Dr Sweeney moved to UPEI in August 1997, after a short stint as an Assistant Professor in the Dept. of Physiology, University of Saskatchewan, and Principal Investigator in the Saskatchewan Stroke Research Center, Royal University Hospital, Saskatoon. Previously, she completed a Ph. D. in Pharmacology at Dalhousie University (Halifax, NS), and an MRC-funded post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of London (St. George’s Hospital and Royal Free Hospital Schools of Medicine, UK).
Click here for Dr. Sweeney's Curriculum Vitae.
Dr Sweeney is a member of the Atlantic Canada Network on Bioactive Compounds (ACNBC; Team lead, Blueberry Research Project) and holds a 3 year Research Professorship in Nutrisciences and Health from the Louis Levesque Foundation (2005-2008). She studies health effects of bioactives from Vaccinium species (blueberries and cranberries) or other foods (e.g. pomegranate).
● Effect of bioactive treatments of cells and feeding to animals on genes (nutrigenomics ); considers the relationship between specific nutrients/diets and gene expression and may facilitate prevention of diet-related diseases.
● Effect of bioactive treatments of cells (e.g. with anthocyanins, flavonols and proanthocyanins) on oxidative stress, inflammation and relevant cancer genes (e.g. cell matrix metalloproteinases).
● Effect of feeding bioactives to animals, using animal models of disease such as hypertension, stroke, and metabolic syndrome.
● Effect of bioactives on human health; in order to produce natural health products, make health claims, or novel food products and additives, good research is needed.
All of this research is done by students and research associates, in collaboration with scientists at UPEI, other universities and government labs and is currently funded by NSERC, ACOA (Atlantic Innovation Fund/AIF), Heart & Stroke Foundation of PEI and the American Cranberry Institute. She is the author of 28 peer-reviewed publications, 7 book chapters or monographs, and 32 abstracts or conference proceedings.
□ Sweeney M.I., Kalt W., MacKinnon S.L., Ashby J. and Gottschall-Pass K.T. Feeding of diets enriched in lowbush blueberries (Vaccinium angustifolium) for six weeks decreases stroke severity in rats. Nutritional Neuroscience 5: 427-431, 2002.
□ Matchett, M.D., MacKinnon, S.L., Sweeney, M.I., Gottschall-Pass, K.T., and Hurta, R.A.R. Blueberry flavonoids inhibit matrix metalloproteinase activity in DU145 human prostate cancer cells. Biochem Cell Biol. 83: 637-643, 2005.
□ Neto, C. C., Sweeney-Nixon, M. I., Lamoureaux, T. L., Soloman, F, Kondo, M., MacKinnon, S. L. Cranberry phenolics: Effects on oxidative processes, neuron cell death and tumor cell growth. In Phenolic Compounds in Foods and Natural Health Products, American Chemical Society Symposium Series 909 (Shahidi F. and Ho C.-T., eds), pp. 271-282, 2005.
□ Matchett, M.D., MacKinnon, S.L., Sweeney, M.I., Gottschall-Pass, K.T., and Hurta, R.A.R. Inhibition of matrix metalloproteinase activity in DU145 human prostate cancer cells by flavonoids from lowbush blueberry (Vaccinium angustifolium): possible roles for protein kinase C and mitogen-activated protein-kinase-mediated events. J. Nutr. Biochem. 17: 117-125, 2006 [Epub Aug 17, 2005].
□ Neto, C.C., Krueger, C.G., Lamoureaux, T.L., Kondo, M., Vaisberg, A.J., Hurta, R.A.R., Curtis, S., Matchett, M.D., Yeung, H., Sweeney, M.I., Reed, J.D. MALDI-TOF MS characterization of proanthocyanidins from cranberry fruit (Vaccinium macrocarpon) that inhibit tumor cell growth and matrix metalloproteinase expression in vitro. J. Sci. Food Agric. 86: 18-25, 2006 [Epub Oct 17, 2005].
□ Sweeney M.I. Pomegranate juice consumption reduces simulated ischemic stroke damage and increases brain antioxidant status in rats. In “Pomegranate: Ancient Roots to Modern Medicine”, (N. Seeram, R. Schulman and D. Heber, eds.), CRC Press, pp. 91-106, 2006.
□ Slemmer, J.E.., Shacka, J.J., Sweeney, M.I. and Weber, J.T. Antioxidants and free radical scavengers for the treatment of stroke, traumatic brain injury and aging. Curr. Med. Chem. 15 (4): 404 - 414, 2008.
Recent presentations(click here for full list)
October 2003, Dept. of Biology, Mt Allison University, Sackville NB. Title: “Effects of Vaccinium phytochemicals on cardiovascular health.”
June 2004, Pom Wonderful Health Summit, Los Angeles, CA. Title: “Evaluation of the neuroprotective effects of pomegranate juice on simulated ischemic stroke in rats.”
September 2004, Nova Scotia Biotechnology and Life Sciences Industry Association (BioPort Nova 2004), Halifax, NS. Title: “Building the Bio-Economy in Atlantic Canada”.
December 2004, PEI-WISE (Women in Science & Engineering), UPEI. Title: “Studying the Health Benefits of Berries: Lessons in WiSE. What/Why/How to Survive and Stay Encouraged & Excited”.
October 2005, Canadian Herb, Spice & Natural Health Products Coalition, National Conference 2005, St. John’s, Newfoundland. Title: “Connecting Agriculture to Health”. Talk entitled “Blueberries - more than just antioxidants”.
November 2005, New Brunswick Horticulture Congress 2005, Moncton, NB. Title: “The power of blue: the science of health effects of wild blueberries”.
February 2007, PEI Health Research Institute “Lunch & learn” series. Title: “Getting Healthy With Berries”.
November 2007, Dept. Of Chemistry & Biochemistry, University of Massachusetts (at Dartmouth). Title: “Berries: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Evaluating Healthy Foods .”
March 2008, Atlantic Cranberry Management Course, Charlottetown PEI. Title: “Cranberries – an update on health effects”.
April 2008, Sanofi-Aventis BioTalent Challenge, Biotech Luncheon, Charlottetown PEI. Title: “Biosciences @ UPEI”.
Interested in bioscience and biomedical research ?
Click here for current opportunities
Students and Lab Staff(click here for former students)
Dr. J. Slemmer (Ph.D), Post-doctoral fellow.
Ms J. Livingston Thomas (B.Sc. Hons), Research Technician (in vitro/molecular).
Mr K. Shaughnessy (M.Sc.), Research Technician (in vivo).
Ms G. Murphy-Walsh (M.Sc. Candidate), Co-supervise a Master of Science thesis entitled: “Effects of lowbush blueberry consumption on human biomarkers of cardiovascular disease.”
Mr. I. Boswall (B.Sc. Hons candidate), USRA summer student.
Biology 102, Human Biology
Biology 121/122, Human Anatomy & Physiology
Biology 221, Cell Biology
Biology 232, Pharmacology for Nurses
Biology 326, General Physiology
Biology 401, Human Physiology & Pathophysiology
Biology 402, Animal Physiology
Biology 490, Honors Research & Thesis
Biology 811, Advanced Topics in Cell and Molecular Biology
Veterinary Biomedical Sciences 852, Introduction to Neuroscience
2003-2005, UPEI Sexual Harassment Committee; 2005-present, Fair Treatment Committee 2004-2006, University Marshal and Member of Convocation Committee; 2006-2009, Chair, Convocation Committee.
2006-2010, University Review Committee
2007-present, ACCBR Management Committee