Jonathan D. Schertzer, PhD

Canadian Diabetes Association Scholar

CIHR New Investigator

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences


  • ImmunoMetabolism
  • Microbiota, obesity and diabetes


The inability to respond to insulin is a major cause of type 2 diabetes. This insulin resistance precedes overt diabetes and provides a therapeutic window to prevent the disease. Obesity is the main cause of insulin resistance and inflammation has emerged as a key link between obesity and insulin resistance. How does obesity cause inflammation and how does inflammation cause insulin resistance leading to diabetes? My laboratory is interested in understanding these problems in ImmunoMetabolism and how dietary and bacterial factors connect immunology and metabolism.

My laboratory uses physiology in genetic mouse models coupled with cell biology and biochemistry to understand the inflammatory basis of metabolic disease. Using our ImmunoMetabolism expertise, we collaborate with immunologists, microbiologists and gastroenterologists in order to understand how the food we eat and the bacteria that colonize us can cause (or prevent) metabolic diseases. This work is particularly interested in how the bacterial cell wall component, peptidoglycan, and dietary factors such as fat propagate inflammation and alter metabolism via nucleotide oligomerization domain (Nod) proteins. This research aims to understand modifiable sources of inflammation that promotes diabetes during obesity.

My laboratory is also connects inflammation in muscle diseases (i.e. myopathies). This builds on a long standing interest in basic science and therapeutics targeted to muscle using both endocrine and gene therapy approaches. Given that statin drugs are the first line treatment for obesity/diabetes related cardiovascular disease, we are particularly interested in immunity and statin-induced myopathy. This work is coming full circle and now looking at how statins and other drugs alter inflammation relevant to diabetes.

  1. Thevaranjan, N, Puchta, A, Schulz, C, Naidoo, A, Szamosi, JC, Verschoor, CP et al.. Age-Associated Microbial Dysbiosis Promotes Intestinal Permeability, Systemic Inflammation, and Macrophage Dysfunction. Cell Host Microbe. 2017;21 (4):455-466.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.chom.2017.03.002. PubMed PMID:28407483 .
  2. Sung, MM, Byrne, NJ, Robertson, IM, Kim, TT, Samokhvalov, V, Levasseur, J et al.. Resveratrol improves exercise performance and skeletal muscle oxidative capacity in heart failure. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 2017;312 (4):H842-H853. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00455.2016. PubMed PMID:28159807 .
  3. Sung, MM, Kim, TT, Denou, E, Soltys, CM, Hamza, SM, Byrne, NJ et al.. Improved Glucose Homeostasis in Obese Mice Treated With Resveratrol Is Associated With Alterations in the Gut Microbiome. Diabetes. 2017;66 (2):418-425. doi: 10.2337/db16-0680. PubMed PMID:27903747 .
  4. Simioni, J, Hutton, EK, Gunn, E, Holloway, AC, Stearns, JC, McDonald, H et al.. A comparison of intestinal microbiota in a population of low-risk infants exposed and not exposed to intrapartum antibiotics: The Baby & Microbiota of the Intestine cohort study protocol. BMC Pediatr. 2016;16 (1):183. doi: 10.1186/s12887-016-0724-5. PubMed PMID:27832763 PubMed Central PMC5103394.
  5. Rebalka, IA, Raleigh, MJ, Snook, LA, Rebalka, AN, MacPherson, RE, Wright, DC et al.. Statin Therapy Alters Lipid Storage in Diabetic Skeletal Muscle. Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2016;7 :95. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2016.00095. PubMed PMID:27486434 PubMed Central PMC4949251.
  6. Denou, E, Marcinko, K, Surette, MG, Steinberg, GR, Schertzer, JD. High-intensity exercise training increases the diversity and metabolic capacity of the mouse distal gut microbiota during diet-induced obesity. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 2016;310 (11):E982-93. doi: 10.1152/ajpendo.00537.2015. PubMed PMID:27117007 PubMed Central PMC4935139.
  7. Cavallari, JF, Denou, E, Foley, KP, Khan, WI, Schertzer, JD. Different Th17 immunity in gut, liver, and adipose tissues during obesity: the role of diet, genetics, and microbes. Gut Microbes. 2016;7 (1):82-9. doi: 10.1080/19490976.2015.1127481. PubMed PMID:26939856 PubMed Central PMC4856458.
  8. Wang, H, Kim, JJ, Denou, E, Gallagher, A, Thornton, DJ, Shajib, MS et al.. New Role of Nod Proteins in Regulation of Intestinal Goblet Cell Response in the Context of Innate Host Defense in an Enteric Parasite Infection. Infect. Immun. 2015;84 (1):275-85. doi: 10.1128/IAI.01187-15. PubMed PMID:26527214 PubMed Central PMC4694016.
  9. McPhee, JB, Schertzer, JD. Immunometabolism of obesity and diabetes: microbiota link compartmentalized immunity in the gut to metabolic tissue inflammation. Clin. Sci. 2015;129 (12):1083-96. doi: 10.1042/CS20150431. PubMed PMID:26464517 .
  10. Henriksbo, BD, Schertzer, JD. Is immunity a mechanism contributing to statin-induced diabetes?. Adipocyte. ;4 (4):232-8. doi: 10.1080/21623945.2015.1024394. PubMed PMID:26451278 PubMed Central PMC4573193.
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