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 as well, 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.

Upcoming Events

Welcome to Mr Rawad Lashhab, a new graduate student who has joined the laboratory of Dr Emannuelle Cordat. 


Welcome (somewhat belated) to Kerstin Duscha, from Ekkehard Neuhaus's lab who will be visiting the Fliegel lab until the end of April.  If you have not already done so, please welcome Kerstin!  We hope you enjoy your stay with us!


Congratulations to Dr. Jessica Gifford, who has won an AIHS Postgraduate Fellowship.  Dr. Gifford, a new PDF in the group of Howard Young, joins us as an IRTG funded trainee from the University of Calgary.  Congratulations Jessica and welcome.  We hope you enjoy your time with us!


Congratulations to Daniel Sowah (Casey Lab), who successfully defended his PhD thesis on Thursday 9 January 2014. 


57th Annual Meeting of the Canadian Society for Molecular Biosciences
Membrane Protein in Health and Disease

April 10-13, 2014
Banff Centre, Banff Alberta

For more details, please click here.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Grant Kemp from the labs of Larry Fliegel and Howard Young successfully defended his Ph.D.  Congratulations Grant!!!

IRTG Second Joint Symposium, Ebernburg Bad Münster am Stein, Germany, August 27-30, 2013.  For more details, please click here.

Award winners from the IRTG July 1 2013 competition for traineeships.

The winners are Anil Ansalem (PDF, Tom Hobman), Darpan Malhotra (Graduate Student, Joe Casey), Sumanpreet Kaur (Graduate Student, Emmanuelle Cordat), and Cameron Smithers (Graduate Student, Joanne Lemieux). Congratulations to all!!

The MPDRG BBQ will be held on August 8, 2013 at Hawrelak Park, Site #3.  The MPDRG Graduate Student Association is responsible for the arrangements and are currently looking for volunteers.  Please contact Sampath Kumar Loganathan ( Joe Casey's Lab) 780-492-1080, email:  sloganat@ualberta.ca if you can help!.

Thursday, Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Mike Carew, from Elaine Leslie's lab, successfully defended his Ph.D. today.  Congratulations Mike!!

Welcome to our MPDRG Summer Students 2013:

Gurpaul Bara (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Touret Lab

Ruojin Bu (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Touret Lab

Lina Cadili (IRTG Summer Studentship) - Touret Lab

Sierra Casey (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Alexander Lab

Jonathan Chu ((AIHS Summer Studentship) - H Young Lab

Inderpal Gill (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Casey Lab

Karissa Giraldi (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Weiner Lab


Michelina Kierzek (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Weiner Lab

Maninder Longowal (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Casey Lab

Yike Ma (AIHS Summer Studentship) - Fliegel Lab

Hue An Nguyen (IRTG Summer Studentship) - Cordat Lab

Shauna Regan (IRTG Summer Studentship) - J Young Lab

Rodney Rousseau - Leslie Lab

Omar Saddik (NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award) - Chen Lab

Sara Sarbar (IRTG Summer Studentship/NSERC Undergraduate Student Research Award) -                            Fliegel Lab

Cameron Smithers - Lemieux Lab

Ambreen Surmawala - Leslie Lab

Hassain Tahir (IRTG Summer Studentship) - Lemieux Lab

Arun Thomas (IRTG Summer Studentship) - H Young Lab

Megan Ure (AIHS Summer Studentship) -  Alexander Lab

Brayden Whitlock - Leslie Lab

Cindy Wu (CIHR Summer Studentship) - J Young Lab

MPDRG Summer Student Presentations will be held August 8, 22 and 29 in Classroom F - 2J4.02.   Schedule We hope you enjoy your experience!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Melissa Morrison successfully defended her MSc thesis.  Congratulations Melissa!

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry will honor Dr. Larry Fliegel for a Tier I Basic Science Award for Excellence in Mentoring on Monday, June 17, 2013 from 3 to 5 p.m. in the Oborowsky Degner Seminar Hall (1-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation). All are welcome to attend! For more information, please view the Dean’s Message . . .

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Farewell Patricia Graham!!!

After 4 years of service with the MPDRG AND IRTG we bid Trish farewell.  Thank you for all your hard work and enthusiasm!  Enjoy your move to Winnipeg!

