| > Dr. Dusica Maysinger
The research performed by Dr. Maysinger's laboratory has contributed
to our understanding of the underlying mechanisms of pancreatic
islet cell death and long term complications in diabetes. Therapeutic
interventions based on novel self-assembly drug delivery systems
originated at a time when non-viral delivery of trophic factors
and genetically engineered cells had just begun. In collaboration
with Drs. Shaver and Eisenberg from the Chemistry Department at
McGill University, Dr. Maysinger has investigated small insulinomimetic
agents and block copolymer micelles. Long-term collaboration with
Dr Rosenberg provided insight into the molecular mechanisms of cell
death in human islets, and they are now investigating the effectiveness
of a pentadecapeptide derived from Islet Neogenesis Associated Protein
(Ingap). As clinical trials with Ingap peptide are in progress,
it is becoming clear that there is a critical need for an improved
drug delivery system for this candidate antidiabetic drug. Nonviral,
biocompatible drug delivery systems should deliver the peptide at
levels and rates known to be effective and associated with minimal
adverse reactions. Dr. Maysinger's team is developing novel drug
delivery methods that will promote islet cells, or progenitor cells
that will transform into islet cells, that allow these cells to
survive and function (secrete insulin) normally.
Dr. Maysinger has trained many students over the years, including
a large number of undergraduate students who sought inspiration
and enthusiasm for science. She is a coordinator of the course Research
Projects in Pharmacology, and more than 20 students who have taken
this course have pursued research careers. Dr. Maysinger creates
an exciting research team environment that is both multi-cultural
and multi-disciplinary. Her many students are now working at Universities
in the US and Europe, and at major pharmaceutical companies.
Dr. Dusica Maysinger
Dr. Dusica Maysinger was trained at the University
of Southern California, USA, where she obtained her M.Sc. in 1973
and Ph.D. in 1976. Her Ph.D. thesis dealt with the development of
radiolabeled steroids and structural analogs for diagnostic purposes,
and drug design based on structure-function relationships. These
studies pointed to the exciting field of degenerative changes in
the nervous system. Dr. Maysinger was a research fellow (Alexander
von Humoldt fellowship) and worked on neurodegeneration in Germany
at the Max Planck Institute (Muchen) and at the University of Heidelberg.
She subsequently became a member of Dr. Cuello's team at Oxford
(UK) and a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University's Department
of Pharmacology where she continues her research on molecular mechanisms
underlying degenerative changes in the nervous system. She was appointed
Assistant Professor in Pharmacology at McGill in 1987 and then Associate
Professor in 1992. Dr. Maysinger has participated in numerous local
and international collaborations throughout her scientific career.
One productive collaboration, is focused on discovering mechanisms
underlying cell death and degeneration in diabetes with Dr. L. Rosenberg
(McGill University, Department of Surgery) and Dr. M. Prentki (University
of Montreal, Nutrition Department).
The scientific contributions of Dr. Maysinger have been acknowledged
by various national and international agencies, including the US
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF), the Canadian Institute
of Health Research (CIHR), the Canadian National Science Research
Council (NSERC) and the PTP (Partnership for Tomorrow) programs.
Dr. Maysinger has received many North American and European career
awards and fellowships, including, the Fullbright Fellowship, the
Alexander von Humoldt Fellowship, the FRSQ Bourse de Perfectionement,
the British Council Award, and the European Training Program Fellowship.
Dr. Maysinger has collaborated with Dr. Lawrence Rosenberg
(McGill University, Department of Surgery) for the past six years,
and together with Dr. Mark Prentki (Université de Montréal,
Department of Nutrition), they have recently formed the new JDF
Center for Beta-Cell Replacement in Montreal.