Medical Sciences
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T.c. Tai


Medical Sciences
Northern Ontario school of Medicine
Canada

Biography

2002-2004 Instructor Harvard Medical School, Dept. of Psychiatry McLean Hospital, Lab. of Mol. & Devel. Neurobiology Boston, MA, USA 1999-2002 Research Fellow Harvard Medical School, Dept. of Psychiatry McLean Hospital, Lab. of Mol. & Devel. Neurobiology Boston, MA, USA 1998-1999Research Fellow Stanford University Medical School Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences Palo Alto, CA, USA 1993-1998Ph.D. University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine Institute of Medical Sciences Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1991-1993 M.Sc. University of Toronto, Faculty of Medicine Dept. of Physiology Toronto, Ontario, Canada 1987-1991 B.Sc. Honours, University of Toronto, Faculty of Arts and Science Specialist Programme in Physiology Minor Programme in Economics Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Research Interest

Hypertension is a complex, multifactorial and polygenic disease that afflicts millions of people in North America each year. Seventy percent of the adult population over the age of 60 suffer from hypertension and are at increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease. The cause of essential hypertension is not well known, but is believed to involve both genetic and environmental influences. Epidemiological studies show that environmental and lifestyle factors (eg. stress, smoking, diet and alcohol consumption) increases the risk of developing hypertension. In addition, studies now suggest that factors affecting fetal development (eg. stress and undernutrition) can increase the risk of developing hypertension in adulthood. The focus of our laboratory is to understand the mechanisms responsible for the development and maintenance of hypertension and to assess how environmental influences can affect the molecular mechanisms associated with hypertension. The overall goals of our research are: 1) To identify the basic molecular mechanisms(s) involved in the development and maintenance of hypertension. 2) To determine the molecular mechanism(s) by which environmental influences increases the risk of developing hypertension 3) To determine whether pharmacological and/or molecular targeting of specific genes can be used as potential therapeutic targets. Currently, our research efforts have focused on understanding the intracellular pathways and molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of the catecholamine biosynthetic enzyme, phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase (PNMT), and how dysregulation of this gene may contribute to the pathophysiology of hypertension. Our research employs a cell to systems biology approach. The technical methodologies used in the research program include tissue culture, gene promoter analysis, gel mobility shift assays, western blot analysis, PCR, immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization, microarray analysis, and physiological measurements in rodents.

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