Research Clusters

A.  Molecular basis of drug targets and diseases

In this cluster, our teams are elucidating the biochemical and cellular basis of human diseases and the molecular mechanisms underlying drug action and their targets.

Our investigation of disease mechanisms provides insights into identification of novel therapeutic targets for which small molecules or biologics are being developed. Research is directed towards the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the function of therapeutic targets, correcting the target using gene therapy, and the intracellular signalling pathways they control and the mechanistic study of drug action. Approaches incorporate human studies, patient-derived samples and animal models of disease. Our research teams are interested in several human diseases or conditions including drug addiction, autism, diabetes, cancer, genetic disorders, infectious diseases, and neurological diseases.

Investigators:

1. Stéphane Angers

  • Wnt signalling pathway, Functional genomics, CRISPR, cancer cell signalling, Glioblastoma, and colorectal cancer.

2. James Wells

  • G protein-coupled receptors, G protein-mediated signalling, mechanism of signalling, and supramolecular structure of signalling elements.

3. David Hampson

  • Autism, genetic disorders, gene therapy, neurological disorders, neurodevelopment disorders, Fragile X Syndrome, and Dravet Syndrome.

4. Jeffrey Henderson

  • Molecular neuroscience, mouse models of disease, CNS injury and repair, biochemistry of programmed cell death, EphB-family axon guidance, Crispr-mediated modification of stem cells/neurons, and gene transduction methods.

5. Rob Bonin

  • Chronic pain, sensory processing, spinal cord, synaptic plasticity, optogenetics, social behaviour, and autism.

6. Peter Wells

  • Toxicology, animal models of disease, oxidative stress, DNA damage and repair, fetal basis of adult diseases, teratogenesis, autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorders, carcinogenesis, and neurodegeneration.

7. Carolyn Cummins

  • Nuclear hormone receptors, diabetes, obesity, metabolism, atherosclerosis, hypercholesterolemia, diabetic complications, nephropathy, and retinopathy.

8. Tigran Chalikian

9. Sandy Pang

  • Chronic kidney disease, hypercholesterolemia, and plaque prevention.

10. Shirley X.Y. Wu

  • Novel intervention pathways and agents for diabetes, cancer, and neurodegenerative diseases.

11. Reina Bendayan

  • Novel molecular therapeutic targets for HIV-1 associated brain inflammation; mechanisms of HIV-1 persistence in cellular reservoirs.

12. Jean Gariépy

  • Immune checkpoint pathways linked to autoimmune diseases and cancer immunotherapies.

13. Heiko Heerklotz

  • The lipid membrane as a target of antibiotic and anti-cancer peptides and their mimics.

14. Lakshmi P. Kotra

  • Target validation, protein citrullination, neurodegenerative and neuroinflammatory disorders, natural products, and rational drug design.

15. Shana Kelley

  • Mitochondria-targeted therapeutics and mitochondrial disease.

 

B.  Drug development and disease diagnostics

This cluster deals with the development and optimization of drugs, their optimal delivery and maintenance at their sites of action as well as with the molecular diagnostics of human diseases.

The study of physicochemical properties of drugs and interactions with their targets, the development of drug formulations, new materials and strategies for design and controlled delivery of drugs to enhance therapeutic activity, targeted radiotherapeutic agents and molecular imaging agents, are examples of areas under investigation.  Activities also include the study of drug transport mechanisms across biological barriers as well as the study of their absorption, distribution, metabolism and elimination, which are important determinants of their biologic activity. The development of new nanomaterials, synthetic biology approaches for disease diagnostic applications, biological therapeutics including viral vector-mediated gene therapy, and the delivery of precision medicine are emerging topics of interest.

Investigators:

1. Christine Allen

  • Drug formulation and delivery, image-based drug delivery, image-guided interventions, thermosensitive drug delivery vehicles, hyperthermia, radiation, gold nanoparticles, polymer nanoparticles, and liposomes.

2. Ping Lee

  • Enhanced delivery of poorly soluble drugs using amorphous solid dispersions, controlled release nitric oxide for diabetic wound healing, controlled-release and modified-release dosage forms, hydrogels and polymeric drug delivery systems, swellable and erodible matrix systems, kinetics and mechanisms of drug release, diffusion and mass transfer in polymers.

3. Rob Macgregor

  • Biophysical chemistry, pharmaceutics, thermodynamics, chemical kinetics, non-canonical nucleic acid structures, hydrostatic pressure, and novel sterilization methods.

4. Tigran Chalikian

  • Molecular Biophysics, thermodynamics, pharmaceutics, proteins, nucleics acids, ligand binding, conformational transitions, molecular interactions, cosolvents, and hydration.

