My lab conducts research on several areas related to cardio-respiratory physiology and pathophysiology. For example, we are studying: 1) how the heart initially adapts to hypertension before the development of contractile dysfunction and heart failure; 2) skeletal and cardiomyocyte cell signalling during normal and hypoxic conditions; 3) proteomic alterations that occur in limb muscles during exercise; 4) key post-translational modifications of myofilament proteins that arise during the development of whole muscle dysfunction as a result of fatigue or ischemia; and, 5) dyastolic dysfunction in various physiological and pathological states, such as aging, sex differences, and models of heart failure.Learn More
Keyword: Cardiovascular disease
My background is in molecular and cell biology of lipid metabolism. Currently, my students and I work on the regulation of membrane phospholipids, fatty acids, and methyl-group donors. More specifically, we look at regulation of genes involved in choline transport and phospholipid metabolism; nutrient transporters and kinetics of membrane transport; molecular and cell biology of lipids; the effect of nutrients on protein synthesis and gene expression; and, nutritional genomics (nutrigenomics) of risk factors for cardiovascular disease and insulin resistance.Learn More
My research is primarily focused on understanding the regulation of mitochondrial bioenergetics, with a particular interest in studying fatty acid oxidation (breakdown of fat yielding energy) in skeletal and cardiac muscle. We also study human exercise performance as well as type 2 diabetes, heart failure, diabetic cardiomyopathy and various neuropathologies, all conditions that have been affiliated with alterations in mitochondria as a key event in the progression and/or development of the disease.Learn More
Ongoing projects include:
1) Examining cardiac remodeling in zebrafish and trout in response to thermal acclimation.
2) Characterizing the role of the troponin complex in regulating the function of striated muscle.
3) Examining the function of the hagfish heart during prolonged anoxia exposure.
4) Examining the change in diaphragm function during the onset of heart failure.
5) Characterizing how bitumen exposure of sockeye salmon early life stages influences cardiac development and aerobic fitness.
Prof. Dawson studies the impact of inherited changes in heart muscle proteins to understand what is going wrong in patients with heart diseases so that we can develop specific strategies to treat the problem. His research takes the research from molecules to organisms, studying the biochemistry of proteins and the development and physiology of zebrafish with changes in their hearts reflecting those seen in people with diseases.
Prof. Dawson's education research focuses on learning outcome assessment in general and the development, implementation, and assessment of critical thinking through higher education science curricula in particular.
The primary aim of my research is to better understand the mechanisms that control, and functional consequences of, sympathetic outflow at rest and during stress in humans with and without cardiovascular disease. To uncover these mechanisms, my laboratory employs direct intra-neural recordings of postganglionic sympathetic traffic, studying both multi- and single-fibre preparations. Additionally, we are also interested in understanding the mechanisms responsible for the large inter-individual variability in blood pressure responses to stress, as well as testing novel interventions to reduce resting blood pressure, a major modifiable risk factor for cardiovascular disease.Learn More