Associate Members

Dr. Antel

Jack Antel, MD, is a Professor, Department of Medicine, McGill University Health Centre. He examines how the immune system interacts with cells in the central nervous system. His work deals with immune-mediated neurological diseases, especially multiple sclerosis. His studies with human tissues are often designed in parallel with the mice models used by his colleague, Dr. Trevor Owens, who studies experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). Another focus of his research is to understand how cells of the immune system injure oligodendrocytes and their myelin membranes. He is also examining how glial cells (astrocytes and microglia) serve as antigen-presenting cells that regulate T-cell reactivity.

Dr. Awadalla

Philip Awadalla, PhD, is a Senior Investigator at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research, Professor of Population and Medical Genomics at the University of Toronto, and is a Principal Investigator of the Canadian Partnership for Tomorrow Project and biobank. Since his training at the University of Edinburgh, Dr. Awadalla has focused on developing experimental and computational tools to study fundamental processes in genomics in humans and pathogens. His research investigates broad range of chronic and rare diseases, including infectious diseases in the developing world. Dr. Awadalla is also the Principle Investigator and Director of the CARTaGENE Biobank of Quebec. CARTaGENE is a prospective public health survey of Quebec and in its first phase captured biological, clinical, genealogical and genomic data from over 20,000 participants.  He is also co-director of the Centre for Child Health Genomics at University of Montreal and he currently holds the Genome Quebec recruitment award for Population and Medical Genomics. He was awarded the 2012 Joe Doupe Young Clinical Investigator of the year.

Dr. Bar-Or

Amit Bar-Or, MD is a practicing neuroimmunologist, Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital. He also serves as Director, Experimental Therapeutics Program and Scientific Director, Clinical Research Unit at the MNI. His lab studies basic principles of immune-regulation, immune-neural interaction and neural-glial interaction, and roles in physiologic processes, inflammatory injury and repair in the human central nervous system. His clinical focus is multiple sclerosis (MS) and he is currently the President of the Canadian Consortium of MS Clinics. He coordinates a number of multi-center national and international translational research initiatives. An overarching theme is translation of basic lab discoveries towards development and understanding of novel experimental therapies and biomarkers for patients with autoimmune and neurological diseases.  He serves on several journal editorial boards and on the scientific/advisory boards of the Guthy-Jackson Greater-Good Foundation; the Accelerated Cure Project; the ACTRIMS, ISNI and FOCIS organizations.

Dr. Barreiro

Luis Barreiro, PhD, is an Assistant Professor, Département de biochimie et médecine moléculaire, Université de Montréal. From 2003 to 2008 he worked at the Pasteur Institute of Paris where he did his PhD in Human Population Genetics under the supervision of Lluis Quintana Murci. In 2008 he moved to the department of Human Genetics at the University of Chicago to do a post-Doc in functional genomics.  Luis Barreiro started his own laboratory at the University of Montreal and the CHU Ste-Justine in March 2011. His research focuses on a better understanding how natural selection has contributed to the evolution of our species and the extent to which past selection events impact present-day susceptibility to disease. Specifically, Barreiro’s lab studies the evolution of immune responses both at the inter-species level as well as among different individuals and human populations.

Dr. Bourque

Guillaume Bourque, PhD is an Associate Professor, Department of Human Genetics, McGill University and Director of Bioinformatics at the McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Center (MUGQIC). He is the lead of the CIHR-funded Epigenomic Data Coordination Center at McGill. His research interests are in comparative and functional genomics with a special emphasis on applications of next­generation sequencing technologies. Dr. Bourque has a close partnership with Calcul Québec (Québec component of Compute Canada) to implement computational genomics within the high-performance computing environment, and under his leadership, MUGQIC has become the largest user of Compute Canada resources in Québec. Dr. Bourque serves on Compute Canada’s Advisory Council for Research.

Dr. Danska

Jayne Danska, PhD, is the Anne and Max Tanenbaum Chair in Molecular Medicine, a Senior Scientist at the Hospital for Sick Children, and a Professor, Departments of Immunology and Medical Biophysics, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto and . She has made contributions to understanding immunological, genetic and environmental causes of Type 1 diabetes (T1D), molecular mechanisms of acute lymphoid leukemia (ALL), and innate immune surveillance of leukemia. She has lead large-scale projects applying genetic, genomic and immunological analysis to identify T1D-risk genes and has focused on the role of the intestinal microbiome as a modifier of risk for immune-mediated disease. Her group demonstrated that manipulation of the intestinal microbiome influences sex hormone levels metabolism and modifies a high burden of inherited risk in a mouse model of spontaneous T1D. Her work on identification of innate immune checkpoints lead to development of a novel biologic inhibitor that is currently being tested in phase 1 trials for hematologic malignancies.

