Research Opportunities

 

Research Opportunity

Faculty Member Description
Work Study Dr. David Vocadlo

The Vocadlo lab is looking for two talented undergraduate students for a period of at least six months and, ideally, extending to 12 months. The research will be within a team environment and is focused on the application of chemical biology tools and methodologies to the analysis of Parkinson Disease (PD) patient samples. One of our major interests is the glucocerebrosidase enzyme (GCase) which has been identified as the greatest genetic risk factor in the development of Parkinson Disease. The applicant will use an activity-based fluorescent substrate that allows detection and quantification of GCase activity within live-cells using flow cytometry. We have established a workflow to apply these substrates to patient blood samples that allows measuring GCase activity within live peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The aim of this project is to isolate PBMCs, store PBMCs, and quantify GCase activity in PBMCs from a group of 60-120 patients in order to; (i) validate our procedure and (ii) pave the way for future clinical studies aiming to identify genetic modulators of GCase activity.

The successful candidate(s) will be trained to process blood samples obtained by a professional nurse to isolate high quality PBMCs, perform cryostorage of samples, and perform cutting-edge live-cell activity-based assays by flow cytometry. This work will be performed in close collaboration with a graduate student and a postdoc under direct supervision of the principal investigator. The successful applicants must have; excellent organizational skills, good judgement, high analytical skills, an ability to take advice and guidance constructively, and the ability to follow detailed protocols in a consistent and reliable manner. Training will be provided as will opportunities to present research and participate in publications. Interested students should e-mail Dr. Vocadlo outlining their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.

Volunteers Dr. Esther Verheyen Support our research on regulation of signalling pathways in tumorigenesis, metabolism, growth and tissue formation. See Verheyen lab website for details. Interested students should e-mail Dr. Verheyen with a description of their research interests, a copy of their transcript and a resume.
MBB481/2/3, MBB498-3, MBB491-5 Dr. Esther Verheyen Support our research on regulation of signalling pathways in tumorigenesis, metabolism, growth and tissue formation. See Verheyen lab website for details. In our lab, volunteer experience is a prerequisite for any of these courses.  Interested students should e-mail Dr. Verheyen with a description of their research interests, a copy of their transcript and a resume.
NSERC/VPR USRAs Dr. Esther Verheyen Support our research on regulation of signalling pathways in tumorigenesis, metabolism, growth and tissue formation. See Verheyen lab website for details. In our lab, volunteer experience is a prerequisite for any of these courses.  Interested students should e-mail Dr. Verheyen with a description of their research interests, a copy of their transcript and a resume.
MBB 481/2/3 Dr. Mark Paetzel Contribute to the structural and functional understanding of viral proteases – targets for antiviral therapies. Please visit the lab website to learn more and e-mail Dr. Paetzel with transcripts and CV
MBB 498-3 Dr. Mark Paetzel Contribute to the structural and functional understanding of viral proteases – targets for antiviral therapies. Please visit the lab website to learn more and e-mail Dr. Paetzel with transcripts and CV.
MBB 491-5 Dr. Mark Paetzel Contribute to the structural and functional understanding of viral proteases – targets for antiviral therapies. Please visit the lab website to learn more and e-mail Dr. Paetzel with transcripts and CV.
MBB 481/2/3 Dr. Ly Vu Control of hematopoietic stem cell function
NSERC/VPR USRAs Dr. Ly Vu Translational regulation in pathogenesis of acute myeloid leukemia
MBB 481/2/3 Dr. Jonathan Choy 15-credit Direct Research opportunities are available in the Choy lab for individuals interested in studying how immune responses contribute to transplant rejection and autoimmune disease. Interested students should e-mail Dr. Choy describing their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.
MBB 481/2/3 Dr. Nancy Hawkins

The Hawkins lab studies the role of asymmetrically localized proteins and the Wnt signaling pathway in asymmetric cell division in C. elegans. We have focused on the protein HAM-1, that is asymmetrically localized at the cell cortex in many dividing cells in the embryo. This protein also has a DNA binding domain and localizes to the nucleus. We proposed that the asymmetric localization at the cell cortex is one mechanism to specifically distribute the protein to one of the two daughter cells during division. The goal is to watch the segregation of HAM-1 in living embryos during cell division. To accomplish this goal, the directed research project will involve generating a plasmid construct that fuses the ham-1 gene to a gene encoding a photoconvertible fluorescent protein (Dendra2). This construct will then be used to generate transgenic C. elegans. A series of experiments will then be undertaken to visualize Dendra2::HAM-1 localization and segregation in transgenic embryos.   

