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Robert Gendron

BioMedical Sciences
Ph.D., McGill University

Professor of Cancer/Cardiovascular Biology, and
Cross Appointment with Oncology


BioMedical Sciences
Faculty of Medicine
Memorial University of Newfoundland
300 Prince Philip Drive St. John's, NL,  Canada 
A1B 3V6
t: 709-864-3359 / 709-864-6005

We are studying molecules involved in controlling blood vessel growth and differentiation in order to further understand the mechanisms controlling angiogenesis in diseased tissues. Problems are approached mainly with the use of cell biology, transgenesis and proteomics methodologies. One major focus of our research has been the role of acetyltransferases in neovascular retinopathies which have major impacts on vision health in the young and the aged. In collaboration with Dr. H. Paradis, we discovered and characterized Tubedown, now also known as Naa15, which is involved in controlling growth of blood vessels in the retina. 
With respect to our visual sciences work, central vision loss is a devastating problem that greatly impacts upon childhood development, the quality of life and the maintenance of functional autonomy. Retinopathy of prematurity, proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) and wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) are leading causes of blindness in western populations. The latter two diseases are particularly relevant in Newfoundland and Labrador since our population is becoming skewed toward aging and our diabetes rates are thought to be higher than the national average. These diseases are classified as neovascular meaning they involve the overgrowth and disregulation of blood vessels in the retinal tissues of the eye. New improved therapies and pharmaceuticals are needed to prevent and treat these central retinal diseases. We have found that loss of Tubedown from retinal blood vessels is an important predisposing factor for the progression of neovascular retinopathy. We are using our existing models and approaches to determine the mechanism by which Tubedown supports healthy vision. This work is a necessary step to understand how best to manipulate Tubedown function for potential therapeutic purposes for treating neovascular retinopathies.
Our lab is also investigating the role of the Tubedown signaling pathway in cancers.

Another long term goal of my research program is to define the morphology and physiology of unique features of marine teleost visual systems and how adaptive diversity in these systems is important to the biology of these animals in the wild. The visually guided teleost lumpfish are globally threatened while remaining economically important. We have discovered that lumpfish possess intriguing novel eye structures and functions. Understanding the structure and function of the tissues, cells and molecular pathways of marine teleost eyes and how unique features we discovered in the lumpfish visual system are important to an ability to respond to different habitat influences will add new fundamental knowledge about marine teleost vision and about vision science in general. 
We also maintain multidisciplinary collaborations at Memorial which build upon use of state-of-the-art research infrastructure acquired through a number of collaborative CFI awards. 

Recent Publications:

Gendron RL, Paradis H, Ahmad R, Kao K, Boyce D, Good WV, Kumar S, Vasquez I, Cao T, Hossain A, Chakraborty S, Valderrama K, Santander J. CD10+ Cells and IgM in Pathogen Response in Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus) Eye Tissues. Front Immunol. 2020;11:576897.
Paradis H, Ahmad R, McDonald J, Boyce D, Gendron RL. Ocular tissue changes associated with anterior segment opacity in lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus L) eye. J Fish Dis. 2019;42(10):1401-1408.
Ahmad R, Paradis H, Boyce D, McDonald J, Gendron RL. Novel characteristics of the cultured Lumpfish Cyclopterus lumpus eye during post-hatch larval and juvenile developmental stages. J Fish Biol. 2019;94(2):297-312.

Ho, N., Gendron, R.L., Grozinger, K., Whelan, M.A., Hicks, E.A., Tennakoon, B., Gardiner, D., Good, W.V., and Paradis, H. (2015). Tubedown regulation of retinal endothelial permeability signaling pathways. Biology Open. pii: bio.010496: 970-979.
Sorenson CM , Wang S , Gendron R , Paradis H , Sheibani N. (2013). Thrombospondin-1 Deficiency Exacerbates the Pathogenesis of Diabetic Retinopathy. Journal of Diabetes & Metabolism. Suppl 12(10.4172): 2155-6156.
Gendron R , Kumar MR , Paradis H , Martin D , Ho N , Gardiner D , Merschrod SE , Poduska KM. (2012). Controlled cell proliferation on an electrochemically engineered collagen scaffold. Macromolecular Bioscience. 12(3): 360-366. 
Majka S , Hagen M , Blackwell T , Harral J , Johnson JA , Gendron R , Paradis H , Crona D , Loyd JE , Nozik-Grayck E , Stenmark KR, West J. (2011). Physiologic and molecular consequences of endothelial Bmpr2 mutation. Respiratory Research. 12: 84-94.
Gendron RL , Armstrong E , Paradis H , Haines L , Desjardins M , Short CE , Clow KA , Driedzic WR. (2011). Osmotic pressure-adaptive responses in the eye tissues of rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax). Molecular Vision. 17: 2596-2604.