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Research

Prospective students are responsible for finding a research supervisor whose research interest match theirs, and contacting them before or during the application process. This chart and the profiles below provide an overview of each faculty member's core areas of research interest. For more information about any faculty member, simply click on his/her name in the profiles to reach that member's research page. There you will find more details about his or her research, as well as contact information.

gene &
protein
expression
signal
transduction
protein
structure
& folding
cell biology
&
membranes
development chemical
biology
cancer
centre
Akavia o o
Beauchemin o o o
Berghuis o o o
Bouchard o o o
Branton o o o o
Dostie o o
Duchaine o o o
Gallouzi o o o o o
Gehring o o o
Giguère o o o
Gros o o o o o
Huang o o o o o
McInnes o o o
Muller o o o o
Nagar o o o
Nepveu o o o o
Park o o o o
Pause o o o o o o o
Pelletier o o o o o o
St-Pierre o o o
Schmeing o o o
Shore o o o o o
Silvius o o o
Sonenberg o o o o o o
Teodoro o o o
Thomas o o o
Tremblay o o o o
Young o o o
Zannis-Hadjopoulos o o o o

Faculty member research profiles

Akavia, Uri David, Assistant Professor
uri [dot] david [dot] akavia [at] mcgill [dot] ca 
My lab devises and applies algorithms in computational biology to cancer, combining them with experimental approaches to systematically identify viable drug targets in the context of cancer therapeutics. The combination of these approaches will provide a fundamental understanding of oncogenesis, currently focusing on Glioblastoma, Breast Cancer and leukemia.

Beauchemin, Nicole, Professor
nicole [dot] beauchemin [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Studies on the functions of the mouse CEACAM1 proteins in various tissues, their association with intracytoplasmic proteins and their connection with signaling cascades using transgenic and knockout mouse models. Role of the CEACAM1 proteins in colon tumor development, progression and metastasis in genetic models. Role of the CEACAM1 proteins in angiogenesis in transgenic mice.

Berghuis, Albert M., Professor and Interim Chair
albert [dot] berghuis [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Structural biological studies of proteins, particularly bacterial enzymes responsible for antibiotic resistance and enzymes that can be exploited as novel targets for antibiotics and antimycotics. Furthermore, efforts are ongoing to exploit the three-dimensional structural information obtained for the structure-based design of novel antimicrobial agents, using computational methods.

Bouchard, Maxime, Associate Professor
maxime [dot] bouchard [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Molecular mechanisms of urogenital system development and tumor formation. Role of transcription factors and cell signaling in tissue morphogenesis, tubulogenesis and cell survival. Mouse models of renal and prostate cancer.

Branton, Philip E., Professor
philip [dot] branton [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Studies on cell death, protein degradation and regulation of the cell cycle and replication by products of human adenoviruses. This work entails research on a toxic viral protein and one that forms an E3 ubiquitin ligase complex that degrades a range of cell proteins, including p53 and targets related to mRNA transport and stability.

Dostie, Josee, Associate Professor
josee [dot] dostie [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Our goal is to understand the role of spatial chromatin organization in the regulation of gene expression in mammalian cells. We are particularly interested in defining how epigenetic modifications affect chromatin structure and genome function in “normal” and cancer cells. We are characterizing the molecular mechanisms involved in regulating the three-dimensional chromatin architecture and expression of Hox genes in leukemia cell models.

Duchaine, Thomas, Associate Professor
thomas [dot] duchaine [at] mcgill [dot] ca
RNAi is the process through which small non-coding RNAs direct a diverse set of gene-silencing processes. My group is interested in the underlying mechanisms, and their implications in development and cancer. Through a combination of genetics, cell biology, biochemistry and proteomics and using the nematode C. elegans, we examine the molecular machines involved in RNAi, and decipher how they orchestrate gene silencing. Currently, my group focuses on two distinct ‘branches’ of the RNAi processes: endoRNAi and microRNA-mediated silencing. First, we examine a phenomenon termed endogenous RNAi (endoRNA) which is naturally initiated on certain messenger RNAs, and results in the shutdown of the gene's expression. We are particularly interested in the functional interactions between endoRNAi and chromatin, the physiological scaffold of the genome. Second, we are interested in how microRNA-mediated gene silencing touches upon genetic programs in the developing embryo, and in cancer cells. Our findings have implications for the understanding of gene networks in all animals, including humans.

