McMaster University

Metabolism and Childhood Obesity

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MAC-Obesity NewsDr. Katherine Morrison examines young patient

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November 2017


MAC-Obesity Co-Director honoured for work on obesity, diabetes

Gregory Steinberg, researcher and professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, received the Diabetes Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Nutrition Metabolism and Diabetes Young Scientist Award.

It has been a year filled with honours and awards for MAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg.

This week Steinberg, a professor of medicine of McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, received the Diabetes Canada/Canadian Institutes of Health Research – Institute of Nutrition Metabolism and Diabetes Young Scientist Award. The award recognizes outstanding research conducted in Canada by scientists under the age of 45 in the field of diabetes.

The recognition comes on the heels of the Endocrine Society’s 2018 Laureate Awards announcement in September, at which time Steinberg was named the recipient of the Richard E. Weitzman Outstanding Early Career Investigator Award. This annual award recognizes an exceptionally promising young clinical or basic investigator in the field of endocrinology.

“It’s been a tremendous honour for me to receive these national and international awards that are a reflection of the great fortune I have had in working with tremendous mentors, collaborators and trainees over my scientific career,” said Steinberg. “Without their vital contributions, none of these accolades would be possible.”

In May, Steinberg’s work was honoured with the international 2017 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award from the American Diabetes Association. He was the first scientist from a Canadian university to take the 60-year-old award given annually to a scientist under 50 years of age. Steinberg









Past Governor General of Canada David Johnston presents Gregory Steinberg with the Gold Leaf Prize for Outstanding Achievements by an Early Career Investigator at a ceremony in Ottawa.


FHS Researchers capture CRC awards

Five members of the Faculty of Health Sciences are among 10 McMaster researchers to be recognized as leaders in their fields. Altogether they have been awarded $8.6 million from the Canada Research Chairs (CRC) Program to further their work, improve Canada's international competitiveness, and train the next generation of leaders.

Jonathan Schertzer, MAC-Obesity, assistant professor, biochemistry and biomedical sciences, is the Canada Research Chair in Metabolic Inflammation (Tier 2). He'll use experimental and preclinical methods to understand the links between immune and metabolic systems, to improve existing treatments, and lead to the development of new treatments, for obesity-related metabolic diseases like pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes.

Tier 2 Chairs, tenable for five years and renewable once, are for exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. For each Tier 2 Chair, the university receives $100,000 annually for five years.


Research on Teaching and Learning Conference

Research on Teaching and Learning conference will feature MAC-Obesity McMaster community-engaged member, Sandy Raha. Dr. Raha will speak at the two-day event, hosted by the Paul R. McPherson Institute for Leadership, Innovation and Excellence in Teaching, which fosters an evidence-informed approach to teaching.

The theme of this year’s conference, taking place at McMaster’s Innovation Park, is Exploring Teaching and Learning Partnerships in Higher Education. Attendees will take part in paper presentations, workshops, panel discussions, and poster presentations.

Sandy Raha is the co-founder of the McMaster Children & Youth University and an Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics at McMaster University. His PhD is from the University of Toronto and his postdoctoral training took place at the Hospital for Sick Children. His current research focuses on understanding how obesity during pregnancy can affect the future health of the baby. Sandy is a recipient of the Synapse Mentorship Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), which recognizes health researchers who have made exceptional efforts to promote health research among Canada’s students. His knowledge translation activities are directed at helping children understand what happens in their bodies when they eat poorly or don’t exercise enough. Sandy is also the recipient 2010 FHS Graduate Program Teaching Award as well as a 2017 Presidents Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning for his work integrating community engagement and post-secondary student training.

For more information, click here.


Scientific Reports

MAC-Obesity Co-Director Katherine Morrison (Co-PI) with Eileen Hutton, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology/Midwifery Education Program and colleagues from MAC-Obesity, the Farncombe Family Digestive Research Institute, the Midwifery Education Program,and the Departments of Pediatrics, Medicine, Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics, Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences, recently published a paper in the above:“Intrapartum antibiotics for GBS prophylaxis alter colonization patterns in the early infant gut microbiome of low risk infants”. The publication and findings were covered by the Hamilton Spectatorand CBC Hamilton.

In the News

Hamilton News

Hamilton News wrote about the many honours that MAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg has received this year.

CHML 900

MAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg spoke to CHML 900’s Bill Kelly about the impact of his work. To listen to the show, click here.

CBC News

Russell de Souza (MAC-Obesity, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact) told CBC News that there is no secret to processing saturated fats that humans can learn from grizzly bears. Grizzlies have evolved mechanisms to tolerate obesity — up to 40 per cent body fat — to help them get through hibernation. But in humans, that 40 per cent body fat would make them overweight and put them at risk of health problems, said de Souza. In the same news piece Koon Teo (PHRI)helped set context for the piece on using stentsto treatchest pain.

Globe and Mail

Mark Tarnopolsky (MAC-Obesity/Medicine/Neurology) spoke to the Globe and Mail about why we lose proteins as we age.

October 2017

In the News

CTV National News

CTV National News featured the reaction of MAC-Obesity Co-Director Katherine Morrison to a recent study published in the Lancet by Prof. Majid Ezzati of Imperial College London’s School of Public Health about childhood obesity. Please click here for the full article.

Everything you need to know about trans fats

Nearly 12 years after it was first recommended, the federal government has announced its intention to ban partially hydrogenated oils in all food sold in Canada.

Partially hydrogenated oils are the main source of trans fats, which are known to raise levels of "bad" cholesterol and lower levels of "good" cholesterol.

To find out more, McMaster Daily News talked to dietician, nutrition epidemiologist and assistant professor in the Department of Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact and MAC-Obesity researcher Russell de Souza. He says that, gram for gram, no other fat appears to affect heart disease as much as trans fat.

For full interview click here.

Bloomsberg is among media continuing coverage on research by Russell De Souza (MAC-Obesity, Health Research Methods, Evidence, and Impact) showing fats are not necessarily bad in the diet.

Donation supports 'omics' health research

Philanthropist and local businessman Alfred (Fred) Voytek is helping support health research at McMaster University with a donation in excess of $500,000 towards research in the area of 'omics', which includes the use of new technologies to uncover the genomic, metabolomic and gut microbiomic signatures of future disease development.

Along with his excitement of the future potential for new discoveries in this area, Mr. Voytek is sympathetic to the difficult funding climate facing health researchers in Canada.

He was intrigued to learn of some of the research led by McMaster University professor Sonia Anand, Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease, MAC-Obesity member and senior scientist at the Population Health Research Institute. Dr. Anand leads the NutriGen Alliance made up of several birth cohort studies including South Asians and Aboriginal peoples.

"Fred Voytek's generosity is amazing," said Anand, noting his support will enable initiation of multi-ethnic studies of 'omic' influences on cardio-metabolic traits including adiposity, insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome.

"Dr. Anand is doing wonderful work, and I wanted to support it," said Voytek.

"Mr. Voytek's generous support will propel innovative and fundamentally important projects that are key to the future health of Canadians," added Paul O'Byrne, dean and vice-president of McMaster's Faculty of Health Sciences.


September 2017

In the News

Insulin dose not tied to cardiovascular outcomes

HealthDay reported on a study by MAC-Obesity researcher Hertzel Gerstein that showed that cardiovascular outcomes in patients with diabetes are not explained by insulin resistance.


On Campus

As part of McMaster University's new #BrighterWorld brand introduction, 13 researchers from the Faculty of Health Sciences, including MAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg and MAC-Obesity Researcher Sonia Anand are among those showcased on banners across campus. The banners, which include photos and short descriptions of the researchers and their work, were recently installed on campus light posts.

brighter world banners

McMaster Faculty of Health Sciences researchers featured on #BrighterWorld banners



MAC-Obesity researchers Katherine Morrison (Senior Author), Gregory Steinberg, Elizabeth Gunn, Mark Tarnopolsky, Hertzel Gerstein and former trainees (first author Tahniyah Haq, Justin Crane and Sarah Kanji) published an article in Scientific Reports: "Optimizing the methodology for measuring supraclavicular skin temperature using infrared thermography; implications for measuring brown adipose tissue activity in humans"

MAC-Obesity senior advisor Hertzel Gerstein and colleagues from the ORIGIN Trial recently had an article accepted for publication in Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism: "Insulin Resistance and Cardiovascular Outcomes in the ORIGIN Trial.

Nikhil Pai (MAC-Obesity) and colleagues have published Iron Status in Pediatric Celiac Disease: A Retrospective Chart Review in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition



Endocrine Society 2018 Laureate Award Winner

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg who was awarded an Endocrine Society 2018 Laureate Award. Steinberg was named the recipient of the Richard E. Weitzman Outstanding Early Career Investigator Award. The annual award recognizes an exceptionally promising young clinical or basic investigator in the field of endocrinology.

NSERC Discovery Program Awards 2017

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity researcher Mark Tarnopolsky on his NSERC Discovery Program Award For Biological Systems and Functions.

McMaster researcher recognized by Canadian Academy of Health Sciences

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity member Stuart Phillips on his induction as a Fellow of the Academy of Health Sciences. Phillips holds the Canada Research Chair in Skeletal Muscle Health and is also the director of McMaster's Physical Activity Centre of Excellence and the McMaster Centre for Nutrition, Exercise and Health Research.

August 2017


Grant advances diabetes and obesity research

A foundation grant has been awarded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research to MAC-Obesity researcher Jonathan Schertzer. Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences, will receive just less than $1 million over five years for his work on obesity, diabetes and a better understanding of how bacteria in the gut can be used to stop or slow prediabetes.

In the application, he said: "This research may lead to new ways to target insulin and the development of prediabetes which are different from the current drugs that focus on blood glucose."

A total of $200 million was awarded in the 2016-2017 national competition.

Diabetes Canada – Diabetes Investigator Awards

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity members Gregory Steinberg and Jonathan Schertzer. Both members were recently awarded funds from Diabetes Canada. Gregory Steinberg was awarded a Diabetes Investigator Award – Research Scientist Stream for his project Inflammation, Metabolism and Type 2 Diabetes. Jonathan Schertzer was awarded a New Investigator Award – Research Scientist Stream for his project Microbiota control insulin dynamics and sensitivity.

Since 1975 and the establishment of the Charles H. Best Research Fund, the Association has funded thousands of Canada’s most renowned diabetes researchers and research trainees in their quest for new and innovative developments in the prevention, treatment, and management of diabetes.

Each application goes through a rigorous peer review process. Funding decisions are made based on the results of that peer review process and the expert recommendations of Diabetes Canada’s National Research Council (NRC).


Research Spotlight

Healthy diet could decrease gestational diabetes risk for South Asian women in Ontario

According to a new study, South Asian women in Ontario are at high risk for gestational diabetes, but a change in diet and pre-pregnancy weight could make a significant difference.

MAC-Obesity members Sonia Anand, Russell de Souza, Katherine Morrison, Hertzel Gerstein and colleagues have recently published the following article "Causes and Consequences of Gestational Diabetes in South Asians living in Canada" in Canadian Medical Association Journal.

The research was also featured by Healio.


Sonia Anand, professor of medicine at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, is the lead on a new study on gestational diabetes in South Asian women in Ontario.


In the News

Ways a sports massage can improve your workout

Shape Magazine spoke to Mark Tarnopolsky (MAC-Obesity) about how getting regular massages could potentially change the capacity of your muscles, actually altering your gene expression, temporarily increasing the signal for new mitochondrial growth.


July 2017

In the News

MAC-Obesity Co-Director Katherine Morrison was interviewed on Postmedia Radio/Sirius XM about reports of extra weight gain among children taking antipsychotic treatment drugs. of Australia reported on Jonathan Schertzer (MAC-Obesity, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences) and his research on the benefits of post-biotics.

June 2017

In the News

The Spectator and Hamilton Community News wrote about the Jewish National Fund of Hamilton’s annual Negev Dinner, which honoured the work of Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity), Mark Levine (Oncology), and Sandra Witelson (Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences), three McMaster University doctors who have been at the forefront of local health-care research and innovation.


Research Spotlight

CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes

MAC-Obesity Co-Directors Katherine Morrison & Gregory Steinberg and their team were featured in the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetest INMD Connections Newsletter. Programmatic Grants in Environments, Genes and Chronic Disease - Gene Environment Team on Brown/Beige Adipose Tissue (GET_BAT).

