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Research summary

As cardiac myofibroblasts numbers are elevated in heart disease, Dr. Ian Dixon wants to determine their cellular control points to modulate their function. The mechanisms involved in stimulation of cardiac fibrosis are not fully understood. Usually the marginal attenuation of cardiac fibrosis because of a therapy is a beneficial side effect that may be coupled with other primary changes to other cells, especially cardiac myocytes. Very few drugs or agents are known to preferentially affect the behaviour of fibroblasts alone.

As little information about the exclusive production of collagen is available, or even about the biology of cardiac fibroblasts themselves, Dr. Dixon’s team is focused on these questions. Their efforts are directed on those signaling proteins (including SKI) that is known to repress fibroblast and myofibroblast activity in the heart. They are known for our work on profibrotic Smad proteins in heart and for our studies to investigate endogenous inhibitors, such as SKI protein effects.  The team is seeking to take advantage of naturally occurring proteins such as SKI in an effort to find a means of quelling cardiac fibrosis.

Biography

Dr. Dixon has worked as a professor of physiology at the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences since 1992. He obtained his PhD at UM in 1990, and then completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. During his career, he has published approximately 100 full-length research papers and 18 book chapters with 124 abstracts, and four books edited. Dr. Dixon is a past Medical Research Council (Canadian Institutes of Health Research) scholar, Manitoba Health Research Council (Research Manitoba) scholar, and has held studentships and post-doctoral fellowships from the Heart and Stroke Foundation and the CIHR. He is the past winner of the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba Robert E. Beamish Memorial Award for excellence in cardiovascular research (2002 and 2007), and a recipient of the Myles Robinson Heart Health Scholarship. He has served for many national and international review committees in basic cardiovascular sciences including chairing for reviews within the Heart and Stroke Foundation (Canada), and on five different CIHR committees as well as the U.S. National Institute of Health (NIH). Dixon has reviewed for Wellcome Trust, Zon MW (Netherlands), the CFI, MRC (UK), MITACS, and the Michael Smith Foundation.  Dr. Dixon has supervised the research activities of 34 graduate students (graduated) and is supervising two graduate students. He is a reviewer for various cardiovascular journals including Cardiovascular Research, Circulation, Circulation Research, American Journal of Physiology, J Cell Science, J Cell Physiology, Basic Research in Cardiology and others. He is married to Kelly and they have two children – Camille (25) and Keith (21).

Education

ORCID profile

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Physiology and Pathophysiology
432 Basic Medical Sciences Building
745 Bannatyne Avenue
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9 Canada

204-789-3696
204-789-3934