Thursday, May 9, 2013
Dr. Seth Alper, Prof. of Medicine, Harvard University, Renal Division and Molecular and Vascular Medicine Unit, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center visited the MPDRG/IRTG May 9 & 10th.  (more) 

Dr. Alper presented a seminar titled: "Medullary Cystic Kidney Disease: new insights and questions from MUC1" at the Regular Weekly MPDRG meeting 9:00-10:00am, Classroom F WCMHSC.  He was hosted by Dr. Joe Casey and funded in part by the W. Mackenzie Visiting Speaker Fund, FoMd.   

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Visiting Speaker, Dr. Ted Allison, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, U of Alberta presented:  "Retinal cone photoreceptor regeneration in zebrafish" at the weekly MPDRG/IRTG meeting.  For more information on
Dr. Allison's research link (here).

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Visiting Speaker, Dr. Richard Zimmermann, Medical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Medicine, Saarland University, Germany visited the MPDRG, hosted by Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen.  Dr. Zimmerman is also a German researcher from the International Training Research Group in Membrane Biology. 

Dr. Zimmermann visited MPDRG labs and also presented a seminar "siRNA Approaches for the Structural and Functional Analysis of the Human Endoplasmic Reticulum" at the regular MPDRG/IRTG weekly meeting.  (PDF Poster).  Please link (here) for more on Dr. Zimmerman's research. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013
Visiting Speaker, Dr. Frank Narganag, Professor, Dept. of Biological Sciences, University of Alberta will present "Regulation of Alternative Oxidase Production in Neurospora crassa."  More on Dr. Nargang's research (here) (PDF Poster)

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Dr. Bill Cole, Depts. of Pharmacology & Physiology, University of Calgary visited the MPDRG/IRTG, hosted by Dr. Joe Casey.  Dr. Cole presented a seminar "Novel Mechanisms for Normal and Dysfunctional Regulation of Cerebral Blood Flow" at the regular MPDRG/IRTG weekly meeting.
(PDF poster)
. Please link here  for more on Dr. Cole's research.

A HUGE THANKYOU!! to everyone who contributed approx. 103 lbs. of food/goods!! to the Campus Food Bank at the annual MPDRG/IRTG Christmas Party held Tues. December 12th.   The competition among labs showed the true spirit of giving and we look forward to next year's party to top this year's donation.  Another bouquet to all who helped with set up and clean up and to those who brought food.  All the best this holiday season!

November 20, 2012

Dr. Chris Cheeseman in the News!

$2.5 million has been awarded to the University of Alberta for Breast Cancer Research.  Dr. Chris Cheeseman is one of the recipients of this award from the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation. Please link here for the full news story from the
University of Alberta News.  

October 25, 2012

Dr. Orson Moe, Internal Medicine, Physiology, Southwestern Medical Centre, Dallas, Texas visited the MPDRG/IRTG, hosted by Dr. Todd Alexander and presented a seminar entitled:  “A Nephrocentric View of the FGF23-Klotho Network”at the Nephrology Grand Rounds.
Dr. Moe's interests are in Epithelial Biology, Ion Transport, and Metabolism. (here)  

October 4, 2012

Dr. Stine Pedersen, Dept. of Biology, University of Copenhagen, Denmark visited the MPDRG/IRTG, hosted by Dr. Todd Alexander & Dr. Larry Fliegel.  
Dr. Pedersen's research is in the following: Studies of the regulation and physiology of NHE1, in particular with respect to the roles of NHE1 in cell migration and in the cellular stress response and Structure-function studies of the transmembrane and cytosolic regions of NHE1. (here) Dr. Pedersen presented a seminar at the regular MPDRG/IRTG weekly meeting Thurs. October 4, 2012. “Regulation and roles of the Na+/HCO3- cotransporter NBCn1 and the Na+/H+ exchangerNHE1 in breast cancer”.


Summer Student Presentations 2012 Award Winners

I am pleased to announce the top three award winners of the MPDRG Summer Student Seminars held August 19, 16, and 23rd.  Congratulations to all those students who participated.  Your research and presentations were excellent and we hope your experience was beneficial to your future careers.

The winners are....

