes three major peptide hormones, namely glucagon (produced in pancreas), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and GLP-2 (both are produced mainly in intestines). These hormones exert opposite or overlapping functions in controlling blood homeostasis, food intake, cell growth and proliferation. Based on the features of GLP-1, two new categories of drugs, namely GLP-1 analogues and DPP-IV inhibitors, have been developed for T2D treatment. We are exploring mechanisms underlying the production and function of peptide hormones encoded by Gcg, including GLP-1. We are now studying the role of Wnt signalling and the crosstalk between Wnt and other signalling pathways in regulating the expression and function of GLP-1.

B) Mechanisms Underlying the Expression and Function of the Lipogenic Gene Carbohydrates Response Element Binding Protein (ChREBP). The transcription factor ChREBP is a "master controller" of lipogenic genes that encode a battery of enzymes for converting carbohydrates into lipids. The function of ChREBP can be turned on by hyperglycemia and its expression was shown to be increased in obesity and hyperinsulinemia animal models. We are studying molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of ChREBP and its targets.

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Josse, Robert G. - BSc, MB, BS, FRCP, FRCPC, FACP, FACE

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor of Medicine and Nutritional Sciences

Other Appointment(s): Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, St. Michael's Hospital

Contact Information: , ON

Phone: 416-867-7455
Fax: 416-867-3696
Email: josser@smh.toronto.on.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Often with an emphasis in clinical nutrition, I have obtained peer review and non peer review grants (mostly Phase II and III pharmaceutically funded multicentre national and international studies) as Principal, Co-principal or Co-investigator. These studies have investigated the effects of various new drugs on diabetes control, hyperlipidemia and prevention and treatment of diabetes complications. I have been particularly interested in the nutritional management of diabetes with other colleagues in the Department of Nutritional Sciences (Jenkins, Wolever). We have promulgated the concept of the glycemic index of foods and the importance of meal frequency as therapeutic principles.

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