Invited Speakers

Keynote speaker

Dr. Brenda Andrews, University of Toronto & The Donnelly Centre

Brenda AndrewsDr. Brenda Andrews is full Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and the Charles H. Best Chair of Medical Research at the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research. Her¬†ground-breaking work focuses on using large-scale ‚Äėsystems-level‚Äô approaches to interrogate pathways critical¬†for cell cycle control in the yeast model system. Dr. Andrews is a pioneer of high-throughput genetics and microscopy tools that have re-defined our understanding of conserved cellular circuitry. She is also editor in chief of G3: Genes, Genomes and Genetics, which promotes the publication of high-quality research across a wide-variety of disciplines. Dr. Andrews is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and has received numerous high-profile awards for her work, including the Premier‚Äôs Research Excellence Award and the 2010 Ira Herskowitz Award. In 2015, she was recognized as a Companion of the Order of Canada for her work in systems biology.

Session Title, Chairs and Invited Speakers by Date:

Wednesday May 17th, 2017


Chair: Dr. Steffany Bennett, University of Ottawa
Invited Speaker: Dr. Cheryl Wellington, University of British Columbia

Cheryl WellingtonDr. Cheryl Wellington is full Professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia. Her research program focuses on lipid and lipoprotein metabolism and the relationship of these processes to neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease as well as traumatic brain injury. Dr. Wellington’s lab also focuses on the development of new rodent models to study head injuries. These models have important implications for our understanding of these conditions in human patients.
Invited Speaker: Dr. Sandra Black, Sunnybrook Health Sciences
Dr. Sandra Black is a Senior Scientist at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. She is internationally recognized for her work in neurobiology, focusing on stroke and stroke recovery as well as using advanced imaging techniques to understand dementia. Dr. Black was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2012 and appointed as an Officer to the order of Canada in 2015.


Chair: Dr. Christopher Loewen, University of British Columbia
Invited Speaker: Dr. Will Prinz, NIH

Will PrinzDr. Will Prinz is section chief of the Lipid Trafficking and Organelle Biogenesis section at the National Institutes of Health. His lab uses S. cerevisiae as a model system to understand lipid trafficking, ER-shaping proteins and formation of organelle contact sites. Recent work includes the identification of a new conserved family of proteins (called ‚ÄúFIT‚ÄĚ proteins), which regulate lipid droplet budding from the ER.


Chair: Dr. William Stanford, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Invited Speaker: Dr. Kristin Hope, McMaster University

Kristen HopeDr. Kristin Hope is Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster. Her work focuses on molecular regulation of haematopoietic stem cell self-renewal. Her aim is to understand how these processes are linked to leukemic transformation. In 2010, Dr. Hope was the recipient of OICR New Investigator Award.


Chair: Dr. Morag Park, McGill University
Invited Speaker: Dr. Arnim Pause, McGill University

Dr. Arnim Pause is Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University. His innovative work focuses on cell signaling pathways involved in tumour suppression and metastasis including the FLCN-AMPK regulator axis and the ESCRT endosomal sorting complex. Dr. Pause is a previous recipient of The GE & Science Prize for Young Life Scientists.


Chair: Dr. Kym Boycott, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario
Invited Speaker: Dr. Mikko Taipale, University of Toronto

Mikko TaipaleDr. Mikko Taipale is a former Whitehead Institute post-doctoral fellow and is now an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. His work focuses on mechanisms of protein homeostasis and their relationship to rare diseases. In 2016, Dr. Taipale was awarded the inaugural CIFAR-Azrieli Fellowship for early career investigators.


Chair: Dr. Julie Brill, Hospital for Sick Children
Invited Speaker: Dr. Christian Rocheleau, McGill University

Christain Rocheleau

Dr. Rocheleau is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. His innovative research program uses the C. elegansmodel system to understand how cell signaling (RTK/Ras/MAPK) and vesicular trafficking converge to regulate critical cellular functions. Dr. Rocheleau is the Canada Research Chair in Signaling and Development.


Chair: Dr. Costin Antonescu, Ryerson University
Invited Speaker: Dr. Morag Park, McGill University

Morag ParkDr. Morag Park is Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at McGill University and Director of the Rosalind and Morris Goodman Cancer Centre. Her research program aims to understand how the disruption of cell signaling pathways (such as the Met receptor tyrosine kinase pathway) impact cellular events that are important for cancer progression. Dr. Park is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and in 2015 was presented with an award for ‚ÄėExceptional Leadership in Cancer Research‚Äô by the Canadian Cancer Research Alliance.
Thursday May 18, 2017


Chair: Dr. Mathieu Lavallee-Adam, University of Ottawa
Invited Speaker: Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras, University of Toronto

Anne-Claude-GingrasDr. Anne-Claude Gingras is full Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and senior investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Institute. Her work uses mass spectrometry-based approaches to build protein-protein interaction networks that guide our understanding of cell function. Dr. Gingras was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2011 and was elected to the Royal Society of Canada in 2015. Dr. Gingras is co-author of over 80 publications since 2012 alone.


Chair: Chris Brett, Concordia University
Invited Speaker: Dr. Michael Sacher, Concordia University

Dr. Michael Sacher is Associate professor in the Department of Biology at Concordia University. His group studies how vesicles are properly sorted in eukaryotic cells. Recent work includes investigation of the TRAPP complex in regulating sorting events in both model systems and patient derived cell lines. Dr. Sacher is the recipient of the CIHR New Investigator Award (2007-2012) and the Maud Menten New Principal Investigator Prize (2007).


