Dr. Colin Anderson

Operating Grant funded 2013-2016
University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

Dr. Anderson is trying to find ways to improve the islet transplant process so the patient’s immune cells do not reject the transplanted cells. He aims to define how and why rejection happens, and if it could be prevented without the need for long-term immune suppressing drugs. Dr. Anderson’s research could help improve islet transplantation and allow it to become a widely-available treatment for people with type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Paul Brassard

Operating Grant 2016-2017
McGill University Health Centre (Montréal, QC)

Dr. Brassard wants to further explore the links between type 2 diabetes, medications used to treat the disease and cancers that are triggered by certain viruses. His team is assessing patient information from a large database to see if people with diabetes are more likely to develop certain cancers and if their diabetes medications seem to have an impact on the relationship. Findings from this research will help inform knowledge on cancer risk in people with type 2 diabetes and may provide recommendations for medical management of these patients.

Dr. Jennifer Bruin

Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2015-2018
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Supervisor

Dr. Timothy Kieffer

Dr. Bruin is undertaking ground-breaking research on stem cell transplants that could reverse diabetes. In a previous study, she and her supervisor found a way to transplant human stem cells to make insulin (a hormone that lowers blood glucose levels). This stem cell technique is currently being tested in human clinical trials. However, more information is needed to understand how different types of patients would react to the transplant. Currently, Dr. Bruin is examining pregnancy in mice to assess how the cells are impacted if the recipient becomes pregnant after the transplant. This research could provide new insight for women with diabetes who may get pregnant after receiving this type of stem cell transplant.

Ms. Amy Burke

Doctoral Student Research Award 2014-2017
Western University (London, ON)

Supervisor

Dr. Timothy Kieffer

Supervisor Dr. Murray Huff Ms. Burke is investigating two natural molecules (called flavonoids) that are derived from citrus fruits. In mice, treatment with flavonoids can prevent the development of obesity, elevated fats in the blood, symptoms of prediabetes and plaque build-up in arteries (atherosclerosis). She wants to know if flavonoids can also be used to treat mice that are already obese, have high blood fats, exhibit symptoms of prediabetes and have established atherosclerotic plaques to find out if flavonoids can reverse these conditions, including prediabetes and atherosclerosis.

Dr. André C. Carpentier

Operating Grant funded 2014-2017
Université de Sherbrooke (Sherbrooke, QC)

Dr. Carpentier is using a new imaging technology to find out if bariatric surgery, a treatment for obesity, results in better fat metabolism in patients. This study will help researchers understand how type 2 diabetes may be prevented, treated and, even, reversed.

Dr. Jason Dyck

Operating Grant 2013-2016
University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

Dr. Dyck and his team study a protein that may be able to reduce damage to the heart and prevent diabetes-related heart disease. His team is investigating the process that tells heart cells how much fat to store as energy versus how much to use immediately for energy with the aim of finding out what goes wrong with this process and if it can be altered to help treat diabetes-related heart disease.

Dr. Jason Dyck

Operating Grant 2016-2018
University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

Dr. Dyck wants to know if a certain drug can reduce insulin resistance in the body. His team is using a mouse model to assess if this drug reduces insulin resistance by targeting a certain pathway that limits the fat taken up by skeletal muscle. If successful, this research may provide key insights into a new treatment for individuals at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Herbert Gaisano

Operating Grant 2016-2018
University of Toronto (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Gaisano wants to learn more about glucagon, the hormone that increases blood glucose. He is studying how glucagon is released properly in the pancreas, why it stops functioning properly in type 1 diabetes (which can cause life-threatening low blood glucose levels) and how to fix this problem. Results from this research may provide insight into new ways to treat type 1 diabetes.

Dr. John-Michael Gamble

Clinician Scientist Award funded 2013-2018
Memorial University of Newfoundland (St. John's, NL)

Dr. Gamble is using patient data from a health database to assess the risk and benefits of a new class of type 2 diabetes medications, called incretin-based medications, which use gut hormones to lower blood glucose (sugar) levels. The results of this study will help inform doctors, patients and policy-makers about the effects of incretin-based medications compared to other commonly used diabetes drugs.