Gallouzi, Imed, Professor
imed [dot] gallouzi [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Our general research area is mRNA metabolism during the cell cycle and cell differentiation. We use the tools of molecular and cell biology to study problems in this field. The long-term research goals focus on understanding the cellular mechanisms involved in the regulation of mRNA half-lives and how they affect cell growth and differentiation.

Gehring, Kalle, Professor
kalle [dot] gehring [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Structural biology and biophysics of proteins and nucleic acids. The laboratory’s main research interests are poly(A) binding protein, ubiquitin-associated proteins, proteins involved in membrane trafficking, and ER protein folding. The methods used are nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography and small-angle X-ray scattering in combination with the techniques of molecular biology.

Giguère, Vincent, Professor
vincent [dot] giguere [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Studies on the functions and roles of members of the estrogen receptor subfamily in breast cancer. Identification of genes regulated by these receptors using functional genomics; analysis of the roles of these receptors and their natural and synthetic ligands using transgenic and knock-out mice.

Gros, Philippe, Professor
philippe [dot] gros [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Our laboratory uses a genetic approach in mouse to discover genes, proteins and pathways that play an important role in complex human diseases. Our long-term objectives are to translate knowledge obtained in laboratory mouse models, into clinical outcomes through the creation of novel diagnostic tools or new small molecules modulators with therapeutic value in the corresponding human disease. We are currently focusing on three major human diseases known to have clear genetic component: infectious diseases, cancer, and the birth defect spina bifida. Our genetic platform is based on the use of genetically diverse mouse inbred strains, recombinant congenic strains, and experimentally induced mutagenized mouse stocks (ENU mutants).

Huang, Sidong, Assistant Professor
sidong [dot] huang [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Our laboratory uses functional genomic tools to study cancer-relevant pathways and to guide targeted cancer therapy. We aim to identify novel genes and networks that modulate response to cancer drugs, and to uncover genetic dependencies between the major signaling pathways in cancer that can be exploited therapeutically.

McInnes, Roderick, Professor
roderick [dot] mcinnes [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Our lab is interested in two major questions in biology and medicine. First, in inherited neurodegenerations, we wish to understand what is happening in the mutant neurons, in the years to decades between their birth and their death years to decades later. After decades of normal function, why do the neurons suddenly die? To address this question, we are identifying molecular mechanisms that contribute to, or protect against the death of mutant photoreceptors (PRs) in inherited photoreceptor degenerations (IPDs) using mouse models of these diseases. Understanding of these mechanisms is likely to suggest therapeutic opportunities that will slow or arrest PR death. Second, we wish to understand the roles of “accessory” proteins in the regulation of ion channels in neurons, particularly at synapses. Our focus is on two such proteins that we discovered, Neto1 and Neto2. The Neto proteins are multifunctional, as indicated by their loss-of-function phenotypes, which include defects in axon guidance, seizures in some genetic backgrounds, defects in memory and learning, and abnormal regulation of neuronal excitability. To date, we have identified at least 5 ion channels or other neuronal proteins whose activity is or appears to be regulated by a Neto. Elucidation of the role of the Netos in the brain is increasing our understanding of a surprisingly broad range of fundamental neuronal processes.

Muller, William, Professor
william [dot] muller [at] mcgill [dot] ca
The progression of the primary mammary epithelial cell to malignant phenotype involves multiple genetic events including the activation of dominant activating oncogenes and inactivation of specific tumor suppressor genes. Our laboratory has focused on the role of a class of receptor tyrosine kinases known as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family in the induction of breast cancer .Elevated expression of the various EGFR family members has been observed in a large proportion of sporadic breast cancers and their derived cell lines. For example, amplification and overexpression of erbB-2/neu proto-oncogene is observed in 20-30% human breast cancer and is inversely correlated with the survival of the patient. The major focus of our laboratory is to determine the relative contribution of the various EGFR family members and their coupled signaling pathways in ErbB-2 induced mammary tumor progression. Given the fact that germline inactivation of these signaling pathways results in either embryonic or perinatal lethality, we have used use Cre/Lox recombination system to specifically inactivate each of these signaling molecules members in the mammary epithelium of mice expressing activated erbB-2. The results of these biochemical and genetic analyses will provide important insight in molecular basis for erbB-2 induced tumorigenesis and metastasis.

