Mini Medical School 2020 -2021

May 3, 2021

Presenters: Drs. Derek McKay and Doug Mahoney
Topic: Cellular therapy for chronic diseases

Dr. Derek McKay

Dr. Derek McKay

Dr. Derek McKay, PhD, is the director of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and a professor with the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology with UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. He is also the chair of UCalgary’s Gastrointestinal Research Group and the former president of the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. Dr. McKay is highly regarded for his research on unravelling communication pathways in the gut that control normal physiology and disease, both pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory mechanisms. He is a visionary leader who plans to maintain and build upon the established reputation of the Snyder Institute, while fostering innovative chronic disease research, connecting with the university community and leading education endeavours.


Dr Doug Mahoney

Dr Doug Mahoney

Dr. Douglas Mahoney, PhD, is a translational scientist at the Charbonneau Cancer Institute and Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and is an associate member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. Over the past 15 years, he has made important contributions to the development of two cancer immunotherapies that are now being tested in human clinical trials. Currently, his lab is focuses on understanding how viruses interact with immune cells and using that knowledge to engineer “designer viruses” that evoke anticancer immunity and improve Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy of cancer. Dr. Mahoney is also the scientific director of a new research initiative called ACTION (Alberta Cellular Therapy and Immune Oncology), launched in Spring 2020 in partnership with the Canadian Cancer Society and local philanthropic support.

April 12, 2021

Presenters: Drs. Susa Benseler and Jim Kellner
Topic: COVID 19 and its impact on Children’s immunity

susa benseler

Dr. Susa Benseler

Dr. Susanne (Susa) Benseler, MD, PhD, is the director of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI), and is a member of the Snyder Institute’s Executive Council. She leads several national and international studies for childhood rheumatic and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Benseler recently established an international, interdisciplinary network of investigators for children with inflammatory brain diseases, known as BrainWorks. She also leads research studies that successfully control inflammation that allows the brain to heal and prevents brain damage.


Dr. Jim Kellner

Dr. James Kellner, MD is a clinician-scientist with the Alberta Children’s Hospital, and professor in the departments of Pediatrics, Community Health Sciences, and Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases, at UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. He is also a member of both the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. After a decade as the Department Head of Pediatrics in Calgary, Dr. Kellner has refocused his academic service on vaccine preventable infections through research and advisory work. Since 2020, his main focus has been SARS-CoV-2 infections and the COVID-19 pandemic.

March 1, 2021

Presenters: Drs. Herman Barkema & John Gilleard
Topic: One Health: Connections between livestock and human health

Dr. Herman Barkema

Dr. Herman Barkema

Dr. Herman Barkema, DVM, PhD, is a professor in Epidemiology of Infectious Diseases at UCalgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Infectious Diseases of Dairy Cattle. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Community Health Sciences at the Cumming School of Medicine and Chair of the Host-Parasite Interactions (HPI) Research Training Network. Dr. Barkema leads the Antimicrobial Resistance – One Health Consortium, the Environment research theme in the Canadian Bovine Mastitis Research Network, One Health at UCalgary, the University of Calgary Biostatistics Centre, and the Alberta Johne’s Disease Initiative. His research program focuses on prevention and control of diseases in cattle herds, including antimicrobial resistance.

John Gilleard

Dr. John Gilleard

Dr John Gilleard, BVSc, PhD, is currently a professor of Parasitology at the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UCalgary and has a cross-appointment with the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with the Cumming School of Medicine. He has held positions as the Associate Dean of Research with UCalgary’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine from 2012-2017, and as the President of the American Association of Veterinary Parasitology in 2018. Dr. Gilleard’s program focuses on parasite drug resistance and its management in both livestock and humans. Drug resistant gastrointestinal nematode parasites are a major welfare and economic problem in livestock agriculture and a threat to the Mass Drug Administration (MDA) programs used to control human helminths (parasitic worms) in over 1 billion people worldwide.