Dr. Caleb Grey

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award 2015-2018
University of Alberta (Edmonton, AB)

Supervisor

Dr. Patrick MacDonald

In previous research, Dr. Grey and his colleagues identified a new diabetes gene, named ZMIZ1, which is linked to increased risk of type 2 diabetes. However, little is known about how ZMIZ1 impacts the amount of insulin in a person’s body. Dr. Grey believes that, by limiting the action of ZMIZ1, people with type 2 diabetes would produce more insulin and be able to regulate their own blood glucose levels better. Understanding more about ZMIZ1 may lead to new treatment options for people living with type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Timothy Kieffer

Gill Family Charitable Trust & the Canadian Diabetes Association Grant 2013-2016
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Dr. Kieffer is using mouse models to assess a specific therapy for type 1 diabetes, which uses an injection of a ‘viral vector.’ He wants to know if this gene therapy can cure diabetes by stimulating the body to make more beta cells (the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin). If successful, this research could, ultimately, lead to new strategies to cure diabetes.

Dr. Gary Lewis

Operating Grant 2016-2018
University Health Network (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Lewis wants to know more about how the brain is involved in controlling glucose production in the liver. His team is conducting human studies to compare how different hormones (insulin, glucagon and GLP-1) delivered by nasal spray, affect the brain’s communication with the liver and potentially reduce glucose production. This research may reveal new areas for exploration in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Kenneth Madden

Operating Grant funded 2013-2016
University of British Columbia (Vancouver, BC)

Dr. Madden is conducting a clinical trial that assesses if a medication called acarbose can help treat postprandial hypotension (a condition in which the person faints after eating) in older adults with diabetes. Half of the participants are given acarbose and the other half a placebo pill, to compare the responses between the groups after a standardized meal. If acarbose is proven to be effective, this research could improve the health of older adults with type 2 diabetes by reversing postprandial hypotension, a common diabetes complication.

Dr. André Marette

Operating Grant 2014-2017
Laval University (Montréal, QC)

Dr. Marette is studying certain molecules in the body that result from eating omega-3 fatty acids. He wants to know how they influence the body’s sensitivity to insulin and its ability to use glucose as fuel. This research may lead to the discovery of new therapies for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Shirin Panahi

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award funded 2014-2016
PEPS- Universite Laval (Montréal, ON)

Supervisor

Dr. Angelo Tremblay

Dr. Panahi is examining the impact of consuming dairy foods with and without an exercise routine for weight loss, weight maintenance and better control of blood glucose. She wants to know how dairy foods, such as yogurt, contribute to appetite control, amount eaten, blood glucose, body weight and fat. Findings for this study will help guide dietary guidelines for people with obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Brandon Panaro

Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2015-2018
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute/Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto, ON)

Supervisor

Dr. Daniel Drucker

For people with diabetes, new treatment options are needed to improve the body’s ability to use glucose (sugar) effectively and prevent the harmful complications associated with high or low blood glucose levels. Dr. Panaro is trying to determine if a medication can be created to block a specific enzyme, called Fibroblast Activation Protein (FAP), which is involved in obesity-related type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that FAP may regulate the hormones influencing type 2 diabetes, and that blocking FAP has the potential to improve metabolism and lower blood glucose. Dr. Panaro hopes to learn more about FAP’s role in obesity and diabetes and confirm if creating a medication to target FAP would be effective. If successful, this new knowledge may eventually lead to a new class of type 2 diabetes medications that could work together with existing options (such as DPP4 inhibitors) to improve outcomes for people affected by diabetes.

Dr. Audrey Parent

Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2014-2016
University of California-San Francisco (San Francisco, CA, USA)

Supervisor

Dr. Matthias Hebrok

Dr. Parent is developing a mouse model to test if using stem cells to grow new thymus cells (in charge of teaching the immune system the difference between "self" and "foreign" cells) and transplanting them along with new beta cells (cells that produce insulin) could trick the immune system into accepting transplanted beta cells, rather than rejecting them as foreign. If successful, this could greatly improve treatment for diabetes by allowing beta cells to be grown from stem cells and transplanted without the need for immune suppression.

Dr. Bruce Perkins

Operating Grant 2016-2018
Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute/Mount Sinai Hospital (Toronto, ON)

The wearable artificial pancreas (also known as the closed-loop system or CLS) is a new automated technology that continuously senses blood glucose levels and delivers the right amount of hormones by pump to keep these levels in a target range. Dr. Perkins wants to know if using this technology, alongside a certain diabetes medication (an SGLT2) improves blood glucose control after eating, in comparison to using the artificial pancreas and standard carbohydrate-counting without the additional diabetes medication. Results of this clinical trial may show that the use of the artificial pancreas in combination with SGLT2s can relieve the burden of carbohydrate-counting and improve glucose control for people with type 1 diabetes on the artificial pancreas.

