Dr. Peter Zahradka

University of Manitoba

Dr. Zahradka is a professor in the departments of Physiology and Pathophysiology & Food and Human Nutritional Sciences. His lab has a long-standing interest in the cellular and molecular processes that control the functional properties of blood vessels. Their research in this area is going in two distinct directions. First, they are attempting to understand the relationship between vascular disease and metabolism. The lab believes that a better understanding of how metabolic dysfunction negatively affects blood vessels will lead to better treatments for preventing deaths caused by these conditions.

Second, the laboratory is investigating whether nutritional intervention with novel supplements or food products can be used in the treatment or prevention of cardiovascular disease. In this case, atherosclerosis is the main research focus. Specifically, identifying and characterizing new bioactive molecules from plants, and employing both animal and human studies to examine efficacy and safety of these molecules is the approach being taken. The availability of some unique equipment that allows the isolation of individual bioactives from the very complex mixtures present in plant extracts provides a huge advantage in performing this type of analysis. Proficiency in cell culture and analytical chemistry also helps in determining which biological factors capable of influencing blood vessel function are influenced by specific bioactive ingredients in our food, especially in the context of atherosclerosis, obesity and diabetes. Given the importance of diet to these diseases, nutritional intervention is an important component of the lab’s research efforts.

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