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Project Leader

Dr. David Hood, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Cell Physiology
Director, Muscle Health Research Centre
Professor, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Faculty of Health, York University
Research Description
Dr. Hood's research is focused on Mitochondrial Biogenesis and Turnover in Health and Disease specifically in mammalian skeletal and cardiac muscles utilizing mouse and rat models as well as cell culture. Common experimental models used within the lab include 1) chronic exercise, brought about running, or by electrical stimulation in vivo and in cell culture, 2) muscle disuse, usually produced by denervation, and 3) aging. Physiological, biochemical and molecular biology techniques are employed to study mitochondrial turnover in these tissues. See More



Dr, Joseph Gordon, PhD
Department of Human Anatomy and Cell Science, University of Manitoba
Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba
Research Description
Dr. Gordon's research focuses on the transcriptional regulation of cardiovascular development and disease, as well as the developmental regulation of insulin sensitivity in skeletal muscle. More specifically, his work studies the regulation of the myocardin family of transcriptional coactivators, and the two downstream related transcription factors they activate, myocyte enhancer factor-2 (MEF-2), and serum response factor (SRF).
Dr, Brendon Gurd, PhD
Associate Professor
Muscle Physiology, School of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen's University
Research Description
Dr. Gurd's primary research aim is to understand the mechanisms controlling mitochondrial content in human skeletal muscle and adipose tissue. More specifically, Dr, Gurd researches the impact of varied energetic stress (e.g. exercise or fasting) on the induction of the genetic precursors of mitochondrial biogenesis and on changes in skeletal muscle oxidative capacity and mitochondrial content following exercise intervention. With secondary research aims examining the relationship between mitochondrial function and health and optimal intensities and modes of exercise for improving aerobic capacity, it is hoped that Dr. Gurd's research will increase our understanding of the mechanisms by which exercise can improve health.
Dr, Lorrie Kirshenbaum, PhD, FISHR, FAHA
Director, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Principal Investigator, Cardiac Gene Biology, Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences
Professor, Department of Physiology & Pathophysiology, University of Manitoba
Canada Research Chair in Molecular Cardiology
Director of Research Development, Rady Faculty of Medicine, University of Manitoba
Research Description
Dr. Kirshenbaum is the Principal investigator of Cardiac Gene Biology at the institute of Cardiovascular Science, and the Director or Research Development at Rady Faculty of Medicine in the University of Manitoba, He is also a professor in the Department of Physiology & Pathophysiology at the University of Manitoba.  Dr. Kirshenbaum and his team at the Rady Faculty of Medicine have recently been awarded a Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) grant of $3.3 million over seven years.
Dr. Kirshenbaum's research centres on understanding the molecular mechanisms and singling factors that govern cardiac gene expression during early cardiac cell growth as well as cell death during the pathogenesis of heart failure. His research focus includes cellular factors that regulate cell cycle control and cardiac regeneration in genetically engineered mouse models.
Dr. Joe Quadrilatero, PhD
Associate Chair for Graduate Studies
Associate Professor, Department of Kinesiology, Department of Biology
University of Waterloo
Research Description
The focus of Dr. Quadrilatero's laboratory is to study cell death processes (i.e., apoptosis and autophagy) primarily in skeletal muscle. In particular, the role and function of mitochondrial-mediated apoptotic singling and mitophagy on skeletal muscle. formation, phenotype, and function are major areas of investigation. The lab is also pursuing work to understand the regulation of these cellular singling pathways during aging and in the pathogenesis of disease. The experimental models utilized include cell cultures, normal and transgenic mice, health and diseased rodents, and humans.
Dr. Vladimir Ljubicic, PDF, PhD
Canada Research Chair in Neurmuscular Plasticity in Health and Disease
Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology
McMaster University
Research Description
Dr. Ljubicic's research examine mechanisms of neuromuscular plasticity in health and disease, specifically in mammalian motoneurons, skeletal muscle, and neuromuscular junctions utilizing mouse models and cell cultures. Common experimental models used within the lab include 1) acute and chronic running exercise, 2) neurogenic muscle disuse, 3) fasting, and 4) the neuromuscular disorders Duchenne muscular dystrophy, spinal muscular atrophy, and myotonic dystrophy type 1. Physiological, biochemical, and molecular techniques are employed to study mechanisms critical to the determination, maintenance and remodelling of the peripheral neuromuscular system.
Dr. Keir Menzies, PhD
Assistant Professor, Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health Sciences, and cross-appointed to the department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, at the University of Ottawa
Research Description
Dr. Menzies received his MSc and PhD degree from the Muscle Health Research Centre at York University under the supervision of Dr. Hood. He then completed his postdoctoral training with Dr. Johan Auwerx, the Nestle Chair in Energy Metabolism at the Ecole Polytechnique General de Lausanne in Switzerland. Currently Dr. Menzies is conducting research at the University of Ottawa, studying new metabolic singling pathways to help identify and develop translational treatment strategies for aging and age-related disease. By integrating systems biology approaches with animal phenotypic and molecular biology techniques, his lab explores singling networks that control mitochondrial function in muscle and other important organs affecting whole body metabolism.
Dr. Juan Murias, PhD
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology, University of Calgary
Research Description
Dr. Murias is interested in determining the most effective exercise training programs for promoting health as well as for improving performance. The main goal of his research is related to the use of exercise training interventions as "medicine" to prevent or alleviate the detrimental effects of aging and disease on cardiovascular function. More specifically, he is interested in the role of the endothelium in the control and distribution of blood flow and the effects of endurance training exercise in preventing or alleviating the age-related reduction in endothelium-dependent vasodilation, and the associated limitation in Oxygen transport to the sites of metabolic need.
Dr. Christopher Newell, PhD
MD in training (MD Class of 2020), Department of Medicine
University of Calgary
Research Description
Chris completed his PhD at the University of Calgary as part of the Leaders in Medicine program in 2017 and is currently completing his clinical MD training (MD Class of 2020). He was awarded the first Mitochondrial Disease PhD Scholarship funded by the MitoCanada.
Chris' graduate work was spent developing diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for patients with mitochondrial disease using clinical and basic science techniques. Currently, Chris is continuing to apply the use of cell-free DNA as a potential biomarker for therapeutic targets in patients with primary mitochondrial disease.
Dr. Ayesha Saleen, PhD, MSc, BScH
Assistant Professor, Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management (FKRM)
University of Manitoba
Research Description
Dr. Saleem is establishing her lab at the University of Manitoba and will be working as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology and Recreation Management (FKRM).
The goal of Dr. Saleem's laboratory will be to decipher the inter-, intra-, and extracellular signalling that regulates the interplay between tumour and hose body metabolism/physiology, specifically skeletal muscle, and adipose tissue, either directly, or via organ cross-talk through tumour-secreted factors. The proposed research will be done in the context of chronic disease and modifiable lifestyle interventions such as endurance exercise and obesity, and will foster inter/intra-departmental collaborations at the University of Manitoba, as well as, facilitate national and international partnerships.