From the Newsletter:

More than 5 million Canadians have obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) and their prevalence in the population is rapidly increasing. MAC-Obesity Co-Directors, Greg Steinberg and Katherine Morrison, and their team, which includes André Carpentier, Alison Holloway (MAC-Obesity), Waliul Khan (MAC-Obesity), Andrew McArthur, Kei Sakamoto, Jonathan Schertzer (MAC-Obesity), Deborah Sloboda (MAC-Obesity), and Michael Surette (MAC-Obesity), are working to understand the underlying causes of these chronic, interrelated diseases. Brown adipose tissue (BAT), frequently characterized as the body’s furnace, has the unique capability to burn large amounts of sugar and fat, and effectively dissipates this energy as heat. In individuals with obesity or T2D the ability to switch on BAT is compromised, but the reasons for this are not well understood. The GET_BAT team is examining how agricultural and food processing practices may regulate BAT metabolic activity, directly, or indirectly by altering the gut microbiome. These studies will help us develop new strategies to enhance BAT activity that may be effective for treating and preventing obesity, NAFLD and T2D.

The GET_BAT Team



Ethnicity and breastfeeding influence infant gut bacteria

MAC-Obesity members Sonia Anand (Senior Author) and Russell de Souza co-authored a recently published article in the journal of Genome Medicine. While stable gut bacteria, called microbiota, may not be established until one to three years after birth, the infant gut bacteria seems to be an important indicator of immune function, nutrient metabolism and could offer protection from pathogens. Click here to read the article.


May 2017


Steinberg ADAAmerican Diabetes Association - International Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) announced its international 2017 Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award to Dr. Gregory Steinberg, a professor of medicine for the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine at McMaster University. He is the first scientist from a Canadian university to take the 60-year-old award given annually to a scientist under 50 years of age.

Steinberg's research contributions are cited as having "significantly shaped our understanding of how lipid metabolism, insulin sensitivity and energy sensing are intimately linked and contribute to the development of type 2 diabetes."

Steinberg, PhD, is co-director of the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research (MAC-Obesity) program at McMaster and he holds both a Canada Research Chair and the J. Bruce Duncan endowed chair in metabolic diseases. He joined McMaster in 2008.

Among his discoveries, he has identified important connections between inflammation and fat metabolism, how exercise and common medicines lower blood sugar, and new ways to increase the burning of calories.

Steinberg is actively translating these discoveries into the development of new therapeutics for preventing and treating type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. He will speak at the ADA scientific sessions next month.

The ADA is the world's largest diabetes organization.

Last month Steinberg received the inaugural Gold Leaf Prize for Outstanding Achievements by an Early Career Investigator from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.


In the News

Fox News Radio quoted Brian Timmons (MAC-Obesity) about the benefits of rehydrating with milk a source of high quality protein, carbohydrates, calcium and electrolytes.

CBC Second Opinion interviewed MAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg about new research on the idea of deliberately varying office temperatures, based on the notion that changing temperatures have some benefit in reducing obesity and Type II diabetes.



Gita Wahi (MAC-Obesity) co-authored a recently published article in the Canadian Medical Association Journal:Elder women's perceptions around optimal perinatal health: a constructivist grounded-theory study with an Indigenous community in southern Ontario."

Celebrations and Success

CIHR Project Grant Success

Congratulations to Brian Timmons (MAC-Obesity) and his team including Drs. J Obeid (McMaster), J Cairney (U of T), and T Tucker (Western U) who received $206,550 for their two-year project iPlay!The goal of the study is to learn more about the best ways to measure physical activity and sedentary time in toddlers using activity monitors.

President's Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning

Sandeep Raha (MAC-Obesity) has been selected as a 2017 recipient of McMaster’s highest teaching honour for the President’s Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning. The award consists of a citation of excellence and certificate. Dr. Raha’s name will also be inscribed on a permanent plaque in Gilmour Hall. Read the story here.

April 2017


MAC-Obesity Co-Director awarded inaugural national prize for excellence in health research

Gregory SteinbergMAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg, a professor of medicine of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, has been awarded a new national prize for outstanding accomplishments early in his career.

Steinberg is the first and only Canadian scientist to be awarded the Gold Leaf Prize for Outstanding Achievements by an Early Career Investigator by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR).

Steinberg, 41, is also a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster. He holds a Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Obesity and the J. Bruce Duncan Chair in Metabolic Diseases. He is also the co-director of the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Program (MAC-Obesity) at McMaster.

His research is focused on understanding how hormones regulate the body’s storage and breakdown of fat and glucose, with the aim of developing new therapeutic strategies for the prevention and treatment of the interrelated chronic diseases of obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Over the last decade his research has answered fundamental questions into how cellular energy sensors regulate fat and glucose metabolism and control the body’s sensitivity to insulin.

Steinberg’s translational research program has also revealed new ways that exercise and commonly used medications make a therapeutic difference and he identified new roles of hormones in controlling energy use and metabolism. This work has great relevance for Canada, where over 6 million people are obese and 10 million people have diabetes or pre-diabetes.

“We are proud of Dr. Steinberg’s achievements, and congratulate him on this prestigious award,” said Paul O’Byrne, dean and vice-president of the Faculty of Health Sciences at McMaster. “He has already had an important impact on the health of Canadians, and we know he’s just begun.”

Steinberg obtained his PhD in 2002 from the University of Guelph and spent 2002 to 2008 in Australia at the St. Vincent’s Institute of Medical Research. He joined McMaster in 2008.

gold leaf logoSteinberg will receive the award, worth $100,000, from the Governor General of Canada David Johnston at an Ottawa ceremony in May with the winners of three other CIHR Gold Leaf Prizes.

For more on this story, click here.




Newswire: "Canada's top health researchers recognized for their life-changing work"

The Hamilton Spectator: "McMaster professor wins Canada-wide award"


Canada Graduate Scholarship Master's Award

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity MSc Graduate Student Stephan Oreskovich (supervised by Dr. Katherine Morrison) who was awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship Master's Award administered by CIHR. These awards are intended to provide special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a Master's degree in a health related field at a Canadian institution.


Heart and Stroke Foundation - Grant-in-Aid

MAC-Obesity member Dr. Brian Timmons and team have received funding to carry-out the Longitudinal Cardiovascular Health AssessMent in Pediatric chronic Inflammatory conditions: role of physical activity and fitness (the CHAMPION-2 Study) over the next 3 years.

POGO Seed Funding

Congratulations to Dr. Brian Timmons on receiving funding for the following project - Using exercise to boost the immune system of children with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

In the News

Post-biotics may help shield obese from diabetes

You’ve heard of pre-biotics and pro-biotics, but now you’ll be hearing a lot more about post-biotics. Researchers at McMaster University have begun to identify how post-biotics, or the by-products of bacteria, lower blood glucose and allow insulin to work better.

Dr. Jonathan Schertzer (MAC-Obesity), assistant professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences and senior author of a paper published by Cell Metabolism today, explains it this way:

“We know that gut bacteria, often called the microbiome, send inflammation signals that change how well insulin works to lower blood glucose.

“It was previously thought that bacteria only caused problems such as higher inflammation and higher blood glucose. But this is only half of the story. We discovered that a specific component of bacteria actually lowers blood glucose and allows insulin to work better during obesity.

“Understanding how different parts of bacteria control glucose could lead to new therapies that avoid some of the problems with pro-biotics or pre-biotics. We have found a "post-biotic" that lowers blood glucose during obesity.”

This work is important as more than half of Canadians are overweight or obese, which leads to higher levels of blood insulin and glucose. These features of prediabetes can lead to type 2 diabetes.

“But we haven’t understood what triggers elevated blood glucose,” said Schertzer. “This is significant because only some individuals with obesity develop prediabetes. Blood glucose is influenced by our genes, the food we eat, and the bacteria in our gut.”

His research team is working to develop new bacterial-based drugs to lower blood glucose and combat prediabetes before type 2 diabetes develops. At this time, they have had success in trials with mice with a drug currently used for osteosarcoma, a bone cancer.

The research featured in Cell Metabolism was supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

The study was featured on Voice of America, , Science Daily, and New Delhi Times.

For full article, please refer to link in Publications - Cell Metabolism (below).

New Zealand Herald

The New Zealand Herald included research by MAC-Obesity member Dr. Russell de Souza (Health Research Methods, Evidence and Impact) in an article about trans fats and saturated fats.

CHML Radio & The News Sentinal

CHML radio interviewed MAC-Obesity Senior Advisor Dr. Hertzel Gerstein (Medicine) about a new pilot study he’s leading looking at whether diabetes can be put into remission. The study was also noted in a columm in Drs. Oz and Roizen’s column in The News Sentinal.

CBC Second Opinion

CBC Second Opinion spoke to Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky (MAC-Obesity member) about an expensive drug that couldn’t make money, and large-scale gene therapy clinical trials for rare disorders.

CBC News

CBC News spoke to Dr. Russell de Souza (MAC-Obesity member) about a movement away from cutting saturated fats to reduce heart disease, and instead focusing on a whole dietary approach and eating real foods.


Cell Metabolism

Dr. Jonathan Schertzer (MAC-Obesity member; senior author) with MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Gregory Steinberg and colleagues published Muramyl Dipeptide-Based Postbiotics Mitigate Obesity-Induced Insulin Resistance via IRF4 in the above journal. See corresponding news release above.

Molecular Metabolism

Dr. Gregory Steinberg (MAC-Obesity Co-Director; senior author) and former MAC-Obesity Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Emilio Mottillo (first author) with colleagues published "FGF21 does not require adipocyte AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) or the phosphorylation of acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC) to mediate improvements in whole-body glucose homeostasis" in the above journal.

March 2017

In the News

  • The Hamilton Spectator wrote about a city council meeting where Dr. Sonia Anand (MAC-Obesity, Department of Medicine) teamed up with the Heart and Stroke Foundation to ask councillors to explore ways to use local bylaws to protect kids from high-sugar beverages, like pop and energy drinks, and the marketing that makes them so hard to resist.
  • There was extensive coverage in the media about research by Drs. Natalia McInnes and Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity, Department of Medicine) that is showing success in reversing Type 2 diabetes by using intensive medical treatment, cutting calories and exercising. Voice of America, the BBC, The National Post covered the story.
  • The Hamilton Spectator reported on numerous women from the McMaster community earning honours at the YWCA's Women of Distinction event. Among them was MAC-Obesity member Dr. Deborah Sloboda (Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and Obstetrics & Gynecology) who won in the Science, Technology and Trades category.


International Journal of Qualitative Methods

Dr. Gita Wahi (MAC-Obesity, Department of Pediatrics) co-authored the following article: "A Case Study of a Methodological Approach to Cocreating Perinatal Health Knowledge Between Western and Indigenous Communities" in the above journal.

Obesity Reviews

MAC-Obesity members Drs. David Meyre (senior author) and Russell de Souza with colleagues published the following article "A systematic review of genetic syndromes with obesity" in the journal above.

Journal of Diabetes

MAC-Obesity member Dr. Zubin Punthakee (senior author) and colleagues have published the following article: "Predictors of type 1 diabetes mellitus outcomes in young adults after transition from pediatric care" in the above journal.

February 2017


Diabetes Care

Dr. Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity Senior Advisor; first author) and MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Gregory Steinberg (senior author) with colleagues published "Growth Differentiation Factor 15 as a Novel Biomarker for Metformin" in the above journal.

January 2017

In the News

CTV News spoke to Dr. Brian Timmons (MAC-Obesity, Pediatrics/Children’s Exercise and Nutrition Centre) and other researchers in McMaster’s Physical Activity Centre of Excellence (PACE) about fitness studies in 2016 that hold up to scrutiny.

New Study

Dr. Nikhil Pai (MAC-Obesity, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics) and Principal Investigator for the PediFETCh study along with his research team are conducting a ground-breaking trial on fecal transplants in children with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), the first such study for children with IBD in Canada, and the first randomized controlled trial of its kind in the world. More information can be found on the PediFETCh research website. You may also read a comprehensive Q&A with Dr. Pai and see the video on VIMEO through this link.







December 2016

In the News

Knowridge Science Report wrote about two national research studies being undertaken by Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity, Department of Medicine) and Natalia McInnes (Department of Medicine) that are looking at whether Type 2 diabetes can be stopped in its tracks, pushed into remission, and perhaps reversed.


BMC Pediatrics

MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison (senior author) and Elizabeth Gunn (MAC-Obesity Research Coordinator) along with colleagues from the Midwifery Education Program and the Departments of Pediatrics, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences, Medicine and Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics have published a paper in BMC Pediatrics entitled: “A comparison of intestinal microbiota in a population of low-risk infants exposed and not exposed to intrapartum antibiotics: The Baby & Microbiota of the Intestine cohort study protocol”.

baby & mi logo

Journal of Pediatrics

Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) with Dr. Saroj Saigal (first author, Department of Pediatrics) along with colleagues from the Departments of Pediatrics and Psychology and Psychiatry have published a paper entitled: "Health-related quality of life trajectories of extremely low birth weight survivors into adulthood."


Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) along with colleagues have published the first collaborative paper entitled: "Blood pressure in young adults born at very low birth weight: Adults born preterm international collaboration." Dr. Saroj Saigal (Department of Pediatrics) co-founded the “Adult born Premature International Collaboration (APIC)”, in which international centres pool data to increase the sample size for further analyses.


November 2016

Congratulations to the McMaster Children and Youth University Program

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity member Dr. Sandeep Raha, Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics and Program Director of the McMaster Children and Youth University Program on receiving the Joyce Family Foundation gift for the MCYU program. The very generous gift of $1.25 Million dollars and the matching program will help support and expand the classes, which attract hundreds of children and families to campus for youth-oriented lectures and events. Please visit their website for more details and how the gift will benefit MCYU.

McMaster Children and Youth University Program

Presentations and News

Innovation Fund Showcase, Toronto, Ontario

"The Baby and Microbiota of the Intestine (Baby & Mi) Project" was presented by Co-PIs Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) and Eileen Hutton (Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology).

baby & mi and pre-mi


Tackling diabetes....with a song

Every day clinicians and scientists at the Boris Family Clinic help people deal with their diabetes and look for new solutions to this common disease. Now they are using a novel approach: a music video.

[Read more about this story here and watch the video]

Diabetes Care and Research Program




Dr. Gregory Steinberg (MAC-Obesity Co-Director; senior author), MAC-Obesity Postdoctoral Fellow Dr. Brennan Smith (first author) with MAC-Obesity colleagues published "Salsalate (Salicylate) Uncouples Mitochondria, Improves Glucose Homeostasis, and Reduces Liver Lipids Independent of AMPK-β1" in the above journal.


MAC-Obesity researchers Drs. Sonia Anand and Russell de Souza published "Saturated fat and heart disease" in the above journal.

October 2016

Research News

Can diabetes be reversed? Researchers are testing ways to do so

Can Type 2 diabetes be stopped in its tracks, pushed into remission, and perhaps reversed? McMaster University researchers want to find out.

They are leading two national research studies focused on treating diabetes with an intensive diet, physical activity and drug regimen for three months. The drugs are then stopped, and participants are followed to see if the diabetes returns.

“We think this could work for up to 40 per cent of people with diabetes and possibly more,” said Dr. Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity), senior investigator of the studies. He is a professor of medicine of McMaster University’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and an endocrinologist of Hamilton Health Sciences.

[Read more about this story here]

In the News

A study on diabetes underway with Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity) and Natalie McInnes (Medicine) was covered by The Hamilton Spectator.


6th Conference on Recent Advances in the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood and Adolescent Obesity

Jenifer Li (MSc Student) under the supervision of MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison has successfully presented at the above mention conference the following: Poster presentation: Subclinical atherosclerosis in obese children and youth enrolled in weight management: CANPWR cIMT Sub-Study; Poster presentation: CANadian Pediatric Weight management Registry (CANPWR): Progress to date and Oral presentation: Subclinical atherosclerosis in obese children and youth enrolled in weight management.

World Congress of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition (WCPGHAN), Montreal, Quebec

Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) presented: "Neonatal antecedents to adult degenerative diseases"

Dr. Nikhil Pai (MAC-Obesity member) presented two posters, "An RCT of Fecal Microbial Transplant for Pediatric Ulcerative Colitis" and "Iron Status in Pediatric Celiac Disease" with Dr. Herbert Brill

Canadian Diabetes Association National Meeting, Ottawa, Ontario

Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) presented: "Bariatric care in Canadian Children: Developing new insight through Team ABC".

Together with the CDA, The Canadian Institutes of Health Research - Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes (CIHR-INMD) sponsored a symposium entitled “Bariatric Care Research in Perspective” which highlighted the progress of three national research teams funded through the CIHRINMD Bariatric Care Team Grants.

Morrison - CDA meeting

Symposium speakers (from left): Drs. André Tchernof, Katherine
Morrison, Anita Courcoulas, Herb Gaisano and Phil Sherman.

September 2016

In the News

Three decades later, “premies” still part of a McMaster Study

Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) was interviewed in The Hamilton Spectator about her research, published in Pediatrics, that found that ELBW preemies are more likely to develop abnormal blood glucose as adults and have higher body fat and lower lean mass. Read the article: Innovation Notebook: Preemies grow into weight issues...

CBC Hamilton posted a story looking at the 30-year history of McMaster's study of a cohort of 100 premature babies and how their birth circumstances have affected their lives. The story featured Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director, Department of Pediatrics), the current leader of the longitudinal study begun by Dr. Saroj Saigal.

baby feet

The Huffington Post commented on Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky's research, which was recently featured in a TIME magazine cover story that validates health benefits of exercise: Dare to be 100: It's About Time.

Dr. Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity, Department of Medicine) was quoted in a Readers Digestarticle about healthy eating habits to control diabetes.

CBC Radio's national news showThe World at Six and CBC News online interviewed Dr. Hertzel Gerstein (MAC-Obesity, Department of Medicine) about fresh doubts about whether conventional treatment for high blood sugar in patients with Type 2 diabetes is actually supported by evidence.

VICE News, The Hamilton Spectator and CHML radio reported on a new study led by Nikhil Pai (MAC-Obesity, Department of Pediatrics) testing the effectiveness of fecal transplantation for children with inflammatory bowel disease. The study will weigh the potential advantages of introducing beneficial gut bacteria into children with IBD.

Dr. Martin Gibala (MAC-Obesity member) spoke to the Today Show about his research on high-intensity interval training. Earlier this year, Gibala announced findings which showed that a 10-minute workout could be just as effective as a 45-minute one.

Time magazine's cover story, prominently featured MAC-Obesity members Mark Tarnopolsky (Medicine) and Martin Gibala (Kinesiology). The feature discusses the many benefits of exercise on health - areas of expertise for both researchers.

time magazine cover

The New Scientist
interviewed MAC-Obesity member Hertzel Gerstein (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics) for a feature on medical practices that have been reversed as a result of new evidence.



Study shows extreme preemies must watch blood sugars and weight

By the time they are in their early 30s, extremely low birth weight (ELBW) babies are four times more likely to develop dysglycemia, or abnormal blood glucose, than their normal birth weight (NBW) peers.

These babies who were born weighing less than 2.2 pounds are also more likely than their peer group to have higher body fat and lower lean mass in adulthood, although both groups have a similar body mass index (BMI), says research by MAC-Obesity Co-Director Katherine Morrison (first author) in the journal Pediatrics this week.

Now in their early 30s, 26 per cent of the ELBW babies have dysglycemia compared to 8 per cent of the NBW peers.

[Read more about this story here]

"Cardiometabolic Health in Adults Born Premature With Extremely Low Birth Weight"


Scientific Reports

MAC-Obesity researchers, Dr. Katherine Morrison (senior author), Justin Crane (first author), Samuel Yellin and Frank Ong with additional colleagues from McMaster published the paper, "ELBW survivors in early adulthood have higher hepatic, pancreatic and subcutaneous fat" in the journal above.

K Morrison

MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison, principal investigator of the study and an associate professor of pediatrics of McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.


Diabetes and Scientific Reports

Thinking outside the insulin box: McMaster Researchers link improved muscle health to better outcomes for people with diabetes

Loss of physical strength due to muscle deterioration is a complication for people living with Type 1 diabetes that’s often overlooked. New research from Dr. Thomas Hawke, Associate Professor of Pathology and Molecular Medicine and MAC-Obesity researcher shows it shouldn’t be. Two recent studies published in Diabetes and Scientific Reports highlight the loss of muscle stem cells early on in the disease; a likely key to the muscle deterioration which happens later on. The loss of skeletal muscle, which is the largest insulin-sensitive organ, impacts the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and respond to insulin over time.

This ‘insulin resistance’ which develops in those with Type1 diabetes is a major contributor to other complications, such as kidney failure and cardiovascular disease.

[Read more here]

August 2016


Scientific Reports

MAC-Obesity members Dr. David Meyre (senior author), Dr. Sonia Anand and Dr. Hertzel Gerstein with colleagues published "Longitudinal relationships between glycemic status and body mass index in a multiethnic study: evidence from observational and genetic epidemiology" in the above journal.

July 2016

Celebrations and Successes

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity Researchers who have been awarded funding from the Canadian Institutes for Health Research Project Scheme 2016:

Dr. Brian Timmons (MAC-Obesity) is a co-investigator on an project awarded to McMaster researchers entitled “Multimorbidity in Children and Youth Across the LIFEcourse (MY LIFE). The PI for the study is Dr. Mark Ferro (Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences).

Dr. Gita Wahi (MAC-Obesity)is a co-investigator for a project being led by Dr. Sanjay Mahant at the Hospital for Sick Children entitled, ‘Intermittent vs. Continuous Oxygen Saturation Monitoring in Infants Hospitalized for Bronchiolitis: A Randomized Controlled Trial’.

Faculty Promotions

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity member Dr.M.Constantine Samaan who has been promoted to Associate Professor (Department of Pediatrics).

June 2016

Canadian Child Health Clinician Scientist (CCHCSP)Annual Symposium

The CCHCSP annual symposium was held June 2-5, in Niagara Falls. Rising Researchers selected to attend the meeting were: Dr. Nikhil Pai (MAC-Obesity) and Jennifer Li (MSc candidate, supervisor Dr. Katherine Morrison, Medical Sciences).

May 2016

MAC-Obesity team awarded federal grant

How the environment impacts obesity and other problems such as diabetes and liver disease is the focus for a McMaster University research team which is receiving a large federal grant today.

Drs. Gregory Steinberg and Katherine Morrison lead the team, which will receive $2 million. They are the co-directors of the Metabolism and Childhood Research Program (MAC-Obesity) of McMaster and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Gregory SteinbergKatherine Morrison

MAC-Obesity Co-Directors: Gregory Steinberg and Katherine Morrison

More than five million Canadians have the chronic interrelated diseases of obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type-2 diabetes, and those numbers are rapidly growing, says Steinberg.

"These diseases have become much more prevalent in the last decade and reduce quality of life and life expectancy. However, the reasons why incidence rates have increased so dramatically are not fully understood," says Steinberg. "Clearly we need to do something about it, and this grant is a significant step towards solving this crisis."

Brown adipose tissue (BAT), widely known as brown fat, is present in large amounts in infants and then decreases as humans age. BAT acts as the body's furnace to burn calories. Activating or "turning on" brown fat has shown to reverse obesity and may be a viable therapy for treating type-2 diabetes, but the ability to turn on BAT in individuals with obesity or type-2 diabetes is reduced.

With the newly-announced funds, the MAC-Obesity team will be conducting further studies on brown fat.

"We will be looking at the environmental factors affecting BAT," says Morrison. "A lot of people focus on the appetite side of the equation, but we're focusing on how food is used, and what environmental agents may influence this process."

Steinberg and Morrison's team will be examining how agricultural and food processing practices may affect brown fat activity directly or indirectly. Research will look at how toxicants such as pesticides or herbicides could alter BAT in individuals in addition to food ingredients such as artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrups, says Steinberg.

The studies will help develop new strategies to enhance BAT activity that may be effective for treating and preventing obesity, NAFLD and type-2 diabetes, says Morrison. "These funds have a critical role in bringing together a team that includes health care professionals working with adults and children, pre-clinical scientists, microbiologists, bioinformatics experts and imaging experts. We will incorporate cutting-edge technologies to make new discoveries of how brown adipose tissue and the gut microbiome interact to influence health."

The funding is being provided by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) signature initiative onEnvironments and Health, which supports research focused on understanding how the environment contributes to health and disease and improving overall health.

The Honourable Jane Philpott, Minister of Health, made the announcement today, saying: "By investing in health research, the Government of Canada recognizes that we are strengthening the foundation for a healthier Canada. This research will help reduce the burden of chronic conditions in this country and improve the lives of Canadians."

In the News

Metabolism & weight loss study - CHCH

McMaster researchers get federal grant for obesity study - Hamilton Spectator

Celebrations and Successes

Child Health Research Day 2016

Thank you to all trainees, faculty, staff, supervisors and volunteers who helped make CHRD 2016 a success. Twenty-nine posters and 4 oral presentations were delivered by staff and trainees in the Master’s, Resident, and Fellow/PhD categories. Winners include:

First Prize for Best Poster Presentation: Master’s: Jenifer Li (supervised by Dr. Katherine Morrison) and First Prize for Best Oral Presentation:PhD: Nicole Proudfoot (supervised by Dr. Brian Timmons and Dr. Maureen MacDonald)

Event details and photos are published on the Pediatrics Research website

Jenifer Li - Child Health Research Day

Jenifer Li - MSc Student

Faculty of Health Sciences Research Plenary Award

Jenifer Li's presentation at the event above was selected as one of the top oral presentations. She received her award at a reception hosted by the Health Sciences Graduate Studies program.


Researchers Receive 2 of 5 CIHR Grants

Team Grant -- Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) - Implications for Men, Women, Boys and Girls

MAC-Obesity researcher Dr. Deborah Sloboda (PI, Biochemistry/ Pediatrics/ Obstetrics), Dr. Stephanie Atkinson (co-I) and colleagues from Canada, Britain and Germany were awarded a CIHR  DOHaD team grant at $1.5M over 5 years. The study “HUGS for HEALTH: Healthy Bugs for Healthy Babies”, will include studies in both animal models to understand molecular mechanisms and human studies to investigate relationships between adiposity, pregnancy weight gain and the maternal gut bacteria to uncover novel pathways that mediate the early origins of childhood obesity. The goal is to advance evidence to support community-based intervention programs to support diet and lifestyle improvements in women before and during pregnancy, with a special focus on high risk populations.

MAC-Obesity members Dr. Gita Wahi and Dr. Katherine Morrison are co-Is on a CIHR DOHaD team grant led by Dr. Sonia Anand (Medicine) recently awarded at $1.5M over 5 years. The goal of the program of research entitled, “Deciphering the metabolic signatures of the metabolic syndrome (MetS) in young children”, is to uncover markers in the blood of the pregnant mother, and child (from birth through 5 years), that reflect dietary intake and can forecast a child's likelihood of developing the "Metabolic Syndrome", a strong risk state for future diabetes and heart disease.


Professor Awarded Honour as International Scholar

MAC-Obesity member Dr. Sonia Anand was named a University Scholar, a recognition of McMaster's faculty in mid-career who have already distinguished themselves as international scholars. Dr. Anand was among four winners of this year's honours. To read more, click here.


JAMA Pediatrics

Dr. Saroj Saigal and colleagues including MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison, published the paper, "Health,Wealth, Social Integration, and Sexuality of Extremely Low-Birth-Weight Prematurely Born Adultsin the Fourth Decade of Life" in the journal above.

Child: care, health and development

MAC-Obesity member Dr. Zubin Zunthakee and colleagues published the paper, "You never transition alone! Exploring the experiences of youth with chronic health conditions, parents and healthcare providers on self-management" in the journal above.


Dr. Katherine Morrison and colleagues published the article, "Health Outcomes of Information System Use Lifestyles among Adolescents: Videogame Addiction, Sleep Curtailment and Cardio-Metabolic Deficiencies", in the journal above.


In the News

McMaster research links video addition to risk of obesity

Several media outlets (Radio-Canada, CBC International, CHML, CHCH and CKTB) spoke to MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison about her research which shows that addiction to videogames leads to sleep deprivation, obesity and cardiovascular risk in some gamers. See link to PLoS ONE publication above.

March 2016

Hamilton Community Foundation Funding

McMaster Child and Youth UniversityThe McMaster Children and Youth University program, founded by MAC-Obesity Researcher Dr. Sandy Raha, has received $10k in funding from the Hamilton Community Foundation, Edith Turner Foundation Fund for the 'MCYU in the City Scholars Program'.

February 2016

MAC-Obesity Researchers awarded Canada Research Chairs

Brian Timmons
Brian Timmons, associate professor, Department of Pediatrics, has been awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Child Health and Exercise Medicine.

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity researcher Brian Timmons who was awarded a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Child Health and Exercise Medicine to chart a new course in pediatric exercise medicine and immunology. Experimenting with novel approaches to understand the mechanisms that translate exercise into skeletal muscle during growth, Timmons is shedding new light on the physical-activity-to-health connection in young children. Tier 2 Chairs receive $100,000 annually for five years and are awarded to exceptional emerging researchers, acknowledged by their peers as having the potential to lead in their field. Dr. Timmons is one of six Faculty researchers at McMaster to be awarded a new Canada Research Chair (CRC).

Congratulations also to MAC-Obesity researcher David Meyre, who had his Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Clinicial Epidemilogy and Biostatistics Renewed. Dr. Meyre was one of six McMaster faculty to have his Canada Research Chair renewed.

In the News

The Hamilton Spectator interviewed Eileen Hutton (Midwifery) about a new three-year study where McMaster researchers will attempt to answer once and for all what food babies should be fed first and at what age. Katherine Morrison (Co-Director of MAC-Obesity) is the Co-Principal Investigator. They will look at how a baby's gut bacteria change depending on what solid food is given first and when.


MAC-Obesity Co-Director, Dr. Katherine Morrison and colleagues published the article, “Why do families enrol in paediatric weight management? A parental perspective of reasons and facilitators", in Child: care, health and development.

In the News

MAC-Obesity Co-Director, Dr. Gregory Steinberg (Medicine, Endocrinology) was interviewed for a Globe and Mail article: Fighting fat with fat: How we can harness the power of 'brown fat' to combat obesity.

MAC-Obesity member Dr. David Meyre (Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics) and his research was part of a feature on obesity which ran in the National Post and several other Postmedia media.

January 2016

Celebration and Successes: CIHR

Dr. M. Constantine Samaan (PI) has been awarded a CIHR meeting grant for a project entitled, "Creating a coalition to understand the role of inflammation in pediatric scoliosis."

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky is featured on the CIHR website as a featured Foundation Grant Researcher.

Celebrations: International JIP Grant in Microbiome Research

Baby & Mi
From left: Eileen Hutton, Julia Simioni (Research Coordinator), Katherine Morrison, Elizabeth Gunn (Research Coordinator) and Jennifer Stearns

The Joint Programming Initiative (JPI) "A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life" (JPI-HDL) Strategic Research Agenda aims to contribute to joint research activities in the area of intestinal microbiome research and encourage sharing and integration of data as a means to understand human diet-gut microbiome interactions. Six teams, made up of partners from two or more countries each, were awarded three years of funding for research programs that propose "to develop dietary interventions or guidance for modulation of the intestinal microbiome to promote health and/or prevent the development of non-communicable chronic diseases". We are proud to announce that one of the six grants were awarded to members of the MAC-Obesity research program.

MAC-Obesity Co-Director, Katherine Morrison, along with Eileen Hutton (Obstetrics and Gynecology) are the Canadian Co-Principal Investigators. Together, along with their international partners, they are funded to study the intersection of gastrointestinal microbial communities, diet and health. The aim of their project is to determine the effects of the timing and nature of solid-food introduction and cessation of breast-milk on the succession and stability of the gut microbiome during a critical time period of maturation and subsequent health outcomes among cohorts of both term and preterm infants. Other MAC-Obesity and McMaster co-investigators include: Jonathan Schertzer, Alison Holloway, Elyanne Ratcliffe, Mike Surette, Jennifer Stearns, Helen McDonald and Lehana Thabane.

Fight your obesity genes with exercise

Reddon and Meyre
From left: Hudson Reddon, study's first author and a PhD student, and David Meyre, associate professor, Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics

People from around the world can use a physically active lifestyle to blunt the effect of inherited obesity genes, McMaster University researchers have found.

In a paper published today by the journal Scientific Reports, MAC-Obesity researcher David Meyre and his team have shown that a physically active lifestyle can substantially decrease the genetic effect of the major obesity gene FTO on body weight in a multiethnic population.

"This provides a message of hope for people with obesity predisposing genes that they can do something about it. Our body weight destiny is not only written in our genetic blueprint," said Meyre, an associate professor of clinical epidemiology and biostatistics for McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine.

[Read more about obesity genes and exercise]

Study article:

In the Media:


December 2015

Celebrations & Successes


The McMaster Children and Youth University (MCYU) program, led by MAC-Obesity member Dr. Sandy Raha, has received the ABACUS Award for advancing post-secondary access from the Hamilton Community Foundation. The grant provides $60,000 over two years for the MCYU In the City initiative.


Physician Services Incorporated (PSI) Foundation Grant

Dr. Gita Wahi (co-investigator and MAC-Obesity member) with investigators from McMaster and SickKids received $330,000 over 2 years from the PSI Foundation for a project entitled:Probiotics for the prevention of antibiotic-induced diarrhea in hospitalized children (PAID). Investigators include:Co-Principal Investigator's Sanjay Mahant and Bradley Johnson. Co-Investigator's: Gita Wahi, Gordan Guyatt, Mark Loeb, Patricia Parkin, Philip Sherman, and Jonathon Maguire.

MAC-Obesity Curling

Team Events

The research labs of Co-Directors Dr. Gregory Steinberg and Dr. Katherine Morrison play their annual Christmas Curling Match at the Dundas Golf and Curling Club.

Molecular Metabolism

Whirlwind Workouts: High intensity interval training improves liver and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity

Katerina Marcinko, PhD (Department of Medicine, McMaster University) and colleagues (senior author MAC-Obesity Co-Director Gregory Steinberg) recently published a paper in Molecular Metabolism entitled, "High intensity interval training improves liver and adipose tissue insulin sensitivity". Katerina was featured by the journal in their section The 60 Second Metabolist. The video can be found here. Over 4 days, the article generated over 5000 upvotes on Reddit (r/science).

Deb Sloboda

Deborah Sloboda receives the Nick Hales Award

The International Society for Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD) was set up to promote research into the fetal and developmental origins of disease and involves scientists from many backgrounds. Every two years, DOHaD gives out the Nick Hales Award to a young and emerging investigator who has made an outstanding scientific contribution to the DOHaD field. This year, MAC-Obesity researcher Deborah Sloboda was given this honour for her work on early life environment and reproductive outcomes.

November 2015

In the News

The Toronto Star interviewed MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison for a story on how parenting style can influence childhood obesity.

Dr.Mark Tarnopolsky was featured on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's program, Catalyst, discussing his research using supplements and exercise to treat mitochondrial disease. Watch the video: Fit in 6 Minutes a Week.

October 2015

Publications & Presentations

demystifying medicine

Dr. Katherine Morrison (senior author) and colleagues published a paper entitled, "Canadian Pediatric Weight Management Registry (CANPWR): baseline descriptive statistics and comparison to Canadian norms", in BMC Obesity.

MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison and Dr. Rick Austin (Department of Medicine) presented the topic: "What is new in our understanding of atherosclerosis - from pediatric aspects to new biologics". The lecture was part of McMaster's Demystifying Medicine seminar series.

In the Media

The Toronto Star and Radio Canada International interviewed Dr. Sonia Anand (Medicine) about her research which suggests that babies born to South Asian women have a greater risk of diabetes. Many news sites including and Daily News & Analysis reported on the research as well.

New Publication

MAC-Obesity members, Dr. M. Constantine Samaan (1st and corresponding author), in collaboration with Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky (Pediatrics) and Dr. Sonia Anand (Medicine) published a paper entitled, "Adiposity and immune-muscle crosstalk in South Asians & Europeans: A cross-sectional study" in Scientific Reports.

September 2015

In the Media

The Hamilton Spectator wrote about the work of local Grade 12 student Lily Wu, a high school student who won a High School Health Research Bursary Award from Hamilton Health Sciences, St. Joseph's Healthcare and McMaster University, to work with professor and MAC-Obesity member Mark Tarnopolsky (Medicine/Pediatrics). The annual program gives high school students interested in health or life sciences the opportunity to get hands-on experience in a Hamilton research program.

August 2015

baby feet


MAC-Obesity co-director Dr. Katherine Morrison spoke at Adults Born Preterm: Epidemiology and Biological Basis for Adult Outcomes Conference (NIH) on Current Understanding of Metabolic Conditions in Adults Born Preterm in Rockville MD on August 13-14, 2015.

Trans fats, but not saturated fats, linked to greater risk of death and heart disease: McMaster Study

Dr. Sonia Anand (Senior author) and researchers at McMaster University has found that thattrans fatsare associated with greater risk of death and coronary heart disease, butsaturated fatsare not associated with an increasedrisk of death, heart disease, stroke, or Type 2 diabetes.

The findings were published in theBritish Medical Journal (BMJ). The lead author isDr. Russell de Souza, an assistant professor in theDepartment of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatisticswith theMichael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. Click here to read full publication.

In the News

CIHR Grant Recipients

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky was awarded a CIHR Foundation Grant for the project "Characterization of novel exersomes that mediate the systemic pro-metabolic effects of exercise in gaining and neuromuscular disorders" in the amount of $1,778,928 over 7 years.

