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University of Alberta
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Membrane Protein Disease Research Group
Our Goals
Our Goal

Our goal is to undertake a multidisciplinary approach to studies of the expression, assembly, structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic membrane proteins and to provide an outstanding training environment for undergraduates, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the area of membrane biology and related areas.

Scientists from major international and national research centers visit our group to present lectures. Weekly research seminars are held where members of the Group present major developments in their laboratories and share new ideas and techniques.

Research opportunities

Graduate student positions are available in the laboratories of Emannuelle Cordat, Larry FliegelTodd Alexander, Elaine Leslie.
Link to the investigators name above or click here.

The International Research Group (IRTG) in Membrane Biology offers a collaborative training program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada has awarded the group with this training program grant as part of the NSERC CREATE program, which runs 2012-2018. Highlights of the program include collaborative visits to our German partners for three to six months and visits to industrial partners. 

Regular meetings and seminars

MPDRG/IRTG Weekly Seminars are held on Thursdays from 9:00-10:15 am in Room F-2J4.02 WMHSC. Please be sure to attend and show your support.

2016-2017 MPDRG/IRTG WEEKLY SEMINAR SCHEDULE

Membrane Protein Journal Club (Biochemistry 640)/ IRTG Journal Club is held Wednesdays in Room 4-70 MSB at 4:00pm. The course Biochemistry 640 is a graduate course in the Department of Biochemistry. Presenters usually give a literature review of a paper that focuses on membranes or membrane proteins. Guest speakers sometimes present their own work. Volunteers are needed to fill out the schedule. If you can give a seminar, please contact the coordinator, Dr. Larry Fliegel (lfliegel@ualberta.ca, 492-1848).

2016-2017 BIOCH 640 SEMINAR SCHEDULE

Monthly Career Skills Development Series are held in Room 4-70, Medical Science Building, 12:00-1:30 PM, unless otherwise announced. Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

CAREER SKILLS DEVELOPMENT SERIES for 2016

 

 
 
News
Upcoming Events
News
December 2016

Holiday Season Celebration

Thursday, December 15, 2016  12:00 - 2:00 PM
4003-4004 KATZ Building

Register HERE for our traditional international potluck!

September 2016

We started the new academic year with the 5th IRTG joint meeting in Edmonton with our German partners from IRTG. It included an exciting scientific program, a visit to Elk Island National Park, a BBQ at Emily Murphy park and plenty of time for scientific and non-scientific discussions. A big Thank You to Skirmante Tamelyte, Gareth Armanious, Joe Primeau and MPDRG graduate students for organizing this wonderful meeting with our German partners!

Other news:

  • Dr. Chris Cheeseman is now retired and has closed his laboratory. “Dr. C.” is now a Professor Emeritus in the department of Physiology.
  • Dr. Joanne Lemieux’s lab has welcomed two new graduate students: Laine Lysyk (Biochemistry) and Emmanuella Takyi (Neurosciences).  Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen also has one new graduate student, Xiong Liu. Welcome to all!
  • Dr. Chris Lukowski has left Dr. Joe Casey’s lab at the end of August to take up a position as a Lecturer at Medicine Hat College.
  • Dr. Raj Amith left Dr. Larry Fliegel's lab and took a faculty position in the UK. Raj started her new position as Lecturer (equivalent to Asst. Prof. in Canada) in Biomedical Science, School of Life Sciences, Keele University, on September 1, 2016. Here are her new contact details.
  • Shane Wiebe has left Dr. Todd Alexander’s laboratory after obtaining his Master’s degree. He has just started a Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Dr. Nahum Sonenberg's lab at McGill University. Dr. Allen Plain is a new postdoctoral trainee who started in Dr. Alexander’s lab on September 1, 2016.

Welcome to new group members and we wish all the best to those who have left the group!

2016 Summer Students’ Research Program

Two of our group's summer students received Poster presentation awards at the faculty-wide 49th Annual Summer Students' Research Day:
Justin Lee from Dr. R. Todd Alexander's lab, Department of Pediatrics, with the poster 'Identification of Novel Calcium (CA2+) Transport Pathway in Jejunum of Suckling Mice' and Yesmine Elloumi from Dr. Larry Fliegel's lab, Department of Biochemistry, with the poster 'Intracellular Loop Five of the NA+/H+ Exchanger 1 is a Putative PH Sensor'. Congratulations!

