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Dr. Mark A. Trifiro
Senior Investigator, Lady Davis Institute
Chief, Division of Endocrinology, Jewish General Hospital
Professor, Department of Medicine, McGill University

Dr. Mark Trifiro is a Project Director at the Lady Davis Institute for Medical Research, Chief of the Division of Endocrinology at the Jewish General Hospital, and a tenured Professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University in Montreal. As a physician–scientist, he has both clinical duties and ongoing research activities, and heads the Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at the LDI. Dr. Trifiro is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of androgen receptor research and biosensor development.

Dr. Trifiro’s lab has long investigated the mechanisms of action of steroid receptors, germline and somatic mutations of the human androgen receptor (AR), and AR loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations in androgen insensitivity syndromes and prostate cancer, respectively. Other interests include mismatch repair systems, polyglutamine proteinopathies, and novel therapeutics for prostate cancer. Using their wealth of experience in molecular biology and recombinant protein engineering techniques, coupled with an excellent understanding of receptor functionality, his lab has developed and introduced the use of re-engineered proteins for the purpose of biosensing. Using re-engineered glucokinase immobilized on gold electrodes, Dr. Trifiro’s lab has, with the assistance of Dr. V. Chodavarapu (Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, McGill University), completed proof-of-principle experiments to document the functionality of the first reagentless glucose biosensor. These sensors will be the core substances in developing an artificial pancreas and will be used to dictate both insulin and glucagon delivery systems. This technology can be easily adapted to generate other biosensors.

Major Research Activities

Dr. Trifiro’s laboratory conducts research on various facets of androgen receptor structure and function. The human androgen receptor (AR) is a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily, and has several exclusive attributes: 1) both loss-of-function and gain-of-function mutations, responsible for their respective clinical syndromes [androgen insensitivity syndrome, prostate cancer, the trinucleotide CAG repeat disorder of spinobulbar muscular atrophy]; 2) a functional polymorphic polyglutamine tract modulating AR transactivation; and 3), somatic genomic instability of the AR CAG repeat with its unique impact on androgen physiology. His lab has made significant contributions to each research area and continues to investigate distinctive AR properties to further derive a clearer understanding of AR action, specifically with respect to prostate cancer.

Dr. Trifiro’s laboratory is also developing reagentless biosensing devices for use in medically relevant areas, such as diabetes.

Recent Publications

Gottlieb B, Beitel LK, Alvarado C, Trifiro M. Selection and mutation in the "new" genetics: An emerging hypothesis. Human Genetics [Epub ahead of print; Jan 23, 2010].

Southwell J, Chowdhury SF, Gottlieb B, Beitel LK, Lumbroso R, Purisima EO, Trifiro MA. An investigation into CAG repeat length variation and N/C terminal interactions in the T877A mutant androgen receptor found in prostate cancer. J Steroid Biochem Mol Biol 111: 138-46, 2008.

Sircar K, Gottlieb B, Alvarado C, Aprikian A, Beitel LK, Alam-Fahmy M, Bégin L, Trifiro M. Androgen receptor CAG repeat length contraction in diseased and non-diseased prostatic tissues. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis 10: 360-368, 2007.
Dr. Mark Trifiro is a clinical and research molecular endocrinologist and heads the Molecular Endocrinology Laboratory at the LDI.

He is an internationally recognized scientist in the field of androgen receptor research.

His current focus is on androgen receptor mutations and their associated diseases, for example prostate cancer, androgen insensitivity syndrome, and a neurodegenerative disease called spinobulbar muscular atrophy.

Dr. Trifiro is also developing a glucose biosensor to be used in combination with an artificial pancreas to control blood sugar levels in diabetics.
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