Minna Woo, MD, FRCPC, PhD

The major research focus in the Woo laboratory is to elucidate molecular mechanisms that determine pathogenesis of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes, which are well known to increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. Our research interests include explaining mechanisms of islet apoptosis and survival in physiological and diabetic states. We are investigating many of the fundamental genes that are involved in cell survival and apoptosis, such as caspases, tumour suppressors and oncogenes. Many of these fundamental genes have essential physiological roles in metabolic tissues such as liver, muscle, adipose tissue, and the pancreatic islets. The roles of many of the fundamental genes are highly context dependent and are specific for the tissue in which they function. Using genetically engineered mice, we examine the whole body physiology as well as take biological, biochemical and molecular approaches to define physiological roles in specific tissues, in addition to defining its potential pathogenic role in diabetes. We also study the role of insulin resistance in cancer and cardiovascular diseases. These approaches to clarify tissue-specific molecular mechanisms have wide implications for better understanding and treatment of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes as well as its relationships to cancer and cardiovascular development.
J Cell Biol. 2019 Jan 29;:
Park YJ, Woo M
Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2018 Dec 04;:
Zhao X, Xu Y, Wu Y, Zhang H, Shi H, Zhu H, Woo M, Wu X
Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 18;8(1):13972
Zhang Y, Thai K, Jin T, Woo M, Gilbert RE
Cell Metab. 2018 Aug 22;:
Tsai S, Clemente-Casares X, Zhou AC, Lei H, Ahn JJ, Chan YT, Choi O, Luck H, Woo M, Dunn SE, Engleman EG, Watts TH, Winer S, Winer DA
J Endocr Soc. 2018 Apr 01;2(4):336-347
Costford SR, Tattoli I, Duan FT, Volchuk A, Klip A, Philpott DJ, Woo M, Girardin SE
Obesity (Silver Spring). 2018 Feb 06;:
Song Z, Revelo X, Shao W, Tian L, Zeng K, Lei H, Sun HS, Woo M, Winer D, Jin T
Trends Endocrinol Metab. 2017 Nov 27;:
Dodington DW, Desai HR, Woo M
Biomaterials. 2017 Sep 04;146:49-59
An M, Kwon K, Park J, Ryu DR, Shin JA, Lee Kang J, Choi JH, Park EM, Lee KE, Woo M, Kim M
Sci Rep. 2017 Aug 09;7(1):7653
Desai HR, Sivasubramaniyam T, Revelo XS, Schroer SA, Luk CT, Rikkala PR, Metherel AH, Dodington DW, Park YJ, Kim MJ, Rapps JA, Besla R, Robbins CS, Wagner KU, Bazinet RP, Winer DA, Woo M
JCI Insight. 2017 Jul 20;2(14):
Sivasubramaniyam T, Schroer SA, Li A, Luk CT, Shi SY, Besla R, Dodington DW, Metherel AH, Kitson AP, Brunt JJ, Lopes J, Wagner KU, Bazinet RP, Bendeck MP, Robbins CS, Woo M


Professor, Departments of Medicine and Immunology and Institute of Medical Science, University of Toronto
Head, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism
Canada Research Chair in Signal Transduction in Diabetes Pathogenesis