Congratulations to Drs. M. Constantine Samaan, Katherine Morrison and their colleagues across several Canadian centers, who successfully obtained CIHR funding ($176,322 per year for 5 years) for their study entitled: "An assessment of psychological factors, inflammatory biomarkers and kidney complications: the Improving renal Complication in Adolescents with type 2 diabetes through Research (iCARE) cohort study"

In the News

Hamilton Magazine

Dr. Sonia Anand (Medicine) was featured in Hamilton Magazine in an article noting local Hamiltonians who are making us hometown proud.

July 2015

Recent News

Dr. Mark Tarnopolosky was quoted in the article: "When the not so young ones rule the roost" published in the Arab News on July 19th, 2015. Dr. Tarnopolsky was also mentioned in the article from CHMML, titled "Mac researchers awarded 37.2m in goverment funds" for his recent CIHR grant.

June 2015

MAC-Obesity Researcher Awarded Ontario Research Fund (ORF) Award

Jonathan Schertzer

Jonathan Schertzer, an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, is one of five McMaster researchers to receive an Early Researcher Award. He is looking at how the bacteria in the gut link obesity, diabetes and fighting infections.

Read more about the ORF Awards

In the News

Report Card Participaction

CHCH TV, CBC Hamilton, and CHML interviewed Brian Timmons (Department of Pediatrics) for response to the 2015 national report card giving Canadian kids a D- for sedentary behaviours and overall physical activity. The report found that access to active play in nature and outdoors — with its risks — is essential for healthy child development.

Tremendous resource for researchers being created in Hamilton: Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds

Health and biological data on nearly 10,000 Canadians will soon be available to researchers across the country to help find the root causes of chronic illness — particularly heart disease and dementia — in a project being led by McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences.

Canadian Alliance

"Not every researcher in Canada can create a cohort of their own," said Dr. Sonia Anand, one of the lead researchers in the Canadian Alliance for Healthy Hearts and Minds.

"The benefit of the data portal is that it's publicly available," said Anand, director of the institute's population genomics program. "It's opening it up to other researchers to ask: what are the causes of cancer? What are the determinants of early cardiovascular disease and cognitive dysfunction?"

The alliance is an extension of Canada's largest research portal launched June 29 that provides health and biological data from 300,000 Canadians — nearly one in every 50 individuals between the ages of 35 and 69.

Created by the Canadian Partnership Against Cancer, the data can be used to conduct long-term population health studies.

McMaster researchers discover key to maintaining muscle strength while we age

Steinberg & Bujak
From left: Gregory Steinberg, senior author and professor in the department of Medicine, and Adam Bujak, lead author of the paper and PhD student of McMaster's Medical Sciences Graduate Program, holding a mouse lacking AMPK in its muscle

What causes us to lose muscle strength as we age and how exercise can prevent it from happening has never been thoroughly understood, but McMaster University researchers have discovered akey protein required to maintain muscle mass and muscle strength during aging.

This important finding means new and existing drugs targeting the protein may potentially be used to preserve muscle function during aging.

"We found that the body's fuel gauge,AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), is vital to slow muscle wasting with aging," said Gregory Steinberg, the study's senior author and professor of medicineat theMichael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. He is also co-director ofMAC-Obesity, the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Programat McMaster.

"Mice lacking AMPK in their muscle developed much greater muscle weakness than we would have expected to see in a middle-aged mouse," said Steinberg. "Instead these mice, which were the equivalent of being just 50 years old, had muscles like that of an inactive 100-year-old."

The research was published today in Cell Metabolism and involved members of the MAC-Obesity research team. The lead author is Adam Bujak, a PhD student of McMaster's Medical Sciences Graduate Program.

"It is known that AMPK activity in muscle is 'dialed down' with aging in humans, so this may be an important cause of muscle loss during aging," Steinberg said. Previous research by Steinberg's team has shown that this "metabolic switch" is turned on with exercise as well as commonly-used medications including metformin and salicylate (the active ingredient in Aspirin).

Despite the importance of maintaining muscle function and strength as we age, there is currently no treatment besides exercise. With an aging population, age-related muscle wasting and loss of muscle strength is a growing issue that shortens lives and creates a significant financial burden on the Canadian health care system.

"We know we can turn on the AMPK pathway with intense exercise and commonly-used Type 2 diabetes medications," said Steinberg. "By knowing that AMPK is vital for maintaining muscle mass with aging, we can now try to adapt exercise regimes and existing drugs to switch on AMPK in muscle more effectively. The development of new selective activators of the AMPK pathway in muscle may also be effective to prevent muscle loss with aging."

This study was conducted over four years and was supported by theNatural Sciences Engineering Research Council,Canadian Institutes of Health Research,Canadian Foundation for Innovation,Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and theMAC-Obesity Research Program.

Study Article

  • AMPK Activation of Muscle Autophagy Prevents Fasting-Induced Hypoglycemia and Myopathy during Aging (Cell Metabolism)

In the Press:

May 2015

HHS FoundationWalk & Wheel MACkids

MAC-Obesity was proud to participate in the MacKids Walk & Wheel for Miracles in support of McMaster Children's Hospital on Saturday May 30, 2015. Thank you to everyone who sponsored us to raise money for this great cause!

7th Annual McMaster Child Health Research Day

On May 27th, research in the Department of Pediatrics was showcased with 27 posters presented by trainees and research staff; 5 trainee oral presentations; and one featured oral presentation by New Investigator and MAC-Obesity Researcher Dr. Constantine Samaan.

This annual event honours the child health research contributions of trainees, faculty and staff.

McMaster Child Health Research Day 2015

MAC-Obesity Master's Students, Dr. Tahniyah Haq and Sarah Kanji, presented their MSc research projects in a poster presentation.

Optimizing the Methodology for Measuring Supraclavicular Skin Temperature for the Detection of Brown Adipose Tissue for Adult Humans using Infrared Thermography

Haq, T., Kanji, S., Crane, JD., Tarnopolsky, MA., Steinberg, GR, Morrison, KM.

Cold-Stimulated Supraclavicular Skin Temperature As a Measure of Brown Adipose Tissue Activity and its Relation to Physical Activity and Body Composition in 8-10 Year Old Boys

Kanji, S., Crane, JD., Timmons, BW., Tarnopolsky, MA., Steinberg, GR, Morrison, KM.

Sarah Kanji was presented with the award of Top Poster in the Master's/Med Trainee Category.

Recent Publication

Recent Publications

In the News


Dr. Katherine Morrison, Co-Director of the MAC-Obesity Research Program, was quoted in the article, Depression is Common in Children with Obesity Who Attend Weight Management Programs, written by J. Michael Gonzalez-Campoy MD, PhD, FACE, published on the site endocrineweb.

"It is very important for clinicians to realize the high prevalence of symptoms of depression in kids or families who are presenting with their child for weight management. In our study, it was 36% and it has been notably elevated in other studies using other methodologies."

April 2015

Recent Publication

Dr. Sarah McDonald (first author) and colleagues recently published: "Knowledge translation tool to improve pregnant women's awareness of gestational weight gain goals and risks of gaining outside recommendations: a non-randomized intervention study" in BMC Pregnancy Childbirth.

University Scholar

Congratulations to MAC-Obesity Co-Director, Dr. Gregory Steinberg

Dr. Gregory Steinberg, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Metabolism, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes and is Co-Director of MAC-Obesity, has been awarded with McMaster University's new title: University Scholar. This distinction was awarded to three members of the Faculty of Health Sciences, to recognize members in mid-career who have already distinguished themselves as international scholars.

Recent Publication

Aging Cell

Dr. Justin Crane, MAC-Obesity Postdoctoral fellow, with MAC-Obesity researchers, Dr. Gregory Steinberg and Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky and colleagues have recently published, "Exercise-stimulated interleukin-15 is controlled by AMPK and regulates skin metabolism and aging" in Aging Cell.


Dr. Brian Timmons, MAC-Obesity Researcher, was an invited speaker at the Golden Horseshoe Pediatric Exercise Group Event "Exercise and the Healthy Child: Is There Anything More We Need To Know?" at Brock University.

Recent Publication

Dr. Zubin Punthakee and colleagues, including McMaster Pediatrics members from the TRACE Study group published the article "Are the youth-focused intervention sufficient to empower youth with chronic health conditions in their transition to adult healthcare: a mixed methods longitudinal prospective cohort study" in BMJ Open.

March 2015

Recent Publications

Dr. Hertzel Gerstein, MAC-Obesity Researcher and colleagues have recently published two articles.

The first was a comment published in The Lancet: "Effects of intensive glycaemia control on ischaemic heart disease-Authors' reply."

The second paper, published in the European Heart Journal with first author, Dr. Stephanie Ross, former McMaster PhD Student and colleagues, entitled "Mendelian randomization analysis supports the casual role of dysglycaemia and diabetes in the risk of coronary artery disease.

Dr. Alison Holloway with Michael Wong, MSc (First author) and colleagues have published the article "Maternal nicotine exposure leads to impaired sulfide bond formation and augmented endoplasmic reticulum stress in rat placenta."in PLOS One.

Dr. Alison Holloway was also a senior author on the recently published article with first author, Nicole De Long (PhD Student, Division of Reproductive Biology): "Fetal exposure to sertraline hydrochloride impairs pancreatic B-cell development".

Dr. Deborah Sloboda with first author, Laura Chan (Undergraduate Student, Honours Biochemistry and Biomedical Research) published - "Early Life Exposure to Undernutrition Induces ER Stress, Apoptosis, and Reduced Vascularization in Ovaries of Adult Rat Offspring") published in Biology of Reproduction .

Dr. David Meyre and colleagues have published their work "Obesity genetics in mouse and human: back and forth, and back again" in PeerJ.

In The News: Obese Men More Likely to Develop Type 2 Diabetes than Women

Constantine Samaan

A study lead by Dr. Constantine Samaan found evidence that a protein located in muscle may be related as to why obese men are more likely to develop Type 2 diabetes than obese women. Reported in CBC, Science Daily,, and many others.

Dr. Samaan, along with fellow MAC-Obesity Researchers, Dr. Mark Tanopolsky & Dr. Sonia Anand and Dr. Arya Sharma (University of Calgary) published "Sex differences in skeletal muscle, Phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) levels: A cross-sectional study." The article published in Scientific Reports states that when compared to men, women had a significant downregulation of PTEN gene expression and upregulation of PTEN protein phosphorylation (inactivation). This downregulation of PTEN may explain the retention of insulin sensitivity with higher adiposity in women compared to men.

Recent Publications

Dr. Jonathan Schertzer and Dr. Gregory Steinberg with first author, Dr. Morgan Fullerton and (University of Ottawa) and colleagues have published the article "Salicylate improves macrophage cholesterol homeostasis via activation of Ampk" in Journal of Lipid Research.

MAC-Obesity Researcher Dr. David Meyre with Dr. Sebestien Robiou du Pont (first author, Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Clinical Epidemiologyand Biostatistics) and collagues published: "Should we have blind faith in bioinformatics software? Illustrations from the SNAP web-based tool." in PLOS One.

Dr. Constantine Samaan spoke at the Childhood Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes Workshop, which took place at the McMaster University Faculty Club.


Sarah Kanji, a Master's Student supervised by Dr. Katherine Morrison Co-Director MAC-Obesity, has been awarded the prestigious 2014 Canada Graduate Scholarship.

February 2015

Keynote Speaker: CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism & Diabetes

Gerstein, Sherman & AtkinsonCIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism & Diabetes (INMD), held a New Investigators Workshop in Oak Island, Nova Scotia, co-hosted by Dr. Phil Sherman, Scientific Director and Dr. Stephanie Atkinson, Chair, INMD Institute Advisory Board. The keynote speaker was MAC-Obesity Researcher Dr. Hertzel Gerstein.

Recent Publications

Dr. Deborah Sloboda with Huaisheng Xu (first author) and colleagues published:"The dilution effect and the importance of selecting the right internal control genes for RT-qPRC: a paradigmatic approach in fetal sheep," in BMC Research Notes.

Dr. Deborah Sloboda with Dr. Thorsten Braun (first author, Charite University Berlin) and colleagues published: "Fetal and neonatal outcomes after term and preterm delivery following betamethasone administration" in the Journal of Gynecology and Obstetrics.

Dr. Katherine MorrisonTogether with co-authors, MAC-Obesity Co-Director, Dr. Katherine Morrison has published two articles in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, "Treatment of overweight and obesity in children and youth: a systemic review and meta-analysis" and "Prevention of overweight and obesity in children and youth: a systematic review and meta-analysis."

