Prospective Students

2017 Summer Studentships

GEPROM will be accepting 4-6 undergraduate students for summer studentships at McGill University in 2017. Successful candidates will be awarded a stipend of $4-5K CDN to cover student living costs for a 3 month period. Those interested in becoming a summer student should consult the regular membership of McGill researchers (http://www.mcgill.ca/geprom/researchers) and identify a lab(s) to carry out a project.
 
To apply, send an email to "geprom.med [at] mcgill.ca” to the attention of Dr. Derek Bowie, Director of GEPROM. Include the term "summer studentship 2017" in the email subject heading so that your request can be properly sorted. Please include a cover letter, cv and transcripts.
 
Students will be evaluated by a reviewing committee of GEPROM members who will rank applications based on merit that includes an interest in studying membrane proteins expressed in the cover letter, previous research experience and scholastic record.
 
Applications will be considered upon receipt, starting now until May 15th, 2017.
 
See below for potential projects.

2017 Summer Projects in GEPROM Laboratories:

Bowie Lab

Email: derek.bowie [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/pharma/dbowielab/

Title: Characterization of novel neuronal voltage-gated Na+-channels

The Bowie Lab uses a combination of techniques to study ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs), GABA-A receptors and more recently, Na+ channels. All ion-channel families are widespread in the vertebrate brain and fulfill many important roles in healthy individuals as well as being implicated in disease states associated with postnatal development (e.g. Autism, Schizophrenia), cerebral insult (e.g. Stroke, Epilepsy) and aging disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism). We are looking at iGluRs, GABA-A receptors and Na+ channels at two inter-related levels. In molecular terms, we are examining the events that occur when each ion-channel family is activated with the aim of developing novel therapeutic compounds. At the cellular level, we are studying the role that iGluRs, GABA-A receptors and Na+ channels fulfill in shaping the behaviour of neuronal circuits and how these processes may be corrected in disease states. The aim of the summer project would be to use electrophysiology techniques to characterize the functional properties of novel Na+ channels that we have recently cloned in the mammalian brain. 

Blunck Lab

Email: rikard.blunck [at] umontreal.ca

Title: Computational analysis of the ion conduction pathway through the Shaker-iVSD

Ion channels are highly modular integral membrane proteins. Around a central pore, sensing domains are susceptible to external stimuli such as ligands, temperature or membrane potential. Upon activation, energy is transferred to the central pore domain thus opening the channel. The voltage sensing domain (VSD) of voltage-gated ion channels have also been found as autonomous proteins in voltage-gated proton channels or as modules for voltage-gated phosphatases. We have recently shown that the isolated voltage sensor of the Shaker Kv channel forms an ion channel by itself (Zhao and Blunck, eLife 2016). In this project, we will use molecular dynamics simulations to identify the ion conduction pathway through the Shaker-iVSD.

Brown Lab

Email: claire.brown [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/brownlabmcgillphysiology/

Title: Imaging and tracking of Nhe6 trafficking in 3D in live cells

NHE6 is a member of the alkali cation/proton exchanger gene family (SLC9A or NHE) that are responsible for regulating a host of physiological processes, including cytoplasmic and organellar pH, cell volume, and protein processing and trafficking along the secretory and endocytic pathways.  NHE6 is widely expressed in human tissues, and is particularly enriched in brain tissue, skeletal muscle and heart. Subcellularly, NHE6 is localized to early and recycling endosomes.  Significantly, dysfunction of NHE6 has been linked to Christianson syndrome (CS), a neurodevelopmental disorder associated with severe intellectual disability, epilepsy and autistic behaviour.  However, the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the neuropathogenesis of CS are poorly understood.  In this project, we will use high speed 3D spinning disk confocal microscopy in live cells and 3D tracking software to understand the regulation and trafficking dynamics of NHE6 wild-type and mutant variants associated with Christianson Syndrome. NHE6 will be tagged with monomeric Cherry fluorescent protein and cellular compartments such as early and recycling endosomes, late endosomes and lysosomes will be labelled with site specific markers. This research will shed fundamental new insights into how defects in NHE6 lead to CS.  Importantly, this information has the potential to reveal novel therapeutic strategies for treating CS patients and may also be applicable to other neurodevelopmental or neurodegenerative disorders such as autism, fragile X syndrome and Alzheimer’s disease where aberrations in recycling endosomal-associated cargo and signaling events have been implicated as contributing factors.

