Our Research Members
Professor of Medicine
Medical Director, Toronto Liver Transplant Program, Ajmera Transplant Centre
University Health Network
MaRS Building, 9th floor, room 9107
585 University Ave.
Toronto, ON M5G 2N2
Elmar Jaeckel is a trained gastroenterologist/hepatologist as well as endocrinologist/diabetologist and transplantation specialist. He is Medical Director of the Liver Transplant Program at the Ajmera Transplant Centre, University Health Network. Since 2003, he has been leading the research group on immune tolerance and metabolic inflammation at the Hanover Medical School. The group is focusing to establish tissue-specific tolerance in autoimmunity, transplantation and metabolic inflammation.
His working group, Immune Tolerance, aims in establishing immune tolerance in type 1 diabetes and after biological beta cell replacement. For this purpose, he is developing new cell and gene therapy approaches. He is involved in pursuing islet xenotransplantation in Germany and to facilitate tolerance to stem cell derived beta cells. One major research focus is the change of specificity of regulatory T cells for beta cells by the use of chimeric antigen-receptors (CARs). In addition, he aims in local control of immune responses in metabolic inflammation in NASH patients.
He has published numerous articles on viral hepatitis, autoimmune liver disease, autoimmune diabetes and islet transplantation tolerance. He developed tissue-specific regulatory T cell therapies for local tolerance induction, which are currently being tested in clinical trials. He has numerous patents on tolerance inducing therapies and is co-founder of Quell Therapeutics aiming to develop clinical therapies for tolerance induction with regulatory T cells.
Professor, Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Medicine, Faculty of Medicine
Director of Clinical Nutrition and Risk Factor Modification Centre, St. Michael’s Hospital
61 Queen Street East
Toronto, ON M5C 2T2
Dr. Jenkins research area is the use of diet in the prevention and treatment of hyperlipidemia and diabetes. He has over 200 original publications on these and related topics. His team was the first to define and explore the concept of the glycemic index of foods and demonstrate the breadth of metabolic effects of viscous soluble fiber, including blood glucose and cholesterol lowering. His studies on combining cholesterol lowering food components (dietary portfolio) have been recognized as creating an effective dietary alternative to drug therapy (statins) for many people and was the only dietary approach referenced in the update of the guidelines of the US National Cholesterol Education Program (ATP III).
Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology & Metabolism
101 College Street
Toronto, ON M5G 1L7
A) Mechanisms Underlying the Production and Function of the Incretin Hormone GLP-1. The proglucagon gene (Gcg) encodes three major peptide hormones, namely glucagon (produced in pancreas), glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and GLP-2 (both are produced mainly in intestines). These hormones exert opposite or overlapping functions in controlling blood homeostasis, food intake, cell growth and proliferation. Based on the features of GLP-1, two new categories of drugs, namely GLP-1 analogues and DPP-IV inhibitors, have been developed for T2D treatment. We are exploring mechanisms underlying the production and function of peptide hormones encoded by Gcg, including GLP-1. We are now studying the role of Wnt signalling and the crosstalk between Wnt and other signalling pathways in regulating the expression and function of GLP-1.
B) Mechanisms Underlying the Expression and Function of the Lipogenic Gene Carbohydrates Response Element Binding Protein (ChREBP). The transcription factor ChREBP is a “master controller” of lipogenic genes that encode a battery of enzymes for converting carbohydrates into lipids. The function of ChREBP can be turned on by hyperglycemia and its expression was shown to be increased in obesity and hyperinsulinemia animal models. We are studying molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of ChREBP and its targets.