In the first article, researchers explored the evidence of behavioral and pharmacological weight-management on body mass index (BMI) and the prevalence of overweight obesity in children and youth. Interpretation from previous studies lead researchers to conclude that behavioral treatments are associated with a medium effect in terms of reduced BMI compared with the small effect showed by combined pharmacological-behavioral interventions.

The second article synthesized evidence on the effectiveness of behavioral interventions for preventing overweight and obesity in children and adolescents. The findings suggested that behavioral interventions are associated with small improvements in weight outcomes in mixed-weight populations of children and adolescents.

January 2015

Recent Publications

The Journal of Aging Research has published "The relationship between intramuscular adipose tissue: Functional mobility and strength in postmenopausal women with and without Type 2 diabetes." written by first author Janet Pritchard (PhD Candidate in the Medical Sciences program), MAC-Obesity Researchers, Dr. Hertzel Gerstein and Dr. Zubin Punthakee, and colleagues.

Wajiha Gohir (MSc, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences) with MAC-Obesity researchers, Dr. Elyanne Ratcliffe and Dr. Deborah Sloboda have published the article "Of the bugs that shape us: maternal obesity, the gut microbiome and long-term disease risk" in Pediatric Research-Nature.


TarnopolskyCongratulations to Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, the recipient of the 2015 Honour Award presented by the International Exercise Biochemistry Conference (IBEC). This award is the highest honour in the area of exercise biochemistry/physiology.


December 2014

McMaster researchers identify hormone that reduces calorie burning and contributes to obesity, diabetes

Waliul Khan, Gregory Steinberg and Justin Crane
From left: Dr. Waliul Khan (Associate Professor, Department of Pathology & Molecular Medicine), Dr. Gregory Steinberg (MAC-Obesity co-director & Professor, Department of Medicine) and Dr. Justin Crane (first author and MAC-Obesity Post-doctoral fellow)

Researchers from McMaster University have identified an important hormone that is elevated in obese people and contributes to obesity and diabetes by inhibiting brown fat activity.

Brown adipose tissue, widely known as brown fat, is located around the collarbone and acts as the body's furnace to burn calories. It also keeps the body warm. Obese people have less of it, and its activity is decreased with age. Until now, researchers haven't understood why.

There are two types of serotonin. Most people are familiar with the first type in the brain or central nervous system which affects mood and appetite. But this makes up only five per cent of the body's serotonin.

The lesser-known peripheral serotonin circulates in the blood and makes up the other 95 per cent of the body's serotonin. McMaster researchers have discovered that this kind of serotonin reduces brown fat activity or "dials down" the body's metabolic furnace.

The study, published today in Nature Medicine, is the first to show that blocking the production of peripheral serotonin makes the brown fat more active.

"Our results are quite striking and indicate that inhibiting the production of this hormone may be very effective for reversing obesity and related metabolic diseases including diabetes," said Gregory Steinberg, the paper's co-author and professor of medicine at the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. He is also co-director of MAC-Obesity, the Metabolism and Childhood Obesity Research Program at McMaster.

"Too much of this serotonin acts like the parking brake on your brown fat," he explained. "You can step on the gas of the brown fat, but it doesn't go anywhere."

The culprit responsible for elevated levels of peripheral serotonin may also have been found.

"There is an environmental cue that could be causing higher serotonin levels in our body and that is the high-fat western diet," said Waliul Khan, co- author, associate professor of pathology and molecular medicine for the medical school and a principal investigator at Farncombe Family Digestive Research Institute. "Too much serotonin is not good. We need a balance. If there is too much, it leads to diabetes, fatty liver and obesity."

The majority of serotonin in the body is produced by tryptophan hydroxylase (Tph1). Steinberg and his team found that when they genetically removed or inhibited this enzyme that makes serotonin that mice fed a high-fat diet were protected from obesity, fatty liver disease and pre-diabetes due to an enhanced ability of the brown fat to burn more calories. 

Notably, inhibiting the peripheral serotonin doesn't affect the serotonin in the brain or central nervous system functioning, said Steinberg.

This is in contrast to earlier weight loss drugs which worked to suppress appetite by affecting levels of brain serotonin, but were associated with problems including cardiac complications and increased risk of depression and suicide.

"Moving forward, we think it's a much safer method to work with increasing energy expenditure instead of decreasing the appetite, which involves more risks," said Steinberg.

The researchers conclude that reducing the production of serotonin by inhibition of Tph1 "may be an effective treatment for obesity and its comorbidities," and so the team is now working on a pharmacological "enzyme blocker."  

This study, conducted over five years, was supported by funding from the Canadian Diabetes Association, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Crohn's and Colitis Canada, MAC-Obesity and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Study Article

In the Press:

Team Events

MAC-Obesity goes Curling!



November 2014



Members of the MAC-Obesity research team, including graduate students and research staff recently presented at the Population Health Research Institute Poster Day.

Elizabeth Gunn, MSc, MAC-Obesity Research Coordinator presented a poster titled "Dysglycemia outcomes in young adults born with extremely low birth weight: The FINCAN Study". The poster was awarded 2nd prize at the event. Co-authors included: Vivian Vaughan Williams (Research Assistant), Drs. Carlos Morillo, Eva Lonn, Louis Schmidt and Saroj Saigal and MAC-Obesity co-director Dr. Katherine Morrison.

fincan study

Anna Romashkin, MSc, recent MSc graduate and Research Assistant (Department of Pediatrics) presented her data collected as part of her graduate studies in the Department of Medical Sciences titled "Sleep, Physical Activity, and Cardiometabolic Health in Overweight/Obese Adolescents". Co-authors included Dr. Ofir Turel (California State University Fullerton) and Dr. Katherine Morrison.

Polina Pozdniakova, first year MSc student (Department of Medical Sciences), presented the methodology of her MSc thesis titled "Longitudinal evaluation of cIMT during weight management in overweight and obese children: a CANadian Pediatric Weight Management Registry (CANPWR) Sub study. This sub study is part of the larger CANPWR study that recently received national and international press. Co-authors included: Research Assistants, Monica Jakymyshyn, Vivian Vaughan Williams and CANPWR Principal Investigator Dr. Katherine Morrison.

In the News

Dr. Brian Timmons was quoted in an article by the Nestle Research Center titled "The importance of protein balance for physically active children".


October 2014

Recent Publication

MAC-Obesity co-director, Dr. Katherine Morrison, MSc student Sabina Shin and MAC-Obesity researcher Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky published the article Association of Depression & Health Related Quality of Life with Body Composition in Children and Youth with Obesity in the Journal of Affective Disorders.

Simple and strong predictor of diabetes risk found, McMaster-led study identifies

Meyre and AlyassMcMaster researchers have discovered a simple way to predict an adult's future risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. The study, published in the journal Diabetologia, found that the blood glycaemia level at one hour after drinking a glucose solution of 75 grams beats every known Type 2 diabetes prediction model published to date. Having the one-hour plasma glucose information alone is sufficient to identify people who are more at risk for developing Type 2 diabetes in the future," said MAC-Obesity researcher David Meyre, the paper's senior author and an associate professor in the Department of Clinical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine. "This measurement, known as one-hour plasma glucose (1h-PG), may help to identify high-risk subjects in the general population for inclusion in Type 2 diabetes prevention programs."

To read more about the study, click here. To read the full study article by Akram Alyass (the study's first author), David Meyre (the paper's senior author) and colleagues, click here.


September 2014

Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR): Funding

Aboriginal Birth Cohort Study

Co-PIs and MAC-Obesity members, Dr. Sonia Anand (Medicine) and Dr. Gita Wahi (Pediatrics) with Dr. Ellen Toth (University of Alberta) and colleagues have received bridge funding from the CIHR Spring 2014 Open Operating Grant competition for their study entitled "Aboriginal Birth Cohort (ABC) Project".

MAC-Obesity Co-Director Named to the Royal Society of Canada

Gregory Steinberg The College Royal Society of Canada

The Royal Society of Canada has named the inaugural 91 members of The College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists. Those named to the college have been nominated by 51 Canadian Universities and the National Research Council, and they represent the emerging generation of scholarly, scientific and artistic leadership in Canada.

Dr. Gregory Steinberg, Co-Director of the MAC-Obesity Research Program is one of these inaugural members.

"Together, the members of the College will address issues of particular concern to new scholars, artists and scientists, for the advancement of understanding and benefit of society, taking advantage of the interdisciplinary approaches fostered by the establihshment of the College."

The Presentation of this first cohort, will take place on Friday, November 21 in Quebec City.

Children who are more fit are also better learners

The Globe and Mail highlighted research by Dr. Brian Timmons (MAC-Obesity researcher) showing that children who are more fit are also better learners. For full article in the Globe and Mail click here.

Active health kids canada

New Publication

MAC-Obesity members, Dr. Gita Wahi and Dr. Katherine Morrison, with colleagues, recently published an article in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, titled: "Body mass index among immigrant and non-immigrant youth: Evidence from the Canadian Community Health Survey"


August 2014

In the News:

Start2Finish Program


Dr. Brian Timmons (Associate Professor, Department of Pediatics and MAC-Obesity Investigator) recently spoke CBC Radio about his research results from the Start2Finish prgoram which shows a clear connection between better fitness levels and better school performance. Timmons was featured on CBC outlets in Toronto, Victoria, Whitehorse, St. John's, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Regina, Yellowknife, Halifax, Ottawa and Windsor.

The Hamilton Spectator and CHCH news also interviewed Dr. Timmons about his study done in conjunction with the Start2Finish program. Additionally, The Spectator also published an editorial about the study.

Katherine Morrison

MAC-Obesity Co-Director helping tackle obesity in children

The Oakville Beaver interviewed Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity co-Director) about her involvement in the CIHR-funded Canadian Pediatric Weight Management Registry (CANPWR).


July 2014

In the News: Active Healthy Kids Canada

Active Healthy Kids Canada

Dr. Brian Timmons (Associate Professor, Department of Pediatics and MAC-Obesity Investigator) recently spoke to the Hamilton Spectator regarding Active Healthy Kids Canada's annual report card. Dr. Timmons is part of a team of experts that form the Active Healthy Kids Canada Team. The report, released this past May, measures the phsyical activity levels of children across Canada.

Hamilton Spectator: "It's time to get our kids moving"

2014 Report Card on Physical Activity of Children and Youth: Is Canada in the Running?

Canadian researchers explore best practices in the treatment of childhood obesity


MAC-Obesity Co-Director Dr. Katherine Morrison, along with a team of scientists and doctors across Canada have embarked on an unprecedented study that will follow 1,600 Canadian children (ages 2 to 17) enrolled in eight weight management clinics in Hamilton, Vancouver, Edmonton, Toronto and Montreal. The goal of the CANadian Pediatric Weight Management Registry (CANPWR) is to understand and improve weight management care for families across Canada. The study protocol was recently published in the journal BMC Pediatrics and received national and international press.

New Grant Award Recipients:

Canadian Institutes of Health: March 2014 Open Operating Grants

Congratulations to the following MAC-Obesity members who were successful in the March 2014 Canadian Institutes of Health (CIHR) Open Operating Grant Competition.

Dr. Sandy Raha (PI) and Dr. Alison Holloway and colleagues were awarded $432,935 over four years for their project "Maternal Obesity contributes to poor neonatal health: The role of the placenta."

Dr. Brian Timmons (PI) and colleagues were awarded $769,424 over five years for their project "The School-age Kids' health from early investment in Physical activity (SKIP) study."

Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky (PI) and Syed A. Safdar were awarded $441,501 over four years for their project "Characterization of Novel Exerkines Mediating Pro-metabolic Effects of Endurance Exercise."

Co-PI's Dr. Katherine Morrison (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) and Dr. Eileen Hutton (Midwifery) with Dr. Alison Holloway, Dr. Jonathan Schertzer and their colleagues were awarded $946,604 over five years for their project "The Baby & Microbiota of the Intestine Project (Baby & Mi)."

Canadian Institutes of Health: Proof of Principle Program

Congratulations to Dr. Gregory Steinberg (MAC-Obesity Co-Director) who was awarded a Proof of Principle Grant for his project entitled: "Development of a new therapy targeting adipose tissue metabolism for the treatment of obesity."

Hamilton Health Sciences New Investigator Fund

Congratulations to Dr. M. Constantine Samaan (PI) and Co-PI's Dr. Mark Tarnoposky and Dr. Sonia Anand who were awarded $35,000 from the Hamilton Health Sciences New Investigator Fund for their project "Telmisartan effects on muscle inflammation in the metabolic syndrome."

