Mini Medical School 2021-2022
The Snyder Institute's Mini-Medical School is designed for anyone who is interested in learning more about chronic, infectious and inflammatory diseases. Our interactive lecture series features topics such as COVID-19, vaccines and preventable diseases, mental health and the microbiome, obesity and exercise, vaping associated lung disease, arthritis and autoinflammatory diseases in kids, and much more.
You won’t graduate with a medical degree after attending our Mini-Medical School series, but you will gain more insight to healthy living and chronic diseases.
There are no pre-requisites to attend these lectures and they are open to the public from high school students to retirees. Each lecture will combine basic science with real life clinical situations in order to give Calgarians a better understanding of the effects of chronic diseases on the body. Each presenter is highly knowledgeable and respected in their field of research, and most are current members of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at UCalgary's Cumming School of Medicine.
As one attendee commented: "While your clinical trials may still be years away, I know you are on to something huge that is going to transform many people's lives!"
Mini-Medical School is now a partnered event with the Calgary Public Library. There is no cost to attend a lecture and you do not need Calgary Public Library card to register. Although, Calgary Public Library cards are free, visit calgarylibrary.ca to get your free library card today.
Mini-Medical School will take place one Monday evening per month from 6:30-8:00pm and each lecture will take place online via ZOOM.
Mini-Medical School is proudly sponsored in part by AstraZeneca and UCalgary's Cumming School of Medicine.
May 2, 2022
Presenters: Drs. Derek McKay & Nathan Peters
Topic: One Health: Understanding the relationship between human health, parasites and worms.
Description: One Health is a multidisciplinary approach recognizing that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. Join Dr. Derek McKay, PhD and Dr. Nathan Peters, PhD to learn more about the interconnection between people, animals, plants, and their shared environment.
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. Nathan Peters
Dr. Nathan Peters, PhD is the co-director of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, an Associate Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine and the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, UCalgary. Dr. Peters runs a basic research lab focused on the biology of chronic infectious diseases, with a special emphasis on parasitic diseases that are transmitted into the skin by the bite of an insect. His research aims to better understand how the inflammatory response to an insect bite alters vaccine efficacy against insect transmitted diseases. His research spans the fields of immunology, parasitology, entomology (the study of insects), and zoonotic infections (infections that move between animals and people). Dr. Peters’ research is supported by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the Canadian Foundation for Innovation. Dr. Peters serves on the Snyder Institute Executive Council, is the Chair of the Immunology Research Group, and is a Faculty Mentor for the Verna J. Kirkness Science and Engineering Program to increase the number of First Nations, Métis and Inuit students graduating from science and engineering programs in Canada.
April 11, 2022
Presenters: Drs. Corinne Doll and Markus Geuking
Topic: Cancer Treatment and the Microbiome
Description: Understanding the role of gut microbiota in cancer treatment
Dr. Corinne Doll
Dr. Corinne Doll, MD FRCP(C) is a Senior Radiation Oncologist at the Tom Baker Cancer, and Clinical Professor in the Department of Oncology at UCalgary, Cumming School of Medicine. She is the Associate Director, Clinical & Population Research, Charbonneau Cancer Institute, Co-Chair of the NCIC Cervical Cancer Working Group, and Past-President of the Canadian Association of Radiation Oncology. Her clinical practice and research interests are in Gynecology and Gastrointestinal malignancies.
Dr. Markus Geuking
Dr. Markus Geuking, PhD is an Immunologist and Associate Professor with the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Infectious Diseases at UCalgary, with the Cumming School of Medicine and a full member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. His research focus is on the interaction between the intestinal microbiome and immune cells. Specifically, the crosstalk between the microbiota and the immune system during health, autoimmune disorders such as Type 1 diabetes, and how the microbiome can be harnessed to improve therapies such as immune therapies to treat various cancers.
March 7, 2022
Topic: Covid-19 and the Immune System
Presenters: Drs. Paul Kubes & Chip Doig
Description: Learn about Covid -19 and the immune system. Please join Dr. Paul Kubes, PhD, and Dr. Chip Doig, MD, to learn more about the impact of Covid-19 and the resiliency of the human immune system.
Dr. Paul Kubes
Dr. Paul Kubes, PhD, 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 Nature journal. His latest work has uncovered a key role for peritoneal cavity macrophage in healing visceral organs.
Dr. Chip Doig
Dr. Chip Doig, MD, is a tenured Professor in the Departments of Critical Care Medicine, Medicine and Community Health Sciences in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary. He is a past Department Head for Community Health Sciences, and immediate past head for the Department of Critical Care Medicine. He has held other leadership roles including as a President and on the Board of the Alberta Medical Association (AMA), the board of the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), and STARS (Shock, Trauma and Rescue Society).
February 7, 2022
Presenter: Drs. Valerie Taylor & Sheri Madigan
Topic: Mental Health & the Pandemic: The resiliency of children and adults
Description: It has been almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic started, and we are now learning about its impact on the mental health of children and adults. Join Dr. Sheri Madigan, PhD, and Dr. Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD, for an evening discussion around the resiliency of children and adults during the pandemic.
Dr. Valerie Taylor
Dr. Valerie Taylor, MD, PhD 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. She is a member of UCalgary’s Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education at the Hotchkiss Brain Institute, UCalgary. 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.
