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About Sickkids
About SickKids

Zdenka Pausova, MD, FAHA

Research Institute
Senior Scientist
Translational Medicine

University of Toronto
Professor
Physiology & Nutritional Sciences


Phone: 416 813-7654 ext. 304340
Fax: 416 813-5771
Email: zdenka.pausova@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Sara Chowns
Alternate Phone: 416 813-7654 ext. 305130
Alternate Email: sara.chowns@sickkids.ca

Brief Biography

I graduated from the Medical School of Purkyne University in Brno, Czech Republic, received clinical training at the Institute of Clinical and Experimental Medicine in Prague, and research training at McGill University and the University of Montreal in Montreal, Canada. In 1998, I became Assistant Professor at the University of Montreal. In 2005, I moved to the United Kingdom to build a new Brain and Body Centre at the University of Nottingham. In 2010, I returned to Canada as Scientist at the SickKids Research Institute in Toronto. At present, I am Senior Scientist at this Institute and Professor of Physiology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto.

Research Interests

My research is focused on obesity and its health consequences, as they relate to cardiometabolic and brain health in adolescents and adults. We perform human cohort studies complemented with studies in animal models.
I co-founded the Saguenay Youth Study (http://www.saguenay-youth-study.org, Int J Epidemiol, 46:e19, 2017), which is a two-generational study of 2,000 adolescents and their parents, investigating the etiology, early stages and trans-generational trajectories of common cardiometabolic and brain diseases. The study involves a multidisciplinary team of researchers from six Canadian universities.
Our main findings from the Saguenay Youth Study suggest that (i) visceral adiposity associates adversely with cardio-metabolic health, brain structure and cognition already during adolescence; (ii) early life modifiers of the brain-reward system relate to both obesogenic eating and illicit drug use; and (iii) early (pre-natal and post-natal) and late (adolescent) environments shape the brain to influence brain ‘biological reserve’ in adulthood.

Research Methodology
We employ deep phenotyping of the brain and body at systemic and molecular levels. We analyze large data sets with advanced statistical modeling and bioinformatics (e.g., lipidomic profiling [Circulation, 134: 1629-1636, 2016] and genome/epigenome-wide association studies [Hum Mol Genet, 24: 5733-45, 2015, Environ Health Perspect, 123: 193-9, 2015]).
Replication is key in population-based research. We currently collaborate with a number of large cohorts and international consortia: (i) CHARGE Consortium (http://www.chargeconsortium.com/), (ii) Framingham Heart Study (https://www.framinghamheartstudy.org/), (iii) Northern Finland Birth Cohort (http://www.oulu.fi/nfbc/node/40694), (iv) Centre for Lifespan Changes in Brain and Cognition in Oslo (https://www.sv.uio.no/psi/english/research/groups/lcbc/index.html), and (v) BRIDGET Consortium (https://bridget.u-bordeaux.fr/Consortium).
To enhance our understanding of underlying biology, we perform complementary research in animal models (in collaboration with the Mouse Imaging Centre [http://www.mouseimaging.ca/]).
The main methodologies we use are:
• Human cohort studies
• Animal models
• Deep cardiovascular and metabolic phenotyping
• Magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and body
• Statistical modeling
• Genetics, epigenetics and bioinformatics
• Metabolomics


Lab Members
My lab has attracted students and fellows from a variety of academic backgrounds, including physiology, nutritional sciences, medical physics and statistics. The current members include:
• Jean Shin (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2013-present)
• Catriona Syme (Postdoctoral Fellow, 2015-present)
• Stephanie Pelletier (MSc Student, 2016-present)
• Manon Bernard (database architect, bioinformatics; 2000-present)