Dr. Georges

Michel Georges, PhD, is a Professor in Genetics and Genomics, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, University of Liège, Belgium.  He heads the Unit of Genetics of the GIGA (Groupe Interdisciplinaire de Génoprotéomique Appliquée) Research Institute in the same university. He played an instrumental role in establishing the GIGA Research Institute. He devoted his scientific carrier to the development and use of genomic tools for the identification of genes and mutations underlying complex traits of agronomic and medical importance. He participated in the very first genome scans for QTL in the rat, and then conducted many such scans in livestock. His lab has discovered polar overdominance, identified the “double-muscling” gene and several regulatory QTN including some that perturb miRNA-mediated gene regulation, and discovered a novel CNV generating mechanism underlying the inheritance of colour-sidedness.  He made important contributions to the “genomic selection revolution” in livestock.  More recently, Georges’ team has been involved in the genetics of inflammatory bowel disease and has contributed to the identification of novel risk loci, genes and variants. 

Dr. Huang

Sidong Huang, PhD, is an Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, McGill University. He is also a Member of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre, and holds a Canada Research Chair in Functional Genomics. He uses functional genomic tools to study cancer-relevant pathways and to guide targeted cancer therapy. His laboratory aims 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. One of his works has identified the potential combination therapy targeting both BRAF and EGFR for BRAF mutant colon cancer patients, which is currently being tested in a clinical trial. He is also managing several functional genetics platforms, which have enhanced the research capacity of the community and initiated new projects and collaborations.

Dr. Kain

Kevin Kain, MD, FRCPC, is the Director, SAR Laboratories, Sandra Rotman Centre for Global Health; Director, Tropical Disease Unit at UHN-Toronto General Hospital; and holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier I). Dr. Kain’s research efforts are focused on new diagnostics and interventions for major global infectious disease threats including malaria and HIV, particularly as they pertain to women and children. Dr. Kain is the recipient of the C. Woolf Award for the Excellence in Teaching from the University of Toronto, a Career Scientist Award from the Ontario Ministry of Health, the Bailey Ashford Medal from the American Society for Tropical Medicine, awarded for “Distinguished work in tropical medicine”, and the SL Medal (from Mahidol University, Thailand) for “Outstanding achievements in malaria research”. Dr Kain was profiled by TIME magazine as one of “Canada’s Best in Medicine”. He has received the: Pfizer Visiting Professorship, University of Washington; Fred Barrett Lectureship, University of Tennessee; Distinguished Global Health Service Award, University of California; The Henry Wong Lectureship In Medicine, MacMaster University; Forbes Lectureship, University of Melbourne. He has served as a consultant to many organizations including the Gates Foundation, WHO, Red Cross, CBS, PATH and the CDC.

Peer-reviewed Research Support: totals over $75,000,000. Peer reviewed Publications: over 300.

Dr. Lathrop

Mark Lathrop, PhD, is the Scientific Director at McGill University and Genome Quebec Innovation Centre. Renowned Canadian genomics pioneer, Mark Lathrop has been most recently the scientific director of the Centre National de Genotypage (CNG) and of the Fondation Jean Dausset Centre d’Étude du Polymorphism Humain (CEPH) in Paris, two of the major Centres for large scale biological research established by the French government. The principal goal of these Centres is to apply genomics and other large-scale methodologies to understanding human disease. He has also made major contributions to genetic approaches for the study of models of human disease in other mammalian species. His present scientific studies focus on using genetic and other high-throughput genomic approaches to identify DNA variants that predispose people to common diseases, particularly, lung cancer, asthma and cardiovascular disease, and to understand the effects of these in a biological and public health context. He is responsible for the scientific program of the French National Programme in Cancer Genomics.

