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Paul Jurasz, PhD

Associate Professor

Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences | Medicine & Dentistry

Pharmacology

About Me

Education:

2005-2008   Postdoctoral Fellow

Terrance Donnelly Vascular Biology Research Labs

Department of Cardiology

St. Michael’s Hospital, Toronto, Ontario

Supervisor: Dr. Duncan J. Stewart

            

2002-2005  Postdoctoral Fellow

Institute of Molecular Medicine for the Prevention of Human Diseases

Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology

University of Texas Health Sciences Center-Houston 

Houston, Texas, USA

Supervisor: Dr. Marek Radomski


1998- 2002 PhD

Department of Pharmacology

University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

Supervisor: Dr. Marek Radomski


1994-1998 BSc with Distinction

 University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada

 

Member:

University of Alberta Cardiovascular Research Centre

Mazankowski Alberta Heart Institute 


Research

Platelets are blood cells physiologically known for maintaining hemostasis and pathologically for forming thrombi that occlude arteries, which can result in heart attack and ischemic stroke. Although much is known about the molecular mechanisms that both stimulate and inhibit platelet function, little is known about platelet heterogeneity and whether biochemically distinct platelet subpopulations exist that regulate hemostasis/thrombobosis. Recently, we demonstrated a highly novel aspect of platelet biology, identifying platelet subpopulatons based on the presence or absence of an endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) signalling pathway with a differential ability to initiate and limit platelet function. Currently, we are investigating the pharmacological regulation of these platelet subpopulations in an attempt to develop more effective anti-platelet drugs to prevent heart attacks and stroke.

In addition, platelets play important roles in cancer metastasis and in the regulation of angiogenesis (new blood vessel growth). During hematogenous metastasis invading cancer cells intravasate into the circulation where they must withstand the shear forces of flowing blood and evade immune cells. At this step they are aided by their interactions with platelets, with which they form tumor-platelet aggregates/emboli. This process, known as tumor cell-induced platelet aggregation (TCIPA), offers several advantages to metastatizing cancer cells. In my laboratory we study the pharmacological regulation of TCIPA and the reciprocal interactions between cancer cell subpopulations and platelets.

Finally, Platelets contain and generate abundant pro- and anti-angiogenic mediators such as vascular endothelial growth factor and angiostatin, which upon release from platelet granules help regulate new blood vessel growth. Consequently, we are exploring how these platelet-derived angiogenesis mediators influence endothelial cell growth, migration, and the ability to form capillaries in an attempt to inhibit growth of blood vessels to tumors and to promote therapeutic blood vessel growth for cardiovascular disease.


Current funding:

Canadian Institutes of Health Research

Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada


Teaching

Undergraduate Teaching:

Ph203 Introduction to Pharmacology - course coordinator

Ph467 Oncology module - contributor

PMCOL344 Scientific Basis of Pharmacology II - contributor

PMCOL415 Cardiovascular Pharmacology - contributor


Graduate Teaching:

Ph566 Cellular Drug Targets - contributor

Ph573 Analytical Techniques in Pharmaceutical Sciences - course coordinator