Dr. Rémi Rabasa-Lhoret

Operating Grant funded 2014-2017
Clinical Research Institute of Montreal (IRCM) (Montréal, QC)

The wearable artificial pancreas is a new diabetes technology that continuously senses blood glucose levels and delivers the right amount of hormones by a pump to keep blood glucose in a target range. Dr. Rabasa-Lhoret’s team is conducting clinical trials comparing two versions of the artificial pancreas (one that only delivers insulin, and one that delivers insulin and glucagon) with traditional insulin pump therapy in adults and adolescents with type 1 diabetes. This artificial pancreas has a great potential to improve the quality of life and health of people with type 1 diabetes, to prevent hypoglycemia, reduce hyperglycemia and to lessen the burden of diabetes for both families and health-care providers.

Dr. Xavier Revelo

Post-Doctoral Fellowship 2015-2017
University Health Network (Toronto, ON)

Supervisor

Dr. Daniel Winer

Dr. Revelo is examining the role that certain cells play in promoting inflammation in the liver and how this may contribute to obesity-related insulin resistance. Normally, white blood cells help your body fight infections or disease by attacking the foreign cells. However, in some inflammatory and autoimmune diseases, white blood cells mistakenly produce unwanted substances and attack healthy cells. Certain white blood cells, called CD8 T cells, are involved in the inflammation linked to obesity, which increases the risk of type 2 diabetes. Dr. Revelo wants to know more about what the CD8 T cells do during obesity. His group previously found that CD8 T cells gather in the liver of obese mice and he is now investigating what triggers the CD8 T cells to activate and create inflammation in this organ. In this research, CD8 T cells might be proven to contribute to obesity-related insulin resistance. With this data, he plans to test an antibody treatment that would block the activation of CD8 T cells and, thus, may be able to prevent inflammation caused by obesity in mice.

Dr. Pere Santamaria

Julia MacFarlane Chair in Diabetes Research 2011-2016 & Operating Grant 2013-2016
University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)

In autoimmune disorders, such as type 1 diabetes, white blood cells in the immune system mistakenly attack healthy cells in the body instead of focusing on germs, viruses and other foreign cells. Dr. Santamaria wants to find a way to correct this misfiring of the immune system by designing new nanomedicines. If effective, this type of medicine may be able to restore normal blood glucose levels in type 1 diabetes, help support the islet transplant treatment for people with type 1 diabetes and reverse the effects of other autoimmune diseases.

Dr. Pere Santamaria

Operating Grant 2016-2018
University of Calgary (Calgary, AB)

Dr. Santamaria wants to know if and how the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas regenerate themselves after a certain diabetes treatment. In previous research, his team created a new type of medicine that stops the immune system’s attack on beta cells in type 1 diabetes. The current study uses mouse models to see if new beta cells are created after the treatment and to determine what’s happening inside the cells that supports this rejuvenation. Results of this research may help enhance the effectiveness of type 1 diabetes treatments.

Dr. Shayne Taback

Operating Grant funded 2013-2016
University of Manitoba (Winnipeg, MB)

When a mother has diabetes during pregnancy (gestational diabetes), she has a higher risk of developing type 2 diabetes later in life. Dr. Taback is conducting a clinical trial in which women with recent gestational diabetes are given resveratrol, a plant-based supplement (found in the skin of red grapes). He wants to know if taking resveratrol will help prevent gestational diabetes in the next pregnancy and if this can also decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the future.

Dr. Kelly Tennant

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award funded 2014-2016
University of Victoria (Victoria, BC)

Supervisor

Dr. Craig Brown

Dr. Tennant is examining what happens to the lines of communication between the brain and the body after someone has a stroke. Using an experimental light therapy, Dr. Tennant hopes to stimulate re-wiring of surviving brain cells near the stroke to help re-establish proper connections between the brain and body, and improve recovery in healthy animals and in animals with diabetes.

Dr. Vladimir Vuksan

Operating Grant funded 2014-2017
St Michael's Hospital (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Vuksan and his research team are conducting a clinical trial to assess how a combination of dietary fiber, whole grain and natural herb supplements impacts glucose control and may reduce the risk of heart disease in patients living with type 2 diabetes. The outcomes of this research may show that nutrition and herbal combination therapy could be an effective addition to current standard of care of diabetes management.

Dr. Qinghua Wang

Operating Grant funded 2013-2016
St. Michael's Hospital (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Wang has developed a medication that mimics GLP-1, a hormone that is naturally released in the gut to lower blood glucose levels. Though similar medications already exist, Dr. Wang believes this new mimic will be metabolised more similarly to natural GLP-1 and will, therefore, have greater benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. His research will help provide more information on how natural GLP-1 is metabolised and if this new mimic has the same effects, which could improve GLP-1-based therapies.