Our Research Members

Robert Bandsma
Bandsma, Robert
MD, PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics

Other Appointments

Staff Gastroenterologist, The Hospital for Sick Children

Contact Information
10-9712 South, Peter Gilgan Centre For Research and Learning
686 Bay St.
Toronto, ON M5G 0A4
Phone: 416-813-9057
robert.bandsma@sickkids.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My research focuses on pancreatic function and insulin sensitivity in malnutrition.

I created an animal model of malnutrition and we are studying the acute and long-term effect of malnutrition on pancreatic function and insulin action. We also have performed and are currently doing clinic studies in low resource countries.

Ananya Banerjee
Banerjee, Ananya
R.Kin PhD
U Of T Appointments

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 Appointments

Research Fellow, Institute of Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)

Contact Information
Dalla Lana School of Public Health Health Sciences Building, Room 514
155 College St.
Toronto, Ontario M5T 3M7
Phone: 416-978-6873
ananya.banerjee@utoronto.ca
View website
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.

Bazinet, Richard P.
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Contact Information
FitzGerald Building, Room 306
150 College St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3E2
Phone: 416-946-8276
Fax: 416-978-5882
richard.bazinet@utoronto.ca
View website
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.

Denise Belsham
Belsham, Denise
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Professor, Departments of Physiology, Medicine, and Obstetrics/Gynecology

Other Appointments

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
d.belsham@utoronto.ca
View website
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.

Michelle P. Bendeck
Bendeck, Michelle P.
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Professor and Research Director, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Other Appointments

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
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.

Steffen-Sebastian Bolz
Bolz, Steffen-Sebastian
MD, PhD
U Of T Appointments

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
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.

Gillian L. Booth
Booth, Gillian L.
MD, FRCPC
U Of T Appointments

Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism; and Department of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation

Contact Information
Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute
209 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON M5B 1T8
Phone: 416-864-6060 x77448
Fax: 416-864-3025
boothg@smh.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My research focuses on health outcomes and quality of care related to diabetes. Specific interests include: 1) how neighbourhood characteristics (e.g. community design, the food environment) contribute to the prevalence of obesity and diabetes; 2) gender, socioeconomic, and regional differences in diabetes outcomes; 3) health care strategies to improve the quality of diabetes care and 4) the application of geographic analytic tools to health care planning. Much of this work is done using linkage of large secondary databases including provincial administrative health care data, population-based surveys and census, retail and other environmental data sources. Students and research fellows use epidemiological and health services research methods to study diabetes and its outcomes at a population-level.

Patricia L. Brubaker
Brubaker, Patricia L.
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Professor, Departments of Physiology and Medicine

Other Appointments

Contact Information
Room 3366, Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8
Phone: 416-978-2593
Fax: 416-978-4373
p.brubaker@utoronto.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The major interests of the Brubaker laboratory relate to the synthesis, secretion and biological activities of gut hormones and, in particular, the intestinal glucagon-like peptides, GLP-1 and GLP-2. These hormones play important roles in the regulation insulin and glucagon secretion, beta cell proliferation, intestinal growth and function, and food intake. GLP-1 mimetics are currently in use for the treatment of patients with Type 2 diabetes, while a long-acting GLP-2 analog has recently been approved for the treatment of patients with intestinal insufficiency due to short bowel. Some of the areas that are currently under investigation in the lab include:

  1. Regulation of GLP-1 and GLP-2 synthesis and secretion by the intestine, with particular focus on dietary nutrients and intracellular signalling pathways; and
  2. Mechanisms of action of GLP-1 and GLP-2 to stimulate beta cell and intestinal growth, respectively, with a major emphasis on the roles of novel intra- and extracellular mediators of these effects, as well as possible carcinogenic effects.

Students and fellows utilize a wide-variety of approaches to investigate the physiology and pathophysiology of the glucagon-like peptides, including normal and genetically-modified animals, cell culture and imaging approaches, in combination with tissue and cellular analyses at the mRNA and protein level