Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry logo Department of Biochemistry Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry

Faculty Research

banner showing research areas of Biochemistry faculty

Our scientists perform high-quality, collaborative research to advance scientific discoveries in cancer biology, vascular biology, neurobiology, stem cells, maternal and fetal health, aging, infection, and development. Our outstanding research environment serves as an excellent training milieu for undergraduate and graduate students, as well as post-doctoral researchers.

See below to explore our research by i) Research Areas or ii) Alphabetical List of Faculty and Their Research.

i) Research Areas

Genome Dynamics, Epigenetics, and Gene Expression

DNA Replication and Repair; Transcription; Mobile DNA

This group focuses on understanding the underlying cellular mechanisms that regulate chromosome structure and function, as well as gene expression, in normal and diseased states. Techniques used include bioinformatics, proteomics, genomics, molecular biology, structural biology, epigenetics, and genetics of model organisms.

Note:
 Asterisks (*) indicate faculty researchers who can accept graduate students.

Faculty Researcher Research Area
 Eric Ball Cytoskeletal proteins
* Nathalie Berube ATRX protein
* Christopher Brandl Transcriptional regulation in eukaryotic cells
* Fred Dick Retinoblastoma protein (pRB)
* Gabriel DiMattia Growth factor signalling in ovarian cancer
* David Edgell Mobile genetic elements
* Gregory Gloor Protein coevolution
* Victor Han Fetal, placental, newborn growth/development
* David Haniford DNA transposition
* Ilka Heinemann RNA turnover and polymerases
* Murray Junop DNA repair
* Bogumil Karas Synthetic biology, designer microbes, DNA replacement strategies
* Hong Ling DNA damage response and regulation
Susan Meakin Receptor tyrosine kinases in the nervous system
* Geoffrey Pickering Smooth muscle cells in vascular disease
David Rodenhiser Epigenetic control in tumourigenesis/development
* Peter Rogan Inherited genetic diseases and cancer
* Caroline Schild-Poulter Cellular response to DNA damage
* Joseph Torchia

Eukaryotic gene regulation in oncogenesis

Human Genetics and Clinical Biochemistry

Disease-Based Research; Clinical Studies

Scientists in the Human Genetics and Clinical Biochemistry group perform basic research of the molecular causes behind specific human diseases and/or clinical studies involving specific human diseases. This research integrates state-of-the-art molecular technologies and bioinformatics with clinical work, so that basic research discoveries can be translated into effective treatments and cures for patients.

Note: Asterisks (*) indicate faculty researchers who can accept graduate students.

Faculty Researcher Research Area
Peter Ainsworth Neurofibromatosis type I
* Nathalie Berube ATRX protein
Vipin Bhayana Cardiac biomarkers for heart attack detection
* Fred Dick Retinoblastoma protein (pRB)
* Gabriel DiMattia Growth factor signalling in ovarian cancer
* Madhulika Gupta Perinatal diseases
* Victor Han Fetal, placental, newborn growth/development
* Robert Hegele Genetic basis of specific human diseases
* Murray Huff Lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis
Susan Meakin Receptor tyrosine kinases in the nervous system
* David O'Gorman Wound healing and Dupuytren's contracture
* Geoffrey Pickering Smooth muscle cells in vascular disease
Jack Rip Diagnostics of metabolic diseases; glycoproteins
David Rodenhiser Epigenetic control in tumourigenesis/development
* Peter Rogan Inherited genetic diseases and cancer
* Anthony Rupar Therapies for metachromatic leukodystrophy
* Caroline Schild-Poulter Cellular response to DNA damage
* Walter Siqueira Salivary components and biomarkers
Victoria Siu Metabolic and genetic disorders
Norman Smith Therapeutic drug detection, toxicology
* Joseph Torchia Eukaryotic gene regulation in oncogenesis
* Eva Turley Signalling paths of cell motility and tumour invasion
Liju Yang Trace element analyses of clinical specimens, clinical evaluation of kidney biomarkers and assays

Signal Transduction and Intracellular Communication

Signalling Pathways

Researchers in the field of Signal Transduction and Intracellular Communication investigate the mechanisms and role of cellular signalling pathways in the regulation of fundamental biological processes. These events include cell proliferation, cell survival, differentiation, and development. This research exploits such techniques as bioinformatics, genomics, proteomics, cellular and molecular biology, structural biology, and transgenic and knockout technologies.

