David A. Hood

David Hood headshotPhD (State University of New York)
Professor and Canada Research Chair in Cell Physiology
E–mail: dhood@yorku.ca
Research areas: Animal Biology/Physiology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

Research Focus

Studies on relationships between chromosome structure and genetic organization in higher eukaryotes; gene expression and its regulation; meiotic recombination; developmental genetics and the organization of the functional interphase nucleus.

Our research involves the study of the biogenesis and function of the mitochondrion in mammalian skeletal and cardiac muscles. Mitochondria have important roles in determining 1) the energy supply, and 2) the rate of apoptosis in cells. We actively investigate the role of exercise, and chronic muscle disuse on mitochondrial function and apoptosis. A number of experimental models in humans, animals and cells are used to manipulate the rate and extent of mitochondrial biogenesis. In skeletal muscle this includes chronic and acute electrical stimulation in vivo and in cell culture. In the heart we are mainly interested in the effects of thyroid hormone. Physiological, biochemical, and molecular biology techniques are employed using healthy tissues, and tissues obtained from patients with mitochondrial diseases. We focus on the regulation of gene transcription, the signals that activate transcription brought about by exercise, and the post-translational import and assembly of proteins into the newly synthesized organelle. We also study the role of mitochondria in mediating cell death via apoptosis pathways, and the role of reactive oxygen species production. We also study the involvement of mitochondria in the aging process, and the role of exercise in improving the aging-related decline in muscle function. This information will help us understand the regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis in muscle in response to exercise, and it has clinical relevance with respect to understanding the molecular basis of mitochondrial diseases in muscle and other tissues.

Representative publications:

Menzies, K.J., K. Singh, A. Saleem and D.A. Hood.Sirtuin 1-mediated effects of exercise and resveratrol on mitochondrial biogenesis. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23329826 J. Biol. Chem. 288: 6968-79, 2013

Ostojic, O., M.F. O'Leary, K. Singh, K.J. Menzies, A. Vainshtein and D.A. Hood. The effects of chronic muscle use and disuse on cardiolipin metabolism. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23221956 J. Appl. Physiol. 114: 444-452, 2013.

O'Leary, M.F., A. Vainshtein, S. Iqbal, O. Ostojic and D.A. Hood. Adaptive plasticity of autophagic proteins to denervation in aging skeletal muscle. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23220115 Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 304: C422-30, 2013.