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MMI 2009 News Archive

Graduates of 2009

Don Gammon defended his PhD thesis on December 10, 2009. His thesis defense seminar title was "Vaccinia virus DNA polymerase and ribonucleotide reductase: their role in replication, recombination and drug resistance". Don was a student in the Evans lab.

Meaghan Hancock defended her PhD thesis on December 1, 2009. Her thesis defense seminar title was "The roles of HSV-1 VP16 and ICP0 in modulating cellular innate antiviral responses". Meaghan was a student in the Smiley lab.

Don Gammon and Stacey Gelowitz receive UTP Certificates

Congratulations to Don Gammon and Stacey Gelowitz, who successfully completed all requirements for the University Teaching Program and were presented with a certificate from the Department. They will receive a notation on their mark transcript from FGSR attesting to this teaching credential. Well done, Don and Stacey!

MMI joins the new School of Clinical and Laboratory Sciences (SCLS)

This Fall, MMI became part of the new School of Clinical and Laboratory Sciences (SCLS).  SCLS comprises five major academic divisions which consist of two departments (Medical Microbiology & Immunology and Laboratory Medicine & Pathology) as well as three Institutes (The Alberta Transplant Applied Genomics Centre, the Alberta Institute for Viral Immunology, and the Centre for Excellence in Viral Hepatitis Research).  An interim leadership team has been established with Dr. D. Evans as school lead, Dr. M. Barry as research lead, and F. Bamforth as education lead. Drs. R. Lai and J. Gnarpe have kindly agreed to serve as associate research and education leads, respectively.  The short time frames have precluded getting together to discuss arrangements with his new School colleagues, but Dr. Evans is hoping to set up such activities in the new year.

Foley Lab Publication

Foley Publication

Check out a new paper publication from David Bond and Dr. Edan Foley entitled: A Quantitative RNAi Screen for JNK Modifiers Identifies Pvr as a Novel Regulator of Drosophila Immune Signaling.
Citation: Bond D, Foley E. PLoS Pathog. 2009 Nov;5(11)

Logan Banadyga attends Science Communications Programme at Banff Centre


In August 2009, Logan Banadyga took an unconventional break from bench work in the Barry Lab to participate in the Banff Centre's Science Communications programme. Chaired by Jay Ingram, this intensive two week programme raced Logan through the theoretical and practical intricacies of communicating science to the lay public, including writing under deadline, developing a website, interviewing oil company executives, podcasting, practising on-camera 'skills,' and much, much, much more. The two weeks culminated in the presentation of group projects, all based around the idea of communicating science to the public in the most effective way possible. To check out some of Logan's group's hard work, take a look at this video designed to get people interested in their own DNA!

Sarah Miyata Wins Teaching Award


Sarah Miyata, PhD student in Dr. Stefan Pukatzki's laboratory, completed her University Teaching Program and was presented with a certificate on Sept 18, 2009. Good going (and teaching) Sarah!

Discover E Campers Learn About Viruses

Dr. Evans had a lot of fun this summer showing participants in a Discover E Engineering and Science camp how to grow a virus. The campers plated bacteriophage T4 on E. coli and next day saw nice clear plaques. Thanks go to councillors Siao Chin and Katherine Evans for the invitation, to MMI staff for media and supplies, and to Dr. Linda Reha-Krantz for the stock of bacteriophage.




MMI and AIVI Receive Funding for Labs and Offices

KatzBlgNew funding will permit the completion of MMI and AIVI labs and office spaces. On July 23, 2009, federal and provincial ministers visited the University of Alberta to make a formal presentation of funding under the Knowledge Infrastructure program. Representing MMI, AIVI and the Centre of Excellence in Viral Hepatitis at these ceremonies were Drs. D. Evans and L. Tyrrell. These monies will permit the completion of nearly all of the remaining laboratories and offices in the HRIF (Katz-Rexall) building.

For further details: see ExpressNews

Thesis defense

Congratulations to Wendy Magee who defended her PhD thesis on July 31, 2009! Her thesis defense seminar title was "The mechanism of action of cidofovir and (S)-HPMPA against viral polymerases". Wendy was a student in the Evans lab.

Smiley Lab Publication

Smiley publicationCheck out a new paper from the Smiley Lab in the Journal of Virology (17 June 2009) entitled: "Cell fusion-induced activation of interferon-stimulated genes is not required for restriction of a herpes simplex virus VP16/ICP0 mutant in heterokarya formed between permissive and restrictive cells"


MMI Grad Students Participate in FGSR Outreach Program

FGSR Outreach Program offers graduate students in the arts, sciences, and professional programs an opportunity to share their knowledge, experiences, and expertise with the community.

We’d like to acknowledge the participation of the following students during the 2008-2009 academic year: Carla Craveiro, Elisabeth Davis, Nancy Hu, Wayne Juang, Sarah Miyata, Julia Parkman, Kelly Watmough and Kim Zimmerman.

For more information on the FGSR Outreach Program or to get involved please refer to their website:


New Arrival!

