Profiles of BBDC Members Primarily Involved In Diabetes Research

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Woo, Minna - MD, FRCPC, PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism; and Departments of IMS, Medical Biophysics and Immunology

Other Appointment(s): Head, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, University Health Network/Mount Sinai Hospital
Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network

Contact Information:
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower, Room 10-353
101 College Street
Toronto, ON   M5G 1L7

Phone: (416) 340-4125
Email: mwoo@uhnresearch.ca
Websites: http://medbio.utoronto.ca/faculty/woo.html

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The major research focus in the Woo laboratory is to elucidate molecular mechanisms that determine pathogenesis of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Our research interests include elucidating mechanisms of islet apoptosis and survival in physiological and diabetic states. We are interested in many of the fundamental genes involved in cell survival and apoptosis such as caspases, tumour suppressors and oncogenes. Many of these fundamental genes have essential physiological roles in metabolic tissues such as liver, muscle, adipose tissue, and the pancreatic islets. Using genetically engineered mice, we examine the whole body physiology as well as take biological, biochemical and molecular approaches to define physiological roles in specific tissues, in addition to defining its potential pathogenic role in diabetes. These approaches to clarify tissue-specific molecular mechanisms have wide implications for treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

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Woodgett, James

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Department of Medical Biophysics

Other Appointment(s): Director, Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital
 

Contact Information:
Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute
600 University Avenue, Room 982
Toronto, ON   M5G 1X5

Phone: (416) 586-8811
Fax: (416) 586-8839
Email: woodgett@lunenfeld.ca
Websites: http://www.lunenfeld.ca/researchers/woodgett

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Our laboratory is primarily interested in the abrogation of signal transduction pathways in human disease, in particular the phosphatidylinositol 3' kinase pathway and the Wnt pathway. Both are implicated in cancer and diabetes. We are studying several protein kinase components of these pathways, such as Protein Kinase B (PKB/Akt), Serum and Glucocorticoid-inducible Kinase 3 (SGK3) and Glycogen Synthase Kinase-3 (GSK-3). GSK-3 is associated with Alzheimer's Disease, bipolar disorder and type II diabetes. There are two mammalian genes for GSK-3, termed alpha and beta and we have generated both conventional and tissue-specific knockout mice strains of each. For example, we have generated mice that specifically lack GSK-3beta in either skeletal muscle and have characterized the insulin and glucose tolerances of these animals. GSK-3 is inhibited by insulin signalling and thus the knockouts are providing insight into the utility of GSK-3 inhibitors as sensitizers for insulin-resistant patients. We are also identifying novel targets for GSK-3 (and other protein kinases) which will help us understand the molecular mechanisms by which GSK-3 influences blood glucose responses.

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Wrana, Jeff - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Molecular Genetics

Other Appointment(s): Senior Investigator, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital
 

Contact Information:
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute
600 University Ave., Room 1078
Toronto, ON   M5S 1X5

Phone: (416) 586-4800 Ext. 2791
Email: wrana@lunenfeld.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Study of mechanisms underlying complications of diabetes, in particular kidney fibrosis.

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Wu, Xiao Yu (Shirley)

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy

Other Appointment(s): Advanced Pharmaceutics & Drug Delivery Laboratory
 

Contact Information:
Leslie Dan Pharmacy Building, Room 1103
144 College Street
Toronto, ON   M5S 3M2

Phone: (416) 978-5272
Fax: (416) 978-8511
Email: xywu@phm.utoronto.ca
Websites: http://www.pharmacy.utoronto.ca/users/wu-s

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Advanced pharmaceutics and drug delivery. Our research interests and activities related to diabetes treatment include microencapsulation of enzymes, therapeutic hormones and polypeptides; artificial islet cells; nanomaterials such as bio-inorganic, polymer-metal and polymer-lipid hybrid nanoparticles and nanocomposite membranes; nanoparticulate contrast agents and fluorophores for in vitro/in vivo imaging; ROS-regulating systems; "intelligent" drug delivery systems for self-regulated drug delivery; nanotechnology-enabled glucose-responsive closed-loop insulin delivery implants for diabetic research animals and for clinical treatment.

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Yip, Christopher M. - PhD, PEng, FAAAS

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering and Applied Chemistry; Department of Biochemistry; Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering

Contact Information:
164 College Street, Room 404
Toronto, ON   M5S 3G9

Phone: (416) 978-7853
Fax: (416) 978-4317
Email: christopher.yip@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://bigten.med.utoronto.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Our primary focus is in single molecule biophysics and specifically the interaction between biomolecules, including membrane receptors. Our primary research tools are single molecule microscopies (confocal / TIRF / atomic force) coupled with high-resolution infrared and fluorescence spectroscopies. We are motivated by a keen interest in the functional integration of these techniques to enable single molecule imaging in live cells. Our past efforts have included direct imaging of isolated insulin receptors in model membranes, single molecule force spectroscopy of insulin self-association, and mapping of glucacon fibril formation, and characterization of insulin crystallization by atomic force microscopy.

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