Our Research Members

Ravi Retnakaran
Retnakaran, Ravi
MD, FRCPC
U Of T Appointments

Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Contact Information
Mount Sinai Hospital
60 Murray Street
Toronto, ON M5T 3L9
Phone: 416-586-4800 x3941
Fax: 416-586-8853
ravi.retnakaran@sinaihealthsystem.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My research program focuses on the pathophysiology and treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2DM), with a particular interest in the potential reversibility of pancreatic beta-cell dysfunction early in the course of diabetes. In this context, our research group is conducting a series of innovative clinical trials evaluating novel therapeutic strategies for the preservation of beta-cell function in early T2DM, including the CIHR-funded RESET IT Trial and PREVAIL Trial. In addition, our research program has highlighted the concept that a women’s gluco-regulatory response to the metabolic challenge posed by pregnancy can provide unique insight into her future risk of T2DM and cardiovascular disease later in life. This concept is being studied with CIHR-funded prospective observational cohorts in Toronto and China.

Jonathan V. Rocheleau
Rocheleau, Jonathan V.
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Associate Professor, Institute of Biomaterials and Biomedical Engineering

Other Appointments

Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network

Contact Information
Toronto General Research Institute
MaRS Centre
101 College Street
Toronto, ON M5G 1L7
Phone: 416-581-7839
Fax: 416-581-7839
Jon.Rocheleau@utoronto.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Interaction between pancreatic islets and vascular endothelial cells is necessary for the maintenance of beta-cell mass and function. Aside from acting as a conduit for molecular oxygen, vascular endothelial cells in vivo secrete the majority of islet extracellular matrix (ECM). This ECM likely provides a permissive signal for beta-cell proliferation, contributing to the coordinated hyperplasia of these tissues during the early stages of Type 2 diabetes. This ECM also provides a reservoir for heparin binding growth factors that further modulate this hyperplasia, including fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A). We hypothesize that communication between beta-cells and vascular endothelial cells directs the proliferation and function of both tissues.

Ian Rogers
Rogers, Ian
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Primary appointment: Associate Professor, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Cross Appointment: Department of Physiology

Other Appointments

Women’s and Infants Health, Obs/Gyn, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto

Contact Information
Toronto Centre For Phenogenomics
25 Orde St.
Toronto, ON M5T 3H7
Phone: 416-586-4800 x4122
rogers@lunenfeld.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The Roger’s lab uses progenitor cells and human pluripotent stem cells as a basis for developing cell based therapies for the treatment of Diabetic symptoms. We are investigating the wound healing properties of blood cells and mesenchymal cells in a model of Peripheral Vascular Disease (PVD) and Diabetic skin wounds. My lab has demonstrated that these cells have strong paracrine signaling that can reduce inflammation and apoptosis while promoting angiogenesis. Together, this results in superior tissue repair.

The Rogers’ lab is also focused on studying diabetic nephropathy through the development of 3D culture systems. Using decellularized kidneys from mouse and porcine as a substrate we can interrogate the role of the ECM in kidney regeneration. Human iPSC made from blood or cells in the urine are differentiated into renal progenitor cells and applied to the acellular ECM. This project allows for investigating the role of stem cells and their niche. By using decellularized kidney from healthy and diabetic mice (or humans) coupled with kidney progenitor and mature cells from healthy and diabetic sources, we can determine if diabetes is affecting the niche or the progenitor cells. 

Laura Rosella
Rosella, Laura
PhD, MHSc
U Of T Appointments

Associate Professor, Dalla Lana School of Public Health
Canada Research Chair in Population Health Analytics

Other Appointments

Scientist, Public Health Ontario | Santépublique Ontario
Adjunct Scientist and UofT Site Director, Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES)
Faculty Affiliate, Vector Institute for Artificial Intelligence
President, Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics

Contact Information
University of Toronto
155 College Street
Toronto, ON M5T 3M7
Phone: 416-978-6064
Fax: 416-978-1883
laura.rosella@utoronto.ca
View website
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The goal of my research is to inform the prevention of type 2 diabetes in the population. At the Population Health Analytics Laboratory, my research focusses on the use of advanced epidemiologic and biostatical approaches on large population-based data to inform public health activities targeted at reducing type 2 diabetes and obesity. I specialize in the development of population risk tools and I have led methodological advances in the new field of risk algorithms applied to the population setting. I developed the Diabetes Population Risk Tool (DPoRT), which is the only tool built to inform population intervention strategies for diabetes. This work is recognized as a novel way to inform to diabetes preventions strategies and is currently being used by policymakers in Canada. I have also led the largest study estimating diabetes-attributable health care costs as well as the burden of undiagnosed diabetes in Canada. I am expanding this research to understand how persons living with type 2 diabetes accumulate chronic conditions over their life course and elucidating what factors contribute to mortality outcomes.

Hannes Rost
Rost, Hannes
PhD
U Of T Appointments

Assistant Professor, Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
Department of Molecular Genetics
Department of Computer Science

Other Appointments

Contact Information
Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research
CCBR
160 College Street
Toronto, ON M5S 3E1
Phone: 416-978-7224
hannes.rost@utoronto.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Dr. Hannes Röst is an Assistant Professor at the Donnelly Centre at the University of Toronto, the Canada Research Chair in Computational Mass Spectrometry and Personalized Medicine, Co-Director of the Donnelly Mass Spectrometry Facility and is a dual-appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Molecular Genetics (Temerty Faculty of Medicine) and the Department of Computer Science (Faculty of Arts & Science).

Dr. Röst co-developed SWATH-MS and invented the OpenSWATH algorithm, the first software for targeted analysis of DIA data, which matched the quantitative performance of previous targeted methods, while increasing throughput one to two orders of magnitude. During his postdoctoral work at Stanford in the laboratory of Mike Snyder, he successfully applied mass spectrometry to profile proteins and metabolites using longitudinal, personalized medicine studies to understand population variation and disease progression in a type II diabetes cohort. He developed the TRIC algorithm, the first cross-run alignment algorithm for targeted proteomics data. Dr. Röst has developed statistical approaches for multi-omics data in personalized medicine based on mixed effect linear models to statistically remove the personalized baseline level for each analyte and compute perturbation-induced changes.

The research group of Dr. Röst is applying state-of-the-art multi-omics analyses approaches to better understand the early development of type II diabetes. To this end, he is using a cohort of pre-diabetic patients that are followed during a period of over 7 years and has worked in a collaboration to analyze data from the SWIFT cohort, a gestational diabetes cohort with follow-up time of over 8 years. His group uses proteomics, metabolomics and lipidomics techniques to better understand and predict development of diabetes on a molecular level.

Maria Rozakis Adcock
Rozakis Adcock, Maria
U Of T Appointments

Associate Professor, Department of Laboratory Medicine & Pathobiology

Contact Information
University of Toronto
Medical Sciences Building
1 King's College Circle
Toronto, ON M5S 1A8
Phone: 416-946-0392
Fax: 416-978-5959
maria.rozakis@utoronto.ca
Diabetes Related Research Activities:

The prevalence of obesity is increasing worldwide, as is the prevalence of obesity-related co-morbidity. Obesity is associated with an increased risk of developing insulin resistance and Type II diabetes (T2D). A universal observation in both humans and rodents is that impaired insulin secretion in is caused by a marked increase in pancreatic beta-cell destruction that outweighs the rate of beta-cell replication and renewal. Currently, the factors that instigate an increased rate of beta-cell death during the pathogenesis of T2D are not fully understood. Our lab has identified novel chromatin associated factors that serve to regulate pancreatic islet regeneration and glucose homeostasis.  Research in the Rozakis lab is focused on understanding how these factors  influence the epigenetic landscape in metabolic tissues under normal and pathophysiological conditions. Moreover, using a combination of biochemical, proteomic, and transgenic animals models we will characterize epigenetic events that influence immune modulatory activities in islets and protect against inflammatory demise of pancreatic beta-cells.

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