August 2016

2016 Summer Students' Presentations
We are pleased to announce the winners of this competition:

First prize: Matthew Saurette (Supervisor Dr. Todd Alexander)
Second prize: Justin Lee (Supervisor Dr. Todd Alexander)
Third prize: Xu Jing Qiang (Supervisor Dr. Joe Casey)

See all presentations here.

June 2016

Best Basic Research Award winner

Contgratulations to Gareth Armanious, Graduate Student from Dr. Howard Young's lab, won the Best Basic Research Award at the Mazankowski Cardiac Sciences Research Day on June 10, 2016.

April-May 2016

Summer students have arrived
Welcome to our new summer students:
Xu Jing Wang (Dr. Joe Casey’s lab, NSERC funded), Renee Dicipulo (Dr. Joe Casey’s lab, funded by a Brian Sykes Summer Studentship), Jessi Bak (Dr. Howard Young’s lab), Justin Lee (Dr. Todd Alexander’s lab, NSERC funded), Stephania Irwin (Drs. Joanne Lemieux and Nicolas Touret, NSERC funded), Andrew Song (Dr. Joanne Lemieux, AIHS funded), Yesmine Elloumi (Dr. Larry Fliegel’s lab, AIHS funded), Juliana Wang (Dr. Larry Fliegel’s lab, AIHS funded), Monica Baradi (Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat’s lab, AIHS funded) and Midhat Rizvi (Office of the Provost and VP office funded).
Welcome to all and we are looking forward to hearing about your summer research!

New Grants
Congratulations to Dr. Howard Young for receiving Grant-in-Aid funding from the Heart & Stroke Foundation. Also kudos to Dr. Joanne Lemieux for receiving an NSERC Discovery grant this Spring.

New group members
Welcome to Saba Rehman who recently joined Dr. Todd Alexander’s lab as a graduate student!

Other Awards
Kudos to Dr. Ray Amith for being awarded the post-doctoral Leader in Biochemistry award for her publication: Amith SR, Wilkinson JM, Baksh S, Fliegel L. The Na?/H? exchanger (NHE1) as a novel co-adjuvant target in paclitaxel therapy of triple-negative breast cancer cells. Oncotarget. 2015 Jan 20;6(2):1262-75.

Mentoring matters
Dr. Joe Casey received the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Award for Excellence in Mentoring (Tier I Basic Science).

January-March 2016

Thesis Defenses and Other News
Congratulations to Yanfei Zhang and Justin Fedor who successfully defended their Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Joel Weiner. Yanfei is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton and Justin is a Postdoctoral Fellow ath MRC Labs in Cambrige (UK). Sheng Yi (Sally) has also graduated and is now a Ph.D. in Chemistry (U of Alberta). Good luck to all of them in their future endeavors!

Kudos to Dr. Michael Overduin for receiving a project grant from the Alberta Prion Research Institute on "Protein-Lipid Analysis using Styrene Maleic Acid Nanoparticles (PLASMAN)” (2015-2016), a project in collaboration with Dr. Holger Wille.
The Department of Biochemistry celebrated the opening of Dr. Overduin’s lab, read the report here. Check out this meeting on Membrane Protein Nanoparticles that Dr. Overduin is coorganizing on April 29, 2016: www.smalp.net

Dr. Joel Weiner has closed his laboratory as of February 29, 2016.

Welcome to Nasim Danaei, a full time volunteer technician in Dr. Michael Overduin’s
laboratory.

December 2015

Holiday Season Celebration

Thursday, December 17, 2015  12:00 - 2:00 PM
4003-4004 KATZ Building
International potluck, photo booth, door prizes and much more.
Check out the pictures

Thesis Defenses
On December 1, John Githaka from Dr. Nicolas Touret's lab successfuly defended his PhD thesis with the title "Plasma Membrane Organization and Endocytosis of CD36 in Human Microvascular Endothelial Cells". 
On December 3, Barbara Roggenbeck from Elaine Leslie's lab had her Thesis Defense 'Arsenic Transport by the Human Multidrug Resistance Proteins (MRPs/ABCCs)'. Congratulations to John and Barbara!