5. Shirley X.Y. Wu

  • Drug delivery strategies, drug delivery systems, computer-aided design of controlled release dosage forms, synergistic drug combination nanomedicine to overcome multidrug resistance in cancer, tumor microenvironment-modulating bioreactive nanoparticles and their application in cancer therapies, blood-brain penetrating nanoparticles and their applications in brain tumor and CNS diseases, glucose-responsive intelligent systems for delivery of therapeutic hormones to treat diabetes, formulation and pilot scale manufacture of oral modified release dosage forms, pharmaceutical formulation and delivery of biologics.

6. Shana Kelley

  • In-vitro diagnostics, lab-on-a-chip, liquid biopsy, drug delivery, and mitochondrial therapeutics.

7. Ray Reilly

8. Keith Pardee

  • Synthetic biology, molecular diagnostics, portable drug manufacturing, and de-centralized health care tools.

9. Lakshmi P. Kotra

  • Medicinal chemistry, rational drug design, preclinical drug development, and clinical studies.

10. Reina Bendayan

  • Regulation of drug/folate transport across biological membranes, drug transport at blood tissue barriers (blood-brain barrier, blood-testicular barrier, blood-intestinal barriers), and HIV-1 pharmacotherapy.

11. Jeffrey Henderson

  • Small molecule modifiers of programmed cell death, neuroimaging, and CNS nanoparticles.

12. Margaret Cheng

13. Ian Crandall

  • Development of small molecules to treat Neglected Diseases, particularly malaria, and using culture assays and murine models of the disease.

14. Jean Gariépy

15. Sandy Pang

  • ADME, Pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug metabolism, and transporters.

16. Micheline Piquette-Miller

  • Pharmacokinetics, transporters, drug resistance, preclinical  models, and ovarian cancer.

17. Michael Spino

18. Don Weaver

19. Gang Zheng

  • Nanomedicine, theranostics, phototherapy, molecular imaging, and porphysomes.

20. Carolyn Cummins

  • Small molecules, nuclear receptor agonists and antagonists, high-thoughput screening, pharmacokinetics, drug metabolism, LC/MS/MS, and proteomics.

21. Peter Wells

  • Molecular determinants and biomarkers of susceptibility to disease and drug/chemical toxicity involving reactive oxygen species.

22. Jean Gariépy

  • Development of protein- and oligonucleotide-based immune checkpoint modulators linked to autoimmune diseases and cancer immunotherapies.

23. Heiko Heerklotz

  • Liposomal drug delivery systems including thermoresponsive and asymmetric liposomes, micelles, and thermodynamics of lipid- and surfactant based formulations.

24. David Hampson

  • Autism, genetic disorders, gene therapy, neurological disorders, neurodevelopment disorders, Fragile X Syndrome, and Dravet Syndrome.

 

C.  Drug Safety

In this cluster, our research focuses on advancing our understanding and minimizing the adverse effects associated with drug use and misuse.

We study the safety of medications in the real world, and mechanisms of adverse and idiosyncratic drug reactions, molecular toxicology and environmental, pathophysiological or genetic factors governing drug efficacy and safety. We also examine the safe use of medications and explore ways to tackle the individual, societal and health system challenges related to inappropriate drug use and addiction.

Investigators:

1. Heather Boon

  • Natural health product adverse events and drug interactions.

2. Lisa Dolovich

  • Patient experience, ehealth tools, pharmacist monitoring and followup, and research training.

3. Lisa McCarthy

  • Prescribing cascades – medication adverse events, pharmacists interventions to optimize patient safety.

4. Beth Sproule

5. Jack Uetrecht

  • Mechanisms of immune-mediated idiosyncratic drug reactions.

6. Reina Bendayan

  • Mechanisms of drug-drug interactions, pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug transporters and metabolic enzymes.

7. Sandy Pang

  • ADME, Pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, drug metabolism, and transporters.

8. Peter Wells

9. Micheline Piquette-Miller

  • Transporters, drug-disease interactions, pharmacokinetics, pregnancy, infection and inflammatory disease, and pharmacogenetics.

10. Alison Thompson

  • Drug/vaccine safety and effectiveness ethics.

11. Shirley X.Y. Wu

  • Prevention of systemic and cardiotoxicity of anticancer drugs by drug delivery technologies.

12. Peter Wells

  • Genetic and environmental determinants of susceptibility to disease and drug/chemical toxicity involving reactive oxygen species.

13. Marisa Battistella

  • Nephro-pharmacology- pharmacokinetics. Pharmaogenetics, and pharmacist monitoring services.

14. Suzanne M. Cadarette

  • Real-world drug safety, pharmacoepidemiology, and self-controlled crossover observational study designs.