NSERC/VPR USRAs Dr. Nancy Hawkins Molecular mechanisms underlying asymmetric cell division
MBB 481/2/3 Dr. Nancy Hawkins Molecular mechanisms underlying asymmetric cell division
MBB481/2/3 Dr. Tim Audas Stress-induced amyloid aggregation in mammalian cells. Interested students should e-mail Dr. Audas outlining their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.
MBB498-3 Dr. Tim Audas Stress-induced amyloid aggregation in mammalian cells. Interested students should e-mail Dr. Audas outlining their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.
MBB491-5 Dr. Tim Audas Stress-induced amyloid aggregation in mammalian cells. Interested students should e-mail Dr. Audas outlining their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.
MBB481/2/3-15
Fall 2021
Dr. Lynne Quarmby Alpine snow algae microbiome
NSERC USRA/VPR
Fall 2021
Dr. Lynne Quarmby Alpine snow algae microbiome
Volunteers Dr. Lynne Quarmby Alpine snow algae microbiome
MBBB481/2/3 Dr. Fiona Brinkman
Multiple bioinformatics projects: Antimicrobial gene mobility; Pathogen-associated gene analysis; Data curation and visualization of integrated microbiome, clinical, environmental data.
Volunteers Dr. Chris Beh sterile technique and microbial culturing
MBB481/2/3 Dr. Chris Beh The regulation of membrane contact sites and intracellular transport pathways.
Directed Research Dr. Peter Unrau RNA aptamer and ribozyme selection and characterization opportunities.

MBB481/2/3

Fall 2021

Dr. Michel Leroux The Leroux lab has an opening for a 15-credit Directed Research project that involves the molecular, genetic and cell biology characterisation of novel proteins implicated in the function of cilia. These sensory organelles are at the heart of essential cellular signalling pathways, and are implicated in a growing number of human disorders (ciliopathies) that affect the function of virtually all organs.
MBB 481/2/3 Dr. Valentin Jaumouillé Mechanosensing in innate immunity.
Specialized innate immune cells, like macrophages, have the ability to engulf and kill microbes and mammalian cells alike through phagocytosis. How do they decide what to engulf? The mechanical properties of their targets matter, but how macrophages sense these properties is largely unknown. The goal of this project is to test which components of the macrophage machinery are important for mechanosensing. You will use modern molecular biology techniques, including CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, to manipulate mechanosensitive components. You will validate your approaches using cell culture and microcopy. You will test specific roles of the targeted components using cellular assays.
Interested students should e-mail Dr. Jaumouillé outlining their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.
MBB 491 Dr. Valentin Jaumouillé Molecular biology approaches to leukocyte mechanobiology.
Mechanical properties of immune cells play important roles in multiple contexts: phagocytosis, immunological synapse formation, cell migration, cancer proliferation. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying leukocyte cell mechanics are poorly understood. The goal of this project is to determine the role of specific membrane and cytoskeleton components in leukocyte cell mechanics. You will use modern molecular biology techniques, including CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing, to manipulate putative molecular determinants of leukocyte cell mechanics.
Interested students should e-mail Dr. Jaumouillé outlining their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.
MBB 496-6 for CMPT-MBB Joint Honours Dr. Valentin Jaumouillé Image processing for mechanobiology.
Immune cells generate cellular forces to discriminate antigens, release cytotoxic vesicles, or phagocytose microbes and cells. However forces generated by immune cells are relatively small in comparison to fibroblasts or myoblasts, for example. Consequently, they can only be measured using highly sensitive techniques. Our lab is specialized in fluorescence microscopy-based biophysical measurements. The goal of this project is to implement and further develop cutting-edge image processing methods to perform high-sensitivity traction force microscopy.
Interested students should e-mail Dr. Jaumouillé outlining their research interests along with a copy of transcripts and CV.