February 1, 2021

Presenters: Drs. Dan Muruve & Justin Chun
Topic: Kidney Disease and Precision Medicine

Dr. Dan Muruve

Dr. Dan Muruve

Dr. Daniel Muruve, MD, is a professor of medicine and the section chief for Nephrology in the Department of Medicine at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He is a member of the Immunology Research Group in the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and a practicing nephrologist in the Calgary zone of Alberta Health Services. He is also the Medical Director of the Alberta Kidney Care - South for Alberta Health Services, and Director of the Biobank for the Molecular Classification of Kidney Disease, which provides a direct link to clinical patient samples, as well as a clinicopathologic database to enable translational research in biomarkers, molecular epidemiology and genetics in kidney disease. Dr. Muruve’s research expertise is in the areas of innate immunity, inflammation and kidney disease.

Justin Chun

Dr. Justin Chun

Dr. Justin Chun, MD, PhD, is a nephrologist and assistant professor at the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. As the Assistant Director for the Precision Medicine in Nephrology Program at the University of Calgary, he is interested in understanding how lipid metabolism contributes to diabetic kidney disease and glomerular diseases. His precision medicine, patient-oriented research program focuses on identifying biomarkers and therapies to improve patient care for diabetic kidney disease and glomerular diseases. He hopes that one day we will be able to grow functioning kidneys to replace dialysis.

January 11, 2021

Topic: From Bench to Bedside: How research will lead our recovery from COVID-19.
                 - Why it is important to have a Level 3 virology lab in Calgary? 
                 - How do you create a vaccine in record time? 
                 - Can we repurpose old drugs to treat a new disease? 

Presenters: Drs. Paul Kubes, Craig Jenne and Braedon McDonald

lab work

COVID COMMUNITY webinar series

COVID COMMUNITY partnership lecture with the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases

The COVID COMMUNITY webinar series shares stories of how the Cumming School of Medicine and its partner institutions contribute to the fight against COVID-19. It creates a space for members of the public to learn about and discuss the latest advances with scientists and clinicians, co-creating living knowledge to address the pandemic.

November 2, 2020

Presenters: Drs. Kathy McCoy & Valerie Taylor
Topic: Mental Health and the Microbiome

Dr. Kathy McCoy

Dr. Kathy McCoy

Dr. Kathy McCoy is a Professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, a member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, and Director of the International Microbiome Center at the University of Calgary. She is interested in the dynamic interplay between the gut microbiota and the innate and adaptive immune systems at mucosal and systemic sites. Her research aims to understand how exposure to intestinal microbes, particularly during early life, educates and regulates the immune system and how this can affect susceptibility to diseases, such as allergy, autoimmunity, and autism. Her lab also investigates how the microbiome regulates the immune system throughout life with the aim to identify microbial therapies that can be employed to enhance current therapeutic approaches.

Dr. Valerie Taylor

Dr. Valerie Taylor

Dr. Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, FRCP is a Professor and the Head of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Calgary and Head of Mental Health for the Calgary Zone with Alberta Health Services. Her academic focus has been on the area of medical psychiatry, the gut brain axis and the area of the gut microbiome. She is the only funded researcher in North America examining the therapeutic effects of fecal transplant as a treatment for mental health and she currently has 2 novel clinical trials looking at modifying the gut microbiome to treat mood disorders. She has over 130 peer reviewed publications and funding from a variety of national and international funding agencies.

December 7, 2020

Presenters: Drs. Paul Kubes & Patrick Mitchell
Topic: Vaping Associated Lung Disease

Dr. Paul Kubes

Dr. Paul Kubes

Dr. Paul Kubes is a Professor at the University of Calgary Faculty of Medicine and Founding Director of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. He also holds a Canada Research Chair in Leukocyte Recruitment in inflammatory disease. Dr. Kubes has received numerous awards including the CIHR Investigator of the Year in 2011 for his basic science work on how the brain affects immunity. He has been the recipient of many awards including the Alberta Science and Technology Award and has been published in many prestigious academic journals including Cell, Science and the Nature. His latest work has uncovered a key role for peritoneal cavity macrophage in healing visceral organs

patrick mitchell

Dr. Patrick Mitchell

Dr. Mitchell's clinical interests are in asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), chronic eosinophilic airways disease, autoimmune pulmonary diseases, Sarcoidosis, Pulmonary Thromboembolic disease and airways disease in pregnancy. His research interests encompass asthma, COPD, eosinophilic pulmonary diseases, transitional clinics, atopic and allergic disease