McDonald Scholarship Award 2007/2008 - Seubert

Dr. John Seubert
University of Alberta
A family of enzymes might play a crucial role in helping the heart recover from the effects of a heart attack – or perhaps even prevent such a damaging event from occurring in the first place. Called cytochrome P450 monooxygeanses (CYP), these proteins are already known as important metabolizers of drugs and compounds like fatty acids in the liver and kidney. These same enzymes are also found in the heart but their function there remains largely unknown.
Dr. John Seubert, an assistant professor in the University of Alberta’s faculty of pharmacy and pharmaceutical sciences, is focusing his work on how CYP acts in the body’s cardiovascular system. More specifically, he is examining several compounds activated by CYP, which appear to aid in the maintenance or repair of heart tissue.
These compounds, such as polyunsaturated fatty acids, are released naturally when damage occurs in blood vessels. But if the activity of CYP is compromised by factors like genetic traits or environmental influences such as diet, the body’s ability to deal with damage might also be compromised.
A better understanding of this process could enable us to define biochemical pathways for new forms of therapy, perhaps restoring or replacing the function of CYP, thereby enhancing the protection of the heart. The Heart and Stroke Foundation is pleased to honour Dr. Seubert’s research, which promises to lay the scientific foundation for significant progress in this area of research.