Research InterestsThe physiology of the pulmonary circulation during the transition from fetal to neonatal life, the pathogenesis of pulmonary hypertension syndrome of the newborn and mechanical ventilation induced lung injury.
The Hospital for Sick Children, Staff Neonatologist, Neonatology
Research Institute, Senior Scientist, Physiology & Experimental Medicine
University of Toronto, Professor, Departments of Paediatrics and Physiology
Keywords: Lung biology, physiology of pulmonary circulation.
Detailed Description: Dr. Belik’s research interests are primarily focused on the pulmonary vascular smooth muscle and the control of pulmonary vascular resistance during development and following pulmonary hypertension.
He and his team have been actively studying the biophysical and biochemical changes in pulmonary vascular smooth muscle contractile and relaxant properties and their impact on the control of pulmonary vascular resistance for the past 20 years. They utilize several animal models of pulmonary hypertension to evaluate the signaling pathways responsible for the age-related and pulmonary hypertension-induced changes in lung vascular resistance.
More recently Belik’s team uncovered evidence for a cross-talk between the airway epithelium and pulmonary arterial muscle that appears to play a major physiological role in the regulation of pulmonary vascular resistance during development. Current studies in his laboratory are geared at evaluating the factors involved in this cross-talk.
The role of oxidative stress in the regulation of pulmonary vascular resistance has also been a recent focus of interest for Belik and his team. Studies addressing the regulation of pulmonary vascular resistance by nitric oxide and generation of reactive oxygen species by nitric oxide synthases are currently underway.
Recent studies addressing the role of endoglin in the pulmonary vascular endothelium nitric oxide synthase activity demonstrated maturationally-dependent changes in genetically-engineered mice. In these animals endoglin deficiency results in pulmonary hypertension in the adult, but not the newborn period.
Cell and tissue culture: Artery cultures, cardiomyocytes, endothelial cells, smooth muscle cells.
Procedures: Elisa, HPLC, immunohistochemistry, immunocytochemistry, in-vitro electrophysiology, isolated vessel preparation, mass spectrometry, microarrays, RT-PCR, signal transduction characterization, vessel cannulation, western blot.
Amplifier, analytical balances, benchtop centrifuge, blotting apparatus, confocal microscope, culture hood, culture incubators, cryostat, deconvolution fluorescence microscope, digital microscope, fresh tissue sectioning systems, gel apparatus, infusion apparatus, low- and high-speed centrifuge, low and ultralow freezers, mass spectrometer, microwave oven, mini vortexer, plate reader, stirrer/hot plate, vibratome, water baths.
Within the Department of Physiology:
Committee member/Officer of national or international scientific organization:
University of Toronto, Department of Physiology, Graduate Students Admission Committee
The Hospital for Sick Children, Research Institute, Staff Review Committee
Publications and Awards