My interest in mammalian biology began as a summer research student in the laboratory of Dr. Bob Church at the University of Calgary studying the control of early embryonic and transgenic development in murine and bovine systems in 1983. Later, I completed my 4th year Biochemistry thesis with Dr. Ken Stevenson developing new HPLC techniques for separating modified peptides.
I then moved to UBC’s department of Microbiology to work with virologist and cancer researcher, Dr. Tony Pawson on regulation of oncogene function. The following year, Tony moved the lab to the new Mt. Sinai Hospital Research Institute (now called Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute) where I completed my PhD in the department of Medical Biophysics at U of T.
Having developed a keen interest in applying the developments in molecular biology and cell signalling to potential improvements in cancer therapy, I then took up a Post-doctoral Fellowship with now retired CRC Tier 1 scholar, Carol Cass, at the University of Alberta. There I began to realize that nutritional, environmental and hormonal cues could be used to differentially alter metabolism in normal and tumor cells. After arriving in Guelph in 1991, I expanded this interest to show that fatty acids from fish oil and a number of phytochemicals and hormone active nutrients could alter both chemosensitivity of tumor cells to therapeutic agents, as well as modulate cell fate, particularly in blood cell development.
My major focus is on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control cell metabolism and to use this information to improve human health. Thus my work spans biology from individual signalling events within cells to whole animal human responses to dietary and lifestyle interventions in the clinical setting