Dr. Lesage

Silvie Lesage, PhD, is an Associate Research Professor, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital. From 1999 to 2002, she pursued her post-doctoral training in the world-renowned laboratory of Dr Christopher C. Goodnow in Australia. Her main research interest is aimed at restoring the immune balance to prevent the onset or abrogate the progression of type 1 diabetes. Her research goals are aimed at defining homeostatic regulation of cell populations composing the immune system and to identify their impact on the susceptibility of complex genetic diseases such as autoimmune diseases and cancer. In particular, her lab studies variations of T cell and dendritic cell sub-populations in various strains of mice with the ultimate goal of studying the cellular population dynamics in the immune system to provide the basis for cellular therapy protocols aimed at restoring the immune balance in various auto-immune diseases and lymphoid cancers.

Dr. Olivier

Martin Olivier, PhD. The Laboratory of Martin Olivier (Departments of Medicine Microbiology/Immunology) focuses on understanding how pathogens for major global infectious diseases (Malaria, Leishmaniasis) can influence the host innate inflammatory response by manipulating the biochemical cascades involved in the regulation of phagocyte functions. Using in vitro and in vivo infectious models we are investigating how exosome microvesicles released by protozoan parasites within their blood-sucking vectors contribute to facilitate the infection and its propagation within the mammalian host. Impact of sand fly virobiome (Phlebovirus) on cutaneous leishmaniasis development and the immunological events underlying this co-infection is studied using various KO mice for major innate immune response sensors. Using our exosome biology expertize, we are interested to isolate and characterize these vesicles from various biological fluids of human affected by malaria, visceral leishmaniasis and HIV. Therefore permitting us to better understand the pathologies of these infections and to develop exosome-based biomarker diagnostics (malaria, leishmaniasis) and vaccines (leishmaniasis, schistosomiasis). Additionally, my lab is actively developing and testing new molecules capable to induce or inhibit host protein tyrosine phosphatases to block inflammatory-based pathologies or to modulate protective immune response against infectious agents.

Dr. Parkinson

John F. Parkinson, PhD, is Senior Scientific Director, Discovery Immunology, Janssen Research & Development, LLC since January 2015. He was Senior Director, Biology, Vertex Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., where he has led drug discovery in IBD research since 2010. He directs research in immunology, microbiology, epithelial and stem cell biology, pharmacology and assay development. John led Vertex’s alliance with Crohn’s and Colitis Canada which supports translational research in Calgary, McGill, McMasters, Sherbrooke and Toronto. From 1991-2007 he led projects in Cardiovascular and Immunology disease at Berlex Biosciences (California), including thrombosis, septic shock/trauma, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, transplant rejection and IBD. These included NOS-2 inhibitors (licensed to Pfizer) and lipoxin A4 analogs (developed to phase Ib by Bayer AG).  He was research lead on Bayer’s phase II/III development team for recombinant GM-CSF in Crohn’s disease.  He led LTA4 hydrolase inhibitor discovery at Bayer, acquired these assets to co-found Estrellita Pharmaceuticals in 2008, which have now advanced to clinical trials for cystic fibrosis at Celtaxsys.  Since 2006 he has been a supervisory board member for the Cluster of Excellence – “Inflammation at Interfaces” which integrates research initiatives at the campuses of Kiel, Lubeck and Borstel in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Dr. Pelletier

Jerry Pelletier, PhD is a James McGill Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Oncology and member of the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Research Centre, McGill University. The overarching focus of his research program is to understand how translation, a process fundamental to all cells, becomes deregulated in disease - ranging from orphan diseases to cancer to neurological disorders. Dysregulation of mRNA translation is a frequent feature of neoplasia and Pelletier’s studies have identified nodal points that are druggable vulnerabilities as well as unique small molecule inhibitors that interdict this process. He has also developed mouse cancer models that mimic small molecule-mediated targeted inhibition at the organismal level and have used these to validate the concept of targeting translation initiation in vivo.  Furthermore, he has developed powerful methods for applying genome engineering technology (CRISPR-Cas9) to suppress gene function in a stable manner. He has experience in leading large collaborative research programs (CQDM, CIHR Team Grants, CFI, Terry Fox Research Institute) and has forged strong collaborative links with academic and industry on small molecule targeting to deregulated translational control. He has an internationally recognized research program that integrates powerful mouse cancer models, chemical biology, and genome engineering to explore the role of translation in tumor maintenance and cell death mechanisms and characterize their impact on treatment response.

