Dr. Fabio Rossi and the Heart and Stroke Foundation

frossiDr. Fabio Rossi, Dept. of Medical Genetics/Biomedical Research Centre, University of British Columbia: “Funding from HSFBCY has allowed me to expand in an area of research that is completely new, not only for me but also in general: the role of stem/progenitor cells in modulating metabolism. This new interest stems from key findings obtained studying tissue regeneration. As often happens, we serendipitously discovered new cell types that may well play a key role in determining the likelihood of an individual to develop insulin resistance and the associated cardiovascular problems. This funding will allow us to focus on this novel aspect of stem cell biology and explore the potential of these cells to reduce cardiovascular risk.”

How does the body create fat cells? Dr. Fabio Rossi In recent years, scientists have come to a new understanding of body fat. New research shows us that fat cells produce key hormones that help regulate our metabolism, keeping our blood sugar and lipids in balance. But when fat cells expand, leading to excess fat, as happens in obesity, they are less able to play this vital role. This is one reason why obesity endangers our cardiovascular health. Yet, despite the importance of fat cells to our health, we know very little about how the body actually creates them. Dr. Rossi is one of Canada’s leading stem cell researchers. In earlier work, his lab focused on developing new methods for isolating the adult stem cells that create fat cells. Building on this, his team will now apply these techniques, trying to identify those stem cells in order to understand how they work and their role in metabolic control. This knowledge will lead to new paths for the prevention and treatment of obesity-related cardiovascular disease.