Dr. Sheri Madigan
Dr. Sheri Madigan, PhD, is a clinical psychologist and an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology at UCalgary. She is a member of the Owerko Centre at the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute and the Mathison Centre for Mental Health Research and Education. Dr. Madigan’s research is primarily focused on understanding how children’s early social experiences and relationships can influence their learning and mental health trajectories. Her research program is supported by federal and international granting agencies, and she has >165 publications. Dr. Madigan is an elected member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.
January 10, 2022
Presenter: Drs. Maitreyi Raman and Saumya Jayakumar
Topic: Nutrition: Its impact on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Fatty Liver Disease
Description: Learn more about the importance of nutrition and its impact on Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) and Fatty Liver Disease. Join us for an evening discussion with Dr. Maitreyi Raman, MD, and Dr. Saumya Jayakumar, MD, who will provide insight on nutrition and its effects on IBD, and how to help your liver function at its best.
Dr. Maitreyi Raman
Dr. Maitreyi Raman, MD, is a Gastroenterologist and Physician Nutritionist specialist at UCalgary’s Cumming School of Medicine. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and a Full Member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, UCalglary. Dr. Raman was the past Medical Director for Nutrition Services, and present Director for AsCEND (Alberta's Centre of excellence for nutrition in Digestive Diseases), and Director for the Clinician Investigator Program at UCalgary. Dr. Raman's research interests include investigating the effects of malnutrition in IBD; diet as primary therapy for IBD and its effects on gut microbiome modulation; and malnutrition and nutrition therapies in liver cirrhosis. Dr. Raman was recognized as Outstanding Researcher of the Year in 2021 by the Crohn's and Colitis Canada/Pfizer Women in IBD Awards for her work in dietary advancements in IBD. She is working to translate her research to improve its accessibility to patients, using the LyfeMD Mobile Application.
Dr. Saumya Jayakumar
Dr. Saumya Jayakumar, MD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. She is a hepatologist who treats patients with liver disease. Her clinical and research interests include end-stage liver disease, liver transplant and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease. Dr. Jayakumar served as Director of the Hepatology Fellowship Program at the University of Calgary, Cumming School of Medicine, then held a leadership role in the Gastroenterology Section. She has a keen interest in trainee education and has served on national committees devoted to trainee education. She also served as the GI consultant to the Calgary Zoo. Dr. Jayakumar has published several articles in peer-reviewed journals and is author of many book chapters.
December 6, 2021
Presenters: Drs. Simon Hirota and Mark Gillrie
Moderator: Ms. Julianna Svishchuk
Topic: Precision medicine and exploring human disease using organs on a chip
Description: With the evolution of technology, we now have the ability to grow microscopic organs to advance medical research without the use of animal models. Please join Dr. Simon Hirota, PhD, and Dr. Mark Gillrie, MD, PhD, to learn more about a new technology that will improve healthcare research on a global scale. “An organ-on-a-chip (OOC) is a tiny, translucent device that is lined with living cells and tissues to replicate the organ-level physiology within the body.”
Dr. Mark Gillrie
Dr. Mark Gillrie, MD, PhD, is an assistant professor with the Departments of Medicine and Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases and is also full member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. His research utilizes 3D tissue engineering to develop human organs on chips to study inflammation and cell trafficking in globally important infections. Tissue engineering approaches provide complex human tissues to better understand cellular communication and function in organs such as the brain and lung. Dr. Gillrie’s lab has generated a lung on a chip with blood vessels to study how lung infections cause vascular inflammation. These complex interactions could serve as novel targets to treat blood vessel inflammation in infectious diseases such as COVID-19, malaria, and common bacterial infections.
Dr. Simon Hirota
Dr. Simon Hirota, PhD, is an Associate professor in the Department of Physiology & Pharmacology and Microbiology, Immunology & Infectious Diseases. He is also a full member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases at the Cumming School of Medicine, UCalgary. Dr. Hirota believes that xenobiotic (synthetic) sensing in the intestine holds great therapeutic potential for intestinal diseases. His laboratory is also focused on understanding the mechanisms that regulate tissue repair in the intestine, with the hopes of identifying new targets to treat the pathogenic tissue remodeling that often occurs in patients with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease.
November 1, 2021
Presenters: Drs. Jim Kellner and Cora Constantinescu
Moderator: Ms. Diana Changirwa
Topic: Vaccine Hesitancy
Description: Understanding the phenomenon of vaccine hesitancy. With the availability and ease of access to vaccines, why is there still hesitancy to get vaccinated? Join Dr. Jim Kellner, MD, and Dr. Cora Constantinescu, MD, for an evening discussion on vaccine hesitancy.
Dr. Cora Constantinescu
Dr. Cora Constantinescu, MD is a pediatric infectious disease specialist with the Vaccine Hesitancy Clinic at the Alberta Children’s Hospital and is a full member of the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute (ACHRI). From seeing vaccine hesitant patients in clinic, to her academic pursuits in vaccine acceptance and surveillance, she has a strong passion for vaccine research and promotion. She holds a masters in medical education and a medical educator appointment with the University of Calgary specializing in developing curricula and education programs rooted in psychosocial determinants of behavior change. She co-leads the 19tozero HCW education team and continues to be a vaccine advocate at the local and national levels.
Dr. Jim Kellner
Dr. Jim 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 the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Research Institute, and the O’Brien Institute for Public Health. After a decade as the Department Head of Pediatrics in Calgary, Dr. Kellner returned to focusing his academic service on vaccine preventable infections through research and advisory work. Since 2020 he has had numerous leadership roles related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the federal COVID-19 Immunity Task Force, the Alberta Advisory Committee on Immunization, and a large cohort study on COVID-19 in children.