FST welcomes new Assistant Professor Ameer Taha

Dr. Taha

Dr. Taha completed an undergraduate degree in Human Biology (Specialist), Middle Eastern History (Major) and Environmental Physics (Minor) at the University of Toronto (Canada) in 2003. He completed a Master's degree in Nutritional Sciences in 2006 and a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2009 at the University of Toronto. 

Dr. Taha's PhD work explored the anti-seizure role and mechanism of action of omega-3 fatty acids in rodent models of drug-resistant seizures under the supervision of Dr. W. McIntyre Burnham. He then worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Brain Physiology and Metabolism Section of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland, USA) with Dr. Stanley I. Rapoport. His post-doctorate work investigated the regulation of brain polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism in relation to neuroinflammation, drug action, diet and genetic disturbances relevant to bipolar disorder and Parkinson-like disorders. 

As faculty in BAE / FST, Dr. Taha will study the mechanisms of oxidized fatty acid formation in food (particularly vegetable oils), and investigate their role on brain neurophysiology and function. He will use lipidomic approaches to probe and quantify oxidized fatty acid products formed under various food processing conditions, and investigate their absorption kinetics and impact on brain neurophysiology using electrophysiology and molecular assays. In vivo kinetic approaches using heavy-isotope or radiolabeled tracers will also be used to quantify endogenous rates of oxidized lipid formation from dietary fatty acids. 

Understanding the mechanisms of oxidized lipid formation and their impact on brain function will aide in devising methods to minimize their formation during food processing and in establishing dietary safety limits.