Dr. Jill Hamilton

Operating Grant funded 2012-2015
The Hospital for Sick Children (Toronto, ON)

Dr. Hamilton and her team followed groups of children whose mothers did versus did not have gestational diabetes, by comparing their growth, body fat, blood samples and DNA. This study may shed new light on why children born to mothers with diabetes are at greater risk for later obesity and metabolic conditions.

Dr. James D. Johnson

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

The beta cells of the pancreas produce insulin, the blood glucose lowering hormone. Dr. Johnson’s research aimed to determine how high levels of fat in the blood cause the beta cells to die in type 2 diabetes. This research improves our understanding of the underlying causes of diabetes, for example, which genes are required for beta cell survival in the presence of high levels of fat, and it may eventually lead to new strategies for the prevention and management of diabetes.

Dr. Timothy J. Kieffer

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

It has just recently become possible to deliver therapeutic genes directly and specifically to pancreatic beta cells by piggybacking the genes onto a virus (called viral vector). Dr. Kieffer’s research used this viral vector to deliver to beta cell genes that tell the cell to make two proteins: GLP-1, that can improve their survival and function; and IDO, that can protect them from immune attack. Dr. Kieffer’s team is testing this vaccine in mice to find out if it can protect them from developing type 1 diabetes or could even reverse recently developed type 1 diabetes.

Dr. Stéphanie-May Ruchat

Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award funded 2012-2014
University of Sherbrooke (Chicoutimi, QC)


Dr. Luigi Bouchard and Dr. Marie-France Hivert

Children born from a mother who had diabetes during pregnancy are at higher risk of developing obesity and metabolic conditions later in life. How this increased risk is caused has not yet been clearly identified; however, changes in the genetic code (called DNA methylation) that cause genes to be turned “on” or “off” have been suggested as a very likely cause. Dr. Ruchat compared DNA methylation in the placentas of mothers with and without gestational diabetes. This research allows Dr. Ruchat to better understand how gestational diabetes influences the child’s long-term risk of obesity and possibly diabetes.

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

Click here to see the currently funded Diabetes Canada research on genetics.

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