Department of Medicine

Canada Research Chairs

The Canada Research Chairs Program was launched by the federal government in 2000 to help Canadian universities attract and retain the world’s best researchers. The Faculty of Health Sciences currently boasts 33 Canada Research Chairs. The current chairs from the Department of Medicine are as follows:

Allergy and Immune Tolerance    Mark Larché

Dr. Mark Larche

Dr. Larché's research involves studying the development of peptide immunotherapy leading to the development of new treatments for immunological diseases. He uses synthetic fragments (peptides) of the proteins that cause the disease (pollen, dust mites) to "switch on" the immune responses. Because the peptides lack the structure of the whole proteins, they don’t stimulate an allergic reaction themselves — but they do trigger the immune system to begin to defend the body.

This helps to minimize that body’s subsequent allergic reactions.

 

Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease    Sonia Anand

Dr. Sonia Anand

Dr. Sonia Anand, Canada Research Chair in Ethnic Diversity and Cardiovascular Disease, is identifying health behaviour risk factors in diverse ethnic groups. Anand is examining factors such as elevated blood glucose levels, dietary patterns and genetic factors to develop prevention strategies to reduce cardio-metabolic risk factors and CVD for those most in jeopardy. She is also examining these factors in diverse populations across the infant-child-adult life span. 

 

 

 

Inflammation, Microbiota and Nutrition    Elena Verdu

Dr. Elena Verdu

Dr. Elena Verdú is researching the mechanisms involved in food intolerance in functional gut disorders to shed light on the role gluten intolerance plays in the development of diseases like celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

 

 

 

 

Interdisciplinary Microbiome Research    Michael Surette

Dr. Surette's research involves human microbiomes that are composed of the microorganisms that live on or in us. These are predominantly bacteria (but also include fungi, protozoa and viruses) and outnumber human cells at least 10 to 1. These organisms play a critical role in development and physiology as well as defense against infection and are generally thought of as beneficial. Dr. Surette’s research program addresses the role of the normal microbiota in health and disease, particularly with regards to the respiratory tract.

 

 

Metabolism and Obesity    Gregory Steinberg

Dr. Gregory Steinberg

Dr. Steinberg's research involves understanding how hormones regulate the body’s storage and breakdown of fat and its response to insulin. He is conducting metabolic studies in which genetically modified mice exercise or consume high calorie foods. How many and what type of calories (fat or carbohydrate) the mice burn will be measured both during exercise and in response to hormones.

Steinberg’s studies will be complemented with work using advanced techniques in protein chemistry and molecular biology with an emphasis on phosphoproteomics (identifying, cataloguing and characterizing proteins) and gene expression analysis.

 

Research Transfer in Intensive Care    Deborah J. Cook

Dr. Deborah Cook

Dr. Cook's is translating research into medical practice in intensive care units and developing ways to put research results into use at the bedside. Dr. Cook is focusing on studies that have discovered there is a practical, non-invasive way to reduce the risk of pneumonia in critically ill patients who are hooked up to ventilators in the Intensive Care Unit of hospitals.

She was the first intensive-care specialist in Canada who is also educated in biostatistics and clinical epidemiology (the causes, distribution, and control of diseases in populations).

 

 

Respiratory Mucosal Immunology    Jeremy Hirota

Dr. Jeremy HirotaThe Hirota Lab aims to develop an internationally recognized translational research program in respiratory mucosal immunology focused on lung health and disease. The Hirota Lab uses a translational research strategy with in vitro cell culture models, in vivo pre-clinical models, and clinical studies. The lab research is guided by three mutually reinforcing foci: i) patient oriented research on respiratory mucosal immunology in health and disease, ii) small molecule drug discovery programs for commercialization opportunities, and iii) pure basic science characterization of the biology behind innate immune receptor and related signalling pathways. Presently, the major focus of the Hirota Lab is on ABC Transporters in the respiratory mucosa.

 

 

Thrombosis    Jeffrey Weitz

Dr. Jeff Weitz

Dr. Weitz's research involves new techniques for identifying and treating the underlying causes of blood clot formation. Following a comprehensive bench-to-bedside program, he will explore the most basic molecular dynamics responsible for this condition, expanding this research to develop clinical treatments that have value for patients who have already been diagnosed and are currently being treated.

Dr. Weitz has also characterized the structure and function of various clotting enzymes, and has used these insights to create new types of anticoagulant drugs that are now being tested.