Our Research Members

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

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

Other Appointments
  • Executive Director, Medical Engineering, University Health Network
  • Executive Director, Healthcare Human Factors and Centre, University Health Network
  • Executive Director, Centre for Global eHealth Innovation, University Health Network
  • Inaugural Chairholder, Wolfond Chair in Digital Health
  • Clinical Lead, Design and Engineering for Health, Techna Institute, University Health Network
Contact Information
University Health Network
R. Fraser Elliott Building
190 Elizabeth Street
Toronto, ON M5G 2C4
Phone: 416-340-3634
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
U Of T Appointments

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

Other Appointments

Senior Scientist, Toronto Western Research Institute

Contact Information
Toronto Western Hospital, UHN
Krembil Research Institute
60 Leonard Ave.
Toronto, ON M5T 0S8
Phone: 416-603-5017
Fax: 416-603-5768
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
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.
Toronto, ON M5G 2N2
Phone: 416-340-4151
Fax: 416-340-4999
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.

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

Associate Professor and the Lawson Family Chair in Microbiome Nutrition Research, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Contact Information
Department of Nutritional Sciences
Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8
Phone: 416-978-6284
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
U Of T Appointments

Associate 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
Bond Wing
30 Bond St.
Toronto, ON M5B 1W8
Phone: 416-864-5201
Fax: 416-864-5571
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.
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
St. Michael's Hospital
Keenan Research Centre
209 Victoria Street
Toronto, ON M5B 1W8
Phone: 416-864-6023
Fax: 416-864-5870
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

Sarah Crome
Crome, Sarah
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Temerty Faculty of Medicine, Department of Immunology

Other Appointments

Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute, University Health Network
Scientist, UHN Transplant, University Health Network

Contact Information
Toronto General Hospital Research Institute
Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower
101 College St.
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1L7
Phone: 416-634-8097
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Type-1 diabetes (T1D) is an autoimmune disease characterized by loss of self-tolerance, T cell-mediated immune attack of pancreatic β-islets and β-cell dysfunction. Allogeneic β-islet transplantation can restore β-islet cell function but despite the use of immunosuppressive drugs, the risk of allo- and autoimmune-mediated b-cell loss remains high. A true ‘cure’ for T1D requires approaches that restore β-islet function and also prevent immune-mediated pathology without immunosuppressive drugs. Our lab focuses on harnessing lymphocyte populations that have immunoregulatory or tissue repair properties in cell-based therapies for transplantation and autoimmunity. Ongoing studies are focused on delineating cross-talk between immune cells and β-islet cells, and assessing whether adoptive transfer of populations of lymphocytes can enhance β-islet cell transplantation approaches by regulating aberrant immune responses or supporting β-islet cells directly.

Karen Cross
Cross, Karen
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
Toronto, ON M5B 1W8
Phone: 416-864-6060 x3868
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.
U Of T Appointments

Associate Professor, Faculty of Pharmacy

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

Research in the Cummins lab relates to the study of nuclear hormone receptors that are important in the control of glucose and lipid metabolism. Our lab is interested in all areas of nuclear receptor biology including the identification of new ligands; the study of signaling pathways upstream and downstream of receptor activation; the characterization of novel co-regulatory proteins; and the influence of nuclear receptor modulation on whole animal physiology. Our studies primarily investigate the importance of the glucocorticoid receptor (GR), the liver X receptor  (LXRα and LXRβ) and the peroxisome proliferator activated receptor (PPARα, PPARδ and PPARγ) signaling pathways in the context of diabetes and dyslipidemia.

Myron Cybulsky
Cybulsky, Myron
U Of T Appointments

Professor, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, Temerty 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
Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
101 College Street
Toronto, ON M5G 1L7
Phone: 416-581-7483
Fax: 416-581-7484
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.