Our Research Members

Joseph Cafazzo
Cafazzo, Joseph
PhD, PEng
U Of T Appointments

Associate Professor, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine
Associate Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering, Faculty of Medicine

Other Appointments
  • Senior Director, Medical Engineering and Healthcare Human Factors, University Health Network
  • Lead, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network
  • Primary Area of Study (PAS) Lead, eHealth Innovation and Information Management, Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
  • Clinical Lead, Design and Engineering for Health, Techna Institute, University Health Network
  • Investigator, Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) Collaborative, University of Toronto
  • Core Member, Centre for Patient Safety, University of Toronto
Contact Information
RFE 4th Floor, 4S427
190 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2C4
Phone: 416-340-3634
joe.cafazzo@uhn.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Dr. Cafazzo leads the development of technologies as a way to keep people out of hospital by allowing for self-care at home for those with chronic conditions such as diabetes, asthma, end-stage renal disease and congestive heart failure.

These strategies are aimed at helping people before their conditions become acute and medical intervention is required. The emphasis here is improving patient self-efficacy.

One such solution is bant. Designed for adolescents with Type I diabities, bant simplifies diabetes management by connecting to a glucometer via Bluetooth. It also connects teens in a secure community of peers and helps them self-manage by rewarding positive behaviour every time they use their glucometer.

Peter Carlen
Carlen, Peter
MD, FRCPC
U Of T Appointments

Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Neurology; Professor, Departments of Physiology, and IBBME

Other Appointments

Senior scientist TWRI

Contact Information
Toronto Western Research Institute
399 Bathurst St., Room 12-413
Toronto, ON M5T 2S8
Phone: 416-603-5017
Fax: 416-603-5768
carlen@uhnresearch.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Main interests are mechanisms of neural synchrony and entrainment (epilepsy), hypoglycemic seizures, and neurodegenerative processes.a) We have several projects on cellular mechanisms and local system dynamics of epilepsy, particularly the biophysics of the transition to seizure, and the role of electrotonic coupling via gap junctions. Molecular biological and cellular electrophysiological techniques are being used to measure the upregulation of gap junctions in several in vitro and in vivo seizure models. b) Hypoglycemic seizures are a major problem in juveniles with diabetes. We are studying the pathophysiology of hypoglycaemic seizures in juvenile animals both in vitro and in vivo, noting that the most severe seizures seem to be associated with mainly subcortical seizure-like EEG activity, which could also be related to the ‘dead in bed’ or sudden unexplained death sometimes noted with juvenile hypoglycemic events. Also we are examining the pathophysiology of neuronal injury which is enhanced by glucose reperfusion. Glucose reperfusion is also associated with a significant upregulation of gap junctional expression, the significance of which remains to be elucidated. However is is known that provision of nutrients to neurons requires intact astrocytic gap junctional communication.

David Cherney
Cherney, David
MD, PhD, FRCPC
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Nephrology

Other Appointments

Clinician Scientist, University Health Network

Contact Information
University Health Network
585 University Ave., Room 8N-845
Toronto, ON M5G 2N2
Phone: 416-340-4151
Fax: 416-340-4999
david.cherney@uhn.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Current research interests in type 1 diabetes mellitus include the physiology of renal hyperfiltration in diabetic nephropathy, cardiorenal interactions and endothelial function, the effect of pharmaceutical agents on the urinary proteome, and functional gene polymorphisms in humans.

Colton, Patricia
MD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry

Contact Information
Toronto General Hospital
200 Elizabeth St., 7 Eaton South Rm. 409
Toronto, ON M5G 2C4
Phone: 416-340-3477
Fax: 416-340-3430
patricia.colton@uhn.on.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

I am engaged in research related to psychosocial adjustment to diabetes, particularly risk for eating disorders and depression. I collaborate with Dr. Denis Daneman at Hospital for Sick Children, and we are conducting a longitudinal study of eating disturbances, depression, psychosocial functioning and medical status in girls and women with type 1 diabetes.