D'Avanzo Lab

Email: nazzareno.d.avanzo [at] umontreal.ca

Title: Understanding the role of genetic mutations in the Hyperpolarization-cyclic nucleotide gated channels

Hyperpolarization-cyclic nucleotide gated (HCN) channels are the molecular correlates of Ih which plays a critical role in establishing sinus rhythm in the heart, and in neuronal excitability. Consequently, mutations in this family of channels have been identified in patients with sinus rhythm dysfunction, and epilepsy. This project will use computational methods to examine the role of key residues in gating and the effect of mutations on channel function.

Hanrahan Lab

Email: john.hanrahan [at] mcgill.ca

Title: CFTR interactions with the PDZ domain protein NHERF1 in primary airway cells

NHERF1 is a PDZ domain protein which binds the C-terminus of CFTR and also binds to cholesterol embedded in the membrane lipid bilayer, raising the possibility that it may help target CFTR to cholesterol-rich microdomains in the plasma membrane of primary airway epithelial cells. This project will be to prepare and test adenoviral vectors that direct expression of EGFP-CFTR constructs that lack PDZ binding motifs. Virus particles will be prepared, their titers determined, and used for imaging, immunoprecipitation and immunoblotting experiments. These studies should indicate if PDZ interactions play a role in targeting CFTR to membrane microdomains. 

Hebert Lab

Email: terence.hebert [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/pharma/hebertlab/

Title: Cardiac hypertrophy and G-protein coupled receptor signaling

Cardiac hypertrophy occurs in response to continuous exposure of the heart to stresses following myocardial infarctions or in the face of sustained hypertension. Hypertrophy initially acts to preserve cardiac function, but ultimately leads to a variety of disorders and eventually to heart failure. The hypertrophic phenotype results from enlargement of cardiomyocytes; which form the primary contractile units of the heart. Neurohormones released in response to stress activate G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) eliciting a hypertrophic response via a signalling cascade that modulates gene expression. One mechanism implicated includes regulation of RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) release from a paused state into productive elongation by positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb). Previous work demonstrated that inhibition of P-TEFb or preventing its recruitment to chromatin ablates the hypertrophic response. Along with regulation of transcription elongation, P-TEFb activity is necessary for various co-transcriptional processes, such as acquisition of histone modification patterns found along actively transcribing genes. While P-TEFb is an important mediator of the hypertrophic response, molecular mechanisms acting downstream of P-TEFb activity in cardiac hypertrophy remain to be elucidated. The endothelin-A and alpha1-adrenergic receptors are both predominantly Gq-coupled receptors. Previous studies assessing the role of transcriptional regulation in cardiac hypertrophy used agonists for either receptor interchangeably, whereas our results suggest two distinct mechanisms for transcription regulation. Using signalling biosensors and small-molecule inhibitors we will determine how receptor signalling leads to differential gene regulation. 

Lukacs Lab

Title: Intramolecular interactions of CFTR

The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) is an ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporter that functions as an anion channel. CFTR is composed of five domains: two transmembrane domains (TMD1-2) that form the ion translocation pathway, two nucleotide binding domains (NBD1-2) that and a regulatory (R) region. Domain-domain interactions play a critical role in the biogenesis and stability of CFTR at the ER and the cell surface, respectively and are severely perturbed by CF mutations. Phosphorylation of the R-region is a prerequisite for the ATP-dependent NBD1-NBD2 heterodimerization and the channel activation.  The dynamic nature of domain interactions, however, remains poorly understood. We propose to use recombinant purified cytosolic domains in combination with a CFTR peptide library to select potential intramolecular interaction sites of the native NBD1 and the R-segment proteins, as well as document their perturbations by CF causing mutations.

