Queen's professor a world leader in vascular disease research
By Anne Craig, Communications Officer
For the past five years, Queen’s University researcher Donald Maurice (Biomedical and Molecular Sciences) has headed the Cardiac, Circulatory and Respiratory (CCR) research program in the Faculty of Health Sciences, a group of more than 30 clinicians and basic scientists who research the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular and respiratory diseases.
The close partnership between clinicians and basic scientists in the CCR contributes greatly to the strength of the program, allowing research findings to be more quickly put into practice.
Dr. Maurice’s laboratory is currently examining the underlying causes of vascular disease by testing the idea that healthy cells carry out their various functions by grouping together proteins required and allowing them to interact within defined compartments.
“It’s like what happens in a functional city,” says Dr. Maurice. “The core of the city and the surrounding areas each serve distinct functions and in each you will find infrastructure that sub-serves these functions. In other words: location, location, location.”
This CIHR-funded research on cell compartments will provide a better understanding of what goes wrong in diseases such as atherosclerosis and heart failure.
“This is why I get out of bed in the morning. I want to understand everything better than I do right now,” says Dr. Maurice, “I want to identify new approaches to target dysfunctional proteins, which in turn will allow us to make better and more effective drugs to treat these diseases.”
Dr. Maurice’s passion for his research is obvious, and it is accompanied by a strong work ethic, which grew from his roots in northern Ontario and his undergraduate summer experiences as an iron worker.
He earned his doctorate at McMaster University under the late Professor Richard Haslam.
“Richard trained under Sir Hans Krebs, who won the Nobel Prize in 1953, and he instilled in me this desire to understand things at a fundamental level and also how to apply it,” says Dr. Maurice. “My early research subject was blood platelets and how they impact our overall health.”
During the past year Dr. Maurice was invited to speak at the NATO Advanced Research Workshop in Yalta, Ukraine, the Pharmacology of Heart Failure Workshop in Bratislava, Slovakia and the 10th World Congress of the International Society for Adaptive Medicine in Bucharest, Romania. The Maurice lab uses the CIHR-funded research on cell compartments.
For more information on the CCR click here.