Select Page
Dr. Miyoung Suh

Dr. Miyoung Suh

Principal Investigator
Nutrition and Neurological Diseases, Division of Neurodegenerative Disorders

Principal Investigator:
Nutrition and Neurological Diseases, Canadian Centre for Agri-Food Research in Health and Medicine

Associate Professor
Food and Human Nutritional Sciences, University of Manitoba

Registered Dietitian
College of Dietitians of Manitoba & Dietitians of Canada

Research Focus

The body’s ability to metabolize lipid is vital in the proper functioning of biochemical and physiological systems. Dr. Suh’s laboratory has been committed to pursue the issues of ‘why,’, ‘what’ and ‘how’ the normal and abnormal lipid metabolisms in neural (retina) and non-neural tissues (testis/sperm) function. Although the retina and testis/sperm are functionally very different organs, they share a commonality with regards to their novel lipids. Particularly, their specific fatty acid containing phospholipids, as well as tissue specific lipids, are the codes that their research is working to unravel.

Nutrition and Degenerative Eye Diseases:
Nutrients can prevent and/or improve retinal diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, macular dystrophy, and computer vision syndrome. More recently, Dr. Suh’s research has looked into translational studies using humans, which are based off her previous research in various animal models (e.g. Fat-1 mice, type-1 diabetic retinopathy rat model, elongation of very long chain fatty acid 4 (elovl4) deficient mice, and neonatal piglets). Through the usage of nutrient intervention with DHA, β-carotene enriched formulation, lutein and DHA enriched eggs, and choline (deficient/sufficient formulation), she studies various dietary aids to help prevent/mitigate eye degeneration.

Nutrition and Male Reproductive Dysfunction:
Lipids may play a critical role in male reproductive systems (spermatogenesis) in obese, diabetic, and alcohol-challenged animal models. Dr. Suh’s lab has found that docosapentaenoic acid (C22:5n-6) deficiency in testis phospholipids is closely related with abnormal testis growth and sperm production in rodent models. Male reproductive health has been decreasing in recent decades. By using various nutrition interventions (n-6 and n-3 fatty acids, zinc, and conjugated linoleic acid) and alcohol, her lab tries to find ways to maintain optimal male reproductive function.

Nutrition and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder:
In very recent years, Dr. Suh’s research has explored the impact of nutrition on the fetal brain, retina, and reproductive organ development, by assessing their effects after the developing fetus is exposed to alcohol during pregnancy. This study involves both human and animal work, which will ultimately lead to the development of nutritional strategies for preventing or mitigating the severity of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.

Why is this work important?

Our basic knowledge on the fundamental roles of nutrition in specialized tissue function is quite limited. Thus, Dr. Suh’s overall research goals may facilitate changes to dietary guidelines, which identify the type and balance of nutrients that are beneficial to visual health, male reproductive health, and fetal alcohol spectrum disorders.

What techniques and equipment are used in this laboratory?

  • Electroretinography
  • Gas chromatography; Gas chromatography-mass spectrometry
  • Ultra-performance liquid chromatography
  • Molecular biology assays (RT-qPCR/microarray)
  • Biochemical assays (protein/metabolite biomarkers)
  • Histology
  • Specific diet formulations for feeding trials
  • Various animal models
  • Clinical trials

About Dr. Miyoung Suh

Dr. Miyoung Suh is an Associate Professor in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba. She has also been trained as a Clinical Dietitian, served as the Director of the University Dietetics Program for 6 years, and has served as the Dietitians of Canada Accreditation Surveyor for the Canadian Dietetic Education Programs since 2011. Dr. Suh is a nutrition lead of the Canada Israel International Fetal Alcohol Consortium (CIIFAC), identifying nutritional status of alcohol-consuming pregnant mothers and alcohol-fed animals.

Dr. Suh’s on-going research involves studying the fundamental roles of dietary lipids in brain, retina, and testes/sperm under alcoholic, diabetic and obese conditions.

She has been awarded ‘Scientist of the Year’ by The Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies, which is given to a Korean scientist working abroad with significant contributions in their area of research. Dr. Suh’s research in lipids and retina photoreceptors was specifically being recognized. Overall, her research outcomes provide a basis for the provision of optimal nutrition and development of diet strategies beneficial to the target clinical as well as the general population.

