A leading contributor of science and knowledge through discoveries.
Currently accepting students.
Assistant Professor Internal Medicine, Immunology
Dr. Julia D. Rempel is on faculty in Section of Hepatology, Department of Medicine/Immunology. Her laboratory has been investigating the role of inflammation and innate immunity in liver associated diseases. She has worked with First Nations to determine whether genetic and cellular immune characteristics could contribute to an enhanced clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection observed in plains and west coast indigenous populations relative to other ethnicities. The findings of these studies indicated that indigenous populations have a stronger fight or pro-inflammatory immune response compared to non-indigenous poulations supportive of the more effective clearance of HCV. In treatment studies for HCV infection, Dr. Rempel’s laboratory has also found baseline immunological variables predictive of treatment complications. In addition, these studies revealed that the baseline interaction between immune activity and metabolic parameters could predict treatment outcomes determined 18 months after the start of therapy.
The immune characteristics of Manitoban indigenous populations, in addition to rendering them less susceptible to chronic HCV infection, may conversely make them more susceptible to immune mediated diseases including type 2 diabetes (T2D). Thus, in collaboration with Drs. Elizabeth Sellers, Heather Dean, Jonathan McGavock and Harold Aukema, her lab demonstrated that immune cellular and systemic responses from individuals with T2D were heightened compared to controls. These studies are ongoing with patients diagnosed with fatty liver disease in collaboration with Dr. Gerald Minuk. The investigation of innate immune activation in an animal model of gestational diabetes in collaboration with Drs. Vernon Dolinsky and Ruey Su indicated that spleen cells from pups with in utero exposure to T2D pro-inflammatory responses had more robust and enduring immune activation than pups from lean dams. The immune profiles observed in these human and animal studies signal the future onset of T2D complications. These studies are aimed at countering the high rate of early onset T2D and associated complications in indigenous people.