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Past Lectures

Mini Medical School 2015-16

May 1, 2017

Presenters: Dr. Gregg Nelson & Dr. Laura Sycuro
Topic: Women’s Health and the Microbiome

Dr. Gregg Nelson

Dr. Gregg Nelson is a gynecologic cancer surgeon at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre and Chair of the Provincial Gynecologic Oncology Tumour Team. His research interests include finding ways to enhance HPV vaccination rates in First Nations people and also methods to improve recovery after surgery

Dr. Laura Sycuro

Dr. Laura Sycuro is an Assistant Professor in the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine and founding member of the Western Canadian Microbiome Centre. The broad goal of her interdisciplinary research program is to harness the microbiome to promote maternal and child health.

April 3, 2017

Presenters: Dr. Craig Jenne & Dr. Jim Kellner
Topic: Vaccines

Dr. Craig Jenne

Dr. Craig Jenne is the Scientific Director of the Snyder Translational Lab in Critical Care Medicine, a position that allows him to work directly with Clinicians and Researchers on human clinical studies. He also has a faculty appointment within the department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Calgary and is continuing his work using intravital microscopy to study the early innate immune response to viral and bacterial infections.

Dr. Jim Kellner

Dr. Jim Kellner is a pediatrician and subspecialist in pediatric infectious diseases. Currently, he is Professor and Head of the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Calgary and Calgary Zone of Alberta Health Services. He is also Professor in the Departments of Community Health Sciences and Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases. His research interests are in the field of vaccine preventable infections including, in particular, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Neisseria meningiditis and influenza.

March 6, 2017

Presenters: Dr. Marie-Claire Arrieta & Dr. Kathy McCoy
Topic: Kids and Their Microbiome

Dr. Marie Claire Arrieta

Marie-Claire Arrieta, PhD is a new assistant professor at the University of Calgary in Canada. She has been studying intestinal microbiology and immunology for the past 10 years. Her recent study connecting asthma in very young babies to missing key intestinal bacterial species was deemed a breakthrough in the field and was reported by dozens of news outlets around the world in 2015. Arrieta has been published in leading scientific journals such as Gastroenterology, PNAS, and Science Translational Medicine. She spends her busy days juggling between experiments, science writing, kindergarten pick-ups, and play dates for her two young children.

Dr. Kathy McCoy

Dr. Kathy McCoy is a mucosal immunologist and microbiome researcher with the University of Calgary. She is interested in the dynamic interplay between the gut microbiota and the innate and adaptive immune systems. Using germ-free and gnotobiotic animal models together with human translational studies her research aims to understand how exposure to intestinal microbes early in life educates and regulates the developing immune system and how this impacts on susceptibility to immune-mediated diseases, such as allergy and autoimmunity, later in life.

February 6, 2017

Presenters: Dr. Rita Nguyen & Dr. Carolyn Emery
Topic: Concussions

Dr. Rita Nguyen

Dr. Rita Nguyen is a senior neurosurgery resident at the University of Calgary and is currently undertaking a PhD with Dr. Paul Kubes. Her clinical interests lie in pediatric neurosurgical disorders and her research interests are focused on neuroinflammation following brain trauma. She currently holds an Alberta Innovates Health Solutions Clinician Scientist Award and a CIHR award for her work in brain trauma.

Dr. Carolyn Emery

Dr. Carolyn Emery is a physiotherapist and epidemiologist. She is the Associate Dean Research and Professor in the Faculty of Kinesiology at the University of Calgary. She holds joint appointments in Pediatrics and Community Health Sciences, Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. Dr. Emery is Chair of the Sport Injury Prevention Research Centre (International Olympic Committee) at the University of Calgary. She Co-Leads the Alberta Program in Youth Sport and Recreational Injury Prevention (Alberta Innovates Health Solutions) and Safe to Play Concussion Research Team (Canadian Institutes for Health Research). The focus of Dr. Emery’s research program is in injury prevention in youth sport and recreation and pediatric rehabilitation, aimed to reduce the public health burden of injury including long-term consequences (e.g. overweight/obesity, post-traumatic osteoarthritis).

January 9, 2017

Presenters: Dr. Dan Muruve & Dr. Francois Bernier
Topic: Precision Medicine

Dr. Dan Muruve

Dr. Muruve is a Professor of Medicine and a member of the Immunology Research Group with the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. He is also the Zone Clinical Section Chief for the Section of Nephrology in the Department of Medicine. He currently holds a Senior Clinical Scholar Award from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and a Canada Research Chair in Personalized Medicine, Inflammation and Kidney Disease.

Dr. Francois Bernier

Dr. Bernier is an Associate Professor, and Head of the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of Calgary. He is also the Section Head of the R.B. Lowry Genetics Unit located at the Alberta Children’s Hospital. His clinical practice focuses on pediatric genetics and prenatal diagnosis. His research interests are in the role of the prenatal environment on child health, the genetics of pediatric neurobehavioural disorders, as well as genetic disorders in isolated populations.

December 5, 2016

Presenters: Dr. Chris Mody & Dr. Nicola Wright
Topic: What are immunodeficiency disorders?

Dr. Chris Mody

Dr. Chris Mody is Head of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Calgary. His research interests include how we defend ourselves against fungal and bacterial infections. His clinical interests include fungal and chronic lung infections, as well as immunologic lung disease. His achievements in the academic health sciences were recognized by his election into the prestigious Canadian Academy of Health Sciences in 2011.

Dr. Nicola Wright

Dr. Nicola Wright is a pediatric hematologist and immunologist with the University of Calgary, Department of Pediatrics, Alberta Children's Hospital. Her clinical interests include diagnosis and management of children with immunodeficiencies and blood disorders such as autoimmune low blood counts and bone marrow failure syndromes. Her research interests include autoimmune blood disorders, bone marrow transplant for immune deficiency and investigation of rare immune diseases.

November 7, 2016

Presenters: Dr. Paul Kubes & Dr. Joel Doctor 
Topic: Allergies - Hygiene Hypothesis

Dr. Paul Kubes

Dr. Paul Kubes is the Director of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, and was awarded Canada’s Health Researcher of the Year Award in 2011 by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) for his work in examining the role that white blood cells play in preventing and reversing sepsis.

Dr. Joel Doctor

Dr. Joel Doctor is a specialist in Clinical Immunology and Allergy, and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Calgary in the Division of Respiratory Medicine. His clinical interests are concentrated on the diagnosis and management of allergic diseases in children and adults.

The Calvin, Phoebe and Joan Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases was named in 2008 in honour of Joan Snyder and her parents, who she credits for teaching her the value of philanthropy. It is a group of more than 104 clinicians, clinician-scientists and basic scientists who are impacting and changing the lives of people suffering from chronic diseases, including sepsis, MRSA, cystic fibrosis, type-1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. For more information on the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, please visit us at or follow us on Twitter @SnyderInstitute.