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 Home / About Us > Dr Mathieu Ferron

Contact info

Dr Mathieu Ferron
Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal
110, des Pins Avenue West – Room 2750
Montreal, QC H2W 1R7

Tel: 1-514-987-5754
E-mail: mathieu.ferron@ircm.qc.ca

Link to Ferron Lab webpage

 

Research keywords

  • Metabolism
  • Diabetes
  • Bones
  • Osteoblast
  • Osteoclast
  • β-cells
  • Vitamin K

 

Mathieu Ferron, PhD
Assistant Professor of Medicine
Canada Research Chair in Bone and Energy Metabolism


Biographical Sketch

After completing his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Montreal, Dr Ferron joined the laboratory of Dr Jean Vacher within the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal (IRCM). There, he studied bone metabolism and in particular the molecular mechanisms regulating the differentiation of osteoclasts and completed his PhD in 2006, with focus on inositol polyphosphate 4-phosphatases functions in bone remodeling and bone mass. Dr Ferron moved to New York in 2006 to join the laboratory of Dr Gerard Karsenty at Columbia University as a post-doctoral fellow, where he studied a novel endocrine link between bones and glucose metabolism.

In 2013, he came back to the Institut de Recherches Cliniques de Montreal (IRCM) to start his own laboratory, where he is interested in the function of bone as an endocrine organ and in the role of vitamin K in glucose metabolism. His primary academic affiliation is with University of Montreal where he currently holds an appointment as Assistant Professor within the Faculty of Medicine.

Dr Ferron holds the Canada Research Chair in Bone and Energy Metabolism.

Click here for pdf CV


Selected Scientific Contributions

During is postdoctoral training Dr Ferron became interested in a novel endocrine interaction between bones and glucose metabolism. He contributed to the discovery that osteocalcin is a bone-derived hormone stimulating insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. He demonstrated that injections or infusions of recombinant osteocalcin in mice could be a therapeutic approach for the treatment of diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance. Dr Ferron also established that insulin signaling in bone cells, in particular in osteoblasts, was implicated in the control of whole body glucose homeostasis. Dr Ferron work also includes several studies on bone metabolism, in particular on the function and differentiation of osteoclasts and osteoblasts.

Click here for PubMed listing


Research Interests

Current projects in the laboratory fall into two areas:

Endocrine functions of bone and osteocalcin. It was discovered recently that bone functions not only as a scaffold for the rest of the body, but also as an endocrine organ. Bone cells secrete at least one hormone, osteocalcin, produced specifically by osteoblasts, which is implicated in the control of glucose metabolism. Our recent work has focused mainly on the regulation of osteocalcin activity by other hormones, including insulin, and the effect of osteocalcin on insulin secretion and insulin sensitivity. We are now interested in identifying and characterizing novel physiological and pathological roles of osteocalcin. We are also aiming to isolate additional bone-derived hormone(s), or "osteokines", involved in bone endocrine function.

Physiological and pathological function of vitamin K and γ-carboxylation. The only known biological function of vitamin K is to serve as a co-factor for the γ-glutamyl carboxylase (GGCX), an enzyme responsible for the conversion of glutamic acid residues (GLU) into γ-carboxyglutamic acid (GLA) residues in specific secreted proteins. This posttranslational modification is found in some coagulation factors (prothrombin, factor IX, etc.), in MGP, a protein implicated in tissue mineralization, and in osteocalcin, a bone-derived hormone affecting glucose metabolism. However, we still don't know all the γ-carboxylated proteins and their functions. Recent findings in humans and rodents suggest that vitamin K and γ-carboxylation may be involved in the control of energy metabolism and the development of obesity and diabetes. Our current goal is to address γ-carboxylation function in glucose metabolism in vivo through the generation of tissue-specific knockout mice for the enzymes implicated in this process. We are also planning to characterize, in a non-bias proteomic approach, the "γ-carboxylome" (i.e. identifying all the GLA proteins produced in tissues were the γ-glutamyl carboxylase is active).

   
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