Nagar, Bhushan, Associate Professor
bhushan [dot] nagar [at] mcgill [dot] ca
X-ray crystallography, NMR, SAXS and biophysical characterization of proteins in cellular signal transduction pathways that control innate immunity, protein translation initiation and RNA interference with emphasis on molecular mechanisms of regulation. Structural information will be used to glean protein function and aid in the rational development of therapies against cancer and diseases associated with infection and autoimmunity.

Nepveu, Alain, Professor
alain [dot] nepveu [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Transcriptional regulation in normal and cancer cells (expression profiling, genome-wide location arrays (ChIP-chip)). Post-translational regulation by cyclin-dependent kinases during cell cycle progression, and by checkpoint kinases following DNA damage. The spindle assembly checkpoint and the control of genomic instability. Spontaneous and induced point mutations. Transgenic mouse models of breast cancer: a model for the basal-like group of breast cancers and transcriptional regulation of the Wnt/beta-catenin pathway.

Park, Morag, Professor
morag [dot] park [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Deregulation of receptor tyrosine kinases is a common event in the development and progression of human cancers. We propose to examine the signals regulated by receptor tyrosine kinases that promote cell transformation, tumor formation and metastatic spread of tumors with a focus on breast cancer.

Pause, Arnim, Professor
arnim [dot] pause [at] mcgill [dot] ca
(1) Molecular characterization of the von Hippel-Lindau (VHL) tumor suppressor gene pathway, identification of new targets of the VHL ubiquitin ligase, mechanism of tumorigenesis in VHL tumors (renal cell carcinoma) and C.elegans, development of animal models of kidney cancer (mice and C.elegans). (2) Functional characterization of the Birt-Hogge-Dube (BHD) tumor suppressor protein in kidney cancer and in cellular and whole animal metabolism (mice and C.elegans). (3) Functional characterization of a tyrosine phosphatase involved in tumor suppression, studies in cellular and animal models.

Pelletier, Jerry M., Professor
jerry [dot] pelletier [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Chemical Biology Approach to Study Regulation of Eukaryotic Translation — Chemical Biology Approach to Interdict miRNA—mediated Repression — Targeting Translation Initiation in Cancer as a Therapeutic Avenue — Use of Mechanism Based Mouse Models to Study Response to Chemotherapy — Biology of RNA Helicases.

St-Pierre, Julie, Associate Professor
julie [dot] st-pierre [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Mitochondria play a central role in basic physiological functions by producing most of the cellular ATP. Furthermore, mitochondria are important for cellular functions such as heat production, generation of reactive oxygen species (ros) and execution of the apoptotic program. Given the key role of mitochondria in various cellular events, it is not surprising that mitochondrial dysfunctions are seen in many pathological conditions such as neurodegeneration, diabetes, aging and cancer. The aim of my research is to understand the regulation of mitochondrial metabolism under physiological and pathological conditions using unbiased screening approaches, notably metabolic profiling in combination with global gene expression analysis.

Schmeing, Martin, Assistant Professor
martin [dot] schmeing [at] mcgill [dot] ca The Schmeing lab combines X-ray crystallography, electron microscopy and biochemical techniques to study large macromolecular machines that perform important cellular processes. Of particular interest is the ribosome, which synthesizes all proteins, and nonribosomal peptide synthetases (NRPSs) a class of megaenzymes which produce a large variety of small molecules with important and diverse biological activity. For example, NRPSs synthesize anti-fungals, anti-bacterials, anti-virals, anti-tumourigenics, and immunosuppressants including well-known compounds such as penicillin and cyclosporin.

Shore, Gordon C., Professor
gordon [dot] shore [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Regulation of apoptotic programmed cell death and autophagy, with particular emphasis on cancer and translating underlying signaling pathways to therapeutic opportunites and insights in oncology. In particular, we investigate the role of the Bcl-2 protein family on these processes and outcomes.

