The Wheeler lab employs a systems-physiology approach to research using innovative high-throughput techniques, incorporating mass-spectrometry and the membrane yeast two-hybrid system. This approach enables the Wheeler lab to perform powerful screens capable of revealing novel targets at an unprecedented rate. These screens are complemented by primary research that utilizes primary cells, cell lines and mouse models to ensure the results are biologically relevant. The lab focuses on two exciting research streams:
- Assessing the Diabetic Effect on Metabolism in Humans using MetabolomicsThe Wheeler lab is exploring the use of metabolomics as a tool to directly assess the diabetic effect on metabolism in humans. Metabolomics is a recent technological advance that characterizes metabolites, the final compounds of chemical reactions and those most relevant to metabolic diseases such as diabetes. This approach forms the basis of multiple predictive- and causative-oriented investigations in our lab for gestational and type 2 diabetes.
- Identification of GLP-1R Interactors as Potential Drug Targets for Type II DiabetesUsing high-throughput technologies, incorporating mass spectrometry and MYTH screening, the Wheeler lab has identified a large number proteins that interact with the glucagon like peptide-1 receptor (GLP-1R) in a variety of tissues, including mouse and human islets. Following the identification and verification of GLP-1R interactors, members of the Wheeler lab characterize potential functional changes to glucose stimulated insulin secretion, GLP-1 binding, and proliferation and survival. Ultimately, candidate GLP-1R interactors that elicit significant functional changes are selected for further mechanistic studies. Identifying and characterizing GLP-1R interactors may reveal potential drug targets that can be utilized to improve the lives of those living with type 2 diabetes.
Senior Scientist, Toronto General Hospital Research Institute (TGHRI)
Professor, University of Toronto, Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine