Announcement: 2020/21 OGGS Recipient: Sebastian Vanin

Image of OGGS winner Sebastian Vanin

This year’s Department of Ob/Gyn OGGS awardee is Mr. Sebastian Vanin, a direct entry PhD student in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Hardy. Sebastian was a 4th year undergraduate Physiology student in Dr. Hardy’s laboratory and his research to date led him to a co-authored publication in Reproductive Toxicology (Gillies et al., 2020) demonstrating that exposure to the main psychoactive ingredient of cannabis, delta-9-tetrahydroocannabinol (delta-9-THC) in rat dams induces placental insufficiency, leading to deficits in β cell mass and glucose intolerance which occur exclusively in female exposed offspring. This is of great importance considering up to one in five women (18-24 years) in North America use cannabis during pregnancy. For Sebastian’s successful OGGS award (and PhD project), he’ll further examine the underlying mechanisms for the sex-specific vulnerability of delta-9-THC offspring. Secondly, he’ll examine if in utero exposure to cannabidiol (CBD), the largest non-psychoactive component of cannabis, influences pancreatic development. To date, preliminary data from the Hardy lab demonstrates that CBD impairs fetal development. Finally, as a new venture for the Hardy lab, Sebastian plans to pursue if paternal exposure to delta-9-THC±CBD may influence both fetal development and postnatal pancreatic function. Sebastian, a former member of the Mustang Football team, does a great job in balancing academics, volunteering, research, and athletics. He is valued member of Dr. Hardy’s 'cannabinoid team'.