Faculty Member Profile
John H. McNeillPhD
"Lifetime Achievement Award." McNeill J. International Academy of Cardiovascular Sciences. 2014.
"Lifetime Achievement Award." McNeill J. Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 2013.
"Docteur Honoris Causa." McNeill J. University of Montpellier 1. June 2012.
"Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada." McNeill J. Royal Society of Canada. 2003.
"Killam Teaching Award." McNeill J. University of British Columbia. 2003.
"Cardiac effects of spinal cord injury and Type 2 Diabetes." West C (PI), McNeill JH. $19,873. ICORD Seed Grant. 2014–2015.
"Cardiac function after SCI: from bench to bedside." Krassioukov A (PI), West C, McNeill JH, Shave R, Stohr E, Tsang T, Walley K. $189,323. Craig Neilsen Foundation. 2013–2016.
"Abnormalities of signaling pathways in diabetic cardiomyopathy: implications for new treatment." MacLeod K (PI), McNeill J. $125,156. CIHR. 2012–2014.
"Plasma glucose response to acute oral administration of the α-glucosidase inhibitor, Montbretin A." McNeill J. Mechanism-based Natural Product Development Conference. Whistler, BC. September 2013.
"Fructose ingestion, hypertension and the metabolic syndrome." McNeill J. Canadian Society of Pharmaceutical Sciences Lifetime Achievement Award lecture. CSPS. Vancouver, BC. June 2013.
"Insulin resistance and hypertension in the fructose fed rat." McNeill J. Department of Anesthesiology, Hong Kong University. HK. July 2012.
Dr. John H. McNeill completed a bachelor of science and a master of science in pharmacy at the University of Alberta, and a doctor of philosophy in pharmacology at University of Michigan.
Dr. McNeill was an assistant professor at Michigan State University (1967–1971), before coming to UBC in 1971, where he worked as associate professor and chairman in the Division of Pharmacology & Toxicology (1972–1975). Dr. McNeill became a professor in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at UBC in 1975, and served as the Faculty's dean for 11 years (1985–1996). Dr. McNeill is no longer training new graduate students or providing undergraduate lectures.
Dr. McNeill's research focuses on the effects of drugs on the heart. In particular, he has attempted to elucidate the biochemical mechanism of action of a number of drugs that produce a positive inotropic effect. He has also been interested in the mechanisms of action of drugs that interact with cardio stimulant agonists to enhance or block their effects.
His investigations on the effect of diabetes on rat hearts have revealed several biochemical, structural, functional and pharmacological differences. He has also found ways of treating the diabetes and preventing the cardiac changes in addition to insulin treatment. A more recent discovery has been that vanadium containing compounds lower blood glucose and prevent the secondary complications of diabetes in diabetic rats. He has recently synthesized and patented several compounds which have potential to be therapeutic agents. The finding that vanadium deposits in bone has led him to investigate if vanadium has positive or negative effects on bone structure. In the past several years he has studied the positive effects of beta blockade on the diabetic heart.
Dr. McNeill has developed rat animal models for the study of the metabolic syndrome, a syndrome characterized by hyperinsulinemia, insulin resistance and hypertension. He has shown that insulin-enhancing drugs will reduce all three of the above. These studies may lead to better treatments of hypertension by treating the root cause.
Diabetes produces deleterious changes in cardiac function in rats. There are significant alterations in cardiac metabolism, calcium handling and cell signaling that continue to be investigated. In addition, reactive oxygen species are increased in the diabetic state and contribute to the decrease in function. The cardiac muscle itself is damaged, a condition known as cardiomyopathy.
Dr. McNeill's model of the metabolic syndrome is the Fructose Fed Rat. Feeding rats a high fructose diet results in insulin resistance and hypertension which appear to be related. The work of his laboratory has shown an increase in activity of the sympathetic nervous system as well as in endothelin, angiotensin, thromboxane A2 and inflammatory factors. The presence of testosterone is also important in the development of the hypertension.