Max Rady College of Medicine
Physiology and Pathophysiology
Room 527 John Buhler Research Centre
715 McDermot Avenue
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 0W2
Type 1 Diabetes (T1D) is a life-long metabolic disease of insulin deficiency due to autoimmune destruction of pancreatic beta cells. The disease is frequently diagnosed in children and adolescents affecting approximately 1 in 300 in Canada with numbers rising year over year.
Although insulin therapy can manage the disease, it is not a cure and people living with T1D are still at risk for a number of diabetes-related complications as they age. As 2021 marks the centenary of the discovery of injectable insulin as a treatment for T1D, it is remarkable that we still have not moved beyond this temporary approach to develop a clinically sustainable preventive therapy or cure.
T1D is typically understood as a pediatric autoimmune disease where pancreatic beta cells are mere passive targets of destruction. In contrast with this paradigm, a growing body of work indicates an active role of beta cells in T1D pathology.
Dr. Peter Thompson’s basic and translational research program uses multidisciplinary approaches spanning endocrinology, immunology and cell biology to understand the pathogenesis of T1D from the perspective of the beta cells. His lab’s long-term goal is to develop therapies that can prevent disease progression and restore beta cell function in people living with T1D.
Dr. Thompson completed a BSc in genetics and MSc in molecular biology at the University of Alberta. He went on to earn a PhD in medical genetics at the University of British Columbia (UBC), where he investigated mechanisms of epigenetic regulation and fate decisions in embryonic stem cells.
During his graduate training, he was the recipient of numerous research awards, including the inaugural UBC medical genetics Patricia A. Baird research award and a NSERC postgraduate scholarship.
He conducted postdoctoral training at the Diabetes Center at the University of California San Francisco, changing fields and applying his prior training in epigenetics to investigate islet biology and Type 1 Diabetes.
His postdoctoral work discovered a novel stress response in beta cells in T1D and demonstrated its therapeutic potential, for which he received the Lawrence A. Smookler Distinguished Research Scientist prize in diabetes from the Larry L. Hillblom Foundation.
In 2020, he joined the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences in the department of physiology and pathophysiology as an assistant professor and a principal investigator in the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM) where his newly formed research lab investigates basic and translational questions in islet biology and T1D.