About the Membrane Protein Disease Research Group
Our Mission & Goals
Group Members
Diseases We Study
Research Support
Group Resources
International Linkages
MPRG Grad Student Association
Group Events
Group News
Join the Membrane Protein Research Group
Postdoctoral Opportunities
Graduate Student Opportunities
Selected Publications
Meetings & Seminars
Scheduled Meetings
Guest Speakers
Membrane Protein Journal Club
University of Alberta
Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry
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.


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).

2015-2016 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.



Upcoming Events

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

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.

June 2015

Sampath Loganathan (Dr. Casey’s lab) successfully defended his PhD. Well done, Sam! Sam is now a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Daniel Schramek’s laboratory (Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto). Good luck and very best wishes!
Career Skills Development Series - "Marketing Your Research"  Drs. Joe Casey and Marek Michalak, Department of Biochemistry - Monday, August 10, 2015 from 12:00 - 12:00- 1:30 pm in Katz 4003-4004. Visit Http://www.membranetraining.ualberta.ca/ (forms cabinet) to see the assignment.  Lunch will be provided. Mark your calendars!

Visiting Speaker - Dr. Paul Schnetkamp, Professor, Department of Physiology & Pharmacology, University of Calgary



"The SCL24 Gene Family of Na/Ca-K Exchangers: from Sight and Smell to Memory Consolidation, Skin Pigmentation and Bad Teeth"


Thursday, June 25, 2015 at at 9:00 am in Classroom Room F - 2J2.02 WMC. Host:  Dr. Joe Casey

Visiting Speaker - Dr. John Baenziger, Department of Biochemistry Microbiology & Immunology, University of Ottawa.  http://s546183587.onlinehome.us/professor/

"Structure and function of the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor in its membrane environment"

Thursday, June 11, 2015 at 9:00 am in Classroom F - 2J4.02 WMC. Host: Dr. Joanne Lemieux

Career Skills Development Series - "Grant Writing 101"  Drs. Larry Fliegel and Howard Young, Department of Biochemistry - Monday, June 15, 2015 from 12:00- 1:30 pm in Katz 4003-4004.  Lunch will be provided. Mark your calendars!

The IRTG/CREATE Program has awarded 2 three year awards to Gareth Armanious (Howard Young's Lab) and Swai Mon Khaing (Nicolas Touret's Lab).  Congratulations!

Friday, May 8, 2015
Visiting Speaker Dr. Raymond J. Turner, Department of Biochemistry & Microbiology, University of Calgary was hosted by Dr. Joel Weiner and presented with the title 'Characterization of a system specific chaperone for complex iron-sulfur molybdoenzyme maturation.'

Monday, May 11, 2015
Career Skills Development Series - "The Transition to Working in a Small Biotech Company"
  Dr. Arghya Basu, NanoSpeed Diagnostics, Edmonton.

Monday, April 13, 2015
Career Skills Development Series - "Career Life Balance"


Shuo Chen (Fliegel Lab) funded by AIHS

Stephania Irwin (Lemieux Lab) funded by AIHS
Tim Kong funded by NSERC-CREATE IRTG and an Office of the Provost and VP (Academic)               Summer Research Award.

Tae Young (Tim) Lee (Lemieux Lab) funded by AIHSMeet Patel (Casey Lab) funded by AIHS

Regan Mah (Fliegel Lab) funded by AIHS and NSERC

Bradley Rutherford (Young Lab) funded by AIHS

Qadeem Salehmohamed (Touret Lab) funded by NSERC USRA
Cristiana Stoian (Touret Lab) funded by NSERC-CREATE IRTG

Ali Qadri (Casey Lab) funded by AIHS

April 2015 - Summer Studentship Competition Results


IRTG/CREATE program will fund 2 summer studentships this year for:

Cristiana Stoian from Dr. Touret's laboratory

Tim Kong from Dr. Chen's laboratory

AIHS Summer Studentship Competition Results:
Congratulations to Shuo Chen & Regan Mah (Dr. Larry Fliegel), Stephania Irwin & Tim Lee (Dr. Joanne Lemieux), Meet Patel & Ali Qadri (Dr. Joe Casey), Bradley Rutherford (Dr. Howard Young)!

Previous MPDRG news 2015





Guest Speaker
Upcoming Events

Upcoming Seminars

Thursday, June 2, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Classroom F – 2J4.02 WMHSC

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, will talk on:

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

See poster here.

Previous Seminars and Guest Speakers

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:
– 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
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.

Thursday, March 24, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Presentations by two speakers from the laboratory of Dr. Larry Fliegel:
1. 'NHE1 Modulates Metastatic Potential and Epithelial-Mesenchymal Transition in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer'
by Ray Amith, PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow;
2. 'Structural Analysis of Membrane Associated Regions of Na/H Exchanger Proteins' by Carmen Ka Yee Wong.
See poster here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Swai Mon Khaing presented 'Molecular Mechanism of Phospoinositide Remodeling in Ednosomal Recycling and Exocytosis'. See abstract here.

