University of Alberta
Summary of research:
Mitochondria are fascinating organelles which play a key role in cellular energy production. Alteration in mitochondrial mechanisms is inherently associated with aging, and several diseases including diabetes, cancer, vision defects, and cardiovascular diseases. Although focus has been placed on genetic and proteomic research, developing a deeper understanding of the functions has been neglected. We are exploring the variations of mitochondrial regulation between species, tissues, sexes and stages of development. In human for example, we have found that oxidative phosphorylation is regulated by the electron transport system in young children whereas it is regulated by the phosphorylation system in adults. We have also measured significant functional differences between male and female Nile rats during development and aging. These divergences illustrate the importance of considering sexual dimorphism, while research is most often performed only on male subjects. Our laboratory is involved in many collaborations pertaining to the health of women and children, including projects on: iron deficiency during pregnancy (with Dr. Stephane Bourque), breast cancer (with Dr. Ing Swie Goping), retinoblastoma (a childhood tumor of the eye, with Dr. Roseline Godbout), vision, type 2 diabetes, development and aging (with Drs Yves Sauvé).