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Immunology Research Group (IRG)

The vision of the IRG research group is to enrich society through discoveries in immunology. Our goal is to create a vigorous and dynamic research community that provides outstanding training to the next generation of immunology researchers.The IRG focuses on creating an environment that enables its members to move their research forward at a pace and in directions that would not be possible if attempted in isolation. To accomplish this, we have brought researchers and trainees together with cutting-edge research tools and expertise and then provided opportunities for the exchange of ideas.

The Immunology Research Group is comprised of 19 full members and 10 associate members. There are two core themes of research and the immunology research group.

Developments and physiology of cells of the immune system.The projects in this theme focus on lymphocytes, neutrophils, macrophages and dendritic cells, particularly their development, phenotypic and functional characterization, signal transduction events, activation and effector mechanisms. A strong theme is in the area of cell-cell interactions.

Host response and the inflammatory process. These projects are aimed at understanding the host response both to pathogens (e.g. parasites, bacteria and viruses) and to self antigens that occurs in autoimmune diseases like diabetes, lupus, and multiple sclerosis. Projects in this theme also focus on the causes of inflammation and the mechanisms that modulate the inflammatory response, since inflammation is frequently associated with both of these immunological processes

Full Members

Dr. Julie Deans 
Research in this laboratory focuses on mechanisms of B cell activation. We have a particular interest in calcium signaling and the structure, function and expression of CD20 and other members of the MS4A family of tetraspanning proteins, in health and disease.

Dr. Bertus Eksteen  
Dr. Eksteen is associate professor of medicine at the University of Calgary. He is a transplant hepatologist at the Foothills Hospital and is part of the Snyder Institute. His research and clinical interests are focused on chronic inflammatory liver diseases such as Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC) and the immune processes that underpin them.

Dr. May Ho 
The research in Dr. Ho's laboratory focuses on cytoadherence, the process by whichP. falciparum-infected erythrocytes (IRBCs) adhere to vascular endothelium, with resultant microcirculatory obstruction, metabolic abnormalities and organ dysfunction. Studies are also under way to investigate the intracellular signaling events that occur in microvascular endothelial cells as a result of the adhesion of IRBCs to the host receptor CD36.

Dr. Craig Jenne 
Dr. Craig Jenne started his research career as a graduate student at the University of Calgary. It was under the guidance of his supervisor, Dr. John Reynolds, that Dr. Jenne first experienced the freedom of being able to ask an interesting question and then being able to design the experiments to answer that question.

Dr. Faisal M. Khan 

Primary Research Interest:
Transplant Immunology: Immunogenetic biomarkers for pathogenesis and therapy of complications of hematopoietic cell and renal transplantation

Other Research Interests:
Killer Immunoglobulin like Receptor and immunoregulation of NK cells; HLA and pharmacogenetics

Dr. Paul Kubes 
The work in Dr. Kubes' laboratory is primarily concerned with the molecular mechanisms of leukocyte recruitment in both innate and adaptive immunity. Of particular interest are neutrophil migration in sepsis and lymphocyte recruitment in autoimmunity.

Dr. Chris Mody 
Research in the Mody laboratory focuses on receptors that activate different cytotoxic effector mechanisms to kill microbial pathogens. Current projects include investigation of the release and localization of the granule proteins granulysin and perforin in CD8 T cells and NK cells respectively, examination of the signaling pathways involved during stimulation of NK cells by C. neoformans, and gene expression profile of NK cells following stimulation with C. neoformans.

Dr. Dan Muruve 
Dr. Muruve’s research expertise is in the areas of innate immunity, inflammation and kidney disease. Currently, his research program examines the role of the innate immune system, with a specific focus on the NLR (Nod-like receptor) family of proteins and inflammasomes in the biology of chronic diseases, including chronic kidney disease. The molecular biology of the renal epithelium, and the role of NLRs and inflammation in renal injury and fibrosis are significant interests in the laboratory. Dr. Muruve is also the director of the Biobank for the Molecular Classification of Kidney Disease which is a core infrastructure for translational research. The Kidney Biobank provides a direct link to clinical samples as well as clinicopathologic data to enable biomarker discovery, molecular epidemiology and personalized medicine in kidney disease.

