Cancer is a disease state that arises from perturbations in the mechanisms that regulate normal cell growth and division. Increased rates of cellular proliferation lead to tumour formation and, in many instances, to significant morbidity and mortality. Studies in our Department are directed towards understanding the molecular mechanisms that lead to tumour formation and the development of anti-cancer drugs.
Cardiovascular pharmacology concerns the effects of drugs on the heart, the vascular system and those parts of the nervous system involved in regulating cardiovascular function. Research in our Department is directed at understanding the molecular basis of cardiovascular diseases such as hypertension, arrhythmias and congestive heart failure.
Cells are literally bombarded with signals from their environment and they must receive and interpret them correctly and with high fidelity. How cells communicate is central to most biological processes and disruption of this communication forms the basis of many human diseases. The Department has strengths in many aspects of cellular signalling and the roles it plays in development, physiology and disease progression.
Drug Development uses the techniques of medicinal and combinatorial chemistry as well as molecular modeling to successfully identify and design drugs that will be useful in the treatment of disease states. Our Department is involved in the identification of novel drug targets, better strategies to specifically target drugs to where they are needed and the development of new allosteric and biased ligands for established drug targets.
Epigenetics refers to heritable genetic information not encoded in the DNA sequence. Epigenetic regulation of gene expression is important for normal cellular physiology and may play key roles in both diease progression and responses to therapeutic intervention. The Department is at the cutting edge of this expanding area of research.
Nanomedicine ranges from the medical applications of nanomaterials (materials whose structure is on the scale of billionths of a meter), to nanoelectronic biosensors, and even possible future applications of molecular nanotechnology. Nanomaterials can be useful for both in vivo and in vitro biomedical research and applications. Thus far, the integration of nanomaterials with biology has led to the development of diagnostic devices, contrast agents, analytical tools, physical therapy applications, and drug delivery vehicles. Current problems for nanomedicine involve understanding the issues related to toxicity and environmental impact of nanoscale materials.
Neuroscience is the study of the central and peripheral nervous systems and involves the coordinated effort of both clinical and basic scientists. Members of our Department study a number of debilitating disease states such as Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, neuropathic pain and drug addiction. Investigations in this field are, by definition, multidisciplinary in nature, involving the use of state-of-the-art experimental approaches such as molecular biology, electrophysiology, neurochemistry and imaging techniques.
Yves De Koninck
Jean Francois Trempe
Reproduction and Development
Reproduction and development are fundamental processes that govern propagation of all species. Contraceptives and infertility drugs have had a profound impact on society. Members of our Department study various aspects of the development and function of the reproductive system as well as how certain drugs act to combat infertility.
Toxicology is the study of the adverse effects of drugs and other chemical agents on the organism. Our Department is focused on chemicals that affect embryonic development as well as the reproductive system.