Moitessier Lab

Title: To be determined

Multhaup Lab

Email: gerhard.multhaup [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://gerhard-multhaup.lab.mcgill.ca/

Title: Mechanisms of Aβ generation

Over the last several years our research has focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of Aβ generation using structural and functional analyses, particularly the interplay of APP and its processing secretases. As part of this work, we developed and conducted homo-interaction assays and ultimately identified three consecutive GxxxG interaction motifs in the APP transmembrane sequence as playing a significant role in stabilizing dimerization. Most interestingly, disruption or attenuation of the dimerization interface by mutating the GxxxG motifs specifically alters γ-secretase-mediated cleavages, thereby reducing the production of the most toxic form of Aβ, i.e., Aβ42. These findings inspired one of our guiding hypotheses that APP transmembrane sequence dimerization is a risk factor for AD. Students who have an idea for a project or an interest in this particular area are encouraged to approach us with their ideas.

Orlowski Lab

Email: john.orlowski [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/physio/orlowskilab/default.htm

Title: The role of the NHE6 exchanger in neurons and relationship to intellectual disability

Background: Mutations in the human gene SLC9A6 encoding the recycling endosomal alkali cation/proton exchanger NHE6 isoform cause a rare but increasing diagnosed X-linked disorder characterized by severe intellectual disability, autistic behaviour, neurodegeneration and peripheral abnormalities.  However, the mechanistic basis for this disorder is poorly understood.

Project: This overarching goal of this project is to test the hypothesize that NHE6 serves as a unique recycling endosomal pH regulator and integrator of signalling pathways involved in cargo trafficking that is vital to cell polarity, function and survival.   One specific aim will be to define the molecular mechanisms responsible for membrane trafficking and function of NHE6. Using a combination of yeast two-hybrid screening of a human brain cDNA library and proteomics, we have identified several putative interacting proteins for NHE6 involved in signal transduction, protein scaffolding, ion transport, lipid metabolism and actin cytoskeleton remodelling.  The biological significance of selected candidates to NHE6 activity and recycling endosomal trafficking and function will be characterized by biochemical, molecular, and cellular assays in non-neuronal and neuronal cell model systems.

Rouiller Lab

Email: isabelle.rouiller [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.mcgill.ca/rouiller-lab/

Title: Plant-made virus-like particle (VLP) influenza vaccine

The Rouiller laboratory has an established collaboration with the industrial partner Medicago Inc to characterize plant-made virus-like particle (VLP) influenza vaccine and Due to fast production, the plant-made VLPs present an excellent alternative to the traditional egg-based vaccines. Because of the immune response triggered, this novel vaccine is well adapted for the elderly population, population poorly protected by the traditional vaccines. It however not known if plant made Hemagglutinin (HA, the surface membrane protein of Influenza found at the surface of the VLPs) is folded in a similar fashion as in the native virus. The summer student will join the Rouiller team in order to determine the fold of HA at the surface of the VLPs. 

Sharif Lab

Email: reza.sharif [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: https://www.mcgill.ca/physiology/directory/core-faculty/reza-sharif-naeini

Title: The role of mechanotransduction in cell migration

We are interested in understanding the molecular bases of mechanotransduction, and the role of mechanosensory neurons in normal and pathological conditions. Mechanotransduction, the process through which cells convert a mechanical stimulus into an electrical signal, is of fundamental importance to physiological functions such as our senses of touch (including pain) and hearing, as well as our ability to regulate our hydromineral homeostasis (thirst), baroreflex function and myogenic tone (regulation of blood pressure). In this project, we are interested in characterizing the role of mechnotransduction in cell migration, a process during which the cell membrane is subjected to great variations in membrane tension.

Shrier Lab

Email: alvin.shrier [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/physio/shrierlab

Title: Functional characterization of cardiac progenitor cells 

The summer student would work on human Cardiac Progenitor Cells derived from human iPS to differentiate mature cardiac myocytes. The student would be required to learn the tissue culture techniques and criteria to proliferate, differentiate and distinguish among the carious cardiac cell types based upon morphology and potentially genetic markers. Subsequently, we would be interested to virally introduce optogenetic drivers to excite the stem cells and voltage or calcium sensitive genes or dyes to monitor excitation. 

Trempe Lab

Email: jeanfrancois.trempe [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.mcgill.ca/geprom/researchers/regular-members/trempe-jean-francois

Title: Developing a proteomics method to identify protease cleavage sites in mitochondrial proteins.