Publications

• Syme C, Pelletier S, Shin J, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard G, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Pike B, Strug L, Wang Y, Xu H, Taylor G, Bennett S, Paus T, Pausova Z. Visceral fat-related systemic inflammation and the adolescent brain. Int J Obes, In Press
• Pausova Z, Paus T, Abrahamowicz M, Bernard M, Gaudet D, Leonard G, Peron M, Pike GB, Richer L, Séguin JR, Veillette S. Cohort profile: The Saguenay Youth Study (SYS). Int J Epidemiol, 46:e19, 2017
• Syme C, Czajkowski S, Shin J, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard G, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Strug L, Wang Y, Xu H, Taylor G, Paus T, Bennett S, Pausova Z. Glycerophosphocholine metabolites and cardiovascular disease-risk factors in adolescents: a cohort study. Circulation, 134: 1629-1636, 2016
• Shin J, Bourdon C, Bernard M, Wilson MD, Reischl E, Waldenberger M, Ruggeri B, Schumann G, Desrivieres S, Leemans A; IMAGEN Consortium; SYS Consortium, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard G, Richer L, Bouchard L, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Layered genetic control of DNA methylation and gene expression: locus of multiple sclerosis in healthy individuals. Hum Mol Genet, 24: 5733-45, 2015
• Lee KWK, Richmond R, Hu P, French L, Shin J, Bourdon C, Reischl E, Waldenberger M, Zeilinger S, Bouchard L, Gaunt T, McArdle W, Ring S, Woodward G, Gaudet D, Davey-Smith G, Relton C, Paus T, Pausova Z. Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking and DNA methylation: epigenome-wide association in a discovery sample of adolescents and replication in an independent cohort at birth through 17 years of age. Environ Health Perspect, 123: 193-9, 2015
• Lee KWK, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard GT, Richer L, Perron M, Veillette S, Bouchard L, Gaudet D, Paus T, and Pausova Z. Prenatal exposure to cigarette smoke interacts with OPRM1 to modulate dietary intake of fat. J Psychiatry Neurosci, 40: 38-45, 2015
• Van Woudenberg M, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard G, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Visceral fat enhances blood pressure reactivity to physical but not mental challenges in male adolescents. Pediatr Obes, 10: 395-402, 2015
• Van Woudenberg M, Shin J, Bernard M, Syme C, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard GT, Richer L, Perron M, Veillette S, Bouchard L, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. CYP17A1 and blood pressure reactivity to stress in adolescence. Int J Hypertens, 2015: 734586, 2015
• Goodwin K, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard G, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Dietary vitamin A and visceral adiposity: a modulating role of the retinol-binding protein 4 gene. J Nutrigenet Nutrigenomics, 8: 164-173, 2015
• Schwartz DH, Dickie E, Pangelinan M, Leonard G, Perron M, Pike GB, Richer L, Veillette S, Pausova Z, Paus T. Adiposity is associated with structural properties of the adolescent brain. NeuroImage, 103: 192-201, 2014
• Haghighi A, Melka MG, Bernard M, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard GT, Richer L, Perron M, Veillette S, Xu CJ, Greenwood CMT, Dias A, El-Sohemy A, Gaudet D, Paus T, and Pausova Z. Opioid receptor mu 1 gene, fat intake and obesity in adolescence. Mol Psychiatry, 19: 63-8, 2014
• Haghighi A, Schwartz DH, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking, amygdala volume and fat preference in adolescence. JAMA Psychiatry, 70: 98-105, 2013
• Lee KWK and Pausova Z. Cigarette smoking and DNA methylation. Review. Front Genet, 4: 132, 2013
• Schwartz DH, Leonard G, Perron M, Richer L, Syme C, Veillette S, Pausova Z, Paus T. Visceral fat is associated with lower executive functioning in adolescents. Int J Obesity, 37:1336-43, 2013
• Melka MG, Gillis J, Bernard M, Abrahamowicz M, Chakravarty MM, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Banaschewski T, Barker GJ, Büchel C, Conrod P, Flor H, Heinz A, Garavan H, Brühl R, Mann K, Artiges E, Lourdusamy A, Lathrop M, Loth E, Schwartz Y, Frouin V, Rietschel M, Smolka MN, Ströhle A, Gallinat J, Struve M, Schumann G, the IMAGEN consortium, Pavlidis P, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. FTO, obesity and the adolescent brain. Hum Mol Genet, 1: 1050-8, 2013
• Melka MG, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T and Pausova Z. Clustering of cardiometabolic risk factors in adolescence: a role of visceral fat. PLoS One, 8: e82368, 2013
• Goodwin K, Syme C, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard G, Richer L, Perron M, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Routine clinical measures of adiposity as predictors of visceral fat in adolescence: a population-based magnetic resonance imaging study. PLoS One, 8: e79896, 2013
• Hojna S, Jordan MD, Kolias H, Pausova Z. High-fat diet induces emergence of brown-like adipocytes in white adipose tissue of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Hypertens Res, 35: 279-86, 2012
• Pausova Z, Mahboubi A, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T. Sex differences in the contributions of visceral and total body fat to blood pressure in adolescence. Hypertension, 59: 572-9, 2012

See other publications in: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=Pausova+Z