For more information, contact:

Dr. Miyoung Suh
Room R4052, 351 Tache Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, Canada
R2H 2A6
Tel: 204-235-3106 (Office)
Tel: 204-235-2573 (Lab)
Email: miyoung.suh@umanitoba.ca

Selected peer-reviewed publications:

Datar J, Regassa A, Kim WK, Taylor CG, Zahradka P & Suh M (2017) Lipid metabolism is closely associated with normal testicular growth based on global transcriptome profiles in normal and underdeveloped testis of obese Zucker (fa/fa) rats. Lipids: LIPIDS 17-0141(In press).

Kloss O, Eskin NAM, & Suh M (2017) The role of thiamin during fetal brain development with and without prenatal alcohol exposure. Biochem Cell Biol. doi:10.1139/bcb-2017-0082 (In press)

Turner Turner JM, Sauve Y, Suh M, Wales PW, Wizzard P, Goruk S & Field CJ (2016) A third generation lipid emulsion that contains n-3 long-chain PUFAs preserves retinal function in parenterally fed neonatal piglets. J Nutr. 2016;146(11):2260-2266

Young J, Giesbrech H, Eskin M, Aliani M & Suh M (2014) Nutrition Implications on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Adv Nutr. 5(6):675-692.

Murray M, Walchuk W, & Suh M (2014) Metabolism and function of very long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (C>24) in mammals.  The AOCS Lipid Library, http://lipidlibrary.aocs.org/animbio/vlcfa/index.htm)

Kuny S, Filion M, Suh M, Gaillard F, & Sauve Y (2014) Long-term retinal cone survival and delayed alteration of the cone mosaic in a transgenic mouse model of Stargardt-like dystrophy (STGD3). Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci 55(1):424-439.

Dornstauder B, Suh M, Kuny S, Gaillard F, MacDonald IM, Clandinin MT & Sauvé Y. (2012) Dietary docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) supplementation prevents age-related functional losses and lipofuscin accumulation in the retina.  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 53:2256-2265.

Castellano CA, Audet I, Laforest JP, Matte J & Suh M. (2011) Fish oil diets alter the phospholipid balance, fatty acid composition, and steroid hormone concentrations in testes of adult pigs. Theriogenol.  76:1134-1145.

Suh M, Sauve Y, Murray C, Kang JX & Ma DLW (2009) Supranormal electroretinogram (ERG) in fat-1 mice with retinas enriched in docosahexaenoic acid and n-3 very long chain fatty acids (VLCFA, C24-C36)  Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 50:4394-4401.

Academic Awards:

  • Scientist of the Year Award, The Korean Federation of Science and Technology Societies, at the 7th Annual CKC meeting, Montreal, Quebec (2017)
  • Outstanding Mentorship of Graduate Students Award, Faculty of Graduate Studies (nominee) (2017)
  • Outstanding Teacher Award, Student-Teacher Recognition, Centre for the Advancement of Teaching & Learning, University of Manitoba (2016)
  • Merit Award for Service, University of Manitoba (2015)
  • Centre on Aging Research Fellowship, University of Manitoba (2014)
  • Best Members Award, Association of Korean-Canadian Scientists and Engineers, Canada (2011)
  • Merit Award for the Combination Category of Teaching/Research/Service, University of Manitoba (2010)
  • The Canadian Foundation for Nutrition and Child Health Fellowship ($42,000/yr) (2000-2003)
  • Travel & Registration Award, ‘PUFA in Maternal and Child Health’, American Oil Chemists’ Society (AOCS) supported meeting (2000)
  • Travel Award for Graduate Student Oral Competition in 41st Canadian Federation of Biological Societies meeting, Edmonton, Alberta (1998)
  • Excellent Poster Presentation award in 89th American Oil Chemists’ Society meeting (1998)

 Outstanding achievement of my trainees during their study periods:

* represents winning at the scientific competitions in relation to their research

