Profiles of BBDC Members Primarily Involved In Diabetes Research

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Wheeler, Michael B. - PhD

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

Other Appointment(s): Senior Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Heath Network

Contact Information:
Medical Sciences Building, Room 3352
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON   M5S 1A8

Phone: University of Toronto Office: (416) 978-6737 / TMDT Office: (416) 581-8462
Email: michael.wheeler@utoronto.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Our research is focussed on developing novel strategies to treat Type1 and Type 2 diabetes using multidisciplinary approaches, which combine information gained from genetic models of diabetes, genomics/proteomics, molecular biology and cell biology. Defects in pancreatic endocrine function are central factors in the pathology of diabetes. As such, we are currently investigating several avenues of research that explore pancreatic islet function in both healthy and diseased states. These include the role oxidative stress, reactive oxygen species and uncoupling proteins in the development of diabetes. We also explore the roles of membrane bound proteins like transporter, ion channels and receptors on pancreatic islet function. Another major thrust of our research is to work closely with stem cell biologists in Toronto to produce and characterize stem cell-derived beta cells for potential use in treating Type 1 diabetes.

Members of the Wheeler lab have access to state-of-art facilities at both the University of Toronto and the University Health Network at TMDT and have forged collaborations with world-class research teams working in the diabetes field. The laboratory is affiliated with the Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Group in the Department of Physiology at U of Toronto and the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre at UHN. As such the Wheeler lab is an excellent training environment for undergraduates, M.Sc. and Ph.D. candidate as well as post-doctoral fellows and residents interested in diabetes.

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Wherrett, Diane K. - MD, FRCPC

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Professor, Department of Paediatrics, Division of Endocrinology; Program Director, Paediatric Endocrinology Training Program

Contact Information:
Hospital for Sick Children
555 University Avenue
Toronto, ON   M5G 1X8

Phone: (416) 813-8159
Fax: (416) 813-6304
Email: diane.wherrett@sickkids.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My research focuses on clinical studies of the pathogenesis of type 1 diabetes and prevention of beta cell loss prior to the development of type 1 diabetes and at onset. I am the principal investigator for the Canadian Clinical Centre of Type 1 Diabetes TrialNet, a NIH sponsored international trial group. Our site is currently involved in multiple TrialNet studies:

  • Pathway to Prevention;  Natural History Study Of the Development Of Type 1 Diabetes
  • Oral Insulin For Prevention Of Diabetes In Relatives At Risk For Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
  • CTLA-4 Ig (Abatacept) for Prevention of Abnormal Glucose Tolerance and Diabetes in Relatives At-Risk for Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
  • Long-Term Investigative Follow-Up Study in TrialNet (LIFT)

TrialNet has 11 clinical centres across Canada.

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Winer, Dan - MD, FRCPC

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

Other Appointment(s): Scientist, Division of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Toronto General Research Institute
Endocrine Pathologist, Department of Pathology, University Health Network
 

Contact Information:
Department of Pathology, 11th floor, 11E-424A
200 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON   M5G 2C4

Phone: (416) 340-3190
Fax: (416) 340-5517
Email: dan.winer@uhn.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Our primary research focus is to elucidate immune mediated pathways governing obesity related insulin resistance. Obesity and its major complications, including insulin resistance, are a major global cause of morbidity and mortality, and have reached epidemic proportions. Evidence is mounting that a significant contributing cause of insulin resistance is chronic inflammation in visceral adipose tissue (VAT). This inflammation was initially thought to be driven solely by macrophages of the innate immune system attracted to dying adipocytes in fat. Recently, in collaboration with the Hospital for Sick Children, and StanfordUniversity, we have demonstrated that the adaptive immune system, including T cells, B cells and the antibodies they produce, play a significant and active role in regulating this process. This work has introduced a new "autoimmune" component to obesity related insulin resistance, and has led to new ways in thinking about metabolic disease. We continue to investigate immune mediated mechanisms in obesity and diabetes with the aim of translating our findings to help the many people afflicted by these diseases.

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Wojtowicz, J. Martin - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Physiology

Contact Information:
Medical Sciences Building, Room 3214
1 Kings College Circle
Toronto, ON   M5S 1A8

Phone: (416) 978-2899
Email: martin.wojtowicz@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://www.newneuron.com

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Research involves studies of pathological changes in the brain related to learning and memory. Specifically, diabetes can cause reduction in rate of neurogenesis in adult brain, which in turn, can lead to impaired learning and memory. Specific signals leading to impairment of neurogenesis and ways of preventing or compensating for impaired memory are under investigation.

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Wolever, Thomas M. S. - BA, MA, MSc, PhD, DM (Oxon)

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences and Department of Medicine
Graduate Coordinator, Department of Nutritional Sciences
 

Other Appointment(s): Active Staff Member, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, St. Michael's Hospital
Scientist, Keenan Research Centre of the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael's Hospital
Member, Consulting Medical Staff, Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
President, Glycemic Index Laboratories, Inc., Toronto (www.gilabs.com)

Contact Information:
FitzGerald Building, Room 434
150 College St.
Toronto, ON   M5S 3E2

Phone: (416) 978-5556
Fax: (416) 978-5882
Email: thomas.wolever@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://nutrisci.med.utoronto.ca/content/thomas-ms-wolever

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Carbohydrates in human nutrition, specifically the effects of glycemic index, sugars, starch, and dietary fiber in relation to diabetes, hyperlipidemia and colonic fermentation

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