Portrait of Jonathan Rocheleau

Jonathan Rocheleau

Percy Edward Hart Professor in Biomedical Engineering & Associate Director, Research


Research Stream: Molecular Engineering

Email & Telephone: directory.utoronto.ca | Office: MaRS Discovery District, Princess Margaret Cancer Research Tower, 101 College Street, Room 10-361 (10th floor), Toronto, Ontario, M5G 1L7 Canada

Main Appointments

  • Institute of Biomedical Engineering
  • Scientist, Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network

Additional Appointments

  • Department of Physiology

Research Interests

Interaction between pancreatic islets and vascular endothelial cells is necessary for the maintenance of ß-cell mass and function.  Aside from acting as a conduit for molecular oxygen, vascular endothelial cells in vivo secrete the majority of islet extracellular matrix (ECM).  This ECM likely provides a permissive signal for ß-cell proliferation, contributing to the coordinated hyperplasia of these tissues during the early stages of Type 2 diabetes.  This ECM also provides a reservoir for heparin binding growth factors that further modulate this hyperplasia, including fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A).  We hypothesize that communication between ß-cells and vascular endothelial cells directs the proliferation and function of both tissues.

To examine ß-cell–vascular endothelial cell interaction, my lab uses a number of cutting-edge techniques: two-photon excitation microscopy, confocal microcopy, microfluidics, and live cell imaging of fluorescent proteins.  Current projects use cell culture and ex vivo pancreatic islet models.  These studies will advance our understanding of pancreatic islet communication, with a specific focus on the communication between ß-cell and vascular endothelial cells through FGF/FGFR1-signaling.

Keywords: Pancreatic islet, FGF/FGFR, Extracellular matrix, Two-photon microscopy, Confocal microscopy, Quantitative Live cell imaging

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