Silvius, John R., Professor
john [dot] silvius [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Lipid-modified proteins: biophysical and biochemical properties and mechanisms of targeting to specific subcellular locations. Membrane organization: 'lipid rafts' and other membrane 'domains', their physical origins and importance to cellular functions.

Sonenberg, Nahum, Professor
nahum [dot] sonenberg [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Control of translation in eukaryotes; translational control cancer, obesity and neurodegenerative diseases; translational control of learning and memory; ‘knock-out’ mice in translation initiation factors.

Teodoro, Jose, Associate Professor
jose [dot] teodoro [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Projects in the lab identify and characterize pathways that target tumour growth. The first project studies how the p53 tumour suppressor pathway is able to inhibit angiogenesis. Angiogenesis is the process of blood vessel formation that is required for tumour formation. Molecular and proteomic approaches are used to identify p53-induced angiogenesis inhibitors and define how such factors work. The second project in the lab studies cytotoxic viral proteins and how such factors destroy cancer cells. A number of such viral proteins interact with and inhibit a protein complex called the Anaphase Promoting Complex/Cyclosome (APC/C). Work in the lab seeks to determine why the APC/C is a general target of many viruses and how inhibition of this complex can lead to specific destruction of cancer cells.

Thomas, David Y., Professor
david [dot] thomas [at] mcgill [dot] ca
There are two major projects in this group. Cell signaling pathways and molecular chaperone systems in the endoplasmic reticulum and their role in diseases. We use a variety of genetic, biochemical informatics and structural approaches to these problems.

Tremblay, Michel L., Professor
michel [dot] tremblay [at] mcgill [dot] ca
In vitro and in vivo characterization of protein tyrosine phosphatases in the mouse. Generation of PTPase mouse models using homologous recombination in embryonic stem cells and transgenic technology.

Young, Jason C., Associate Professor
jason [dot] young2 [at] mcgill [dot] ca
In cells, the folding of polypeptides into mature proteins depends on a specialized class of proteins termed ‘molecular chaperones’, which also protect against potentially toxic polypeptide aggregation. Two of the most important cytosolic chaperones, Hsp70 and Hsp90, are themselves controlled by regulatory ‘co-chaperone’ proteins. My research investigates the biochemical mechanisms of these regulated chaperone systems, how they function in protein folding and in the biogenesis of organelles such as mitochondria.

Zannis-Hadjopoulos, Maria, Professor Emeritus
maria [dot] zannis [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Molecular mechanisms regulating mammalian DNA replication. (1) isolation and characterization of mammalian origins of DNA replication; (2) functional assessment of origin activity in vivo and in vitro; (3) identification, purification, and characterization of mammalian cell proteins involved in initiation of DNA replication; and (4) study of the role of cruciform DNA and cruciform-binding proteins in the regulation of mammalian DNA replication.


Associate and adjunct members

Please note that the following members can accept only a few graduate students from the Department of Biochemistry.

Awadalla, Philip, Adjunct Member
philip [dot] awadalla [at] umontreal [dot] ca
Our research includes work relevant to all types of human diseases: genetic, immunological, infectious, chronic and cancer. Using genomic data from single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNP), next-generation re-sequencing, and gene expression, along with modern statistical tools, we are able to locate genome regions that are associated with disease pathology and virulence as well as study the mechanisms that cause the mutations.

Cygler, Mirek, Adjunct Member
miroslaw [dot] cygler [at] usask [dot] ca
Study by crystallography (Xray diffraction) and NMR of protein-protein complexes to understand interactions between macromolecules at the atomic level, study of enzymes and their enzymatic mechanisms. Applying medium-throughput approaches to structure determination. Systems under study include proteins involved in sulfur trafficking in the cell that participate in Fe-S cluster formation and in tRNA modifications; molecular mechanism by which the cell controls the length of the O-antigen chains exposed on cell surface; structural view of host-pathogen interactions; crystallization of membrane proteins.