While mitochondria have their own genome, most of the proteins that constitute them are encoded by the nuclear genome. Nuclear-encoded mitochondrial proteins have a targeting signal (MTS) at their N-terminus, which is recognized by the mitochondrial translocation machinery. Upon reaching the matrix, the MTS is cleaved by a number of membrane-associated proteases including the mitochondrial processing peptidase (MPP), AFG3L2 and PARL. While the global N-proteome of mitochondrial proteins has been characterized in yeast, an in-depth analysis of the processing has not been performed in mammalian cells. Since malfunction of these proteases is associated with numerous neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and cerebellar ataxia, it is fundamental to better characterize this process.

The basic idea here is to identify N-termini of mitochondrial proteins by selective labeling using sortase, an enzyme that ligates specific C-terminal sequences to the alpha-amino group of polypeptides (Popp et al 2009). The project will consist of expressing and purifying the recombinant sortase enzyme from E. coli, followed by a characterization of its activity in vitro. The student will carry out standard procedures for recombinant protein production, and will optimize the coupling conditions. The enzyme will be used to couple a biotin tag in vitro to a recombinant protein to determine coupling efficiency under conditions that would be used to label membrane proteins. The reaction products will be characterized by mass spectrometry in our core facility. The methodology will have multiple applications in protein chemistry and proteomics. 

Wiseman Lab

Email: paul.wiseman [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://wiseman-group.mcgill.ca/

Title: Measurement of membrane oligomerization and interactions using Quantitative Image Analysis

Clustering or oligomerization of receptors following ligand binding is fundamental to regulation of transduction of signals across the cell membrane and into down-stream signalling pathways inside the cell. However, there are only a limited number of techniques available to study this process within intact living cells. Spatial intensity distribution analysis (SpIDA) is a method that can analyse input from fluorescence microscopy images and output densities and oligomerization states for fluorescently tagged membrane receptors or channels. This project will involve extending an earlier research project and combining both SpIDA and recently developed 2 color SpIDA to measure membrane densities, oligomerization and hetero-oligomeric states of various GPCR proteins and the receptor tyrosine kinase EGF receptors expressed in mammalian cell lines and imaged by fluorescence microscopy.

 

Past competitions

2016 Summer Projects in GEPROM Laboratories:

(Click on the labs below to see the Summer Studentship and Trainee Awardees)

Bowie Lab

Trainee (Master's): Marika Arsenault (Pharmacology)

Summer Student: Kaitlin Sullivan (Cognitive Science / Neuroscience)

Email: derek.bowie [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/pharma/dbowielab/

Title: Characterization of novel neuronal voltage-gated Na+-channels

The Bowie Lab uses a combination of techniques to study ionotropic glutamate receptors (iGluRs), GABA-A receptors and more recently, Na+ channels. All ion-channel families are widespread in the vertebrate brain and fulfill many important roles in healthy individuals as well as being implicated in disease states associated with postnatal development (e.g. Autism, Schizophrenia), cerebral insult (e.g. Stroke, Epilepsy) and aging disorders (e.g. Alzheimer's disease, Parkinsonism). We are looking at iGluRs, GABA-A receptors and Na+ channels at two inter-related levels. In molecular terms, we are examining the events that occur when each ion-channel family is activated with the aim of developing novel therapeutic compounds. At the cellular level, we are studying the role that iGluRs, GABA-A receptors and Na+ channels fulfill in shaping the behaviour of neuronal circuits and how these processes may be corrected in disease states. The aim of the summer project would be to use electrophysiology techniques to characterize the functional properties of novel Na+ channels that we have recently cloned in the mammalian brain. 