1st place - Gurpaul Bara (Touret Lab)

2nd place - Maria Syed ( Lemieux Lab)

3rd place - Megan Ure (Alexander Lab)

Winners will receive a cash reward to be presented at the beginning of next week's MPDRG Weekly Seminar on Thursday, September 13, 2012 at 9:00am.  Please forward your congratulations on to these students.

Joanne Lemieux, Judging Coordinator

IRTG Logo Contest Winner - Phil Quon (summer student, Casey lab)


Thank you to everyone who submitted logos for the IRTG Logo Contest.  There were some stunning logos submitted and alot of genuine graphic art talent shown.  We thank each of the entrants for the time and energy that they put into their art.  In the end, only one logo was chosen to use for the IRTG in Membrane Biology.  From the short list of logos, selected by Emmanuelle Cordat and Joe Casey, the MPDRG voted to identify the winning logo.  The winner was Phil Quon (summer student in the Casey lab).  Congratulations to Phil, who will receive a $100 gift certificate for his success.

International Research Training Group in Membrane Biology Website Launched!

The International Research Training Group (funded by NSERC) is pleased to announce that their new website has been launched.  The website address is:  http://www.membranetraining.ualberta.ca and current information about the group and it's activities can be found here. 

Thank you to everyone who made this year's MPDRG Annual Summer BBQ - Wed. June 20, 2012 a HUGE SUCCESS!!  Special thanks goes to Leah Stables and her crew of helpers from Howard Young's lab.  Please forward any pictures you may have taken to Trish.

June 2, 2012
Centennial Lectures spark new collaboration between FoMD researchers....
"More than 160 people took time away from a warm, sunny evening to learn more about heart failure and what researchers in the Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry are doing to further understand and treat the disease. "

Howard Young and Justin Ezekowitz both spoke that evening and in doing so formed a new unexpected collaboration.

...." In other words, bringing these two together to speak has fostered an entirely new path of discovery in patients in Alberta. The pair-up could eventually lead to early screening of certain types of heart disease caused by mutations in the genes."
For the full story link here to the FoMD current news.


May 31, 2012
New finding important to heart health, also changed faculty members entire research path.......

Scientist Howard Young’s research has taken a dramatic, unexpected turn in the last

few months, thanks to a serendipitous chain of events that could lead to a genetic test that can predict heart failure in certain people before it happens.  Link  here for more in the FoMD News article.


First Graduate Student/PDF Competition of the International Research Training Group in

Membrane Biology!

We are pleased to announce the first full competition of the IRTG in Membrane Biology for Graduate students and Postdoctoral Fellows.   Applications will be due June 29, 2012 and will be reviewed by the Program Advisory Committee.  Each award will include a stipend for three years, plus money for travel/accomodations during a three month stay with our German partners. The awards will commence on September 1, 2012.  Please link here for the Application Form.

Logo Contest!

We are launching a Logo contest for the newly funded Canada/Germany IRTG Membrane Training program. This program will fund salaries for graduate students and postdocs for up to 3 years, including living expenses in Germany during a 3 to 6 months visit of the student to our German collaborators' lab.

For developing the website promoting the program, we need to design a logo that ideally would be clear, simple and which conveys a message. Examples of cool logos found on Internet (here).

If you are interested, inspired and have decent computer skills, give it a try! Who knows, you may win the $100 gift certificate! Deadline for submission: June 15, 2012; Submit as a PDF to Trish

(trish.graham@ualberta.ca); Prize: $100 gift certificate to be used at Hudson's on Campus.

Thanks and good luck! For more information contact Emmanuelle Cordat  cordat@ualberta.ca

A special welcome to our MPDRG Summer Students 2012:

Megan Ure (Todd Alexander Lab)

Jake Mandziuk  and  Phil Quon both receiving AIHS studentships (Joe Casey)

Yunan Zhao,  Jagdeep Tuli -IRTG Studentship (Xing-Zhen Chen)

Mona Horvatic, Menjie Yan (Maria),  Charlotte Yu  (Emmanuelle Cordat)

Steve Guo  (Larry Fliegel)

Maria Syed IRTG Studentship  (Joanne Lemieux)

Brayden Whitlock  (Elaine Leslie)

Gurpaul Bara,  Rochelle Nieuwenhuis (Nicolas Touret)

Guru Piragasm,  Sheng Yi Wu (Sally) -AIHS studentship (Joel Weiner)

Mohammed Ali,  Karissa Giraldi,  Michelina Kierzek (Howard Young)

Shauna ReaganCody Wu (Jim Young)

MPDRG Summer Student Presentations will be held August 9, 16 and 23rd. 

