Medicine & Dentistry-Medical Microbiology & Immunology
University of Alberta
Summary of research:
My research focuses on understanding the regulation of the immune response and its connection to metabolism, during chronic diseases such as Type 1 Diabetes (T1D). The majority of T1D occurs in children and adolescent, hence its alternative name “juvenile diabetes”. Our interests in studying the immunometabolic aspects of T1D came from the fact that T1D is predominantly an immune (T cell)-mediated disease, and the emerging concept that metabolic processes within immune cells critically support their function and regulation. Our laboratory uses animal models of T1D to try and identify novel ways of blunting an autoimmune response, through targeting immune cell metabolism. In addition, we seek to understand how the mucosal humoral immune system, which plays a critical role in regulating the body’s metabolism and systemic immunity, may impact T1D development. Using a combination of animal models and vaccination methodologies, we will study the role of mucosal humoral immunity, and the impact of breastfeeding (breast milk being an enriched source of antibodies) on T1D development and progression.