Dr. Régine Mydlarski  
My laboratory investigates the pathogenesis and treatment of pemphigus vulgaris (PV), a potentially life-threatening autoimmune blistering disease of the skin and mucous membranes. In collaboration with international researchers, we have developed a large pemphigus registry which comprises epidemiologic, serologic and molecular data. Our research focuses on the genetic basis of the disease, the role of autoantibodies in the pathogenesis of blistering lesions, the advancement of diagnostic techniques using addressable laser bead immunoassays (ALBIA), the study of existing therapies (notably intravenous immunoglobulin and rituximab) and the development of novel targeted therapies.

Dr. Kamala D. Patel 
For granulocytes (neutrophils and eosinophils) to carry out their intended functions, they must bind to the endothelial cell layer that lines the bloodstream, migrate into the tissues, and become activated by pro-inflammatory mediators. The primary focus of the Patel laboratory is on understanding the molecular mechanisms that mediate these processes. To this end, they are currently researching the signaling events that occur in endothelial cells during granulocyte adhesion under flow conditions. They are also studying granulocyte activation, with a focus on the pro-inflammatory mediator matrix metalloproteinase-9 (MMP-9).

Dr. Nathan C. Peters 
The Peters lab is focused on the immuno-biology of chronic infectious diseases, with a special emphasis on vector transmitted and neglected tropical diseases. The lab employs cutting edge multicolor flow cytometry and two-photon microscopy to unravel the intricacies of host-pathogen interactions in the skin employing theLeishmania model of parasitic disease.

Dr. Man Chiu Poon 
Hemostatic Mechanism Research

  • Study why severe hemophilia patients have variable phenotypic expression to identify factors (e.g. thrombin generation, genetic and inflammatory cytokine determinants) that may help with individualized management.
  • The role of hemostatic mechanism as host defense against cardiovascular risk in persons with bleeding disorders and the relative role of bleeding induced inflammation; and mechanism of fibrinogen acting paradoxically as defense for stroke and thrombosis.

Dr. John Reynolds 
Contribution of Peyer's patches to the immune system. Mechanism that contribute to the development of antibody diversity and how B lymphocytes are selected for survival or death during their development.

Dr. Pere Santamaria 
One of the goals of Dr. Santamaria's research program has been to test the hypothesis that white blood cells recognizing the insulin-producing beta cells of the pancreas are inactivated in individuals who are genetically resistant to diabetes. To this end, the Santamaria's lab has genetically engineered a series of mouse strains in which most white blood cells are capable of recognizing the beta cells of the pancreas, via the so-called "T cell receptor for antigen".

Dr. Yan Shi 
Our lab focuses on non specific environmental and generic host factors that regulate the activation of antigen presenting cells, and their implications in diseases, immunity and vaccine development.

Dr. Mark Swain 
Dr. Swain's research interests encompass two areas directly related to liver disease.

Firstly, he is examining the crosstalk between the liver and brain in experimental liver disease, specifically examining the changes in central neurotransmission which occur in liver disease and which contribute to the generation of liver disease associated symptoms including fatigue, lethargy, anorexia, depression, and the acute phase response.

Dr. Brent W. Winston 
Although the lab is interested in inflammatory gene induction in macrophages, we have focused on two areas in particular:

  1. The alternative complement cascade Factor B induction in macrophages and the role of complement in organ dysfunction in sepsis.
  2. Fibroproliferation in the lung and the role of IGF-I in this process.

Dr. Robin Yates 
The Yates lab focuses its research on the lumenal environment within phagosomes in macrophages and dendritic cells. By utilizing techniques in fluorometry, microscopy and molecular biology the group can monitor chemistries within this microenvironment; explore relationships between phagosomal chemistries and dissect pathways that alter phagosomal function.

Contact

Research Chair:
Dr. Pere Santamaria
Email: psantama@ucalgary.ca

Administrative Assistant:
Florence Yang
Email: yangf@ucalgary.ca

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 www.snyder.ucalgary.ca or follow us on Twitter @SnyderInstitute.