Drouin, Jacques, Adjunct Member
drouinj [at] ircm [dot] qc [dot] ca
We study transcriptional mechanisms controlling cell differentiation, cell identity and hormone action. These studies use the pituitary gland as a convenient model since it is a relatively simple tissue composed of six related cell types. A particular emphasis is placed on novel transcription factors cloned in the lab, such as the homeobox transcription factors Pitx1/2/3 and Tbox factor Tpit.
The role of Pitx1, Tbx4 and Tbx5 in specification of limb identity is also investigated with a particular emphasis on the evolutionary more recent program from hindlimb development.
Classical molecular biology approaches, incl. mouse models, are combined with recent genome-wide technologies, such as microarray-based profiling and ChipSeq, for a global view of regulatory mechanisms.

Fon, Edward, Associate Member
ted [dot] fon [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Dr. Edward Fon is a neurologist and scientist who serves as the Director of the McGill Parkinson Program, a National Parkinson Foundation Centre of Excellence. His research focuses on the molecular events leading to the degeneration of dopamine neurons in Parkinson's disease. In the past decade, several genes have been identified that cause some forms of the disease. He is particularly interested in how these genes come together and interact to cause Parkinson's disease. His work focuses on one of these genes, Parkin, which functions as a key enzyme in the main protein degradation pathway in the cell. This pathway utilizes ubiquitin, a protein that can mark target proteins for degradation. Dr. Fon’s laboratory works on understanding the various functions of ubiquitin in the nervous system and on how defects in parkin could lead to Parkinson’s disease. This work could provide important clues about the mechanisms of dopamine neuron death in Parkinson’s disease and potentially lead to innovative new therapeutic strategies.

Fortin, Anny, Adjunct Member
anny [dot] fortin [at] dafra [dot] be
(CURRENTLY NOT ACCEPTING ANY CANDIDATES FOR GRADUATE OR POST-GRADUATE STUDIES.)
The goal of my ongoing research is to implement the recombinant congenic mouse strains (RCS) platform (originally developed by Dr. Emil Skamene at the MGHRI) to isolate single gene effects in diseases of human relevance. The AcB/BcA RCS platform, which represents a valuable and versatile genetic tool to study complex phenotypes, is used by our group to study a series of complex phenotypes including malaria susceptibility, lipid metabolism, nociception and bone formation. This project provides the unique opportunity to gain insight on complex trait architectures in terms of loci and traits interactions, which is of great interest to me.

Genest, Jacques, Associate Member
jacques [dot] genest [at] muhc [dot] mcgill [dot] ca
Heart disease remains the major cause of death and disability in our society. A major cardiovascular risk factor is a low level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) in plasma. Our laboratory has two major focus of research: 1) the study of genes associated with HDL metabolism by examining large, informative families with HDL deficiency and 2) the mechanisms of HDL biogenesis in man. The genetic project uses linkage analysis of the low HDL trait by a binary approach (affected or not) and the search for quantitative trait loci (QTL). Genome-wide scans, genome-wide exome sequencing and deep re-sequencing strategies are used to identify novel genes. For the study of HDL biogenesis, our approach uses molecular cellular physiology, detailed biochemical analysis of plasma membrane components, proteomics and tandem-MS lipidomics, confocal microscopy and genetic manipulation (using specific cell lines from various tissues and human disease states) approaches to study cholesterol and phospholipid transport onto nascent HDL particles. Most of our work focuses on ATP binding cassette transporters ABCA1 and ABCG1. We also study the pleiotropic effects of HDL on vascular endothelial cells.

Götte, Matthias, Associate Member
matthias [dot] gotte [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Structure-function analysis of important viral enzymes, including the reverse transcriptase (RT) of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Emphasis is placed on the study of mechanisms involved in drug action and drug resistance. Discovery and development of novel inhibitors that block replication of drug resistant mutant viruses.

