Picture of Dr. Terra Arnason

Dr. Terra Arnason MD, PhD, FRCPC Associate Professor Endocrinology and Metabolism




  • BSc Biochemistry, University of Victoria
  • PhD Biochemistry, University of Alberta
  • Research post-doctoral fellowship Universitat Munchen, Germany
  • Research post-doctoral fellowship University of Alberta
  • MD, University of Alberta
  • Clinical post-doctoral fellowship (Adult Endocrinology) University of Alberta

Faculty Appointments

  • Associate Professor and Clinician Scientist, Department and College of Medicine
  • Associate member in Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology
  • Member in the College of Graduate Studies
  • Member of the Drug Discovery and Development Research Group, U of S
  • Assistant Program Director for Research for the Internal Medicine Residency Program
  • Chair for the Endocrine Module, undergraduate medical education year 2

Awards and Scholarships

  • 2015 SHRF Top Research Team award for the Collaborative Innovation Development Grant, Biomedical.
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) Scholarship for PhD studies, University of Alberta
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellowship, European Molecular Biological Organization Fellowship (EMBO), Universitat Munchen
  • Human Frontiers International Science Program Fellowship (HFISPF), Universitat Munchen
  • Nominated (but didn’t win!) for the Teaching Excellence Award, College of Medicine, University of Saskatchewan

Selected grants and ongoing research projects since 2010


Arnason T (Principal investigator). Discovery and application of regulatory mechanisms controlling SNF1 kinase dependent stress Resistance. NSERC Discovery Grant, renewal. This project involves adapting our yeast discoveries of specific mutations resulting in enhanced stress resistance, to that of genetically engineering stress/nutrient resistant into important aquaculture and agriculture to enhance biomass yields.  Not very medical sounding, but the flip side is that the enhanced stress resistance we see in yeast directly correlates to enhanced metabolic efficiency in humans and may provide human health benefits (insulin resistance, obesity, Type 2 diabetes).

2015 to 2017

Harkness T (Principal Investigator), Arnason T (Principal Investigator), Groot G (Co-investigator), Gordon J (Co-investigator). In Vivo and In Vitro Evaluation of Patient-Derived Breast Cancer Cells for Early Detection and Treatment of Drug Resistance Tumors, Collaborative Innovation Development Grant, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation (SHRF). This work involves the molecular and clinical analysis of patient-derived breast cancer tumors for xenotransplant into immunocompromised mice (PDX-SCID) to understand treatment resistance and approaches to resensitization.

2014 to 2016

Alcorn M (Principal Investigator), Arnason T (Co-investigator), Chilibeck P (Co-investigator). Flaxseed lignan enriched complex for blood pressure reduction in elderly participants with high normal blood pressure or stage I hypertension, Substudy SHRF Research Group Phase 3 (under PI Thomas Hadjistavropoulos). I am a co-investigator, and the Qualified Investigator (clinical) for the study patients, looking at pulse diet additives and their effects on blood pressure control.

2014-04 to 2019-04

Arnason T (Principal Investigator), Harkness T (Co-investigator). The Q-PROOF facility: quantitative Protein and RNA Facility to study entry to and exit from drug resistant cancers. Canadian Foundation for Innovation, Leaders Opportunity Fund (CFI). The project involves the translational validation of biomarkers that define entry to, and exit from, drug resistant cancers including quantitative gene expression using a 3rd generation QT PCR (Droplet digital) and quantitative protein analysis  of serum biomarkers with an ELISA suite.

2014 to 2016

Harkness T (Principal Investigator), Arnason T (Co-principal Investigator), Gaunt M (Co-investigator), MacDonald Dickinson V (Co-investigator), Kusalik A (Co-investigator). Clinical and molecular study of drug resistant canine lymphoma treated with Metformin. Canadian Cancer Society. This project is a Veterinary-clinical-basic research collaboration following biomarkers of multiple drug resistance and correlating to clinical outcomes with randomization to treatment with metformin.

2013 to 2016

Alcorn J (Principal Investigator), Harkness T (Co-investigator), Bandy B (Co-investigator), Arnason T (Co-investigator), Badea I (Co-investigator), Zello G (Co-investigator), Krol E (Co-investigator), Haddadi A (Co-investigator). Phase 2 Health Research Group Grant, Saskatchewan Health Research Foundation. This supports the Drug Discovery and Development Research Group.

2011 to 2014

Harkness T (Principal Investigator), Arnason T (Co-investigator), Wilson H (Co-investigator), Kusalik A (Co-investigator). The antiproliferative effects of insulin sensitizing drugs on multiple drug resistant breast cancer cells. Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. This in vitro project had molecular and bioinformatics investigations into the underlying molecular mechanisms of the chemo-sparing effect of metformin as an adjunct therapy in breast cancer.

2013 to 2014

Arnason T (Principal Investigator), Mansell K (Co-investigator), Butcher S (Co-investigator). Effects of intermittent fasting on markers of health in those with Type 2 diabetes, Department of Medicine Student support stipend. This was a clinical pilot study looking at a dietary intervention on diabetic control.

