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Dr. Kelly A Meckling’s interest in mammalian biology began as a summer research student in the laboratory of Dr. Bob Church at the University of Calgary. She completed her PhD in the department of Medical Biophysics at University of T. She expanded this interest to show that fatty acids from fish oil and a number of phytochemicals and hormone active nutrients could alter both chemosensitivity of tumor cells to therapeutic agents, as well as modulate cell fate, particularly in blood cell development. Her major focus is on understanding the molecular mechanisms that control cell metabolism and to use this information to improve human health.
I am interested in the role of nutrition and diet in normal animal development and the processes that go awry in the development of chronic disease. I am specifically interested in the molecular mechanisms by which nutrients, phytochemicals and other components of food modulate cellular metabolism to affect cellular differentiation, cell proliferation and cell death. My core research program, supported by NSERC, is examining the signalling pathways involved in cellular responses to the hormone-active nutrient, calcitriol (1, 25 dihdyroxyvitamin D3). We are identifying signalling partners for a novel membrane vitamin D receptor (MARRS) and how these pathways interact with those of omega-3 fatty acids in normal blood and breast tissue development. These studies also have implications for the prevention and treatment of breast and blood cell cancers, since many of these pathways are dysfunctional or altered during the process of carcinogenesis.
In a secondary area of study, we are examining bioactive polyphenols (flavonoids, anthocyanins) found in highly coloured fruits and vegetables for activity as preventive or treatment agents for cardiovascular disease, diabetes and cancer. Many of the polyphenols we have studied (from red wine and osage orange) have potent antitumour activity and seem to spare normal tissues. We are examining the mechanisms by which these polyphenols achieve their selectivity and identifying their molecular targets.
Research Article: J Obes Weight Loss Ther