2017

  • Chelsey Walchuk (MSc): Teaching Award of Merit (Graduate Category),The North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture
  • Olena Kloss (PhD): Emerging Leaders Award, UofM
  • Olena Kloss (PhD): Northern Scientific Training Program, Department of Aboriginal Affairs and Northern, Development Canada

2016   

  • Karlee Dyck (MSc)*: 1st Place at 3 Minute Thesis (3MT) competition, UofM
  • Karlee Dyck (MSc): Outstanding Graduate Student Achievement Award, Faculty of Graduate Studies, UofM
  • Chelsey Walchuk (MSc)*: 2nd place in the Graduate Student Poster Competition (Sponsored by Nestle), Canadian Nutritional Society meeting, Ottawa (2016)

2015

  • Heather Giesbrecht (MSc)*: Recognized by “Honourable” mention in poster competition, MB Health Science Graduate Student Competition, Winnipeg
  • Jutika Datar (MSc)*: Christine Gagnon Memorial Travel Award for the Nutrition Graduate Student and Trainee Competition (Oral), Canadian Nutritional Society meeting, Winnipeg, 2015
  • Kalee Dyck (MSc): Emerging Leaders Award UofM
  • Olena Kloss (PhD)*: Dr. Elizabeth Feniak Award for Excellence in Technical Writing 2015, Graduate Category (National).

2014   

  • Heather Giesbrecht (MSc) & Karlee Dyck (MSc)*: Dr. Elizabeth Feniak Award for Excellence in Technical Writing 2014, Graduate Category (National)

2013

  • Shoug Alashmali (MSc)*: 3rd place in the Graduate Student Poster Competition, Canadian Nutritional Society meeting, Quebec

2012

  • Kathleen McClinton (MSc)*: Recognized by “Honourable” mention in poster competition, MB Health Science Graduate Student Competition (2012)
  • Kathleen McClinton (MSc)*: 1st MSc poster competition, The 3rd Annual Functional Foods and Natural Health Products Graduate Symposium. Human Nutritional Sciences, UofM

We would like to acknowledge the following funding agencies and industries

  • Mitacs Converge & Myera Nu-Agri-Nomics Group
  • Mitacs Accelerate Cluster & Function Four, Ltd.
  • Research Manitoba-Canada Israel International Fetal Alcohol Consortium
  • Manitoba, Innovation, Energy & Mines
  • Manitoba Liquor & Lotteries
  • Manitoba Egg Farmers
  • Centre on Aging, UofM
  • Hemp Oil Canada
  • Agri-Food Research and Development Initiative
  • Manitoba Health Research Council
  • Manitoba Agricultural-Food and Rural Initiatives
  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada
  • Manitoba Medical Services Foundation
  • University of Manitoba Research Grant Program
  • Advanced Foods & Materials Network-NCE

Current team

  • Xavier Louis, PhD: Postdoctoral Fellow (MHRC PDF fellowship, 2014-2016)
  • Chelsey Walchuk, RD, MSc: Research Assistant (Part time)
  • Fatemeh Ramezani, PhD candidate (UMGF for 4 years)
  • Shatha Alattar, PhD candidate (King Saudi Arabia Scholarship)
  • Olena Kloss, PhD student (UMGF for 2 year; MB training Program for Health Research Fellowship in 2017, Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries Graduate Studentship, Mitacs Accelerate Internship)
  • Veronika Shulgina, RD, MSc student (CIHR-MSc)
  • Yidi Wang, MSc student (UMGF for 2 years)
  • Brad Feltham, Undergraduate student (The Murphy Foundation Inc. Indigenous Mentorship and Experiential Education Fund, $6000, 4 months)

Former graduate students:

  • Elahe Nosrat Mirshekarlou (UMFG/MGS for 2 years)
  • Chelsey Walchuk, RD (NSEC-FAST & Mitacs Accelerate Internship)
  • Karlee Dyck, RD (CIHR-MSc)
  • Jutika Datar
  • Heather Giesbrecht
  • Morgan Murray (UMGF/MGS for 2 years)
  • Shoug Alashmali (King Saudi Arabia Scholarship)
  • Kathleen McClinton, RD (NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada)
  • Leah Peters (UMGF for 2 years)
  • Shu Li

Life In the Lab