cellular complexes from just a few micrograms of the
specimen and no need for crystallization. Structures in
the Ortega lab are now approaching 4-5Å with access to
this new technology that we hope to have at McMaster
soon through CFI grant initiatives.
We also had student successes to celebrate. Ajitha
Jeganathan and Bilal Ahsan received their MSc degrees.
Ajitha has now moved to work with Northern Biologics in
Toronto and Bilal is now pursuing PhD work in Nanyang
Technological University in Singapore. In the last few
months the MSc work from Ajitha saw the light in two great
publications in RNA and the Journal of Molecular Biology.
The Ortega lab is also welcoming two new graduate
students. Ali Motahhari who started with us in May
and Margaret Sybydlo who will be starting in the
fall. In addition, our lab has been hosting Visiting
Professor Dr. Alberto Marina from the Biomedicine
Institute in Valencia (Spain). Dr. Marina leads the
crystallography unit in this institute and his laboratory
has a long trajectory of impactful contributions in signal
transduction systems in bacteria with a specific focus in
two-component regulatory systems. Here at McMaster,
Dr. Marina is getting his hands on our microscopes to
learn cryo-electron microscopy and incorporate this
technique at his institute in Valencia upon his return.
Finally, the lab has received a four-year grant from the
National Institutes of Health in the US to boost ongoing
research in our lab in new antimicrobial targets.
Click here for pictures of these events.
It was another year of big changes in the Schertzer
Lab. Congratulations to Dr. Joe McPhee who secured
a faculty position! We will dearly miss Joe’s expertise,
enthusiasm and genuine interest in all things scientific -
even though he is not too far away at Ryerson University.
Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Foley for obtaining an
NSERC postdoctoral fellowship for the next two years.
Congratulations to graduate students Emily Li, Brittany
Duggan and Trevor Lau who secured scholarships from
CIHR or OGS. Congratulations to Teagan Telesnicki and
Rebecca Chan who both produced a great undergraduate
thesis. Teagan recently achieved her goal of acceptance
into medical school in Toronto! Jon Schertzer is trying
to keep up with his lab member’s accomplishments and
managed to secure CIHR New Investigator and Early
Researcher Awards. The lab enjoyed an annual retreat to
a Toronto Blue Jays game and despite many first-timers,
we surprised ourselves at our lab’s curling ability.
We are also pleased to finally publish work in
EMBO showing that a immune sensor (NOD2) controls
transmissible gut bacteria that can contribute to high
blood glucose and diabetes risk in mice. This was
driven by Dr. Emmanuel Denou -the whole lab- and our
colleagues from McMaster and INSERM (France). Our lab
was also honored to be part of a successful team grant
from CIHR to help understand the remarkable potential of
bariatric surgery in diabetes. We look forward to working
with colleagues from Laval, across Canada, USA and
France to study how different types of bariatric surgery
alter bacteria that could promote better glucose control
and reduce diabetes risk. We had a fun year trying figure
out how bugs and drugs influence blood glucose and how
blood glucose alters bacterial infection. Much more to do.
It’s been an exciting year in the Sloboda Lab –
students, travel, papers and funding all in one year.
On the back of a successful lab renovation in 2013, we
populated the lab with new equipment, new students
and new funding!
Last year was highlighted with the Sloboda Lab’s first
graduate at McMaster! It was bittersweet to say goodbye
to Michael Tsoulis who graduated with an MSc – Mike
was a good student and we are sad to see him go, but
happy that he did an outstanding job on his thesis. We
welcomed new MSc student, Jessica Wallace, to the
team in September 2014 who will be investigating the
impacts of maternal diet on maternal gut immunity and
gut microbiome and how it impacts placental nutrient
transport. We also had a long list of super undergrads
doing thesis projects and had many stay on to continue
their awesome work; Kennedy Hao received an IIDR
Summer Scholarship last year to work on the impacts of
the maternal diet on the developing ENS system.
With our new renovated space, we spent the year
furnishing the lab with all our awesome new CFI
equipment and as a result we are now a busy and