November 2015

Welcome to Dr. Harley Kurata who joined our research group as P.I. member! Read about Harley's research here.
Congratulations to Gareth Armanious who has been elected as the new MPDRG Student Association President.
Brilliance in Biochemistry: The Biochemistry Department and the U of A celebrate Darpan Malhotra (Dr. Casey’s lab) as a winner of the Vanier scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious graduate award. Read the article here.

October 2015 - Invited Speakers and Thesis Defenses

This month, we had the pleasure to hear about Drs. Andras Kapus'and Harley Kurata's research during our weekly meetings. Check out the seminar schedule.
Congratulations to Drs. Devishree Krishnan and Shaima Hussein who succesfully defended their Ph.D. Well done. ladies!
Welcome to Dr. Michael Overduin who joined our research group as P.I. member! Read about Michael's research here.

September 2015 - A new school year is starting

We had our annual meeting with our German partners on September 14-15, 2015, in Bad Durkheim, Germany. Many thanks to German colleagues for their hospitality and the idea to organize the meeting at the same time as the Bad Durkheim Wine festival! Check out pictures of the event here.
This month, the MPDRG seminar series is hosting a number of exciting invited speakers, including Drs. Michael Overduin (Biochemistry, UofA), Peter Hwang (Medicine & Biochemistry, UofA), and Andras Kapus (Biochemistry, U of Toronto).

September always brings a lot of new trainees to our labs. Dr. Fliegel’s lab is welcoming Ka Yee Wong (Carmen), and Dr. Alexander welcomed Megan Beggs as a PhD student. Welcome also to Isabelle Lang, a German student from Dr. Jutta Engel’s lab visiting Dr. Casey’s lab.

Please join us to welcome our new administrative assistant, Skirmante Tamelyte. Skirmante started on September 8 and you can find her Mondays and Wednesdays at the front desk of the research offices on the fourth floor (4-020), phone number 780-2481196.

August 2015 - A month full of exciting events

Well done to the winners of our Summer Students Presentations: Bradley Rutherford (Dr. Young Lab), Stephania Irwin (Dr. Lemieux Lab), and Ali Quadri (Dr. Casey lab).
Congratulations to Rawad Lashhab (Dr. Cordat lab), Alka Kumari (Dr. Casey lab), Ka Yee Wong (Dr. Fliegel lab) and Ruiqi Cai (Dr. Chen lab) who were awarded IRTG graduate studentships or postdoctoral fellowships for 3 years.
A big thank you to Cameron Smithers for organizing the MPDRG/IRTG summer BBQ on August 14, 2015.

July 2015 - Defenses, new scholarships and grants

On July 15, Mike Chiu (Dr. Casey’s lab) defended his Master’s of Sciences. Congratulations, Mike!
Well done to Darpan Malhotra (Dr. Casey’s lab) who won an AIHS Scholarship and a Vanier scholarship, Canada’s most prestigious graduate award.
Congratulations to Dr. Todd Alexander who was awarded an NSERC Discovery Grant and Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat who received a new CIHR operating grant.

Previous MPDRG news 2015

 

 

 

 


Guest Speaker
Upcoming Events


Upcoming

Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Career Skills Development Series
Room KATZ 4003, 12:00-1:30 PM
Dr. Deanna Davis, Professional Development Instructional Design Specialist at the Faculty of Graduate Studies & Research, will provide an orientation session on Individual Development Plan (IDP). Students will be introduced to the professional development requirement and the IDP. This session addresses introductory questions:
Why is professional development a requirement?
What counts as professional development activities for the eight-hour requirement?
How do I start to create an IDP?

This seminar is open for all grad students at the Department of Biochemistry. 
Lunch will be provided, please RSVP here

Thursday, December 8, 2016
9:00 – 10:15 AM 
Classroom F – 2J4.02 WMHSC
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Presentation by Laine Lysyk from Dr. Joanne Lemieux lab, Department of Biochemistry, U of A, with the title:
'PARL-mediated intramembrane proteolysis in Parkinson’s disease'. See poster

Thursday, December 15, 2016
9:00 – 10:15 AM 
Classroom F – 2J4.02 WMHSC
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Presentation by invited speaker Dr. Mohan Babu, Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry
University of Regina, with the title:
'A Network Map of Human Mitochondrial Protein Interactions in Health and Disease'. See poster

This visit is supported the Walter Mckenzie visiting speaker fund.