15. Carlo DeAngelis

  • Role of pharmacokinetics and implementation of therapeutic drug monitoring of anticancer medications to improve outcomes – reduced adverse effects and improved response – in oncology patients.

 

D.  Health Services Research

In this cluster, we explore diverse meanings of health and healthcare as well as their implications on structure, function and delivery of care for individuals, communities and populations.

Specific areas of expertise include: pharmacy practice; health human resources; medication therapy management services; quality improvement and program evaluation; community engagement; social, historical and economic aspects of health, healthcare, and the professions; health technology assessment; ethics; epidemiology; health and pharmacoeconomics; as well as knowledge translation and education.

Investigators:

1. Zubin Austin

  • Health human resources and organizational development.

2. Heather Boon

  • Regulation and policy related to natural health products, and traditional and complementary medicine.

3. Suzanne Cadarette

4. Lisa Dolovich

  • Medication management, program evaluation, implementation science, health in the home, community based and primary health care, mixed methods, randomized controlled trials, and quality improvement.

5. Sara Guilcher

  • Self-management, medication management, disability, integration of care, transitions of care, implementation science, program evaluation, quality improvement, system performance, mixed-methods, administrative health data, and qualitative methods.

6. Brian Hardy

  • Research ethics, program evaluation, quality improvement, and education.

7. Jillian Kohler

  • Access to medicines, global health, governance and corruption in pharmaceuticals systems, intellectual property rights, and corporate social responsibility.

8. Murray Krahn

9. Lisa McCarthy

  • Medication management, program evaluation, implementation science, community based and primary health care, medication experiences, transitions of care, mixed methods, randomized controlled trials, and quality improvement.

10. Elise Paradis

  • Sociology of medicine; inter-professional collaboration and education for collaboration, professional identity, and qualitative research methodologies.

11. Beth Sproule

12. Alison Thompson

  • Public health ethics, drug regulation ethics, and sociology of pharmaceuticals.

13. Peri Ballantyne

14. Ayman Chit

15. Tara Gomes

16. Paul Grootendorst

  • Economic aspects of the pharmaceutical industry, including drug development; pharmaceuticals use, insurance and reimbursement; and interactions between innovative (brand) and generic drug firms. Methods for program evaluation using observational data.

17. Jeffrey Hoch

18. Muhammad Mamdani

19. Linda Muzzin

20. Manny Papadimitropoulos

21. William WL Wong

  • Health technology assessment, economic evaluation, and pharmacoeconomics; decision analytic modeling.

22. Marisa Battistella

  • Nephro-pharmacology-medication optimization programs.

23. Suzanne M. Cadarette

  • Osteoporosis management, fracture prevention, drug effectiveness, pharmacy services, adherence to therapy, pharmacoepidemiology, and healthcare administrative data.

24. Carlo DeAngelis

  • Pharmacoeconomics of oncology drug therapy, and improving delivery of pharmacy services in the oncology setting.

 

E.  Clinical Pharmacy Research

The goal of researchers in the clinical research cluster is to improve the prevention and management of disease and injury in individuals.

Our research explores hypotheses and answers questions that arise in clinical practice. The focus is on enhancing the health and quality of life of individuals by optimizing the safety and effectiveness of medications. Specific areas of expertise of our researchers include clinical trials, clinical pharmacology, clinical pharmacokinetics, clinical pharmacodynamics, clinical pharmacogenomics, medication therapy management, and medication stewardship.

Investigators:

1. Marisa Battistella

  • Nephro-pharmacology- medication optimization, pharmacokinetics and pharmacogenetics.

2. Lisa Burry

3. Lisa Dolovich

  • Medication management, optimal aging, care provided by community pharmacists and primary care team pharmacists, cardiovascular and diabetes care.

4. Carlo DeAngelis

  • Optimize the prevention, mitigation and treatment of cancer treatment related side effects, genetic predisposition to adverse effects of anticancer therapies.

5. Lee Dupuis

6. Sara Guilcher

  • Self-management, medication management, integration of care, transitions of care, implementation science, program evaluation, and quality improvement.

7. Brian Hardy

  • Pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics, clinical pharmacology, and clinical trials.

8. Murray Krahn

9. Lisa McCarthy

  • Medication management, optimal prescribing including deprescribing, older adults, program evaluation, implementation science, community based and primary health care, transitions of care, mixed methods, and quality improvement.

10. Peter Pennefather

11. Lalitha Raman-Wilms

12. Beth Sproule

13. Anna Taddio

14. Sandra Walker

  • Infectious diseases, antimicrobial stewardship, antibiotics, dose optimization, pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics, resistance, and predictors.

15. Shinya Ito

16. Winnie Seto

17. Scott Walker

18. Heather Boon

  • Clinical trials of natural health products.