Six world-class research teams selected to investigate new frontiers in metabolism in health and disease

The Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) are pleased to announce the recipients of the Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program’s 5th call for proposals. These world-class research teams will direct their focus towards new frontiers in metabolism.

Selected from 44 proposals, the six winning teams will receive funding totaling up to CAD 7 million over the next three years. The awarded researchers are based in leading institutions in Canada and Israel and will include 14 researchers and trainees based in six developing countries.

Much remains to be learned about the biological causes of metabolic diseases, such as type 2 diabetes. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), metabolic syndrome is defined as a pathologic condition characterized by abdominal obesity, insulin resistance, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, coronary diseases, stroke and other disabilities. Over the past two decades, there has been a striking increase in the incidence of metabolic syndrome and other metabolic disorders worldwide, and notably in developing countries. The two basic forces spreading this syndrome are the increase in consumption of high calorie-low fiber fast food and the decrease in physical activity due to mechanized transportations and sedentary form of leisure and labour. Moreover, millions of people are facing a double health burden that represents an unsettling modern-day paradox: the impact of the poverty-related diseases associated with infections and undernutrition is being exacerbated by the emerging epidemic of metabolic diseases, which are associated with increasing affluence.

Using cutting-edge technologies, the research teams will investigate underlying biological mechanisms of prevalent metabolic conditions. The research will advance our understanding of the influence of factors such as the microbiome or circadian rhythms on the human metabolic system. Research findings from these projects may expand treatment options for these conditions.

The Canadian and Israeli teams will integrate researchers from Brazil, Thailand, Argentina, Cameroon, Colombia and Mexico. As collaborators or trainees, these researchers will contribute to, and benefit from, their involvement in the program with the overall aim of strengthening research capacity in their countries, promoting research excellence, and building long-lasting international scientific collaborations.

The Joint Canada-Israel Health Research Program (JCIHRP) is a seven-year, CAD 35 million partnership between the International Development Research Centre (IDRC), the Azrieli Foundation, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and the Israel Science Foundation (ISF) that draws on the scientific strengths of Canadian and Israeli researchers in the broad field of biomedicine. The program will fund 30 collaborative projects involving researchers from Canada and Israel, as well as collaborators from low- and middle-income countries.

Selected Metabolism Research Projects

The JCIHRP call for research proposals in the field of metabolism in health and disease was launched In November 2018. The proposals were evaluated by an international committee of 15 experts from 9 countries, chaired by Dr. Alvin C. Powers from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Six world-class teams were selected from among 44 proposals and will receive funding totaling up to CAD 7 million over the next three years.

The following list of selected projects is in alphabetical order according to the Canadian Nominated Principal Investigator’s surname.

  • Microbiome mediation of intestinal pathogen virulence through dietary aromatic compound metabolism

    Researchers: Marie Claire Arrieta Mendez (University of Calgary, Canada), Neta Sal-Man (Universitat Ben Gurion of the Negev, Israel), Luis Caetano Martha Antunes (Fundacao Oswaldo Cruz, Brazil)

  • G protein functional selectivity in metabolic disorders

    Researchers: Michel Bouvier (Université de Montréal, Canada), Mickey Kosloff (University of Haifa, Israel), Claudio Costa-Neto (Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil)

  • Transcription factor interplay as a driving force in the hepatic response to fasting and its dysregulation in metabolic disease

    Researchers: Carolyn Cummins (University of Toronto, Canada), Ido Goldstein (Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel), Luiz Romeiro (University of Brasilia, Brazil)

  • Metabolic and chromatin reprogramming of HSC during day-night oscillations and aging

    Researchers: John Dick (University of Toronto, Canada), Tsvee Lapidot (Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel), Regina Markus (Universidade de Sao Paulo, Brazil)

  • Immunometabolic roles and therapeutic potential of glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP)

    Researchers: Daniel Drucker (Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute, Canada), Chen Varol (Sourasky Medical Center, Tel-Aviv, Israel), Jean-Claude Mbanya (Université de Yaoundé, Cameroon), Amelio F. Godoy-Matos (Pontificia Universidade Catolica do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil), Bruno Geloneze (UNICAMP, Brazil), Joao Eduardo Salles (Santa Casa Medical School, Brazil), Sergio Zuniga-Guajardo (Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon, Mexico), Pablo Aschner (Universidad Javeriana, Colombia), Juan Jose Gagliardino (Universidad Nacional De La Plata, Argentina)

  • The role of iron homeostasis in the microbiome mediated modulation of metabolic syndrome

    Researchers: Gary Sweeney (York University, Canada), Esther Meyron-Holtz (Technion Faculty of Medicine, Israel), Brian Lee, Nisa Makruasi and Sivaporn Wannaiampikul (Srinakharinwirot University, Thailand)

Projects to be funded through this year’s competition (Metabolism in health and disease) will add to the 24 joint projects selected through the first four calls for proposals:

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