Chair: Dr. Mary-Ellen Harper, University of Ottawa
Invited Speaker: Dr. Amy Caudy, University of Toronto and Donnelly

Dr. Amy Caudy is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and Canada Research Chair in Metabolomics for Functional Enzyme Discovery. She is redefining the world of metabolism research with innovative ‚Äėmetabolomics‚Äô research. Specifically, her research group uses mass spectrometry-based methods to identify and characterize enzymes required for critical cellular processes. Recent work from Dr. Caudy includes the discovery of riboneogenesis – a novel pathway for the production of ribose, an essential building block for nucleic acids.


Chair: Liz Conibear, University of British Columbia

Invited Speaker: To be confirmed.


Chair: Alain Stintzi, University of Ottawa
Invited Speaker: Christian Jobin, University of Florida

Christian Jobin received his PhD from Laval University and now holds a dual appointment as a Professor of Medicine in the Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition at the University of Florida College of Medicine and in the Department of Infectious Diseases and Pathology at the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine. His research using mice and zebrafish along with microbiome techniques such as next-generation sequencing allows him probe the bacteria/host interactions in both the health and disease state. His work has contributed to the understanding of the cellular molecular mechanisms regulating the innate host response to bacterial colonization and how dysregulation of this intestinal homeostasis contributes to the development of inflammatory bowel disease and colorectal cancers.


Chair: Dr. Heidi McBride,  McGill University
Invited Speaker: Dr. Thomas Simmen, University of Alberta

Thomas Simmen is a former Terry Fox New Investigator award-winner and an Associate Professor in the Department of Cell Biology at the University of Alberta. His research team studies the intersection of redox signaling with mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum function. His work has important implications for our understanding of how alterations in metabolism can drive cancer progression.


Chair: Dr. Rob Botelho,  Ryerson University
Invited Speaker: Dr. Rosa Puertollano, National Institutes of Health

Dr. Rosa Puertollano is a Senior investigator at the National Institutes of Health (NIH, Bethesda, Maryland). Dr. Puertollano’s research program aims to uncover how defects in endosomal and lysosomal trafficking contribute to diverse human diseases. Dr. Puertollano and her colleagues have authored over 60 publications. Recent high-profile work includes the important discovery that transcription factors TFEB and TFE3 are broad regulators of cell stress and innate immunity.

Friday May 19th, 2017


Chair: Dr. Mike Downey, University of Ottawa
Invited Speaker: Dr. Brian Raught, University of Toronto & Ontario Cancer Institute

Brian RaughtDr. Brain Raught is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. He is also Canada Research Chair in Proteomics and Molecular Medicine at the Ontario Cancer Institute McLaughlin Centre for Molecular Medicine. His work uses massspectrometry based approaches to interrogate the role of ubiquitin and small-ubiquitin-like-modifier (SUMO) in the regulation of signaling pathways that underlie human health and disease. His use of innovative approaches to study post-translational modifications is redefining our understanding of cell function while uncovering new opportunities for therapeutic intervention.


Chair: Dr. Neale Ridgway, Dalhousie University
Invited Speaker: Dr. Karin Reinisch, Yale University

Dr. Karin Reinisch is Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry at Yale University. Her innovative work uses structural biology to understand lipid homeostasis, mechanisms for activating RabGTPases, and the regulation of membrane fusion. Recent high impact work from Dr. Karin, published in Nature Cell Biology, describes the leukodystrophy protein FAM126A as a novel regulator of PtdIns(4)P synthesis at the plasma membrane.


Chair: Dr. Jean-Francois Couture, University of Ottawa
Invited Speaker: Dr. Marjorie Brand, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute

Dr. Marjorie Brand is full Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of Ottawa and Senior Investigator at the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Dr. Brand‚Äôs lab uses ‚Äúomics‚ÄĚ- based approaches to understand how hematopoietic stems cells are regulated at the level of chromatin structure and function. In 2014, Dr. Brand was elected to the Royal Society of Canada‚Äôs College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.


Chair: Dr. John Brumell,  Hospital for Sick Children
Invited Speaker: Dr. Ralph Isberg, Tufts University

Ralph Isberg

Dr. Ralph Isberg is Professor of Molecular Biology & Microbiologyat Tufts University (Boston, MA). Dr. Isberg’s work uses genetic and biochemical assays in the Legionella pneumophila and Yersinia pseudotuberculosis models to interrogate bacterial-host cell interactions that are emerging as critical regulators of infection. Dr. Isberg’s work is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and he is a member of the National Academy of Sciences. He has received numerous awards for his innovative work including the Eli Lilly and Company-Elanco Research Award and the Zucker Family Prize for Outstanding Research.

Saturday May 20th, 2017


Chair: Dr. Greg Fairn,  Ryerson University
Invited Speaker: Dr. Dev. Sidhu, University of Toronto and Donnelly Centre

Dr. Sidhu is full Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto and a world-leader in the development of high-throughput tools for protein engineering. Dr. Sidhu’s group aims to use these tools to design antibodies and other proteins to disrupt protein-protein interactions that modulate human health and disease. In 2015, Dr. Sidhu was recognized by the Protein Society with the Christin B. Anfinsen Award. This prize is awarded to scientists who make high-impact advances in the field of protein science.


Chair: Dr. Kristin Baetz,  University of Ottawa
Invited Speaker: Dr. Jeff Boeke, New York University (NYU)

Dr. Jeff Boeke is founding director of The Institute for Systems Genetics, located at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Dr. Boeke is a world-leader in systems and synthetic biology and, with over 300 publications, has made many seminal contributions to our understanding of fundamental aspects of cell biology. Dr. Boeke is currently leading an international team of scientists dedicated to building ‚ÄúSc2.0‚ÄĚ ‚Äď a yeast carrying a redesigned and entirely synthetic genome.