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Research & Initiatives

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NMR-based metabolomics in placental and fetal brain tissue

During pregnancy, appropriate placental metabolism is essential for fetuses to reach their growth potential; however, metabolic mechanisms during pregnancy remain poorly understood. Our group uses high-resolution magic angle spinning magnetic resonance spectroscopy (HRMAS MRS) in experimental mice to study fetal brain and placental metabolism. This work is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. 

H NMR spectrum of a mouse placental tissue sample.

Schneider et al. Metabolomics (2022)

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Impact of environmental exposures on placental and fetal growth

Exposure to toxic chemicals in utero is known to impact fetal development and increase risk for chronic diseases later in life. Our group exposes pregnant mice to established and novel environmental toxicants to establish the effects on placental function and fetal development. This work is supported by the Banting Research Foundation and the Government of Canada's New Frontiers in Research Fund. 

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Aghaei et al. Environmental Science and Technology Letters (2022)

Brain metabolism and neurodegenerative diseases

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The decrepit mouse model recapitulates important clinical features of neurodegenerative diseases including a stereotypical pattern of progression of neurodegeneration (illustrated here from in vivo MRI brain images).

Cahill et al. J Neurosci (2020)

The brain is one of the most metabolically active organs in the body and healthy brain metabolism is critical for normal memory and cognitive function. Recent evidence suggests a link between metabolic dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases. The goal of this project is to improve the understanding of brain metabolism in neurodegenerative diseases through the use of HRMAS MRS and a novel mouse model that reproduces several of the clinical features of Alzheimer's disease. This work is supported by the Alzheimer Society Research Program.