For Tara Haas, it’s in the blood


Prof. Tara Haas receives a CFI certificate from Stan Shapson, VP research & innovation

The Canada Foundation for Innovation recently sent a certificate of congratulations to Prof. Tara Haas, one of several York faculty members who have received CFI grants during the past year.

Haas, a professor in York’s School of Kinesiology & Health Science, is working on the development of more effective strategies for the stimulation of new blood vessel growth.

Her research may result in new clinical therapies for treatment of cardiac and peripheral limb ischemias (insufficient blood supply to the heart or lower limb musculature), suffered particularly by those with heart disease or diabetes. It may also shed light on methods for inhibiting blood vessel growth, knowledge that could be used in the control of tumour growth and diabetic retinopathies.

Haas explains that growth of new blood vessels – angiogenesis – is an important adaptive mechanism that occurs in skeletal muscle in response to on-going exercise. During angiogenesis, endothelial cells lining the blood vessel are stimulated to proliferate, then migrate away from the existing vessel into the surrounding environment.

This process requires the production and activation of enzymes called matrix metalloproteinases. Understanding how our bodies normally regulate the production of these enzymes will help cancer researchers develop techniques to manipulate their production therapeutically, since these enzymes are known contributors to the transfer and growth potential of tumour cells.

CFI is an independent corporation established by the Government of Canada in 1997.