Hallett, Michael, Associate Member
hallett [at] mcb [dot] mcgill [dot] ca
Dr. Hallett's lab is primarily interested in the use of bioinformatics and systems biology approaches to the study of breast cancer. In particular, his group is involved in several studies to analyze high-throughput profiles (gene expression, epigenetic, microRNA) in both mouse models of breast cancer and the human disease. For example, one of their primary goals is to identify genes or small gene sets that are predictive of patient outcome, response to therapy, or disease progression. These genes or gene sets can be developed into clinical-applicable devices that assist in the determination of patient therapy.
They are also interested in the development of new bioinformatics tools that provide global perspective of the dynamics of the disease. For example, we use bioinformatics to identify sets of genes that stratify the patient population into distinct groups. These groups reflect different types of breast cancer and each subtype may require a distinct therapeutic regime. They are particularly interested in investigating how differences in the tumor microenvironment (the area around the tumor) hinder or help the progression of a tumor. These signals may also be used by clinicians to assist in assigning patient treatment.

Kiss, Robert Scott, Associate Member
Robert [dot] kiss [at] mcgill [dot] ca
My research focuses on the intracellular trafficking of cholesterol, especially how it relates to disease processes such as obesity, diabetes, lipid storage disease and atherosclerosis. Specifically, I study lipoprotein receptor/ligand endocytosis; intracellular trafficking of proteins and lipids including cholesterol and glycosphingolipids; signaling and regulation of lipid efflux; genetics of human dyslipidemias; the relationship between the immune system and atherosclerosis; intracellular trafficking of cholesterol and glycosphingolipids, as it pertains to lipid storage diseases, atherosclerosis and lipoprotein metabolism.

Kollman, Justin, Associate Member
justin [dot] kollman [at] mcgill [dot] ca
We are examining the structures of the complex macromolecular machinery of cellular organization, with a focus on bacterial cytoskeletal systems and organelles. Historically, bacteria have been viewed as simple organisms with little internal organization, often described as mere ‘bags of enzymes’.  Recently, however, we have come to appreciate that, like eukaryotes, bacteria utilize a diverse set of cytoskeletal filaments and specialized organelles to organize their internal space. These advances have opened a fertile field of research aimed at elucidating the mechanisms of bacterial intracellular organization, providing insight into fundamental principles of cellular function as well as unique aspects of prokaryotic cell biology.  Proper internal organization is often essential for bacterial growth, so understanding how to interfere with organizing processes may prove effective in combating pathogenic bacteria.  One of the central challenges we are tackling is to develop a structural framework for understanding the internal organization of bacteria, using methods that allow us to visualize in three dimensions single molecules, large molecular machines, and entire cells.

Lukacs, Gergely, Associate Member
gergely [dot] lukacs [at] mcgill [dot] ca
The cystic fibrosis gene product, CFTR, is a multidomain, polytopic plasma membrane protein that belongs to the ATP-Binding Cassette transporter family. The chloride channel activity of CFTR is indispensable for normal transcellular salt and water transport in numerous organs (e.g. gastrointestinal tract, pancreas and sweat duct) and for the homeostasis of airway surface liquid layer. Our long-term goal is to elucidate the molecular and cellular basis of cystic fibrosis, one of the most prevalent genetic diseases in the Caucasian population, caused by mutations interfering with the folding, stability, activity and/or membrane trafficking of the channel. To achieve this goal, we utilize a combination of biochemical, biophysical, cell biological and genetic techniques. Another aspect of our inquiries is to gain insights into the recognition and elimination mechanism of non-native membrane proteins from post-ER/Golgi compartments in mammalian cells. The peripheral quality control of integral membrane proteins likely represents a fundamental protective mechanism against the accumulation of aggregation prone and toxic polypeptides that are generated by cellular stresses or mutations. Using conditionally misfolded model proteins, we aim at identifying the machinery responsible for the disposal of non-native plasma membrane proteins. The structural and biochemical basis of ubiquitin recognition as an endocytic and postendocytic sorting signal is also investigated.

