Current Projects

GETBAT team at annual retreat 2017

Project: Gene Environment Team on Brown/Beige Adipose Tissue (GET_BAT)

Funding Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Principal Investigators: Dr. Gregory Steinberg & Dr. Katherine Morrison

About GET_BAT: More than 5 million Canadians have obesity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and type 2 diabetes (T2D) and their prevalence in the population is rapidly increasing. Centre Co-Directors, Greg Steinberg and Katherine Morrison, and their team, which includes André Carpentier (Sherbrooke), Alison Holloway, Waliul Khan, Andrew McArthur, Kei Sakamoto (Nestle), Jonathan Schertzer, Deborah Sloboda, and Michael Surette, are working to understand the underlying causes of these chronic, interrelated diseases. Brown adipose tissue (BAT), frequently characterized as the body’s furnace, has the unique capability to burn large amounts of sugar and fat, and effectively dissipates this energy as heat. In individuals with obesity or T2D the ability to switch on BAT is compromised, but the reasons for this are not well understood. The GET_BAT team is examining how agricultural and food processing practices may regulate BAT metabolic activity, directly, or indirectly by altering the gut microbiome. These studies will help us develop new strategies to enhance BAT activity that may be effective for treating and preventing obesity, NAFLD and T2D.

Project: Energy Sensing and Metabolism: From Mechanisms to New Therapies

Funding Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Gregory Steinberg

About the Project: The explosive increase in type 2 diabetes across Canada and around the world in all demographics and ethnicities poses a substantial risk not only to the individuals affected but to society at large given the huge economic burden of managing the serious events of the disease. It has been recognized for decades that there is a strong connection between type 2 diabetes and heart disease but despite substantial research there are very few treatments which effectively reduce the effects of type 2 diabetes on promoting heart disease. Dr. Steinberg studies key molecules/proteins which control how the body uses energy and is developing and testing new medicines that specifically impact these proteins in liver and adipose tissue in order to treat people with type 2 diabetes.

baby and mi and baby and pre-mi study logos

Projects: Baby & Mi and Baby & Pre-Mi Studies

Funding Agencies: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) & Joint Programming Initiative "A Healthy Diet for a Healthy Life"

Principal Investigators: Dr. Eileen Hutton & Dr. Katherine Morrison

About Baby & Mi: The “ecosystem” of bacteria in our gut, also known as the gut flora or intestinal microbiota, is important to our health throughout our lives. Researchers think that the types of organisms that we pick up within the first weeks of life may determine the makeup of our gut bacteria for the long term. This study is among the first in North America to investigate factors that may alter the gut bacteria that we pick up in the first 3 years of life.

About Baby & Pre-Mi: The Baby & Pre-Mi Study is examining the microorganisms normally found in the gut that help us digest food and fight infections. We are interested in studying how premature babies pick up these microorganisms during birth and early life, and how they are connected to health. Participants will be followed with their single baby or twins until they are three years old.

canadian pediatric weight management registry

Project: Canadian Pediatric Weight Management Registry (CANPWR)

Funding Agency: Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)

Principal Investigator (PI): Dr. Katherine Morrison

About CANPWR: The CANPWR Study is a national study that is measuring different health outcomes of children and youth registered in 10 different weight management programs across Canada. We aim to track the progress of our study participants over a 3-year period and identify what factors help individuals reach their goals in the weight management programs. 

Why is CANPWR Important: CANPWR will help us understand how the health of children changes when they are part of a program to help with their eating habits and physical activity. No one has collected this data before!


Participate in Research!

Researchers from the Centre for Metabolism, Obesity and Diabetes Research may need volunteers to participate in ongoing research studies. If you or your child are interested in participating in research, check out the studies that are currently accepting participants.

The GETBAT Study

We are currently recruiting boys between the ages of 8-10 years old to participate in a study to help us learn more about brown fat and liver fat. Brown fat is a special type of tissue that burns calories. You and your son can learn about scientific research, his fat, muscle and physical activity. We will measure the brown fat using an MRI and by taking thermal pictures. Your participation will benefit your community and contribute to scientific research in metabolism. Upon completion of the study, each child receives compensation and a participation certificate!

If you are interested in learning more about what is involved in participating in the study, please contact our research team!

Phone: 905-525-9140 ext. 21407



Cardiovascular Health in children with a chronic inflAMmatory condition: role of Physical activity, fItness and inflammatiON

Children growing up with a medical condition might be at a greater risk for heart disease than healthy children. We don’t know if this is because of their medical condition, or because of lifestyle factors, such as not getting enough exercise, or a combination of both. The goal of The CHAMPION Study is to study heart health, as well as the factors that might affect heart health, in the most common chronic diseases of childhood. This study is funded by the Heart & Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Click here to learn more about this study:

If you are interested in learning more about what is involved in participating in the study, please contact us:

Phone: 905-521-2100 ext. 73571


Older Adults with Type 1 Diabetes

We are looking for men and women with and without type 1 diabetes (30 to 80 years-old) to participate in a research study regarding the health of their muscles. The information from this study will help us to better understand adult muscle health and will be extremely valuable when designing ways to prevent, slow, or even reverse muscle problems that are associated with aging and type 1 diabetes. If you are interested in participating, or want to know more about the study, please contact our research team!

Phone: 905-525-9140 ext. 21834



We are always looking for new Centre members and collaboration opportunities. It is our goal to not only work together as Centre members but to educate and train the next generation of clinicians and research scientists to significantly impact the health and well-being of Canadians across the lifecourse. 

Katherine Morrison (left) and Emily Day (right)