Brown Lab

Summer Student: Armon Hadian (Physiology)

Email: claire.brown [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: https://sites.google.com/site/brownlabmcgillphysiology/

Title: Biophysical tools to study the molecular mechanisms of cell migration

Cell migration is central to many fundamental processes such as development, wound healing and cancer metastases. In order to migrate, cells form large protein complexes called adhesions. Adhesions are tightly regulated dynamic structures that assemble and disassemble across the cell as it moves. This project will apply biophysical tools to measure cellular dynamics, adhesion dynamics and protein dynamics and interactions within adhesions in order to understand the molecular mechanisms that control cell migration. Fluorescent protein tagged alpha5-integrin and wild type and phosphorylation mutants of paxillin-mCherry will be used to study adhesion assembly, stability and disassembly. Dual-colour temporal correlation microscopy experiments will reveal when and where paxillin alpha5-integrin and paxillin are interacting and how their interaction is regulated by phosphorylation. This will allow us to begin to decipher how paxillin phosphorylation regulates cell migration by controlling adhesion dynamics. The trainee will learn tissue culture techniques, transient transfections, live cell microscopy and image processing and analysis.

Hanrahan Lab

Summer Student: Nicole Robinson (Physiology)

Email: john.hanrahan [at] mcgill.ca

Title: CFTR regulation in airway epithelia

Hebert Lab

Trainee (Master's): Kyla Bourque (Pharmacology)

Summer Student: Pavel Powlowski (Physiology)

Email: terence.hebert [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/pharma/hebertlab/

Title: G-protein coupled receptor biosensors

It has been demonstrated that an increasing number of GPCRs as well as their associated signaling cascades are targeted to endomembrane locations. The signaling landscape at internal membranes such as endosomes, mitochondria or the nuclear envelope may be just as complex as that devoted to external signals. Different organelles must communicate in real-time on a variety of distinct time-scales using a number of intracrine signaling pathways. If they could be targeted, endomembrane GPCRs would represent a completely novel area for exploration by the pharmaceutical industry. However, very few tools currently exist to assess specific contributions of endomembrane GPCR signaling. The student will help adapt our panel of signaling biosensors to detect endomembrane signaling events by tagging them with site-specific localization sequences, and confirming that biosensors localize to the correct endomembrane sites and report signaling events accurately.

Lukacs Lab

Summer Student: Jaminie Vasantharuban (Microbiology & Immunology)

Title: The role of LQT2 mutations in the PAS domain conformational destabilization

Moitessier Lab

Summer Student: Andre Costisella (UOttawa, Chemistry)

Multhaup Lab

Trainee (PhD Student): Suleyman Can Akerman (Pharmacology)

Summer Student: Meng Zhang (Pharmacology)

Email: gerhard.multhaup [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://gerhard-multhaup.lab.mcgill.ca/

Title: Mechanisms of Aβ generation

Over the last several years our research has focused on elucidating the molecular mechanisms of Aβ generation using structural and functional analyses, particularly the interplay of APP and its processing secretases. As part of this work, we developed and conducted homo-interaction assays and ultimately identified three consecutive GxxxG interaction motifs in the APP transmembrane sequence as playing a significant role in stabilizing dimerization. Most interestingly, disruption or attenuation of the dimerization interface by mutating the GxxxG motifs specifically alters γ-secretase-mediated cleavages, thereby reducing the production of the most toxic form of Aβ, i.e., Aβ42. These findings inspired one of our guiding hypotheses that APP transmembrane sequence dimerization is a risk factor for AD. Students who have an idea for a project or an interest in this particular area are encouraged to approach us with their ideas.

Orlowski Lab

Summer Student: Yun Hsiao (Minnie) Lin (Physiology)

Email: john.orlowski [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/physio/orlowskilab/default.htm

Title: NHE6 transporter and intellectual disability

Mutations in the human gene SLC9A6 encoding the recycling endosomal alkali cation/proton exchanger NHE6 isoform cause a severe form of X-linked intellectual disability called Christianson Syndrome.  However, the mechanistic basis for this disorder is poorly understood as few of the more than 20 mutations identified thus far have been studied in detail. The goal of this project is to investigate the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying defects in some of these mutations by transfecting the mutant genes into non-neuronal and neuronal cell lines and characterizing their rates of biosynthesis, post-translation maturation, stability and subcellular targeting using a range of biochemical and advanced imaging techniques.  Potential involvement of the endoplasmic reticulum and peripheral protein quality control pathways will be examined. 

