The goal of our laboratory is to better understand how the immune system influences physiological processes and contributes to disease, with the aim of using this information to develop new translational diagnostics and therapeutics, including preventative vaccination strategies.
Inflammation and adaptive Immunity in insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes
Our primary research focus is to elucidate immune mediated pathways governing obesity related insulin resistance. Obesity and its major complications, including insulin resistance, are a major global cause of morbidity and mortality, and have reached epidemic proportions. Evidence is mounting that a significant contributing cause of insulin resistance is chronic inflammation in visceral adipose tissue (VAT). This inflammation was initially thought to be driven solely by macrophages of the innate immune system attracted to dying adipocytes in fat. Recently, in collaboration with the Hospital for Sick Children and Stanford University, we have demonstrated that the adaptive immune system, including T cells, B cells and the antibodies they produce, play a significant and active role in regulating this process. This work has introduced a new " autoimmune" component to obesity related insulin resistance, and has led to new ways in thinking about metabolic disease. We continue to investigate immune mediated mechanisms in obesity and diabetes with the aim of translating our findings to help the many people afflicted by these diseases.
ScientistDivision of Advanced Diagnostics - MetabolismToronto General Research Institute (TGRI)
Endocrine PathologistDepartment of PathologyUniversity Health Network
Assistant ProfessorDepartment of Laboratory Medicine and PathobiologyUniversity of Toronto
Alonso MN et al. TH1, TH2, and TH17 cells instruct monocytes to differentiate into specialized dendritic cell subsets. Blood. [Epub Aug 2, 2011].
Winer D et al. B cells promote insulin resistance through modulation of T cells and production of pathogenic IgG antibodies. Nat Med. 2011 May; 17(5):610-7.
Winer S et al. Normalization of obesity-associated insulin resistance through immunotherapy. Nat Med. 2009 Aug; 15(8):921-9.
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