New Publication:

Canadian study of Determinants of Endometabolic health in ChIlDrEn (CanDECIDE)

MAC-Obesity member, Dr. M. Constantine Samaan (first and corresponding author) and colleagues published a paper in BMJ Open Journal (Paediatrics) entitled: Recruitment feasibility to a cohort study of endocrine and metabolic health among survivors of childhood brain tumours: a report from the Canadian study of Determinants of Endometabolic Health in ChIlDrEn (CanDECIDE).


June 2014

Picturing the future: Innovative method to detect the body's fat burning furnace

Obesity is a growing concern and is associated with many chronic diseases including high blood pressure, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancer.  Approximately 5 million Canadian adults and 1.6 million Canadian children live with obesity.

Recently, brown fat has received renewed interest for its potential to reduce obesity and to improve metabolic health. The main function of brown fat is to produce heat by burning calories. Babies are born with a lot of brown fat and this fat helps to keep them warm when they are exposed to cold temperatures. Traditionally, it was believed that this fat was lost after infancy, however current research suggests that brown fat is also present in adults. Until recently, this tissue was only measured using PET-CT scans, which involves exposure to radiation.

Thermography and Brown Fat
Thermographic imaging used to detect brown fat activity in mice by McMaster researchers in the MAC-Obesity research program.

Researchers in the MAC-Obesity research program, Justin Crane, Emilio Mottillo, Troy Farncombe, Katherine Morrison and Gregory Steinberg, have shown that an innovative and simple method can measure brown fat. Using a thermographic camera to detect skin temperature changes, they have developed a standardized method to detect brown fat activity in mice. This novel method provides a useful technique for preclinical testing and advancing the understanding of brown fat function in animal models.  Additionally, it offers researchers the potential to study brown fat in human adults and children and its relation to obesity and metabolic health. Their research was published recently in the journal Molecular Metabolism.

Antidepressants during pregnancy may lead to obesity and diabetes in children

De Long and Holloway

New research by MAC-Obesity reseacher Alison Holloway (Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology) and PhD student Nicole De Long, suggests that women who take antidepressants during pregnancy could predispose their children to obesity and type 2 diabetes later in life.

The study, which was conducted on rats, found maternal use of the antidepressant fluoxetine (a serotonin reuptake inhibitor or SSRI) increased the risk of obesity and diabetes in children. The researchers found increased levels of fat and inflammation in the liver of the adult offspring. According to Holloway, this contributes to a "pre-diabetic" state and is also associated with obesity.

Their research was presented this weekend at the 16th International Congress of Endocrinology & The Endocrine Society's 96th Annual Meeting and Expo in Chicaco and was featured both nationally and internationally.

PhD student Nicole de Long and Alison Holloway, Associate professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology and MAC-Obesity Researcher.

Researchers uncover common heart drug's link to diabetes

Schertzer, Jonathan
Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, and Canadian Diabetes Association Scholar, led the research team for the study that discovered one of the pathways that link statins to diabetes.

McMaster University researchers may have found a novel way to suppress the devastating side effect ofstatins, one of the worlds' most widely used drugs to lowercholesteroland preventheart disease.

The research team — led by MAC-Obesity researcher Dr. Jonathan Schertzer, assistant professor in theDepartment of Biochemistry and Biomedical SciencesandCanadian Diabetes AssociationScholar — discovered one of the pathways that link statins todiabetes. Their findings could lead to the next generation of statins by informing potential combination therapies while taking the drug.

Approximately 13 million people, or half of those over the age of 40, could be prescribed a statin drug in their lifetime.

"Statins are among the most prescribed drugs in the world, and have been fantastic at reducing cardiovascular events," Schertzer says. "But the side effects of statins can be far worse than not being able to eat grapefruit. Recently, an increased risk of diabetes has been added to the warning label for statin use. This was perplexing to us because if you are improving your metabolic profile with statins you should actually be decreasing the incidence of diabetes with these drugs; yet, the opposite happened."

Schertzer's group investigated further. "We found that statins activated a very specific immune response, which stopped insulin from doing its job properly. So we connected the dots and found that combining statins with another drug on top of it, Glyburide, suppressed this side effect."

He says the finding has the potential to develop new targets for this immune pathway that do not interfere with the benefits of statins.

"It's premature to say we are going to change this drug, but now that we understand one way it can cause this side effect, we can develop new strategies to minimize side effects. This may even include using natural products or nutritional strategies to subvert the side effects of statins," he says.

The next stage of their research is to understandhow statins promote diabetes by understanding how they work in the pancreas, which secretes insulin. They also hope to better understand if this immune pathway is involved in other side effects of statins, such as muscle pain and life-threatening muscle breakdown.

Schertzer emphasizes that statins are important and widely prescribed drugs and understanding how they promote adverse effects may lead to necessary improvements in this drug class, which has the potential to affect a large segment of the population.

"With the new federal warning label on the risk of diabetes with statin usage, people are heavily debating its pros and cons. We think this is the wrong conversation to have. Statins are a great drug for many people. What we really should be talking about is how to make them better and we are beginning to understand the basic biology of statins so we can do just that. The next step for our work is to understand if all of the major side effects of statins occur by acting on this specific immune-metabolism pathway."

The research is published in the medical journal Diabetes and was supported by funding from theCanadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Diabetes Association.

Study Article

Effects of maternal diet span more than one generation

Deborah Sloboda

Dr. Deborah Sloboda, Assistant Professor, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and member of the MAC-Obesity Research Program was recently featured in the Vancouver Sun for her talk at the Evolutionary Aspects of Child Developement and Health Conference at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver. According to research by Dr. Sloboda, a poor diet during pregnancy and lactation produces babies that are underweight at birth and prone to obesity later in life.

In the Media


May 2014

Recent Publications

Dr. M. Constantine Samaan (first and corresponding author), with Dr. Gregory Steinberg (MAC-Obesity co-director) and colleagues from the Department of Medicine have recently published a paper in Physiological Reports entitled "Endurance interval training in obese mice reduces muscle inflammation and macrophage content independently of weight loss". For full article click here.

Pediatric Endocrine Society Obesity Committee

Dr. M. Constantine Samaan has been selected to join the Pediatric Endocrine Society Obesity Committee. The Society is the leader of pediatric endocrinology clinical care, education, advocacy and research in North America. This appointment will allow the shaping of clinical practice and research in the field of childhood obesity and metabolism.

NSERC Funding

Dr. Brian Timmons (Principal Investigator) has been awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant for his project: "Anti-inflammatory mechanisms of exercise during human growth"


April 2014


CIHRCongratulations to MAC-Obesity MSc Graduate Student Sarah Kanji (supervised by Dr. Katherine Morrison) who was awarded a Canada Graduate Scholarship Master's Award administered by CIHR. These awards are intended to provide special recognition and support to students who are pursuing a Master's degree in a health related field at a Canadian institution.


January 2014

Canadian Foundation for Innovation - Research Funding

Dr. Gregory Steinberg, Canada Research Chair in Metabolism, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine and Co-Director of the MAC-Obesity Research Program has been awarded $60,000 for Infrastructure to support obesity and metabolism research from the Canadian Foundation for Innovation's (CFI) John R. Evans Leaders Fund (JELF). This fund offers institutions the opportunity to aquire foundational infrastructure for their leading research faculty to undertake cutting-edge research.


November 2013

New Grant Award Recipients

Two MAC-Obesity researchers were recently awarded grants by the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. Dr. Debora Slobada's project is entitled 'Early life determinants of obesity and metabolic compromise'; and Dr. Jonathan Schertzer's project is entitled 'Early life nutrition, antibiotics, infection and bacterial sensing regulate diabesity'. Drs. Slobada and Schertzer are both primary members of the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences as well as associate members of the Department of Pediatrics.

Canada Reseach Chair Renewal

Dr. Gregory Steinberg has had his Canada Research Chair in Metabolism, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes renewed for another term. During his first five year term, he established the MAC-Obesity Research program with Dr. Katherine Morrison.

McMaster scientists unlock the secrets of a common diabetes drug

Steinberg and Fullerton
Dr. Gregory Steinberg (right), MAC-Obesity co-director & associate professor, Department of Medicine, with Dr. Morgan Fullerton (left), lead author of the study.

MAC-Obesity co-director Dr. Gregory Steinberg together with fellow McMaster researcher and lead author Dr. Morgan Fullerton are the first to discover that the common diabetes drug metformin reduces harmful fat molecules in the liver, allowing insulin to work better and lower blood sugar levels.Their research was published on Monday November 4, 2013 in the journal Nature Medicine. See the McMaster Daily News for more details.


October 2013

HAHSO Innovation Fund Showcase 2013

The Baby and Microbiota of the Intestine Project (Baby and Mi)

MAC-Obesity Co-Chair Dr. Katherine Morrison, along with MAC-Obesity investigator Dr. Alison Holloway and McMaster colleagues (Dr. Eileen Hutton, Helen McDonald, Dr. Michael Surette, Dr. Lehana Thabane, Dr. Andrea Mousseau and Dr. Elyanne Ratcliffe) have been invited to present the Baby and Mi project at the HAHSO Innovation Fund Showcase 2013 at the Metro Toronto Convention Center on November 28, 2013.

The study (funded by a HAHSO Innovation Grant) is looking at how decisions made around delivery and diet in early life impact a baby's gut bacteria throughout their first year. This study is among the first in North America to investigate this important question and hopes to have the participation of women and infants with a variety of birth stories.

For more information about this research project, please contact Julia Thorpe, the study coordinator, by email or phone 905.525.9140 ext 22146.

Baby and Mi


September 2013

New gene linked with childhood obesity

Mutations in the Single-minded homolog 1 (SIM1) gene are associated with severe obesity and Prader-Willi-like syndrome features

Although obesity is largely determined by lifestyle factors, genes also play an important role in determining individual susceptibility to weight gain. SIM1 is a transcription factor involved in neurological development. Deletions in chromosome 6q16 including SIM1 gene were reported in children with obesity and Prader-Willi-like features, but the exact role of SIM1 in human obesity was not known until recently. MAC-Obesity researcher Dr. David Meyre of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics at McMaster University recently participated in an international collaboration initiative with colleagues from Lille II University (France), Imperial College London (United Kingdom) and University of Adelaide (Australia). Sequencing the gene SIM1 in 44 children with Prader-Willi–like syndrome features, 198 children with severe early-onset obesity, 568 morbidly obese adults, and 383 controls, the researchers identified eight mutations in morbidly obese adults and in patients with a disorder resembling Prader-Willi syndrome including developmental delay (or intellectual disability) and facial dysmorphism. In the patients studied, loss of function SIM1 mutations were associated with a 28-fold increase in the risk of intra-familial obesity. The study ‘Loss-of-function mutations in SIM1 contribute to obesity and Prader-Willi–like features' was published on July 1, 2013 in the The Journal of Clinical Investigation.


August 2013

CIHR Grant Funding

Dr. Sonia Anand (Department of Medicine and a member of MAC-Obesity) working together with other MAC-Obesity investigators: Drs. Katherine Morrison, Sarah McDonald, David Meyre and Gita Wahi, as well as other maternal/health researchers from McMaster and across Canada have recently received a 2 million dollar, 5-year grant from CIHR to conduct a project entitled "Understanding the impact of maternal and infant nutrition on infant/child health".

The grant was awarded through a Programmatic Grant Program in Food and Health and sponsored by the CIHR Institute of Nutrition, Metabolism and Diabetes. The project is aimed at investigating the influence of maternal and infant nutrition on maternal, newborn, infant, and child health outcomes in diverse Canadian populations (white Caucasians, South Asians, and Aboriginal peoples), as enrolled in four pregnancy cohorts (FAMILY, START, ABC and CHILD studies) including a total of >5,000 mother-child dyads. The ultimate goal of this research is to develop recommendations for optimal maternal diets in pregnancy and feeding patterns in infancy to minimize the development of non-communicable diseases, including obesity (and related cardio-metabolic abnormalities), allergic disorders and asthma.


July 2013

Faculty Promotion

Congratulations to Dr. Sandeep Raha who was promoted to Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics effective July 1, 2013.

Visit Dr. Raha's lab website for more information on his lab and research team.

Aboriginal birth cohort

Dr. Gita Wahi along with Drs. Katherine Morrison, Sarah McDonald, Sonia Anand and other colleagues recently published a paper in BMC Public Health "Aboriginal birth cohort (ABC): a prospective cohort study of early life determinants of adiposity and associated risk factors among Aboriginal people in Canada". Drs. Gita Wahi and Sonia Anand are the Principle Investigators of the study.

The Aboriginal birth cohort (ABC) is the first of its kind in Canada, and the investigators seek to understand the factors that cause adiposity (fatness) in Aboriginal children during the first three years of age. ABC will help investigators to understand the genetic and environmental causes of adiposity among Aboriginal children, and enable them to develop prevention strategies in this high risk community. The investigators aim to recruit 300 Aboriginal pregnant mothers and their newborns from the Six Nations Reserve, and to follow them prospectively to age 3 years.