Rouiller Lab

Summer Student: To be finalized

Email: isabelle.rouiller [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.mcgill.ca/rouiller-lab/

Title: Plant-made virus-like particle (VLP) influenza vaccine

The Rouiller laboratory has an established collaboration with the industrial partner Medicago Inc to characterize plant-made virus-like particle (VLP) influenza vaccine and Due to fast production, the plant-made VLPs present an excellent alternative to the traditional egg-based vaccines. Because of the immune response triggered, this novel vaccine is well adapted for the elderly population, population poorly protected by the traditional vaccines. It however not known if plant made Hemagglutinin (HA, the surface membrane protein of Influenza found at the surface of the VLPs) is folded in a similar fashion as in the native virus. The summer student will join the Rouiller team in order to determine the fold of HA at the surface of the VLPs. 

Sharif Lab

Trainee (Post-doctoral Fellow): Dr. Marine Christin (Physiology)

Summer Student: Amanda MacPherson (Neuroscience)

Email: reza.sharif [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: https://www.mcgill.ca/physiology/directory/core-faculty/reza-sharif-naeini

Title: The role of mechanotransduction in cell migration

We are interested in understanding the molecular bases of mechanotransduction, and the role of mechanosensory neurons in normal and pathological conditions. Mechanotransduction, the process through which cells convert a mechanical stimulus into an electrical signal, is of fundamental importance to physiological functions such as our senses of touch (including pain) and hearing, as well as our ability to regulate our hydromineral homeostasis (thirst), baroreflex function and myogenic tone (regulation of blood pressure). In this project, we are interested in characterizing the role of mechnotransduction in cell migration, a process during which the cell membrane is subjected to great variations in membrane tension.

Shrier Lab

Trainee (Master's): Joshua Solomon (Physiology)

Summer Student: Rebecca Flessner (Phyiology & Mathematics)

Email: alvin.shrier [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.medicine.mcgill.ca/physio/shrierlab

Title: Asynchronous behavior of abnormal re-entrant cardiac rhythms

Normally the cardiac impulse is generated by a pacemaker and propagates in a synchronous fashion throughout the heart. However, under a variety of conditions, including after an infarct that leads to a local block in conduction, abnormal reentrant rhythms can appear. We have developed a tissue culture model comprised of a monolayer of embryonic chick cardiac cells that beats spontaneously and can generate reentrant waves of activity. The current project is to further study the effects of engineered obstacles in localized regions of the tissue culture substrate where cells cannot grow to simulate an infarct. We are in the process of optimizing the various geometries to determine whether obstacles with channels are conducive to reentry in culture. The project will involve learning the tissue culture techniques, obstacle engineering, experimental assessment using calcium sensitive fluorescent probes and data analysis. Ultimately, mathematical models can be used to simulate the experiments and gain insights into the basic mechanisms. 

Trempe Lab

Trainee (Master's): Andrew Byane (Pharmacology)

Summer Student: Luc Truong (Pharmacology)

Email: jeanfrancois.trempe [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://www.mcgill.ca/geprom/researchers/regular-members/trempe-jean-francois

Title: PINK1 and Parkinson’s disease

Living organisms and their constituent cells respond rapidly to environmental cues notably through signaling cascade mediated by post-translational modifications. Two of the most common are: 1) phosphorylation, carried out by protein kinases, and 2) ubiquitination, carried out by ubiquitin ligases. Intriguingly, we found that ubiquitin itself is also subject to phosphorylation. Indeed, the mitochondrial kinase PINK1 phosphorylates ubiquitin on Ser65, which acts as a receptor for Parkin to mediate mitochondrial quality control. Other Ser/Thr residues in ubiquitin have been reported to be phosphorylated, but the kinases implicated remain unknown. Here, we propose to investigate a newly discovered ubiquitin kinase that phosphorylates ubiquitin on Ser57. This kinase has been implicated in cytosketelal remodeling, endocytosis and cell migration in the central nervous system. The project will involve bacterial expression and purification of this kinase to characterize its enzymatic activity in vitro. The interactions mediated by phosphoS57-ubiquitin will be investigated by mass spectrometry.

Wiseman Lab

Summer Student: Ksenia Kolosova (Quantitative Biology)

Email: paul.wiseman [at] mcgill.ca

Webpage: http://wiseman-group.mcgill.ca/

Title: Measurement of oligomerization using SpIDA

Clustering or oligomerization of receptors following ligand binding is fundamental to regulation of transduction of signals across the cell membrane and into down-stream signalling pathways inside the cell. However, there are only a limited number of techniques available to study this process within intact living cells. Spatial intensity distribution analysis (SpIDA) is a method that can analyse input from fluorescence microscopy images and output densities and oligomerization states for fluorescently tagged membrane receptors or channels. This project will involve applying SpIDA to measure membrane densities and oligomerization states of various GPCR proteins and the receptor tyrosine kinase EGF receptors expressed in mammalian cell lines and imaged by fluorescence microscopy.

 

Graduate Student Programs

Prospective students interested in joining GÉPROM should consult the profiles of researchers listed in the regular members list and then contact the lab director about trainee availability in their lab. Graduate student training programs are offered by all 3 participating institutes and the links to each Department can be found here.

 

GÉPROM Rotation Program

GÉPROM also offers prospective McGill students the newly launched Rotation Program that provides fully-funded stipends to permit training in 3 rotating labs during the first 12 months of graduate studies. Details of this program are also listed below.

Program description

The GÉPROM Rotation Program for PhD students admits a select group of candidates each Fall. The program allows these students to start their graduate work with GÉPROM members by sampling several labs and supervisors. Through a series of rotations in three different labs, students can experience diverse research fields and lab environments, while expanding their repertoire of lab skills, in order to identify the best area for themselves.

The program is open to both B.Sc. and M.Sc. students who enter the program as PhD1 students. Students will perform three rotations in the first year. Each rotation will be four months in duration: Sept.-Dec., Jan.-Apr., May-Aug. All students accepted into the rotation program must commence their studies in September.  Completion of three rotations is mandatory.

Students can elect to rotate in any GÉPROM-affiliated lab, including both core and associate members.  However, at least one of the three rotations must be in a core faculty member’s lab.

Applying

Application

Please send an e-mail to rosetta.vasile [at] mcgill.ca (Rosie Vasile) for instructions on how to apply or the GÉPROM rotation program. Submit a standard online application along with the regular supporting documents required by GÉPROM. In lieu of naming your supervisor preferences, please write instead: ROTATION PROGRAM. 

Deadline

Exceptionally for this rotation year, interested students can apply for the rotation program until June 21st, 2016, which overrides the internal deadline for the Physiology Department. Before applying, you must e-mail rosetta.vasile [at] mcgill.ca (Rosie Vasile) in order to obtain permission to apply. All application documents must be received by June 21st, 2016. Successful applicants will be notified by mid-July, and will be required to accept the offer shortly thereafter.

Selection Criteria

The number of slots available for rotations is very limited. Review criteria include GPA (both cumulative and last two years), research experience (a requirement), letters of recommendation, and interviews.

Financial support

All students can expect a minimum living expense of $15,000 plus tuition and fees during their rotation year. In the following years students will be supported by their chosen lab and/or fellowships the student can independently attract (intramural or extramural). It is highly recommended that students apply for all external funding for which they are eligible.

Rotation student evaluation

Students in the rotation program must submit a one page abstract at the completion of each rotation, which will be reviewed by their supervisor and the GÉPROM Training Committee. Supervisors will also submit a brief evaluation of the student at the completion of the rotation.

Lab selection at the end of rotation year

Upon completion of the third rotation, students must indicate their lab preference for the remainder of their graduate studies.  Whereas students will not be required to select any of the three labs in which they rotate, they will be encouraged to do so. Regardless, they must find a lab at the end of their rotation year and additional rotations will not be permitted. Please note that supervisors will not be obliged to accept rotation students into their labs once the rotation year is completed. Ultimately, it is the student’s responsibility to find a lab placement, as is the case for the regular program.

Contact for more info

Please contact derek.bowie [at] mcgill.ca (Derek Bowie), Director of GÉPROM, or rosetta.vasile [at] mcgill.ca (Rosie Vasile), Graduate Program Coordinator (Physiology), with your remaining questions.

 

 

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