Prof Elected to Royal Society of Canada

September 05, 2008 - News Release

A University of Guelph scientist renowned for his work on the role of muscle activity in metabolic diseases has been elected to the Royal Society of Canada, considered Canada's senior academic honour.

Prof. Arend Bonen, a faculty member in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences and a Canada Research Chair in Metabolism and Health, is among 72 new fellows named this week. He will be inducted at a Nov. 15 ceremony in Ottawa.

Founded in 1882, the Royal Society of Canada is the country’s oldest and most prestigious scholarly organization. Scholars selected for the honour are those the society believes have had a profound impact on sciences, arts and humanities in Canada.

"Although I am honoured to have been elected a fellow, there are many people who have contributed to my efforts," Bonen said, naming technicians, graduate students, researchers and colleagues in his department and around the world.

"Present-day science relies extensively on these multi-faceted collaborations, without which my work would not have flourished," said Bonen, who joined U of G in 2003 from the University of Waterloo, where he was chair of the Department of Kinesiology. He also taught at Dalhousie University.

"We are delighted that Arend has been recognized with this prestigious honour," said Maureen Mancuso, provost and vice-president (academic). “Not only have his teaching and research enhanced the reputation of the University, but he is also helping to make a difference by focusing on solutions to significant human health issues."

Bonen's research combines physiological, biochemical and molecular approaches. It focuses on the mechanisms that regulate fuel (glucose and fats) entry and utilization in heart and muscle that enable normal functioning, such as beating of the heart. "These processes are very changeable," he said. "This can be seen when we exercise or endurance train or when diseases occur, such as diabetes."

Many of the same metabolic biochemical processes are also provoked by lifestyle factors such as eating a high-fat diet or living a sedentary lifestyle, he said. His studies suggest that hormones and metabolic signals in these tissues in people with excess body weight lead to cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

"This has brought about the recognition, via our work and that of others, that exercise can prevent or treat some types of diseases such as type 2 diabetes," Bonen said.

His research is supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario.

The author of numerous book chapters, Bonen is also part of the Canadian Obesity Network, a National Centres of Excellence. He is leading a team looking at the role of fat and muscle in obesity.

Bonen earned a BA from the University of Western Ontario and his M.Sc. and PhD from the University of Illinois. A former competitive swimmer, he is also a member of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology and the American Physiologic Society.

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs: Lori Bona Hunt, 519-824-4120, Ext. 53338/, or Deirdre Healey, Ext. 56982/

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