Dr. Sakuntabhai

Anavaj Sakuntabhai, MD, and Senior Scientist at the Institut Pasteur, Paris where he was recruited in 2000 to develop a program on the genetics of infectious diseases. He discovered a variant on a promoter of DC-SIGN associated with gene expression and outcome of Dengue virus infection. He published an important finding of positive selection of G6PD (glucose 6 phosphate dehydrogenase) and its effect on Plasmodium vivax density in Science. His recent research has shown that both gene-gene and gene-environmental interactions play a significant role in susceptibility to malaria and Dengue fever. He successfully coordinated two important projects on genetic susceptibility to malaria and dengue involving teams from France, Thailand, and Senegal. He coordinated a global network for Dengue fever research for the Institut Pasteur International Network. He is a principle investigator of one of the four projects of the Bill and Melinda Gates financed (MalariaGEN consortium). He is now a coordinator of European FP7 project on Dengue Framework for Resisting Epidemics in Europe (DENFREE).

Dr. Sawcer

Stephen Sawcer, PhD FRCP, Professor of Neurological Genetics, University of Cambridge, and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Addenbrooke's Hospital. Dr. Sawcer uses genome wide association screening to identify genetic variants associated with disease susceptibility and clinical phenotype. To date these efforts have identified 110 variants associated with susceptibility to multiple sclerosis that have confirmed the immunological nature of the disease and provided targets for functional analysis. Within the UK, he runs a National Institute of Health Research portfolio project recruiting patients with multiple sclerosis into genetic studies that involves over 50 Centres. Internationally Dr. Sawcer has led or co-led the two largest genetic studies ever performed in multiple sclerosis. Dr. Sawcer spent his sabbatical in Canada working with Dr. Wee Yong in Calgary and has extensive collaborations with the McGill and Genome Québec Innovation Center in Montreal.

Dr. Schurr

Erwin Schurr obtained his Ph.D. in 1986 from the Institute of Biophysics and Radiation Biology at the Albert-Ludwigs University in Freiburg/Br, Germany.  He then did his postdoctoral studies in molecular genetics with E. Skamene and P. Gros at McGill University.  In 1991, he joined the McGill Centre for the Study of Host Resistance and the Faculty of Medicine at McGill as Assistant Professor.  He is a James McGill Professor of Human Genetics and Medicine at McGill University.  At the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre he is the leader of the program on Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health.  His main research interest is the identification of host genetic factors predisposing to tuberculosis and leprosy; research that is supported by both national and international funding agencies.  He has been involved in numerous field studies in main endemic countries, and he has published extensively on the human genetics and genetic epidemiology of both leprosy and tuberculosis.

Dr. Turvey

Stuart Turvey, MBBS, DPhil, FRCPC, Associate Professor of Pediatrics, University of British Columbia, where he holds the Aubrey J. Tingle Professorship in Pediatric Immunology.  He is a Pediatric Immunologist based at BC Children’s Hospital, and Director of Clinical Research at the Child & Family Research Institute.  Prior to coming to Vancouver, Dr Turvey completed both his Pediatric Residency and Allergy/Immunology Fellowship at Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston.  He holds a medical degree from the University of Sydney, Australia and a doctorate in Immunology from Oxford University where he was a Rhodes Scholar.  Dr. Turvey is a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and a Diplomate of the American Board of Pediatrics. Dr. Turvey provides clinical care in the specialties of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology, while his research program focuses on pediatric infectious and inflammatory diseases.  Specifically, Dr. Turvey is interested in the role of innate immunity in protecting infants and young children from infectious agents, and how abnormalities of the innate immune system contribute to inflammatory diseases of childhood.

Dr. Ward

Brian Ward, PhD, is a professor of Medicine & Microbiology at McGill University, Deputy Director of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (Fundamental Science), Co-Director of the McGill Vaccine Study Centre and Associate Director of the JD MacLean Center for Tropical Diseases. His laboratory is currently active in three areas: 1) the immunologic evaluation of vaccines and vaccine safety, 2) the evaluation of micronutrient-microbial interactions, and 3) the development of novel therapeutic strategies for microbial pathogens. Although a good deal of the work performed in the laboratory takes place in Montreal, many of the projects have significant or even predominant components overseas. There is a long-standing commitment in the laboratory to collaborative work with developing world researchers in Peru and Zimbabwe. Dr. Ward serves on a wide range of government and industry advisory committees related to vaccines, vaccine safety, international health and parasitology.