Previous Seminars and Guest Speakers

Thursday, December 1, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Presentation by invited speaker Dr. Raymond J. Turner from Microbial Biochemistry Laboratory, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, with the title:
‘Exploring the multi-ligand specificity and functionality of small multidrug resistance proteins in bacteria’. See poster

Tuesday, November 22, 2016
Career Skills Development Series
Seminar with Dr. Joanne Lemieux: 'Marketing your research'
All participants were asked to complete an assignment to be presented in class. See assignment.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Presentation by Qiaolin Hu from Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen’s lab, Department of Physiology, with the title 'Intramolecular N-C termini interaction and pore gate residues of TRPV channels'. See poster

Thursday, November 10, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Presentation by Gurnit Kaur from Dr. Elaine Leslie lab, Department of Physiology, with the title 'Transport Pathways Involved in Arsenic and Selenium Detoxification'. See poster

Thursday, November 3, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Robin Kim and Caroline Wang from Dr. Harley Kurata's lab, Department of Pharmacology, presented with the title:
'Molecular mechanisms of voltage-gated potassium channel openers'. See poster

Wednesday, November 2, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Shahid Ullah presented with the title “KLHL3 regulates paracellular chloride transport in the kidney by ubiquitination of claudin-8." 

Thursday, October 27, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar: Dr. Ensaf Almomani, Department of Physiology, presentED a seminar entitled:
"Characterization of newly identified distal renal tubular acidosis mutants of the kidney anion exchanger 1”
See poster

Tuesday, October 25, 2016
Career Skills Development seminar with Dr. Joanne Lemieux: 'De-Stress for Success'

Thursday, October 20, 2016
9:00 – 10:15 AM 
Classroom F – 2J4.02 WMHSC
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar: Dr. Patrick MacDonald, Department of Pharmacology, will present with the title:

‘Molecular mechanisms that amplify insulin exocytosis’
See poster

Thursday, October 6, 2016

MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar: Dr. Larry Fliegel, Professor and Associate Chair, Department of Biochemistry, with the title:

‘NHE Drug Discovery and Research Developments’
See poster

Thursday, September 29, 2016

MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar: Darpan Malhotra from Dr. Joe Casey lab will present with the title: ‘Expanding horizons in the understanding of Endothelial Corneal Dystrophies’

See poster here.

Thursday, September 22, 2016
Special MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar with guest speaker Dr. Jeff Abramson, Professor at the Department of Physiology, UCLA, Los Angeles, with the title: ‘pH Induced Oligomerization of VDAC1 is Driven by Glutamate 73’
See poster here.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016
Career Skills Development seminar with the topic 'If you could write your own reference letter'
with Drs. Joanne Lemieux and Joe Casey.

September 6 - 8, 2016
IRTG - International Research and Training Group in Membrane Biology
Annual Symposium 2016
See symposium program here.

Thursday, June 23, 2016
Special MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Members of Dr. Michael Overduin lab, gave three short presentations. See poster here.
Mansoore Esmaili: 'Detergent-free isolation of membrane proteins; a case study of PagP'
Cameron Smithers: 'Structure-aided drug discovery for the membrane-interactive RhoA-Lbc target'
Michael Overduin: 'Desmosomal assemblies involved in adhering cell-cell junctions to the cytoskeleton'

Tuesday, June 28, 2016
Lunchtime Career Skills Development Seminar 'Presentations with Impact'. Seminar and discussion with Drs. Emmanuelle Cordat and Howard Young, Professors at the Departments of Physiology and Biochemistry.

Thursday, June 16, 2016
Special MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Invited speaker, Dr. John Klassen, Professor, Department of Chemistry, U of A, Director, Alberta Glycomics Centre, GlycoNet Principal Investigator, presented his work with the title:

‘Characterizing protein-glycolipid interactions using electrospray ionization mass spectrometry’.
 
See poster here.

Thursday, June 9, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Katherine Badior
, PhD student at Dr. Joe Casey's lab, presented with the title:
‘Biochemical and Computational Approaches to SLC4A11’. 
See poster here.

