Dr. Andrew Advani

Clinician Scientist Award 2009-2014
St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto, ON)

Kidney disease can be a complication of diabetes. Dr. Advani previously showed that a growth factor is inhibited in diabetes-related kidney disease. He identified a small protein that may be responsible for this inhibition. During this research, he investigated if modulating this small protein helps stop the harmful effects in the kidneys of people with diabetes. Dr. Advani's studies may lead to new treatments to prevent or even reverse the progression of diabetes-related kidney disease.

Dr. Nica M. Borradaile

Operating Grant 2011-2014
The University of Western Ontario (London, ON)

Dr. Borradaile investigated whether increasing the level of NAD+ (an important molecule involved in the survival of certain cells that line blood vessels) will improve the ability of blood vessels to repair the damage that occurs during obesity and type 2 diabetes. This research could help in the development of new drug therapies that would increase NAD+, improve the chances of survival for these cells and reduce blood vessel disease in with people obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Vera Bril

Operating Grant 2013-2015
University Health Network (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Bril and her team tested if taking omega-3 fats as a dietary supplement can, over time, help nerves work better in diabetic sensorimotor polyneuropathy (DSP), a diabetes complication that damages the nerves that control feeling and movement in the feet and legs. Findings from this research could be used to develop better treatments for people with type 1 diabetes.

Dr. David Z. I. Cherney

Clinician Scientist Award 2010-2015
University Health Network (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Cherney’s research aimed to better understand how diabetes damages blood vessels and causes kidney damage. He tested for signs of blood vessel and kidney damage in people with diabetes, then re-tested after they have been treated by a medication called a direct renin inhibitor (DRI), and after treatment with a DRI combined with another medication called an ACE inhibitor. The aim of this work is to find new ways to stop kidney and blood vessel damage in diabetes.

Dr. Vinivius M. Gadotti

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award 2014-2015
University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)

Supervisor

Dr. Gerald Zamponi

Diabetes-related nerve damage (called diabetic neuropathy) is a serious complication of diabetes that can cause numbness and pain. Most current treatments are either not totally effective or have serious side-effects. In the nerves cells, there are channels that specifically let calcium in and out of the nerves. In diabetes-related nerve damage, there are more of these channels than normal, and this could be what makes the nerves sensitive and cause pain. Dr. Gadotti wants to know if this process can be stopped before it starts. Dr. Gadotti tested specific peptides and small organic molecules to find out if they can stop too many channels from being active, therefore stopping nerve pain with fewer side-effects than current treatments.

Dr. Joan C. Krepinsky

Operating Grant 2011-2014
McMaster University (Hamilton, ON)

Dr. Krepinsky investigated how certain proteins (TGFbeta and SREBP-1) interact and contribute to the increase in scar proteins of the filtering units of the kidneys during diabetic-related kidney failure. Preventing or slowing the accumulation of scar proteins is important to preserving kidney function in people with diabetes, and blocking SREBP-1 may be a new way to achieve this.

Dr. Kathleen M. MacLeod

Operating Grant 2012-2015
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Dr. MacLeod's research was on a series of chemical signals (called the ROCK pathway) in heart cells, which is over-active in diabetes. She wanted to know if the ROCK pathway causes heart damage and how blocking the ROCK pathway could help the heart and reduce the damage caused by heart attacks.

Dr. Brian B. Rodrigues

Operating Grant 2011-2014
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Like any muscle, the heart needs energy in order to work properly. In a healthy person, the heart uses a balance of fats and sugars as sources of fuel. In a person with diabetes, however, the heart gets most of its energy from burning fats. This change in fuel source helps the heart initially, but in the long term, this creates by-products which increase the chance of having a heart attack or stroke, and of having a more severe heart attack or stroke. Dr. Brian Rodrigues and his team investigated how an enzyme, called lipoprotein lipase, allows the heart cells to make this switching in fuel possible. This may help future researchers find new ways to prevent or delay diabetes-related heart disease.

Dr. Przemyslaw (Mike) Sapieha

Operating Grant 2011-2014
University of Montreal (Montréal, QC)

Dr. Sapieha explored if there are ways to stop or delay the development of diabetic retinopathy, a common complication of diabetes characterized by changes in vision, potentially leading to blindness. His research has shown that the nerve cells in the back of the eye (the retina) change in diabetic retinopathy. They begin to send out signals that attract other cells that cause damage and, eventually, blindness. More importantly, his research suggests that this process could be stopped before the damage happens, which would allow doctors to slow or even stop the development of diabetic retinopathy. Although this represents an incredible achievement, further research is still needed.

Dr. Garry X. Shen

Operating Grant 2011-2014
University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB)

Inflammation plays a key role in diabetes and heart disease. Dr. Shen is examining the effect of glycated low density lipoprotein (LDL) or “sugar-modified bad cholesterol” on oxidation and inflammation in vascular cells and animals with diabetes. This research helps us understand the cause of increased heart disease in patients with diabetes, and could help to identify new treatments for improving the management of heart and vascular disease in patients with diabetes.

Dr. Alain Veilleux

Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2011-2014
Center de recherche CHU Sainte-Justine (Québec, QC)

Supervisor

Dr. Emile Levy

Dr. Veilleux investigated whether the intestine develops insulin-resistance and inflammatory states, and represents a major contributor to diabetic dyslipidemia (increased levels of fat in the blood). This research could help identify treatment strategies to reduce cardiovascular disease risk in patients with diabetes.

Ms. Ying Wang

Doctoral Student Research Award 2011-2014
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Supervisor

Dr. Brian B. Rodrigues

Like any muscle, the heart needs energy in order to work properly. In a healthy person, the heart uses a balance of fats and sugars as sources of fuel. In a person with diabetes, however, the heart gets most of its energy from burning fats. This change in fuel source initially helps the heart, but over the long term causes the heart cells to become damaged and can lead to heart disease. Ms. Wang investigated how an enzyme, called lipoprotein lipase, allows the heart cells to make this switching in fuel possible. This may help future researchers find new ways to prevent or delay diabetes-related heart disease.

Dr. Geoffrey H. Werstuck

Operating Grant 2012-2015
McMaster University (Hamilton, ON)

People with diabetes are at a much higher risk for cardiovascular disease and we do not know why. Dr. Werstuck's research focused upon understanding how diabetes causes heart attacks and strokes. He is specifically interested in finding new targets for the development of better drugs to protect people with diabetes.

Mr. Dahai Zhang

Doctoral Student Research Award 2013-2015
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Supervisor

Dr. Brian B. Rodrigues

Mr. Zhang studied the interaction between three enzymes that may cause a harmful process related to diabetes in which the heart changes from using a mixture of sugars and fats as energy, to using only fats. Mr. Zhang’s research could help treat or prevent diabetes-related heart disease.

Dr. Douglas W. Zochodne

Operating Grant 2012-2015
University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)

Dr. Zochodne previously found that when small amounts of insulin are injected right at damaged nerve sites, it stimulates nerve fibres to re-grow, which may help reduce numbness and wound healing. In this study, he examined how this happens and if other hormones can have the same positive effect. The results may help provide new ways to stop or reverse neuropathy, a diabetes-related complication that damages the nerves controlling feeling and movement.

For more information on previously funded research projects, please contact research@diabetes.ca.

Click here to see the currently funded CDA research on diabetes complications.