Profiles of BBDC Members Primarily Involved In Diabetes Research

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Klip, Amira

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Professor, Department of Paediatrics; Department of Biochemistry; and Department of Physiology

Other Appointment(s): Senior Scientist, The Hospital For Sick Children

Contact Information:

The Hospital for Sick Children
McMaster Building, Room 5004
555 University Ave.
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1X8

Phone: 416-813-6392
Fax: 416-813-5028
Email: amira@sickkids.ca
Websites: http://www.sickkids.ca/AboutSickKids/Directory/People/K/Amira-Klip-staff-profile.html

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

We study how insulin stimulates glucose entry into muscle and how this fails in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. We explore insulin signals, movement of vesicles containing glucose transporter 4 (GLUT4) and strategies to render muscle cells insulin-resistant. We generated platforms of muscle cells in culture expressing tagged GLUT4 and a number of insulin signals, as well as transgenic mice expressing tagged GLUT4 in muscle, to test GLUT4 movement in vivo. With these systems we found that signals downstream of PI3-kinase bifurcate into activation of Akt and of the small G protein Rac. Downstream of Akt lies AS160 that regulates the small G proteins Rab8A and Rab13 to control GLUT4 vesicle arrival near the membrane. GLUT4 vesicles arriving at the plasma membrane (in the TIRF-imaging zone) then tether to actin filaments through the molecular motor Myosin 1c. In turn, Rac controls actin filament remodelling, crucial for GLUT4 vesicle translocation to the membrane, and our collaborator Erik Richter (Copenhagen) found that mice lacking Rac in muscle become insulin-resistant. Moreover, overexpressing Rac in cells overcame insulin resistance.

 

Recently we discovered that the saturated fatty acid palmitate renders macrophages inflammatory, to produce cytokines that make muscle cells insulin-resistant. Moreover, direct activation of the NOD innate immunity recognition receptors, in cells or in vivo, caused insulin resistance. Finally, we documented a particular infiltration of inflammatory macrophages in the muscles of high fat-fed mice and of obese, insulin-resistant humans. These collective findings contribute to our understanding of the link between inflammation and insulin resistance.

 

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Kohly, Radha P. - MD, PhD, FRCSC

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Assistant Professor, Department of Ophthalmology and Vision Sciences

Other Appointment(s): Eye Physician and Surgeon and Medical Retina Specialist, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

Contact Information:
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
2075 Bayview Ave., Room M1202b
Toronto, ON   M4N 3M5

Phone: (416) 480-5607
Fax: (416) 480-5675
Email: radha.kohly@sunnybrook.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My current research interest is in retinal vascular diseases including diabetic macular edema. We have demonstrated the importance of serum biomarkers in the role of diabetic retinopathy. Currently, we are measuring cytokines drawn from the aqueous humor in patients with diabetic macular edema to determine if they can predict responses to treatment with intravitreal lucentis injections. The goal of this research is to ultimately use aqueous humor cytokines to guide treatment decisions with various intravitreal medications including anti-VEGF agents, and steroids, in the management of diabetic macular edema.

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Kramer, Caroline - MD, PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism

Other Appointment(s): Clinician-Scientist, Mount Sinai Hospital

Contact Information:
Leadership Sinai Centre for Diabetes
60 Murray Street, Suite L5-029
Toronto, ON   M5T 3L9

Phone: 416-586-4800
Email: caroline.kramer@sinaihealthsystem.ca

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

My clinical research focuses on (i) the impact of obesity on metabolic dysfunction, (ii) the pathophysiology and risk factors for the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), (iii) risk factors for cardiovascular disease in individuals with metabolic abnormalities, and (iv) strategies for the treatment of T2DM. I am particularly interested in understanding the pathophysiology of T2DM in individuals with various degrees of obesity and differential patterns of body fat distribution.

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L'Abbe, Mary - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Earle W. McHenry Professor, and Chair, Department of Nutritional Sciences

Contact Information:
FitzGerald Building, Rm. 315
150 College St.
Toronto, ON   M5S 3E2

Phone: 416-978-7235
Fax: 416-971-2366
Email: mary.labbe@utoronto.ca
Websites: http://nutrisci.med.utoronto.ca/content/mary-labbe

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Mary L’Abbé is an expert in public health nutrition, nutrition policy, and food and nutrition regulations. Her research program on Food and Nutrition Policy for Population Health examines the nutritional quality of the food supply, food intake patterns at the national population level, and consumer research on food choices in association with risk of obesity and other chronic diseases, including diabetes.  For example, some of her CIHR and other funded research activities include:

  • Assessing levels and types of sugars, including added sugars in the Canadian food supply
  • Diabetes education intervention and research investigating supports and barriers to diabetes care among multiethnic communities in Toronto (in collaboration with the Diabetes Education Centers at the North York General hospital and Mackenzie Health)
  • Investigating national population-level dietary patterns associated with obesity, metabolic syndrome, diabetes and cardiovascular disease
  • Examination of the application of different nutrient profiling methods to define “healthy foods” and their application in polices to support diet related NCD reduction
  • Building tools to support improved consumer choice of healthier foods or to support nutrition interventions in primary care/disease prevention, e.g. Big Life Salt Calculator has been developed (http://www.projectbiglife.ca/sodium/) – A sugar app is under development and will be launched in 2015
  • Consumer attitudes and understanding and use of nutrition labelling and claims on food packages, front-of-pack labelling, and effects of different criteria in their development and application (note that L’Abbe’s consumer surveys include questions about health/disease status in order to link food choice/attitudes to particular diseases including diabetes)

Note, we have focussed considerable efforts towards sodium and hypertension/CVD reduction in the last few years; we have just recently received funding to extend many of our methods towards calories, sugar and other dietary factors and diabetes reduction.

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Lam, Tony K. T. - PhD

University of Toronto Appointment(s): Associate Director, Research, Banting & Best Diabetes Centre
Professor, Departments of  Medicine and Physiology

Other Appointment(s): John Kitson McIvor Endowed Chair in Diabetes Research
Canada Research Chair in Obesity
Senior Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute, UHN

Contact Information:

MaRS/Toronto Medical Discovery Tower
101 College Street
10th Floor, Room 705
Toronto, Ontario M5G 1L7

Phone: 416-581-7880
Fax: 416-581-7880
Email: tony.lam@uhnres.utoronto.ca
Websites: http://www.physiology.utoronto.ca/content/tony-lam

Diabetes Related Research Activities:

Nutrient sensing in the Gut and the Brain, Diabetes, Obesity, Glucose and Lipid metabolism.

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