Thursday, March 17, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Gareth Armanious
from the lab of Dr. Howard Young, Department of Physiology, presented with the title: 'Mechanistic insights into the SERCA regulatory axis in Heart Failure'. See poster here.

Thursday, March 10, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Dr. Sylvia Yao,  Research Associate in the lab of Dr. James Young, Department of Physiology, U of A, presented with the title: 'Identification of key residues involved in the Na+/H+ binding site of hCNT3'. See poster here.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Rawad Lashhab presented with the title 'Dissecting the cross-talk mechanism between basolateral muscarinic AChR and tight junction protein Claudin-4'. See abstract here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
AKM Shahid Ullah from Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat's lab, Department of Physiology with the title: 'Anion exchanger-1 and Sodium pump are co-regulated in the kidney.' See abstract here.

Thursday, March 3, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Shane Wiebe, Graduate student and and lab member in Dr. Todd Alexander's lab, Department of Physiology, with the title: 'The Role of NHE8 in Renal Proximal Tubule Calcium Reabsorption'. See poster here.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Qiaolin Hu presented with the title: 'Reciprocal regulation of two G protein-coupled receptors sensing extracellular concentrations of Ca2+ and H+' See abstract here

Thursday, February 25, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
'Role of the plasma membrane organization in CD36 signaling'
Presentation by Swai Mon Khaing from Dr. Nicolas Touret's lab. See poster here

Friday, February 12, 2016
Career Skills Development Seminar 

'Life in Biotech'
Seminar and discussion with Dr. Jonathan Derry, former Director and Principal Scientist at Immunex Inc. and Amgen, Seattle, U.S.A.

Thursday, February 11, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Rawad Lashhab, PhD student and lab member in Dr. Cordat's lab, Department of Physiology, presented with the title: 
'Role of kAE1/Claudin-4 Interaction In Maintaining Acid/Base Balance & Electrolyte Homeostasis'. See poster here.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Presentation by Dr. Alka Kumari with the title 'Dopamine Transporter: Beyond Housekeeping'. See abstract here

Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
Presentation by Dr. Debajyoti Dutta: 'Light driven Na+ pump: a new working flavor of Rhodopsins'
See abstract here
Thursday, February 4, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Dr. Olivier Soueidan, Research Associate and lab member in Chris Cheeseman's lab, Department of Biochemistry:
‘Stringent Stereochemical Requirement for Recognition and Transport of Hexose Derivatives by GLUT1 and GLUT5' See poster here
Thursday, January 28, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Stephania Irwin, lab member in Dr. Joanne Lemieux' lab in Department of Biochemistry, presented with the title: 
‘Molecular analysis of PINK1 in Parkinson's Disease'See poster here

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Career Skills Development Seminar 
12:00 - 13:30 PM, Room 4-70 Medical Science Building (MSB)
"B.Y.O. CV: Discussion and Gentle Critique of your CV". This session discussed CV optimization and features gentle commentary of CVs, in small groups, with Drs. Joanne Lemieux and Joe Casey.

Thursday, January 21, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
Anil Kumar, Postdoctoral Fellow in Dr. Tom Hobman's lab in Department of Physiology, presented on Thursday with the title: ‘Identification of novel host factors essential for dengue virus replication’. See poster here
Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Membrane Protein Journal Club (Bioch 640)
4:00 pm in room 470 MSB
Presentation by Gareth Armanious 'Don't Flip out: Is Extracellular Loop 3 important for Zinc transport or Immune System Evasion in ZnUD?
See abstract here.
Thursday, January 7, 2016
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar
9:00-10:15 am, room F-2J4.02 WMHSC
Wang Zheng, PhD candidate in Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen's lab in Department of Physiology, presented with the title: 'A common mechanism for gating and PIP2 regulation of transient receptor potential (TRP) channels.' See poster here

Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Classroom F – 2J4.02 WMC, Time: 9:30 am 
Justin Fedor
from Joel Weiner's lab defended his PhD thesis with the title: Respiring on fertilizer to charge the cellular battery: Insights into the function of E. coli nitrate reductase.” See abstract here. 

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Special MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Visiting speaker Dr. Russel Hille, Distinguished Professor of Biochemistry, University of California, Riverside, US, hosted by Dr. Joel Weiner, presented with the title
'A Tale of Two Enzymes: Xanthine Oxidase and CO Dehydrogenase’. See poster here

Thursday, December 10, 2015
MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminar

Dr. Todd Alexander, Professor at Departments of Pediatrics and Physiology, presented with the title:
'5 years, 1 mouse and still more questions! The physiological role of claudin-12'. See poster here

Previous MPDRG/IRTG weekly seminars in 2015