2012 to 2015

Arnason T (Principal Investigator), Zello G (Co-investigator), Alcorn J (Co-investigator). Glucose byproduct levels in patients treated with Metformin for diabetes and their association with biomarkers of vascular endothelial damage, Royal University Hospital Foundation. A molecular and clinical trial in patients done to determine if markers of vascular damage correlate with toxic glucose byproduct levels.

2009 to 2013

Arnason T (Principal Investigator). The role of ubiquitin in the molecular regulation of the yeast AMPK, SNF1 Kinase, CIHR-RPP: Canadian Institute of Health Research Regional Partnership Plan in conjunction with SHRF. This molecular yeast project studied cellular responses to nutrient and environmental stressors.

Selected Publications

  • Arnason T, Harkness T. Development, Maintenance, and Reversal of Multiple Drug Resistance: At the Crossroads of TFPI1, ABC Transporters, and HIF1alpha. Cancers special edition: Drug/radiation resistance in cancer therapy. 2015 Jul;7(1):2063-2082. Epub 2015 Jul.
  • Gorka J, Taylor-Gjevre R, Arnason T. Clinical and metabolic consequences of hyperthyroidism on bone density. International Journal of Endocrinology. (Special Edition on Osteoporosis). 2013:1-11. Epub 2013 Jun.http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2013/638727.
  • Malo M, Postnikoff S, Arnason T, Harkness T. Mitotic degradation of yeast Fkh1 by the Anaphase Promoting Complex is required for normal longevity, genomic stability and stress resistance. Aging Journal. 2016 Apr. Epub 2016 Apr.
  • Jaio R, Postnikoff S, Harkness T, Arnason T. The SNF1 kinase UBA domain restrains its activation, activity, and the yeast lifespan. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 2015(6). Epub 2015 Apr. Comment: Jaio is my PhD student. Selected as highlight paper of the week.
  • Gavidel A, Baxi K, Prusinkiewicz M, Ignatchenko V, Arnason T, Kislinger T, Carvalho C, Harkness T. A Genome Scale Screen for Mutants with Delayed Exit from Mitosis: Ire1-independent Induction of Autophagy Integrates ER Homeostasis into Mitotic Lifespan. PLOS Genetics. 2015 Aug;11(8). Epub 2015.
  •  Michel D, Gaunt M, Arnason T, El-Aneed A. Development and validation of fast and simple flow injection analysis-tandem mass spectrometry (FIAMS/ MS) for the determination of metformin in dog serum. Journal of Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Analysis. 2014 Dec:107C:229-235. Epub 2014 Dec 17.
  • Harkness T, Arnason T. A Simplified Method for Measuring Secreted Invertase Activity in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access. 2014;3(6):151-56. Epub 2014 Oct. doi:10.4172/2167-0501.1000151
  • Davies G, Berg A, Postnikoff S, Wilson H, Arnason T, Kusalik A, Harkness T. TFPI1 mediates resistance to Doxorubicin in breast cancer cells by inducing a hypoxic-like response. PLoS One. 2014 Jan. Epub 2014 Jan 28. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0084611.
  • Menzel J, Malo M, Chan C, Prusinkiewicz M, Arnason T, Harkness T. The anaphase promoting complex regulates yeast lifespan and rDNA stability by targeting Fob1 for degradation. Genetics. 2014 Mar;196(3):693- 709. Epub 2013 Dec. doi:10.1534/genetics.113.158949. Epub 2013 Dec 20. Comment: Highlight article of the month for March, 2014.
  • Salbu H, Arnason T. Pituitary granulomatosis with polyangiitis. British Medical Journal Case Reports. 2013. doi:10.1136/bcr-2013-008656.
  • Aboulhosn K, Arnason T. Acute pancreatitis and severe hypertriglyceridemia masking unsuspected underlying diabetic ketoacidosis. British Medical Journal Case Reports. 2013. Epub 2013. doi:10.1136/bcr-2013- 200431.
  • Sehmer B, Arnason T. Pop provoked paralysis: Silent Graves' disease presenting as thyrotoxic periodic paralysis. British Medical Journal Case Reports. 2012. Epub 2013 Nov. bcr2012006292. doi: 10.1136/bcr- 2012-006292.
  • Mansell D, Blackburn D, Arnold T, Arnason T. Pre-CFL: Prevalence of cardiometabolic risk factors in college football linemen. Canadian Journal of Diabetes. 2011;35(5):497-502.
  • Slabu H, Sevedia-Cayabyab S, Senior P, Arnason T. Permanent hemichorea associated with transient hyperglycemia. British Medical Journal Case Reports. 2011. doi:10.1136/bcr.08.2011.4641.
  • Turner E, Malo M, Pisclevich M, Dash M, Davies D, Arnason T, Harness T. The Saccharomyces cerevisiae anaphase-promoting complex interacts with multiple histone-modifying enzymes to regulate cell cycle progression. Eukaryotic Cell. 2010;9(10):1418.
  • Davies G, Arnason TG, Ross A, Juurlick B, Harkness TAA. Novel inhibition of histone deacetylase activity by troglitazone in cancer cells. Cancer Letters. 2010;288(2):236-250.