We hope you enjoy your experience!

May 1, 2012

Congratulations to Maria Syed (Joanne Lemieux ‘s lab) and Jagdeep Tuli (Xing-Zhen Chen’s lab), who have been awarded the first summer studentships from the IRTG in Membrane Biology!

April 30, 2012

The International Research Training Group in Membrane Biology

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research council of Canada has awarded members of the MPDRG with a training program grant as part of the NSERC CREATE program. The $1.6 million investment from NSERC will fund a collaborative training program for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows, which will run 2012-2018. Highlights of the program include collaborative visits to our German partners for three-six months, and visits to industrial partners. The announcement for applications for the training program will be made shortly on this web site and on the separate website for the IRTG in Membrane Biology. A news article about the IRTG in Membrane Biology is also available.

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IRTG Website   http://www.membranetraining.ualberta.ca

Follow us on:          

April 3, 2012

We welcome our newest future member of the MPDRG - Russell Ian Leslie Kelly who was born April 3rd at 11:15pm, weighing in at 9lb 14oz/4480g.   Elaine and husband Rob and all the" caregivers" in the Leslie lab are doing well!!

April 19, 2012

Dr. Thomas Simmen, Associate Professor, AHFMR Scholar, Dept. of Cell Biology presented: The mitochondria-associated membrane (MAM): Targeting Mechanisms and Functions”

Dr. Simmen's research link (here).


March 1& 2, 2012

Dr. Holger Becker, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Zoology Technical University, Kaiserslautern, Germany visited the Membrane Protein Disease Research Group, hosted by Dr. Joe Casey.  Dr. Becker is a member of the German research group with whom we have formed an International Training initiative. His research is on sodium/bicarbonate co-transporters and monocarboxylate transporters. For more information on his research link (here).

Dr. Becker presented a seminar at the weekly MPDRG meeting on Thursday, March 1, 9:00am, Classroom F-2J4.02 titled:  "A new concept of 'transport metabolon' : Non-enzymatic interaction between carbonic anhydrase and the monocarboxylate transporter".

February 23, 2012

Dr. Anthony Gramolini, Associate Professor, Dept. of Physiology, University of Toronto was Visiting Speaker at the MPDRG weekly seminar on Feb. 23, 2012. (Hosted by Dr. Marek Michalak).  The title of Dr. Gramolini's seminar was: "Cardiovascular proteomics:  from Stem Cells to Tissues".   His research..." is aimed at providing a detailed mechanistic insight into heart failure specifically and identifying the role of calcium and calcium-binding proteins in the development of heart failure". For more information link (here).

Dr. Joanne Lemieux featured in Alberta Health Innovates - Health Solutions Research News-

Solving structure

Membrane protein structures could lead to the development of improved drugs...read more

Story by Tara Narwani / Illustration by Blair Kelly

Dr. M. Joanne Lemieux Dr. M. Joanne Lemieux receives funding from Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions. Dr. Lemieux is an assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry in Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Alberta and holds a Canada Research Chair in Membrane Protein Structure and Function.


Important Announcement!

International Research Training Group (IRTG) in Membrane Biology

The MPRG, along with partners at Technical University Kaiserslautern and Saarland University (Germany), is developing a joint training program in Membrane Biology. This training program will enable enrolled students and Postdoctoral fellows to develop high level skills in Membrane Biology through a series of activities, including research at University of Alberta and in the laboratory of a partner in Germany. We are excited to announce that our German partners were successful in obtaining funding for their share of the program from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). The MPRG has applied for support from the Canadian Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to fund the University of Alberta portion of the International Research Training Group. If we receive funding, then the IRTG in Membrane Biology will begin to enroll students and postdoctoral fellows in the IRTG in Membrane Biology for
Fall 2012. (Research Training Group link here)

Guest Speaker
Upcoming Events

MPDRG/IRTG Regular Weekly Meetings are held each Thursday in Classroom F-2J4.02 WC Mackenzie Health Sciences Centre from 9:00-10:15AM. 
2013-2014 Revised Schedule is posted (here).

