Our Research Members
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics and Physiology
Senior Associate Scientist, Genetics & Genome Biology Program, Hospital For Sick Children
555 University Avenue
Toronto, ON M5G 1X8
I care for children and adolescents with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus. I have been involved in diabetes related clinical research as a Principal Investigator in the NIH multicentered trial entitled Treatment Options for Type 2 Diabetes in adolescents and Youth (TODAY), which was designed to identify best ways to treat type 2 diabetes in youth. I have also been Principal Investigator the Clinical Coordinating Center for the NIH/NIDDK funded Epidemiology of Diabetes Intervention and Complications (DCCT/EDIC).
Currently, my diabetes related research includes membership in the Hvidoere Study Group of Childhood Diabetes and using technology to enhance diabetes self-management. We and collaborators are performing a randomized clinical trial designed to test an iPhone based system to help adolescents manage their diabetes more effectively.
I addition to these clinical research activities, I also direct lab-based research investigating the effects that in utero exposures on adult outcomes, such as development of diabetes and abnormalities of bone and metabolism.
Associate Professor, Department of Anthropology
Type 2 diabetes is one of the most serious public health issues in Canada and on a global scale. There are striking differences in prevalence among ethnic groups. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Aboriginal people is higher than in the general population, and elevated risk has also been described for other groups, such as Hispanics. One of the major goals of Dr. Parra’s research is to identify type 2 diabetes genetic risk factors in Hispanic populations, using different approaches, such as candidate gene studies, admixture mapping and genome-wide association.
Director, Nurse Practitioner Programs
Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing
Nurse Practitioner – Adult, Cardiac Surgery, Kingston General Hospital
I have worked as a Nurse Practitioner in Cardiac Surgery since 1998, and in my role have cared for many individuals with diabetes (T2DM). Many patients who have sternal wound infections have diabetes, and many individuals have poor blood sugar control following cardiac surgery. Collaborating with an Endocrinilogist I helped to develop standardized pre-printed orders to help manage blood sugars for our patient’s who had T2DM. I am interested in the prevention of complications in individuals with diabetes, with a specific interest is in the prevention of cardiovascular disease. I am a co-investigator and member of the steering committee for a CIHR-funded team grant (PI Dr. Stewart Harris) investigating diabetes in several aboriginal communities in Canada. Current efforts are directed to the detection of autonomic neuropathies using impedance cardiography.
Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Senior Scientist, Program in Genetics and Genome Biology, Hospital for Sick Children
Long-term complications of diabetes, including eye and kidney disease cluster in families suggesting that genetic factors may be involved. Using DNA from large numbers of people with diabetes who have their complications measured, we are using high throughput methods to measure all of the common genetic variation in the human genome to identify which ones are associated with specific complications. In addition, we are identifying genetic loci that are associated with the major risk factors for diabetes complications – glycemia, blood pressure, body composition and lipids.
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Staff Physician, University Health Network
60 Murray Street, Room L5-210
Toronto, ON M5T 3L9
My research initiatives focus on using epidemiological techniques to explore the natural history of diabetes complications and novel strategies for their prevention. My major clinical research areas include:
Characterizing the natural history of diabetic polyneuropathy and defining the best methods for clinical assessment.
Exploring the pattern of renal function decline and its determinants early in the course of nephropathy in type 1 diabetes.
Diabetes technologies, including the process of care for intensive insulin therapy.
Associate Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Immunology
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8
We are interested in the role of innate immunity, specifically Nod like receptors, as well as the microbiota in diabetes pathogenesis.
Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Department of Immunology
The objective of our research program is to identify type 1 diabetes (T1D) susceptibility genes in the spontaneously diabetic BB rat, and to characterize the immune mechanisms underlying allelic variation at these susceptibility loci. In particular, we are focusing on genes that appear to be shared between humans and the BB rat. These genetic studies combine linkage analyses, development and characterization of congenic and mutant lines of animals, transfected cell lines. We are also studying the role of differential colonization of the intestine by commensal bacteria on the development of antipancreatic autoimmunity with the objective to understand how environmental changes can affect the expression of diabetogenic genotypes. Another topic of research using transgenic murine models of type 1 diabetes is the characterization of the molecular mechanisms involved in the homing of diabetogenic T cells to pancreatic islets.
Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology
Clinician-Scientist, St. Michael’s Hospital
Research in my laboratory focuses on the immunology of type 1 diabetes, and the development of new drugs and therapies for diabetes. We are studying some key molecules involved in immunopathological diseases, including transforming growth factor beta, neuropilin and the aryl hydrocarbon receptor. This work requires the application of a wide variety of immunological, molecular biological and biochemical techniques, in relevant disease models.