About Sickkids
About SickKids

Zdenka Pausova , MD

Research Institute
Physiology & Experimental Medicine

University of Toronto
Associate Professor

Phone: 416 813-7654 ext. 4340
Fax: 416 813-5771
e-mail: zdenka.pausova@sickkids.ca
Alternate Contact: Sarah Hammerton
Alternate Phone: 416 813-7654 ext. 6773
Alternate e-mail: sarah.hammerton@sickkids.ca

Brief Biography

Zdenka Pausova received her MD from the Purkyně University in Brno, Czech Republic in 1986. Following her clinical training in Prague, Czech Republic and research training at McGill University and the University of Montreal in Montreal, Canada, she was appointed as Research Assistant Professor at the University of Montreal in 1998. This was followed by a move to the University of Nottingham in Nottingham, United Kingdom where she was appointed as Principal Research Fellow in 2005. In 2010, she returned back to Canada and as a Scientist in Physiology & Experimental Medicine at SickKids and as an Associate Professor of Physiology and Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto. She co-directs the Saguenay Youth Study, which is a CIHR-funded program aimed at investigating cardiometabolic and mental health, and genetic modifiers, in 1,000 Canadian adolescents (http://www.saguenay-youth-study.org).

Research Interests

Obesity is a major risk factor of cardio-metabolic disease, a leading cause of morbidity and mortality in Canada. However, not all overweight and obese individuals develop the disease. The main objectives of Dr. Pausova's research are to understand the underlying pathways of obesity-induced cardiometabolic disease and to provide a practical means of identifying overweight and obese children and adolescents who are at risk of future cardio-metabolic disease and who should be targeted for early intervention and prevention. In this effort, Dr. Pausova combines human population-based studies with those in rat genetic models.

  • Obesity and cardio-metabolic disease in adolescence
  • Eating behavior, addiction and the adolescent brain
  • Induction of brown fat as a protection against diet-induced obesity

Research Methodology

  • Cardiovascular Physiology
  • Nutrition and Metabolism
  • Epidemiology
  • Population Genetics
  • Experimental Medicine and Genetics

Current Lab Members
Students and Postdoctoral Fellows:

  • Melkaye Gebreselassie Melka (PDF, 2010-present)
  • Amir Haghighi (M.Sc., 2010-present)
  • Mariel van Woundenberg (M.Sc., 2010-present)


  • Manon Bernard (database architect, bioinformatics; 2000-present)
  • Helen Kollias (research lab manager, 2010-present)
  • Celine Bourdon (research technologist, 2011-present)
  • Katie Goodwin (research assistant, 2011-present)


1. Obesity and cardio-metabolic disease in adolescence

  • 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
  • Melka M, Bernard M, Mahboubi A, Abrahamowicz M, Paterson A, Syme C, Lourdusamy A, Schumann G, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Genome-wide scan for genes of adolescent obesity and their relationship with blood pressure. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 97(1):E145-150, 2012
  • Pausova Z, Abrahamowicz M, Mahboubi A, Syme C, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T. Association between functional variation in the androgen-receptor gene and intra-abdominal fat and blood pressure in male adolescents. Hypertension 55:706-14, 2010
  • Syme C, Abrahamowicz M, Mahboubi A, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking and accumulation of intra-abdominal fat during adolescence. Obesity 18:12021-5, 2010
  • Pausova Z, Syme C, Leonard GT, Perron M, Richer L, Veillette S, Davey-Smith G, Seda O, Tremblay J, Hamet P, Gaudet D, and Paus T. A common variant of the FTO gene is associated not only with increased adiposity but also elevated blood pressure in French-Canadians. Circulation/Cardiovascular Genetics 2: 260-269, 2009
  • Syme C, Abrahamowicz M, Leonard G, Pitiot A, Perron M, Qiu X, Richer L, Totman J, Veillette V, Gaudet D, Paus T, Pausova Z. Intra-abdominal adiposity and the metabolic syndrome in adolescence: Gender differences and underlying mechanisms. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 162:453-61, 2008
  • Pausova Z, Gaudet D, Gossard F, Bernard M, Kaldunski ML, Jomphe M, Tremblay T, Hudson T, Bouchard G, Kotchen TA, Cowley AW Jr, Hamet P. Genome-wide scan for obesity-associated hypertension in French Canadians. Hypertension. 46:1280-5, 2005

2. Eating behavior, addiction and the adolescent brain

  • Paus T, Bernard M, M. Chakravarty M, Davey Smith G, Gillis J, Lourdusamy A, Melka MG, Leonard G, Pavlidis P, Perron M, Pike GB, Richer L, Schumann G, Timpson N, Toro R, Veillette S, Pausova Z. KCTD8 gene and brain growth in adverse intrauterine environment: a genome-wide association study. Cerebral Cortex, In Press
  • Lotfipour S, Ferguson E, Leonard G, Perron M, Pike B, Richer L, Séguin JR, Toro R, Veillette S, Pausova Z, Paus T. Prenatal exposure to maternal cigarette smoking interacts with a polymorphism in the α6 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor gene to influence drug use and striatum volume in adolescence. Molecular Psychiatry 15:6-8, 2010

3. Induction of brown fat as a protection against diet-induced obesity

  • Hojna S, Jordan MD, Kollias H, Pausova Z. Induction of brown fat adipogenesis in white adipose tissue by a chronic high-fat diet in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Hypertension Research, 35:279-86, 2012
  • Bourdon C, Hojna S, Jordan M, Berube J, Kren V, Pravenec M, Liu P, Arab S, Pausova Z. Genetic locus on rat chromosome 20 regulates diet-induced adipocyte hypertrophy: a microarray gene-expression study. Physiological Genomics 38: 63-72, 2009
  • Pausova Z. From big fat cells to high blood pressure: a pathway to obesity-associated hypertension. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens. 15: 173-178, 2006
  • Pausova Z, Sedova L, Berube J, Hamet P, Tremblay J, Pravenec M, Kren V, Kunes J. The TNFα-gene segment of rat chromosome 20 determines diet-induced augmentations of adiposity, glucose intolerance, and blood pressure. Hypertension, 41: 1047-5, 2003