Profiles of BBDC Members Primarily Involved In Diabetes Research

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McIntyre, Roger S.

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology

Other Appointment(s): Head, Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit (MDPU), University Health Network

Contact Information:

Toronto Western Hospital
399 Bathurst Street, MP9-325
Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8

Phone: 416-603-5279
Fax: 416-603-5368

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Individuals with mood disorders are differentially affected by abnormalities in glucose handling, hyperglycemia, and diabetes mellitus. Evidence indicates that both mood disorders and diabetes are highly associated with neurocognitive impairment as well as changes in brain volume and structure. Points of pathophysiological commonality have been implicated between mood disorders and diabetes and include alterations in metabolic effector systems, immunoinflammatory dysregulation, oxidative stress, and incretin systems. We have coined the moniker "Metabolic Syndrome Type II" to characterize these points of commonality. The Mood Disorder Psychopharmacology Unit (MDPU) is engaged in a plethora of both descriptive and interventional studies that aim to identify the effect of abnormal glucose homeostasis, insulin resistance, and incretin dysregulation on brain structure and function. The MDPU welcomes multidiscipline centre of excellence and research characterizing the psychiatry and endocrinology interface.

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Moody, Alan - MBBS, FRCP, FRCR

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Medical Imaging
Associate Professor, Department of Medical Biophysics
Full member Institute of Medical Sciences
Chair, Department of Medical Imaging

Other Appointment(s): Senior Scientist, Sunnybrook Research Institute
Staff Radiologist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Contact Information:
Department of Medical Imaging
Toronto, ON

Phone: 416-978-0511
Fax: 416-978-6915

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Diabetic patients are known to suffer an excess risk of cardiovascular disease due to atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is a blood vessel wall disease caused by the build-up of fatty substances called plaques. The blockage of blood flow eventually leads to serious heart and circulatory problems such as heart attack or stroke. However, diagnosis of diabetic cardiovascular disease is commonly not undertaken unless and until the patient presents with symptoms. By then, the disease is already far advanced and the potential for stabilization or reversal is limited. Although numerous imaging techniques for visualization of the diabetic blood vessel wall are available, early-stage diseases may not be easily detected. The need for developing new techniques to detect and monitor diabetic vascular disease is becoming more important as diabetes becomes more prevalent.  We aim to develop MRI and ultrasound techniques for high-resolution and contrast imaging, specifically for improved characterization of vessel-wall disease in the early stages of diabetes. Our studies also aim to provide an improved understanding of the biology and interactions within the atherosclerotic plaque. This may provide a more rational and targeted approach to identify early signs of cardiovascular disease, and allow early treatment prior to significant tissue damage.

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Moriarty, Tara - PhD, BA, BSc

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Assistant Professor, Matrix Dynamics Group, Faculty of Dentistry
Assistant Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine

Contact Information:
Fitzgerald Rm 241
150 College Street
Toronto, ON   M5S 3E2

Phone: 416-978-6685
Fax: 416-978-5956

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

We study systemic dissemination mechanisms of bloodborne bacterial pathogens, with a focus on the Lyme disease pathogen, Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne infection in the industrialized world, and its incidence is increasing rapidly, in parallel with rising rates of obesity and diabetes. Systemic dissemination of pathogens causes most of the mortality due to bacterial infection, but remains poorly understood. One critical step in dissemination is microbe adhesion to blood vessel surfaces in the face of fluid shear force. Vascular adhesion enables pathogens to decelerate and transmigrate through vessels to reach extravascular tissues in joints, heart and brain where secondary infection is established. B. burgdorferi adheres more readily to sites of turbulent, altered blood flow (Moriarty et al., 2008). This observation, together with the epidemiological profile of Lyme disease, prompted us to examine the effect of blood flow-altering conditions such as diet-induced obesity on B. burgdorferi dissemination in mice. We have found that diet-induced obesity significantly enhances host susceptibility to disseminated Borrelia infection, and are currently investigating the mechanisms underlying this increased susceptibility, as well as the role of diabetes in host susceptibility to Lyme disease.

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Mueller, Daniel - MD, PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Profressor, Deapartment of Psychiatry

Other Appointment(s): Head, Pharmacogenetics Research Clinic, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health

Contact Information:
Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
250 College St., R132
Toronto, ON   M5T 1R8

Phone: 416-535-8501
Fax: 416-979-4666

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The overarching goal of my research is to improve psychiatric drug treatment by implementation of personalized medicine using genetic information.

One major focus of my research is to study the genetics of antipsychotic-induced weight gain (AIWG). AIWG frequently leads to obesity and secondary conditions such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension and cardiovascular events. Our research has revealed significant associations between AIWG and polymorphisms of the Cannabinoid-1-receptor (Twari et al., 2010) gene, the melanocortin-4-receptor gene (Chowdhury et al., 2013), the Neurpeptide-Y gene (Tiwari et al., 2013) and mitochondrial genes (Goncalves et al., 2014). We are currently developing an algorithm that will incorporate these genes along with clinical and demographic risk factors which will result in a genetic risk model for clinical application. Such algorithm will help to identify patients at higher risk for AIWG and diabetes, in order to select a medication panel with low risk. In addition, high risk patients will receive frequent monitoring and encouraged to enroll in diet and excercise programs.

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Nagy, Andras - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynaecology and Institute of Medical Sciences

Other Appointment(s): Senior Investigator, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Stem Cells and Regeneration

Contact Information:

Mount Sinai Hospital
Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute
60 Murray Street, Box 40
Toronto, ON  M5T 3L9

Phone: Office: 416-586-4800 Ext. 5361 Lab: 416-586-8455
Fax: 416-586-5130

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Somatic cell reprogramming to induced pluripotent stem cells requires the expression of 2-4 key transcription factors. We have demonstrated that the piggyBac transposon-based transgene delivery system combined with tetracycline inducible gene expression can be used to reprogram cells with a comparably high efficiency to viral transduction, both from mouse and human somatic cells. Unique properties of our transposon-based system form the foundation for exploring the plasticity of the ß-cell. Using a transgenic reprogrammable mouse line, we are exploring the possibility expanding, differentiating and trans-differentiating cells of the pancreatic lineage in a whole organism context and ex vivo. T his research aims to take a giant leap forward in the understanding of the cellular plasticity of ß-cells and the development of novel tools for bringing efficient cell-based therapies to the future of medicine.

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