Papadopoulos, Vassilios, Associate Member
vassilios [dot] papadopoulos [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Research in my laboratory focuses on understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms responsible for the initiation and maintenance of steroid biosynthesis in the adrenal, gonads and brain, in health and disease. We also examine the regulation of steroid biosynthesis, intracellular compartmentalization and homeostasis by hormones, chemicals, drugs, natural products and environmental factors. Our goal is to understand the pathophysiology of steroidogenesis and develop new tools for the treatment of diseases related to elevated or low steroid levels or alter subcellular steroid compartmentalization as a means to block disease acquisition and/or progression. In these studies we are using biochemical, pharmacological, and molecular methods as well animal models of disease to identify the physiological role of critical components of the steroidogenic pathway and identify pathological situations created by changes in the expression of these components in animals and humans. Drug design methods and molecular modeling help us modify existing chemical entities and generate novel ones targeted at key elements of the steroidogenic machinery. Our research has direct applications in reproduction and development, cancer, stress-related disorders, aging and brain related dysfunction, such as Alzheimer’s disease pathology.

Purisima, Enrico, Adjunct Member
rico [at] bri [dot] nrc [dot] ca
We are interested in developing and applying computational tools for elucidating the structural and energetic determinants of molecular recognition. Of particular interest is the role of solvation in binding interactions and conformational stability. Areas of active research include continuum solvation models, conformational search methods, binding free energy calculations and computer-aided molecular design of small molecules and proteins. In parallel, we also have a bioinformatics stream. Areas of interest include analysis of signaling networks, identification of cancer biomarkers, comparative genomics of yeast and related fungi and data mining of genomes for the discovery of novel transcription factors or rewiring of the functions of known ones.

Rak, Janusz, Associate Member
janusz [dot] rak [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Studies on how oncogenic pathways influence intercellular communication in pediatric and adult cancers, especially during the course of tumour angiogenesis. This includes the biology of microvesicles (oncosomes) and signaling through the effectors of the coagulation system (tissue factor pathway), and how these events affect interactions between tumour initiating (stem), or metastatic cells and the vasculature. Exploration of therapeutic consequences of these effects.

Roy, René, Adjunct Member
roy [dot] rene [at] uqam [dot] ca
Studies on carbohydrate-protein interactions leading to new therapeutic agents. Medicinal chemistry towards inhibition of bacterial and viral adhesion. Nanomedecine, biosensors and antibacterial and anticancer vaccines. Glycobiology of animal, plant and bacterial lectins against P. aeruginosa, E. coli, B. cepacia, H. influenza. Synthetic organic chemistry, methodologies, and asymmetric syntheses. Dendrimers and polymers for drug delivery. Natural products isolation, purification, characterization, modification, synthesis and bioguided assays.

Salavati, Reza, Associate Member
reza [dot] salavati [at] mcgill [dot] ca
The three related species of trypanosomatids, Trypanosoma brucei, Trypanosoma cruzi, and Leishmania major, cause serious human and animal diseases, with a very high incidence and mortality rate if untreated. There are no vaccines for these pathogens, the drugs are toxic with limited effectiveness, and drug resistance is emerging. The availability of the genome sequences of these organisms since 2005 has dramatically expanded our knowledge of their biology; however, a major obstacle has since been acknowledged: the majority of trypanosomatid genes are not found in any other organism, making it almost impossible to use homology-based methods for inferring their functions from their sequences. Our lab is focused on development of novel computational and experimental methods for functional and structural characterization of trypanosomatid genomes. We are also involved in development of high-throughput methods for identification of novel chemical inhibitors of essential trypanosomatid proteins, particularly the editing complex of T. brucei. Functional characterization of some of the key trypanosomatid proteins that are involved in RNA editing is also among the major research topics of our lab.

Saleh, Maya, Associate Member
maya [dot] saleh [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Studies on the molecular mechanisms of inflammation, innate immunity and cell death in cancer and inflammatory-mediated immune disorders. Identification of key genes in innate immunity and cell death signaling using biochemical, immunological, genomic and genetic approaches: Genome-wide siRNA screens; genetic random mutagenesis screens in the mouse). Current research interests focus on the investigation of Pattern Recognition Receptors (TLRs and NLRs), caspases and Inhibitor of Apoptosis Proteins (IAPs) in cell death and inflammation in the context of relevant diseases including infectious diseases, inflammatory bowel disease and cancer.

Schurr, Erwin, Associate Member
erwin [at] igloo [dot] epi [dot] mcgill [dot] ca
Our research is aimed at the identification of genes contributing to host resistance and susceptibility to tuberculosis and leprosy, two major human infectious diseases.

