INMD Connections - November 2015

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Message from Philip Sherman, INMD Scientific Director

From left: Drs. Atkinson, Carpentier, Gauvin, Perreault, Boudreau, and Sherman

The INMD Institute Advisory Board (IAB) met at the Université de Sherbrooke, October 26-28, 2015. It was the first visit to Sherbrooke for many of the IAB members, who were greatly impressed by both the quality of the science being undertaken at the university and the exceptional hospitality extended to us.

High on the agenda for consideration were the new model for IABs, implementation of the INMD Strategic Plan Refresh and proposals under development for the Roadmap Accelerator Fund (RAF).  Discussions arising relevant to each of these timely health research targeted funding issues were thoughtful, energetic and respectful. I greatly appreciate the advice provided by each of the members of the INMD IAB.

Dr. Jean-Pierre Perreault, Vice Dean-Research in the Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, kindly shared institutional perspectives about supporting the health research enterprise. We also received a tour of the Imaging Centre and learned about the cyclotron facility used to produce medical isotopes for both research and diagnostics. This infrastructure was of great interest, because of its relevance to research being undertaken in the INMD mandate area by Dr. André Carpentier, the CIHR-GlaxoSmithKline Research Chair in Diabetes, Director of the Province of Quebec Research Network on Cardiometabolic Health, Diabetes and Obesity, and Professor and Clinician-Scientist in the Faculty of Medicine at the Université de Sherbrooke. André described the use of positron emission tomography (PET) scanning in his lecture entitled, Tracers and molecular imaging to reveal mechanisms of type 2 diabetes-related outcomes in humans.

The IAB was also provided with an update on the activities of the Canadian National Transplant Research Program (CNTRP) by Dr. Marie-Josée Hébert, who is Co-Director of the CNTRP and Professor of Medicine at the University of Montreal.  We were particularly interested to learn more about the research activities and partnering successes of the CNTRP.

Many thanks to our generous hosts, faculty, and students at the Université de Sherbrooke, for providing INMD with an enriching and stimulating opportunity to learn and interact.

Philip M. Sherman, MD, FRCPC
Scientific Director, INMD

CIHR Funding Opportunities

Pre-announcement: Pathways Implementation Research Teams - Component 2, Second Launch

These grants will support research teams aimed at strengthening the effectiveness or scalability of population health interventions through community-informed enhancements or adaptations in one of the identified Pathways exemplar areas. For more info, contact Pathways.

Patient Engagement: Collaboration Grants

Applications due: November 24, 2015. For more info, visit the ResearchNet website.

Researcher Profile

Food & Health Programmatic Grant

Translational approach to establish the cardiometabolic health effects and mechanisms of action of fish nutrients from animal models to obese insulin-resistant subjects

Dr. André Marette (centre) and his research team.

Few Canadians meet their weekly recommendations for fish consumption. Thus, intakes of omega-3 fatty acids, fish proteins, and vitamin D are low, especially in obese subjects at risk for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Nominated Principal Investigator André Marette and co-PI Marie-Claude Vohl (Laval Univ.) have assembled an interdisciplinary team of investigators - ranging from marine protein biochemists to nutritionists and clinicians - to investigate the effects and underlying mechanisms of action of salmon peptides, vitamin D, and fish-derived omega-3 fatty acids on cardiometabolic risk factors in animal models of obesity and in obese human subjects. Co-investigators on this research program include Laurent Bazinet, Claudia Gagnon, Hélène Jacques, Louis Pérusse, and S. John Weisnagel (Laval Univ.), Emile Levy (Univ. Montreal), and Tom Gill and Roger McLeod (Dalhousie Univ). The group has formed an alliance with the aquaculture industry to isolate and identify novel bioactive peptides from salmon, which also involves key knowledge transfer partners, AFM Canada and the National Institute of Nutrition and Seafood Research in Norway. The CIHR programmatic grant has been leveraged with key contributions from Cooke Aquaculture, CRIBIQ (Le Consortium de recherche et innovations en bioprocédés industriels au Québec), and MITACS, for knowledge and technology transfer, training, and commercial activities. Animal and human studies carried out by the team have shown that fish proteins can improve the lipid profile, insulin sensitivity, and reduce obesity-linked inflammation in animal models and human subjects. The team recently isolated small peptides from salmon proteins and validated their biological actions on metabolic and inflammatory pathways in relevant cellular models. They also confirmed their efficacy in vivo, as their introduction into the diet of obese atherogenic mice reduced several features of metabolic syndrome.

The team now plans to evaluate the independent and combined effect of salmon peptides and vitamin D on insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and cardiometabolic risk markers in obese, insulin-resistant subjects. The team plans to use nutrigenomic and metabolomic approaches to study individual responses to fish nutrients in both animal models and human subjects to discover new gene and metabolite networks underlying these effects, as well as novel biomarkers to predict the risk of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease in obese subjects.

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month

Check out how researcher, Marc Prentki, PhD, Professor of Nutrition and Biochemistry, Univ. Montreal, Canada Research Chair in Diabetes and Metabolism, and Director of the Montreal Diabetes Research Centre is working to improve our understanding of type 2 diabetes and obesity.

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