Scientific breakthroughs / impact
Dr. Tuana’s research has led to the identification of several novel genes in the human genome, which encode important proteins that are impacting various areas, including development and muscle as well as neuronal and cardiovascular function. While the principal focus of the group is on cardiac growth, remodeling the science is leading to insights into the fundamental processes that govern size expansion, membrane biology, signal transduction and gene regulation. Several genetic models have been generated (in mice and drosophila) with a view to understand the role of the tail anchored membrane protein SLMAP, the gene silencer E2F6 and CaMKII isoforms which impact the fundamental processes noted above. For example, mutations in SLMAP lead to Brugada syndrome, elevated CaMKII activity is linked to human heart failure and deregulated E2F activity leads to cell proliferation/death. Studies are now in progress to manipulate the biological activity of these proteins with a view to define therapeutic potential in human disease with a focus on cardiovascular disorders.
Accomplishments / Awards
Dr. Tuana was a scholar of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation and then received a Career Investigator Award from the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Ontario. He is a coleader of the Heart Failure Cluster in the Ottawa region and has contributed to building collaborations in the cardiovascular community. He chaired the Senior Research Peer Review Committee of the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation and serves on national and international peer review committees of major funding agencies. He initiated and developed the graduate program in Pharmacology, which he directed for 10 years. He is also the director of the Research Seminar Program and has spearheaded the initiation of several graduate courses in pharmacology and cardiovascular sciences.
Dr. Tuana’s research has been supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada and the Muscular Dystrophy Association.