Siegel, Peter, Associate Member
peter [dot] siegel [at] mcgill [dot] ca
My lab is interested in understanding processes that control the ability of breast cancer cells to spread or "metastasize" to bone and soft tissues. We employ in vivo models for the selection of highly metastatic tumor cell populations which are then subjected to gene expression profiling to identify genes that are associated with the metastatic phenotype. In addition, we focus on cooperation between the ErbB-2 and TGF-β signaling pathways in promoting breast cancer metastasis in animal models.

Topisirovic, Ivan, Associate Member
ivan [dot] topisirovic [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Our lab focuses on studying the mechanisms of post-transcriptional regulation of gene expression including those occurring at the level of translation and folding and/or degradation of newly synthesized polypeptides. Specifically, we are interested in understanding how signaling pathways such as mTOR affect post-transcriptional gene expression networks during stress response and how these changes impact on cellular proliferation, growth and energetics in normal vs. malignantly transformed cells.

Tsantrizosyoula, Youla, Associate Member
youla [dot] tsantrizos [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Research in my laboratory involves elucidating the cellular and molecular Our projects focus on the design and synthesis of small molecule ligands that can bind to mammalian or microbial targets modulating their function. Our main objective is to design chemical tools that can facilitate investigations into the biological role of proteins associated with a disease state.
Currently, a number of our projects involve structure-based ligand design targeting the human enzyme farnesyl pyrophosphate synthase (hFPPS). A key objective of these projects is to synthesize novel active site or allosteric site inhibitors of hFPPS that could potentially serve as “leads” for the design of better therapeutic agents for the treatment of osteoporosis, cancer and viral infections. However, the ultimate goal of these studies is to provide greater insight into the biological significance of post-translational prenylation of proteins and elucidate the role of hFPPS in the innate immune response during viral infections.

Turcotte, Bernard, Associate Member
bernard [dot] turcotte [at] mcgill [dot] ca
Research in my laboratory relates to functional genomics in budding yeast and pathogenic fungi. We are focusing on the Gal4 family of transcriptional regulators that includes over fifty members in budding yeast. The function of many of these Gal4 members is unknown or poorly defined. To better understand the role of these transcriptional regulators and identify their target genes, we are using various approaches including genome-wide location analysis and expression profiling as well as genetics. We are also determining the role of related Gal4 members in conferring resistance to antifungal drugs in the human pathogens Candida albicans and C. glabrata. Another project is aimed at identifying new compounds with antifungal activity. Finally, my lab is also interested in developing compounds with antibacterial activity.

Ursini-Siegel, Josie, Associate Member
giuseppina [dot] ursini-siegel [at] mcgill [dot] ca
(1)
Defining the mechanism by which ShcA signaling in breast cancer cells controls both tumor neovascularization and blood vessel integrity. (2) Defining the mechanism by which ShcA signaling in breast cancer cells establishes a local immunosuppressive state to favour cancer progression. (3) Translate the SRIS into a clinically-relevant diagnostic tool to predict the outcome of HER2 and basal breast cancer patients. This has enormous clinical potential since there is currently no screening test to stratify these patients within these subtypes based on outcome. (4) Identify the contribution of the individual ShcA isoforms during breast cancer progression.

Wing, Simon, Associate Member
simon [dot] wing [at] mcgill [dot] ca
We explore the function and regulation of the ubiquitin dependent proteolytic pathway in mammalian systems with particular attention to its role in the activated protein degradation occurring in atrophying skeletal muscle, its role in the developmental process of sperm cell maturation and in the control of circadian rhythms.

Yang, Xiang-Jiao, Associate Member
xiang-jiao [dot] yang [at] mcgill [dot] ca
We have been interested in the question of how physiological and environmental signals get into individual cells of multicullar organisms and regulate chromatin structure and gene expression in normal and diseased states. In particular, we have been deciphering the function and regulation of histone-modifying enzymes, esp. histone acetyltransferases and deacetylases. One emerging project in the laboratory is how these enzymes and their regulators play a role in self-renewal and differentiation of various types of stem cells, including ES (embryonic stem) and iPS (induced pluripotent stem) cells.