Elena M. Comelli
Comelli, Elena M.
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Contact Information
FitzGerald Building, Room 308a
150 College Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3E2
Phone: 416-978-628441
Fax: 416-978-5882
elena.comelli@utoronto.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Research in my lab focuses on the relationship between diet, gut microbiota and health. We have been focusing on the establishment of the intestinal barrier and the role played by the gut microbiota in its regulation, at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional gene expression level. Building on recent findings linking gut microbiota, intestinal barrier and the metabolic syndrome, we are now expanding our research to understand how the establishment of the gut microbiota in early life may be linked to developing this condition in later life.

Kim Connelly
Connelly, Kim
MBBS, PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine
Member, Heart & Stroke/Richard Lewar Centre of Excellence

Other Appointments

Staff Physician, St. Michael’s Hospital
Staff Physician, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Scientist, Keenan Research Centre at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, St. Michael’s Hospital

Contact Information
St. Michael's Hospital
30 Bond St., Room 7-052 Bond Wing
Toronto, ON M5B 1W8
Phone: 416-864-5201
Fax: 416-864-5571
connellyk@smh.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Dr. Connelly is a clinician scientist and staff physician at St Michael’s Hospital where his clinical responsibilities involve echocardiography and cardiac MRI. His basic science laboratory is involved in exploring mechanisms of diabetic complications, principally diastolic heart failure and developing novel therapeutic strategies to treat this. Dr. Connelly also collaborates closely with the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in elucidating the role of real time cardiac metabolism in the pathogenesis of post MI remodeling, and developing novel MR techniques to enable non-invasive tissue characterization.

Philip W. Connelly
Connelly, Philip W.
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Professor, Department of Medicine, and Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology

Other Appointments

Staff Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael’s Hospital

Contact Information
Room 413, Keenan Research Centre
209 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON M5B 1W8
Phone: 416-864-6023
Fax: 416-864-5870
connellyp@smh.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The research interests of the laboratory are in the study of patients at risk for Type 2 Diabetes or at risk for the complications of diabetes and identifying serum biomarkers that will predict patient outcomes. The most recent focus has been on the adipokine adiponectin and on the enzyme paraoxonase-1 (PON1). Adiponectin is an insulin-sensitizing protein produced by adipocytes.
PON1 is an anti-inflammatory component of high density lipoproteins. We have studied these factors in four patient groups:
1) The Sandy Lake Oji-Cree; 2) women at risk for post-gestational diabetes; 3) patients with renal failure on dialysis; and 4) renal transplant recipients.

Michael Coons
Coons, Michael
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine

Other Appointments

Scientist, Markham Diabetes Game Changing Initiative, and Health for All Family Health Team, Markham Stouffville Hospital

Research Associate, Connected Health and Wellness Project

Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychology, York University

Contact Information
Room 202
379 Church Street
Markham, ON L6B 0T1
Phone: 416-700-2880
Fax: 905-472-5662
michael.coons@utoronto.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

I am a Clinical Health Psychologist, and Assistant Professor in the Department of Family and Community Medicine. I have expertise in developing and implementing technology-supported behavioural interventions for obesity, and multiple health behaviour change, for chronic disease prevention. The goal of this line of research is to reduce the intesity of established face-to-face interventions, while preserving their efficacy, extending their community reach, and improving patient-provider communication. I am currently involved with the development of a large community-based diabets prevention initiative in Markham (Markham Diabetes Game Changining Initiative), and serve as the co-lead of the primary care component of this intervention.