Click here for more information on the Aboriginal birth cohort (ABC).

Full paper - click here.


June 2013

MAC-Obesity graduate students present research

Two MAC-Obesity graduate students shared their research at poster presentations at the 5th Annual McMaster Child Health Research Day held on June 26, 2013. Anna Romashkin presented "Sleep and Physical Activity in Youth (SPA) Study" and Sabina Shin presented "Depression and its determinants in children and adolescents with obesity at presentation to a weight management program".

The research day attracted local media attention. (Read the Hamilton Spectator article: "In Praise of Pediatrics".) The breadth of research in the Department of Pediatrics was showcased in posters and oral presentations presented by trainees, research staff, and new investigators.

Anna Romashkin
Anna Romashkin (right)
Sabina Shin
Sabina Shin (right)


May 2013

Children and Youth University founder recognized for role as mentor

Synapse Mentorship Award - Sandeep Raha

Dr. Sandeep Raha, a MAC-Obesity researcher and assistant professor in Pediatrics has been awarded the Synapse Mentorship Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

The award recognizes the efforts of a health researcher who has made exceptional efforts to promote health research among Canada’s students.

Through the Hamilton Health Sciences Summer Bursary program, Raha has supervised grade 11 and 12 students in his lab as they perform biomedical experiments and analyze data in the area of reproductive biology.

He developed Health Research under the Microscope, an all-day event at which 200 high school students can discuss careers in health care and health research with mentors from McMaster Children’s Hospital and biomedical researchers from McMaster.

Raha has also reached 1,600 children with a series of interactive lectures about popular health subjects, which include the human body, called the McMaster Children and Youth University.

With the Bay Area Science and Engineering Fair, Raha has created a science fair challenge regarding specific themes (like the impact of nutrition on the human body) for senior high school students.

Raha has also partnered with school boards/community groups to provide scientific guidance for at-risk youth and encouraged McMaster graduate students to mentor high school students through Let’s Talk Science, a nationally-based science organization.

[More about the Synapse Mentorship Award]

McMaster CON-SNP Chapter Receives National Recognition

McMaster CON-SNP chapter photo 2013
From top left to bottom right: Kashmala Qasim (Co-Communications Director), Rebecca Jeffery (Co-Communications Director), Caoileann Murphy (Administrations Director), Katarina Marcinko (Co-Chair), Julia Totosy de Zepetnek (Co-Activities Director), Donna D'Souza (Webmaster), Maria Restivo (Financial Director), Dr. Sandeep Raha (Faculty Director), Jenna Gillen (Co-Chair), Dilisha Rodrigopulle (Co-Activities Director). Regrets: Lisa Chu (Networking Relations), Janice Penney (Faculty Administration)

The EMPhasis on Health seminars for Healthy Living, run by McMaster University graduate students, received national recognition from the Canadian Obesity Network Students and New Professionals (CON-SNP) organization as the most active CON-SNP student chapter in Canada.  The McMaster CON-SNP chapter is run by a multidisciplinary group of students representing Medical Sciences, Kinesiology, HRM and MINDS. The EMPhasis on Health seminar series is the primary seminar forum for students in the Nutrition and Metabolism stream within the Medical Sciences Graduate Program and is generously sponsored by MAC-Obesity at McMaster University.  They also receive funding from the Canadian Obesity Network as well as the McMaster University Graduate Student Association.  In the 2012-2013 Academic year, EMPhasis on Health featured more than 20 seminars delivered by clinicians and biomedical researchers from the McMaster community as well as national and international scientists.  In addition, they featured the 1 minute thesis presentation called the Research Blitz, as well as a thematic half-day symposium on muscle metabolism research.  Their efforts have helped to solidify the research community at McMaster and highlight the existing as well as developing scientific expertise in the area of muscle and fat metabolism, childhood and adult obesity, fetal programming and the influence of exercise, just to name a few.

Calculator to Predict Future Risk of Childhood Obesity

David Meyre

MAC-Obesity researcher Dr. David Meyre of the Department of Clinical Epidemiology & Biostatistics at McMaster University recently participated in an international collaboration initiative with colleagues from Imperial College London (United Kingdom), University of Oulu (Finland), Harvard University (United States) and Verona University (Italy). Using the data from close to 7000 children living in four different countries, the researchers created a simple formula that can predict at birth a baby's likelihood of becoming obese in childhood. The formula, which is available as an online calculator, estimates the child's obesity risk based on its birth weight, the body mass index of the parents, the number of people in the household, the mother's professional status and whether she smoked during pregnancy. The test takes very little time, it does not require any lab tests and it does not cost anything. The researchers hope their prediction method will be used to identify infants at high risk and help families take steps to prevent their children from putting on too much weight. The study Estimation of Newborn Risk for Child or Adolescent Obesity: Lessons from Longitudinal Birth Cohorts was published on November 28, 2012 in the open access journal PLOS ONE.

MAC-Obesity Graduate Student Awarded Scholarship

MAC-Obesity graduate student Anna Romashkin was recently awarded a scholarship from the Canadian Obesity Network-Réseau canadien en obésité (CON-RCO) and the University of Alberta to attend the 8th installment of the Obesity Summer Boot Camps in Kananaskis, Alberta in July 2013.

The Obesity Summer Boot Camp receives hundreds of applicants every year, but is only open to 24 MSc/PhD students, young researchers, clinical fellows and young clinical researchers. Anna is currently in her 1st year of her MSc in the Medical Sciences Graduate Program in the Faculty of Health Sciences under the supervision of Dr. Katherine Morrison.

Students and researchers at the boot camp will examine different facets of obesity from epidemiology and public health to cell biology, energy regulation, clinical management and health policy.









October 2012

Mac-Obesity Researcher earns lifetime achievement award

MAC-Obesity researcher Dr. Hertzel Gerstin was awarded the Canadian Diabetes Association's 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his considerable commitment to, and achievements in, diabetes research.

The award is bestowed upon a prominent Canadian physician or medical scientist who is a leader in diabetes research and has made long-standing contributions to the Canadian diabetes community.

Dr. Gerstein who is a professor of medicine and clinical epidemiology and biostatistics in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine, was presented with the award during the association's annual meeting, which is held jointly with the Canadian Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

During the meeting, as the award recipient, Dr. Gerstein gave a lecture on the ORIGIN Trial, of which he is the princi


August 2012

New team of Hamilton scientists target fat in children

Katherine Morrison Greg Steinberg

A team of McMaster University researchers and McMaster Children's Hospital clinicians have banded together to address the epidemic of childhood obesity. The new team is called the MAC-Obesity Research Program, as a short form for Metabolism And Childhood Obesity Research Program. Its members include laboratory researchers from McMaster University and clinicians from Hamilton Health Sciences and McMaster studying pediatric obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, gastrointestinal disorders and cancer. Gregory Steinberg, PhD, and Katherine Morrison, MD, are the co-directors of the MAC-Obesity Research Program.


July 2012

Katherine Morrison

MAC-Obesity Researcher awarded CIHR funding

MAC-Obesity researcher Dr  Katherine Morrison and the CANadian Pediatric Weight management Registry (CANPWR) team located at 8 hospitals across Canada were awarded funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.  CANPWR is a study to examine the determinants of successful change in health status amongst children and youth enrolled in a weight management program.

Sandeep Raha

Obesity Could be Affecting Our Children From the Very Beginning

Dr. Sandeep Raha of McMaster University's Department of Pediatrics has recently been involved in research analyzing gestational health of offspring in a rodent model representing long-term maternal obesity. In this study, rats were either fed a normal diet of 16% fat, or a high fat diet of 45% fat for 19 weeks before they were allowed to mate.


June 2012

MAC-Obesity graduate student wins Canadian Obesity Network award

MAC-Obesity graduate student Laura Ramsingh, working in the lab of Dr Katherine Morrison, wins  the Master’s student award at the Canadian Obesity Network’s Annual Student meeting in Edmonton.  The title of her project was: Examining Body Composition in Adults Born with Extremely Low Birth Weight.

COSM 2012 Award Recipients

Hertzel Gerstein

McMaster study debunks belief insulin puts people with diabetes at risk of heart disease

Researchers at McMaster University have discovered that long-term insulin use does not harm people with diabetes or pre-diabetes or put them at risk of heart attacks, strokes or cancer.

This is contrary to concerns that long-term use of insulin may cause heart disease, says Dr. Hertzel Gerstein, principal investigator of the study, professor of medicine at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and deputy director of the Population Health Research Institute.


April 2012

Gregory Steinberg<

New evidence is helping explain additional health benefits of aspirin

Researchers in Canada, Scotland and Australia have discovered that salicylate, the active ingredient in aspirin, directly increases the activity of the protein AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase), a key player in regulating cell growth and metabolism. AMPK, which is considered a cellular fuel-gauge, is switched on by exercise and the commonly used anti-diabetic medication metformin.

"We show that salicylate increases fat burning and reduces liver fat in obese mice and that this does not occur in genetically modified mice lacking the beta1 subunit of AMPK," said Gregory Steinberg, associate professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Metabolism, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.


March 2012

Brian Timmons

First-ever Canadian guidelines for keeping infants and toddlers moving more and sitting less

McMaster University researcher Dr. Brian Timmons is expecting a lot of feedback from parents of infants and oddlers with the release of new Canadian guidelines which recommend keeping children under two years of age away from television, computer and electronic games.


January 2012

Alison Holloway

Research links obesity to chemicals in the environment

Dr. Alison Holloway, an endocrinologist and associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, comments on research linking obesity to chemicals in the environment.

Katherine Morrison

Screening for Dysglycemia in Overweight Youth: Who should be tested?

Elevated blood sugar, also known as dysglycemia, is a serious concern that if left untreated can lead to development of Type 2 Diabetes and increase the risk of heart disease in adulthood. A recent study by researchers at McMaster Children's Hospital has examined the prevalence of dysglycemia amongst children and youth presenting for weight management, and examined the usefulness of current screening guidelines to identify these children.


October 2011

Sonia Anand

Eating your greens can change the effect of your genes on heart disease, say researchers

Researchers discovered the gene that is the strongest marker for heart disease can actually be modified by generous amounts of fruit and raw vegetables. The results of their study are published in the current issue of the journal PLoS Medicine.

"We observed that the effect of a high risk genotype can be mitigated by consuming a diet high in fruits and vegetables," said Sonia Anand, joint principal investigator of the study, and a researcher at the Population Health Research Institute and a professor in the Department of Medicine and Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics.


September 2011

Date News
06.09.2011 Gregory Steinberg<

McMaster researchers find missing genes may separate couch potato from active cousin

Researchers found the mice without the muscle AMPK genes had lower levels of mitochondria and an impaired ability for their muscles to take up glucose while they exercise.

"Mice love to run," said Gregory Steinberg, associate professor of medicine in the Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and Canada Research Chair in Metabolism, Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes.


August 2011

Brian Timmons

Milk better than water to rehydrate kids: McMaster study

Active children need to be watered with milk. It’s a more effective way of countering dehydration than a sports drink or water itself, say researchers at McMaster University.

That’s particularly important during hot summer weather, says Brian Timmons, research director of the Child Health and Exercise Medicine Program at McMaster and principal investigator of the study.

Sonia Anand

Packing on pounds riskier for South Asians, say McMaster researchers

Dr. Sonia Anand, who led the study published in the medical journal PLoS ONE, said South Asians are particularly more likely to add the type of organ-hugging fat that can lead to diabetes and coronary artery disease.


March 2011

Brian Timmons

Youth with IBD are less fit than their peers: McMaster study

A study, published online in the Journal of Pediatrics, shows children and youth with the most common forms of inflammatory bowel disease have aerobic fitness levels 25 per cent lower than other children their age, and their muscle function is 10 per cent lower.

"Raising a child with a chronic condition is challenging, but we need to look at more than just 'fixing the child' and think about active living to reduce the risk of future health problems," said principal investigator Brian Timmons of the Child Health and Exercise Medicine Program at the university and hospital.


February 2011

Mark Tarnopolsky

Endurance exercise prevents premature aging: McMaster study

Endurance exercise may stop you looking and feeling old, it may even help you live longer, a study by McMaster University researchers has found.

"Many people falsely believe that the benefits of exercise will be found in a pill," said Mark Tarnopolsky, principal investigator of the study and a professor in the Department of Pediatrics and the Department of Medicine. "We have clearly shown that there is no substitute for the "real thing" of exercise when it comes to protection from aging."