Naiya Mariel Garcia-Fagan

Congratulations to two of our grad students, Katie Fagan and Carlos Garcia-Batres who are the proud parents to Naiya Mariel Garcia-Fagan! Naiya was born on June 14, 2009 at 9:59 pm at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Edmonton weighing in at 6 pounds, 13 oz.

Tyrrell Lab Publication

Mike Joyce et al. publication

Check out a new paper entitled "HCV Induces Oxidative and ER Stress, and Sensitizes Infected Cells to Apoptosis in SCID/Alb-uPA Mice" from the Tyrrell Lab in the PLoS Pathogens journal published by the Public Library of Science.



Convocation June 2009 - MMI Salutes our Graduates!

MMI has a lot to celebrate this year:

Congratulations to Greg Workun and Evan Wilson on receiving their MSc degrees.

Congratulations to Gunilla Eineke, Brian Ma, Jay Varghese, Brianne Couturier and Marc Couturier on receiving their PhD degrees.


Dr. Brianne Couturier, Xavier Donald Couturier, Dr. Marc Couturier, Dr. Kevin Kane, Dr. Judy Gnarpe, Dr. Brian Ma and Dr. Jay Varghese at this year's Convocation ceremonies.

Thesis defense

Congratulations to Jinshu He who defended her PhD thesis on June 3, 2009. Her thesis defense seminar title was "Regulation of FasL Expression and Trafficking in Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes". Jinshu was a student in the Ostergaard lab.

Dr. Gnarpe wins award for Excellence in Teaching

Dr. Judy Gnarpe

Dr. Judy Gnarpe was awarded one of the two William Hardy Alexander Awards for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching at the University of Alberta. Congratulations, Judy!



Science, the Next Generation:


Former MMI grad students Marc and Brianne Couturier hold their son Xavier Donald, who was born on April 30 weighing 8 pounds, 11 oz. Quite clearly, everyone is doing blissfully well!

Thesis defense

Congratulations to Brianne Couturier who defended her PhD thesis on April 7, 2009. Her thesis defense seminar title was "Poxviruses versus Ubiquitin: A family of viral BTB/kelch proteins exploit cellular ubiquitin ligases". Brianne was a student in the Barry lab.

Sixth Annual Tyrrell Lectureship

Tyrrell Lectureship

The Sixth Annual Tyrrell Lectureship took place on Wednesday, April 8th, 2009. This year's speaker was Dr. Michael Gale, Jr. (Associate Professor, Microbiology, Affiliate Investigator, Clinical Research Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Centre). The title of Dr. Gale's talk was: "Viral triggering and control of innate immunity during hepatitis C virus infection”. His seminar was followed by a wine and cheese reception in the Katz Atrium. Dr. Gale is shown here with Dr. Lorne Tyrrell, for whom the Tyrrell lectureship is named.

Deanna Hockley Receives Graduate Teaching Award


Congratulations to Deanna Hockley (Kane Lab) on being the recipient of a University Teaching Services Graduate Student Award.

These awards, administered by University Teaching Services, are given annually to selected outstanding graduate students to recognize the important contributions they make to teaching and learning at the University of Alberta.

Good Work Deanna!




Andy Kokaji Receives "Med Star" Award

Andy KokajiAndy Kokaji, previously a graduate student in Kevin Kane's lab, has won the December 2008 Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry and Alberta Health Services "Med Star" Graduate Student Award for his paper: "IL-15 Transpresentation Augments CD8 T Cell Activation and Is Required for Optimal Recall Responses by Central Memory CD8 T Cells1". This was published in the April 2008 issue of Journal of Immunology. Andy defended his PhD thesis July 11, 2008 and is currently working as a scientist at Stemcell Technologies in Vancouver, B.C.

FinianYet another baby!

Dr. Lorna Friis and Ian Sankey celebrated the birth of their son Finian Friis Sankey. Fin entered the world on February 22nd with a weight of 5 pounds. 12 oz.







Another MMI baby!

Dr. Troy Baldwin and his wife Nicole are pleased to announce the arrival of Anna Marie Baldwin. Anna Marie was born on January 30 weighing 8 pounds. 13 oz. and is a sister for Avery.



Life outside of the lab:


Dr. Kevin Kane and his dog Maarten conduct an area search at a training ground in Devon. Maarten is a Belgian Shepherd Groenendael. He and Dr. Kane are part of the Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Association (CASDDA), a volunteer organization which was formed to train dogs and handlers for the Search and Rescue of survivors trapped in wilderness or disaster areas. For more information, go to


New Arrival!

Grad student Li Fu, husband Zhanpeng and son Ricky are happy to announce the arrival of Jesse Zhang, born Jan 11, 2009. Jesse weighed 7lbs and measured 20.5 inches. Li is in the Burshtyn lab.


Thesis defense

Congratulations to Evan Wilson who defended his MSc thesis on January 7, 2009. His thesis defense seminar title was "Vaccinia virus induced down regulation of mOcil/Clr-b". Evan is a student in the Burshtyn lab.

For past news check the archives in the navigation menu.

For questions or comments about new items please contact Debbie Doudiet