Thursday, June 2, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Dr. Peter Light, Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Director, Alberta Diabetes Institute
Charles A Allard Chair in Diabetes Research, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, U of A.

‘Cardiac KATP channels - What do they actually do?’

See poster here.

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Special MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Visiting speaker Dr. Sergei Noskov, Associate Professor, Centre for Molecular Simulation
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Calgary, hosted by Dr. Joe Casey, presented with the title 'Molecular Mechanisms of Ion-Coupled Conformational Dynamics in Secondary Transporters'. See abstract here.
Trainees met with guest speaker Dr. Noskov for pizza lunch and discussion.
This visit was supported the Walter Mckenzie visiting speaker fund.

Thursday, May 19, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Victoria Baronas
, Graduate Student from Dr. Harley Kurata’s lab, Department of Pharmacology,
presented with the title:
‘Potassium channels at the interface of redox state and electrical excitability’

See poster here.


Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Lunchtime Career Skills Development Seminar
12:00 - 1:30 PM
Room 4-70 MSB

'From Physiology to Forensics'
Seminar and discussion with Brittany Brown Wyllie, M.Sc., Evidence Recovery Technologist, National Forensic Laboratory Services - Edmonton, Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Thursday, May 12, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Anna-Maria Miederer
, PhD candidate from the Saarland University, Germany and exchange trainee at Dr. Larry Fliegel's lab, presented with the title:
‘STIM2 
– Splicing, Function and Identification of Novel Regulators
See poster here.

Thursday, May 5, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Dr. Rashmi Panigrahi
, Postdoctoral Fellow from Dr. Joanne Lemieux' lab, presented with the title:
‘Mechanistic insight into inhibition of rhomboid proteases by isocoumarins’. 
See poster here.

Thursday, April 28, 2016
Special MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Visiting speaker Dr. Derek Bowie,
Professor at Department of Pharmacology &Therapeutics, McGill University, Montreal, was hosted by Dr. Joanne Lemieux and presented with the title 'Functional anatomy of the ionotropic glutamate receptor family’. See poster here
Trainees met with guest speaker Dr. Bowie for lunch and discussion.
This visit was supported the Walter Mckenzie visiting speaker fund.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016
Career Skills Development series

'Knowledge Translation - What is it and what is all the fuss about'

Seminar and discussion with Dr. Shannon D. Scott, Professor, RN, Canada Research Chair for Knowledge Translation in Child Health, AHFMR/AIHS Population Health Investigator.
Lunch and refreshments provided.

Thursday, April 21, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
RUIQI CAI,
PhD Student from Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen's lab, Department of Physiology presented with the title: 'Intramolecular interaction between TRPP3 N- and C-termini'. See poster here.

Thursday, April 14, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Alka Kumari, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow in from Dr. Joe Casey's lab, Department of Biochemistry,  presented with the title: 'A Personalized Medicine Approach to Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy'.

See poster here.

Thursday, April 7, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
A. K. M. Shahid Ullah,
Graduate Student from Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat's lab, Department of Physiology,  presented with the title: 'Why does the Cl-/HCO3- exchanger SLC26A7 not compensate for the absence of kAE1 in dRTA?'. Coffee, tea and snacks provided by Joanne Lemieux' lab. See poster here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Rashmi Panigrahi gave a Biochemistry 640 presentation with the title 'Mechanistic insight into mammalian fructose transporter GLUT5.' See abstract here.


Thursday, March 31, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

9:00-10:15 am, room F-2J4.02 WMHSC

Dr. Henrik Dimke, guest speaker from the University of Southern Denmark, Odense, hosted by Todd Alexander, presented with the title: 'Tubulovascular Cross-Talk by Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor A Maintains Peritubular Microvasculature in Kidney.’ See poster here.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Carmen Wong presented with the title '13C NMR Detects Conformational Change in the 100 kD Membrane Transporter ClC-ec1'. See abstract here.


Thursday, March 24, 2016
Career Skills Development Seminar
12:00 - 1:30 PM
Room 4-70 MSB

'Intellectual Property - Careers and Opportunities'
Seminar and discussion with Dr. Mark Vickers, Partner in the Ottawa office of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP; member of their Intellectual Property Group and National Biotech and Pharmaceutical Group.
Lunch and refreshments provided.

Previous MPDRG/IRTG seminars 2015-2016