Thursday 27 February 2014

Justin Fedor, PhD Student (Dr Joel Weiner's lab)

"Quinone binding modulates heme EPR and redox properties in EcNarGHI"

Thursday 13 February 2014

Jawad Alzamil, MSc Student (Dr Todd Alexander's lab)

"Identification of Claudin-14 Promoter and Calcium Sensing Receptor (CaSR) Responsive Elements"

Thursday 6 February 2014

Dr Jessica Gifford, Postdoctoral Fellow (Dr Howard Young's lab)

"Calmodulin:  a Transmembrane Signaling Partner and Calcium Signal Interpreter"

Thursday 30 January 2014

Barbara Roggenbeck, PhD Candidate (Dr Elaine Leslie's lab)

"Arsenic Transport Studies Using Sandwich Cultured Human Hepatocytes"

Thursday 23 January 2014

Dr. Greg G. Goss, Department of Biological Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Alberta, will speak on "Uptake of Na+ from low ionic strength water : a potential new role for ASIC Na+ channels"

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Daniel Prins, PhD Candidate (Dr. Marek Michalak's lab)

”New insights into the regulation of STIM1 and store-operated calcium entry”

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Daniel Sowah, PhD Candidate (Dr. Joe Casey's lab)

”The Role of Bicarbonate Transporters in the Development of Cardiovascular Hypertrophy”

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, December 5

Shaimaa Hussein, PhD Candidate (Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen’s lab)

”Roles of C-terminal domains of TRP channel
PKD2L1 in its oligomerization and function”

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, November 21

Olivier Mohamad Soueidan, Postdoctoral Fellow (Chris Cheeseman’s lab)

”Design, Synthesis and Characterization of Fluorescent Hexose Derivatives as Molecular Imaging Probes for the Detection of Breast Cancer Tumors”

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, November 14

Ensaf Almomani, Graduate Student (Emmanuel Cordat’s lab)

”Lack of basolateral recycling of kidney anion exchanger1 may cause distal renal tubular acidosis”

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, November 7

Dr. Sylvia Yao, Research Associate (Jim Young's Lab)

"Substituted Cysteine Accessibility Method (SCAM) Analysis of Transport Domain of Human Concentrative Nucleoside Transporter 3 (hCNT3) Reveals Features of Structural and Functional Importance"

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, October 31

Dr. Pankaj Panwar, Postdoctoral Fellow (Joanne Lemieux's Lab)

"Thermodynamic and calorimetric studies reveals new insight into the stability of intramembrane protease AarA”

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, October 17

Dr. Juraj Rievaj, Postdoctoral Fellow, (Tod Alexander's Lab)

"'Claudin 12:  Searching for its importance"

(PDF Notice)

Tuesday, September 26

Dr. Mayukh Banerjee, Postdoctoral Fellow (Leslie Lab) will present

"Arsenic Toxicity:  Role of MRP4 in Transport and Elimination"

(PDF Notice)

Tuesday, September 19

Dr. XiuJu Li, Research Associate (Fliegel Lab) will present

"Ca2+ and Endothelin Enhance the Association of CaM to Na+/H+ Exchanger Isoform 1 and Mediate Its Activation"

(PDF Notice)

Wednesday, June 24, 2013

Dr. Mary Vore, College of Medicine, University of Kentucky, will present

""MRP1 in Oxidative Stess-Induced Cardiac Injury: Friend for Foe?"

(PDF Notice)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Dr. Barbara Vanderhyden, Centre for Cancer Therapeutics, Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre will present:

"Lessons learned from mouse models of ovarian cancer"

(PDF notice)


Structure of rhomboid intramembrane protease solved by MPRG researcher, Dr. Joanne Lemieux (from Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jan 16;104(3):750-4).


Structure of transmembrane domain VII of the mammalian NHE1 isoform of the Na+/H+ exchanger from  Dr. Larry Fliegel's laboratory (J. Biol. Chem., 2006, 281:29817).