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Project Leader

Mark Tarnopolsky, MD, PhD, FRDP (C)
Clinical and Research Director, Corkins/Lammert Family Neuromuscular and Neurometabolic Clinic, McMaster University
Endowed Chair, McMaster Children's Hospital and Hamilton Health Sciences Foundation, Neuromuscular Diseases
Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, McMaster University
Research Description
Dr. Tarnopolsky's research focuses on nutritional, exercise, pharmacological and genetic therapies for neurometabolic (primarily mitochondrial), neuromuscular, and neurogenetic disorders as well as diseases associated with aging. He has authored or co-authored more than 400 scientific articles. He has also lectured widely in the area of neurology (neuromuscular and neurometabolic disorders), aging, and exercise physiology. He has served on several editorial and scientific boards (UMDF, MSSE, Mitochondrion, PLOS ONE, Barth Foundation) and has been on the Grant Selection Committees for NSERC (Animal Biology, 2003-2006, Chair, 2006), CIHR Biology of Aging Committee (2006), CIHR Movement Committee (2012, 2013, 2015), Chair of the Emerging Team Grant: Mobility in Aging (2007) and a member of the phase I CIHR Foundation grant committee (2017). He is the founder (2015), and current CEO and CSO of Exerkine Corporation.


Martin Gibala, PhD, MSc, BA
Professor at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Department of Kinesiology
Research Description
Dr. Gibala's research examines the regulation of skeletal muscle energy provision. He is particularly interested in the potential for exercise and/or nutrition to induce metabolic adaptations at the molecular and cellular levels in humans. In addition to basic, mechanistic studies, he also conducts applied research that examines the impact of exercise training and dietary manipulation on sport performance. Recent work in his laboratory has focused on two main areas: (1) Metabolic adaptations to low-volume, high-intensity interval training, with an emphasis on the regulation of oxidative energy provision and (2) the potential for alterations in nutrient availability to impact the acute or chronic adaptations to exercise training.
Gianni Parise, PhD, MSc, BA
Associate Dean, Faculty of Science
Associate Professor at McMaster University, Hamilton, ON
Department of Kinesiology
Research Description
Dr. Parise's focus of his laboratory is the question "what are the intracellular events that act downstream of signals leading to the activation of the myogenic regulatory factors?". A second major focus of his laboratory involves revealing the mechanism(s) underlying the progressive loss of muscle mass associated with aging. Parise has released six publications and is the associate dean of the Faculty of Science.
Stuart M. Phillips, PhD
Professor, Kinesiology and Medicine, McMaster University
Tier 1 Canada Research Chair, Skeletal Muscle Health
Research Description
Dr. Philips research is focused on the impact of nutrition and exercise on human protein turnover, specifically in skeletal muscle. He is also dedicated to understanding how exercise and dietary protein impact body composition, strength, and function in aging. Dr. Philips has authored more than 170 original research papers and 70 reviews. He has mentored 11 PhD and 17 MSc students and more than 60 undergraduate thesis students. He is a 5-time nominee and a 3-time winner of McMaster Student Union's Outstanding Teaching Award. He was also the inaugural recipient of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology's Mentorship award.
His research is funded by the Canadian Institutes for Health Research, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Canadian Diabetes Association, the US Department of Agriculture, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation, and a variety of industry sources.
Simon Melov, PhD
Professor at Buck Institute, Novato, CA, USA
Research Description
Dr. Melov received his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of London in the UK. He held positions at Emory University in Atlanta and at the University of Colorado in Boulder before joining the faculty of the Buck Institute as an Associate Professor in 1999. He has broad expertise in multiple domains and model systems of aging, including C. elegans biology, functional decline with age in mice, the role of endogenous oxidative stress in the mitochondria, exercise physiology and age-related disease.
Over the last few years, a key focus of the Melov lab has been to define what "aging" means in the context of different organ systems in aging mice, and to use non-invasice techniques to quantitate and enumerate such functional changes. The end goal is to be able to relate age-related functional decline in mice to human aging.
Brigit Schilling, PhD, MSc
Director of the Mass Spectrometry Core at Buck Institute for Research on Aging
Research Description
Dr. Schilling works at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging as the Director of the Mass Spectrometry Core, and she is interested in complex biological systems and applying modern mass spectrometric methods in the field of Biomedical Research and Proteomics. She is directly involved in a large variety of research projects spanning neurodegenerative disease, cancer, mitochondrial damage, assessment of protein turnover, differential protein expression during disease/aging, as well as mass spectrometric method development. Several research projects include investigation of protein phosphorylation, glycosylation, lysine acylation and other post-translational modifications. Many quantitative workflows in the lab take advantage of high resolution data-independent acquisitions (SWATH), and parallel reaction monitoring (PRM). She has been involved in co-developing several different bioinformatics workflows and algorithms for mass spectrometric data processing, such as for Skyline.
Bekim Sadikovic, PhD, DABMGG, FACMG
Associate Professor at Western University, Clinical Molecular Geneticist
Directing Clinical molecular Diagnostic Laboratory at the London Health Sciences Centre
Head of Molecular Genetics at London Health Sciences Centre (LHSC)
Research Description
Dr. Sadikovic's research interests concentrate around the study of genomic and epigenomic changes in complex (non-Mendelian) human disorders, particularly cancer. Changes in DNA sequence and copy number, in addition to, and in combination with, the environmentally-inducible changes in epigenetic profiles and gene regulatory mechanisms (ie: DNA methylation), disrupt gene expression networks resulting in disease phenotypes. Identification of such genomic and epigenomic biomarkers will allow us to understand the causes, assist with diagnosis and prognosis, and ultimately help in treatment and prevention of complex disorders. His research predominantly employs the whole-genome (both microarray and sequence-based) approaches and focuses on comparison of human subject and control tissue specimens.
His clinical interests are focused on utilization and implementation of these technologies in our routine clinical genetic diagnostic service, with the goal of increasing both genetic diagnostic yield and efficiency.
Robert Naviaux, PhD
Professor, Departments of Medicine, Pediatrics, and Pathology, University of California, San Diego, CA
Research Description
Research in Dr. Naviaux's lab has focused on the role of mitochondrial DNA replication, copy number regulation, DNA damage, and nucleotide signaling in development, aging, healing and regeneratio. He also studies the systems biology of monogenic and complex diseases like autism and diabetes. His team was the first to quantify the risk of neurodegeneration with infection in mitochondrial disease. They also were the first to show that defects in a human DNA polymerase, the mitochondrial DNA polymerase (POLG), could cause disease. His lab has developed a number of advanced technologies like biocavity laser spectroscopy and mtDNA mutation detection by mass spectrometry to help with rapid and early diagnosis of mitochondrial disease. Recently, he has developed new bioinformatic methods to analyze mtDNA sequence data produced by NextGen sequencing platforms like Ilumina. These tools, along with state-of-the-art methods in mitochondrial respiratory chain and polarographic analysis permit us to dissect the metabolic and molecular features of virtually any disease of interest. Immediate interests include the genesis and treatment of diabetes and autism, and mutation arrest therapies for cancer and viral disease, with special attention to the crossroads of innate immunity, inflammation, somatic cell genetics, and metabolism.