Brian Cox
Cox, Brian
BSc, MSc, PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology

Contact Information
Medical Sciences Building, Room 3360
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8
Phone: 416-978-324141
b.cox@utoronto.ca
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Diabetes Related Research Activities:

I have strong research interests in the area of fetal maternal health and developmental origins of disease. I have several manuscripts on the development of the placenta and trophoblast cell lineages and on hypertensive disorders of pregnancy, such as preeclampsia. My interest in diabetes is in gestational diabetes, often found in conjunction with preeclampsia and the acute and chronic affect on the child, relating to the increased risk of developing type II diabetes. I apply a systems biology approach involving the generation and integration of proteomics, transcriptional and epigenetic data sets. I apply computational models to identify different molecular disease classes and mechanisms of gene regulation. I have several papers on the inter species comparisons of human and mouse tissues and disease models to understand the similarities and develop improved disease models for research. I am proposing to work with animal models of gestational diabetes and compare these results to human samples from bio banked placental material of patients with gestational diabetes. My goal is to develop better bio markers to determine the likelihood of developing diabetes after pregnancy.

Karen Cross
Cross, Karen
MD, PhD, FRCSC
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Department of Surgery

Other Appointments

Associate Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science
iBEST, Research Program
Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeon, St. Michael’s Hospital
Adjunctive Professor, Yeates School of Graduate Studies, Ryerson University

Contact Information
St. Michael's Hospital
30 Bond Street, Room 4-072
Toronto, ON M5B 1W8
Phone: 416-864-6060 x3868
crosska@smh.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Developing optical technologies to assess tissue viability in the diabetic lower extremity. The aim is to develop novel devices in the prevention, diagnosis and management of Diabetic Foot Ulcers (DFU’s). The research laboratory is a combination of physics, engineering and clinical translation with the aim to have a direct impact on the lives of patients.

Carolyn L. Cummins
Cummins, Carolyn L.
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy

Contact Information
Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, Room 1101
144 College St.
Toronto, ON M5S 3M2
Phone: 416-946-3466
Fax: 416-978-8511
Carolyn.Cummins@utoronto.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Several members of the nuclear hormone receptor superfamily have been implicated in protecting against diseases associated with the metabolic syndrome. For example, from data obtained using animal models, it appears the liver X receptors (LXRα and LXRB) are protective against atherosclerosis, dyslipidemia, and diabetes. The current focus of the Cummins lab is on the study of these nuclear hormone receptors and their roles in regulating glucose metabolism. Recently, we have shown that LXR is involved in the regulation of cholesterol conversion to glucocorticoids in the adrenal gland and are investigating the influence of this finding on glucose metabolism and the onset of type 2 diabetes. We are also exploring the link between LXR and the deposition of cholesterol in the glomeruli of the kidney in diabetic nephropathy.

Cybulsky, Myron
MD
U Of T Appointments

Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Faculty of Medicine

Other Appointments

Senior Scientist, Advanced Diagnostics Division, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network
Staff Pathologist, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Toronto General Hospital, University Health Network

Contact Information
MaRS Centre, Toronto Medical Discoveries Tower 3-306
101 College Street
Toronto, ON M5G 1L7
Phone: 416-581-7483
Fax: 416-581-7484
myron.cybulsky@utoronto.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The goal of Dr. Cybulsky’s research program is to elucidate novel cellular and molecular mechanisms regulating intimal macrophage burden at early stages of atherosclerosis. The vision is to use this information to develop new therapies to inhibit the progression of early atherosclerotic lesions to advanced plaques. Individuals with known risk factors for atherosclerosis would benefit from such therapies because complications arising from advanced plaques cause myocardial infarction and stroke, and therapies that inhibit disease progression would alleviate the morbidity and mortality associated with atherosclerosis. Our research program to reduce intimal macrophages in early atherosclerotic lesions and inhibit lesion progression focuses on several aspects of myeloid cell biology including macrophage exit from atherosclerotic lesions, inhibition of monocyte recruitment, macrophage proliferation and survival in early lesions and understanding how systemic risk factors influence macrophage gene expression triggered by pro-inflammatory stimuli. Previous research has focused on hypercholesterolemia, a key risk factor for atherosclerosis; however, future studies will also include hyperglycemia and advanced glycation endproducts, which are found in patients with diabetes. The burden of diabetes, particularly adult onset or type II diabetes, is increasing, as is its contribution to atherosclerosis-related conditions.