Note: Asterisks (*) indicate faculty researchers who can accept graduate students.

Faculty Researcher Research Area
Eric Ball Cytoskeletal proteins
* Fred Dick Retinoblastoma protein (pRB)
* Harvey Goldberg Bone proteins
* Murray Huff Lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis
* Marlys Koschinsky   Lipoprotein(a) structure and regulation
* Shawn Li Structure, function, connectivity of cellular proteins
* Hong Ling DNA damage response and regulation
* David Litchfield Signalling events in cell proliferation and survival
Susan Meakin Receptor tyrosine kinases in the nervous system
* Patrick O'Donoghue Synthesis of proteins containing atypical amino acids
* David O'Gorman Wound healing and Dupuytren's contracture
* Geoffrey Pickering Smooth muscle cells in vascular disease
* Gary Shaw Calcium signalling proteins; protein degradation
* Eva Turley Signalling paths of cell motility and tumour invasion

Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics

Protein Biochemistry; Structural Biology

Members of the Macromolecular Structure and Dynamics Group study the role that specific proteins and protein systems play in certain diseases, with a focus on understanding protein function at the atomic and molecular levels. This group frequently uses biophysical techniques and conventional molecular biology to determine the 3-D structure, dynamics, and interactions of biomolecules. Methods include NMR spectroscopy, crystallography, proteomics, and mass spectrometry.

Note: Asterisks (*) indicate faculty researchers who can accept graduate students.

Faculty Researcher Research Area
Eric Ball Cytoskeletal proteins
* Michael Boffa  Proteolysis in fibrinolysis and cancer
* James Choy Intrinsically disordered proteins
* Stanley Dunn ATP synthase
* Christopher Garnham Management of agricultural crop pests
* Harvey Goldberg Bone proteins
* Robert Hudson Bioorganic chemistry of nucleic acids and peptides
* Murray Junop DNA repair
* Lars Konermann Protein folding, dynamics, function; biocomputing
* Marlys Koschinsky   Lipoprotein(a) structure and regulation
* Gilles Lajoie Mass spectrometry/proteomics: biomolecules
* Shawn Li Structure, function, connectivity of cellular proteins
* Hong Ling DNA damage response and regulation
* David Litchfield Signalling events in cell proliferation and survival
* Patrick O'Donoghue Synthesis of proteins containing atypical amino acids
* David O'Gorman Wound healing and Dupuytren's contracture
* Gary Shaw Calcium signalling proteins; protein degradation
* Brian Shilton Enzyme structure, mechanism, and biological function
* Walter Siqueira Salivary components and biomarkers
* Ken Yeung Microscale protein analysis

Proteomics

Biomolecular Characterization; Disease-Based Research

This group uses proteomic techniques to understand normal cellular processes and alterations in these processes in diseases such as cancer, fetal disorders, and oral diseases. Through biomolecular identification and characterization, this group aims to develop prognostics, diagnostics, and therapeutics for these diseases.

Note: Asterisks (*) indicate faculty researchers who can accept graduate students.

Faculty Researcher Research Area
* Madhulika Gupta Perinatal diseases
* Victor Han Fetal, placental, newborn growth/development
* Lars Konermann Protein folding, dynamics, function; biocomputing
* Gilles Lajoie Mass spectrometry/proteomics: biomolecules
* Shawn Li Structure, function, connectivity of cellular proteins
* David Litchfield Signalling events in cell proliferation and survival
* Walter Siqueira Salivary components and biomarkers
* Ken Yeung Microscale protein analysis

Bioinformatics

Disease Prediction; Protein Coevolution; Biocomputing

This group applies bioinformatic approaches to further understanding of biological processes. In addition to computational and information technologies, this group uses genomics, molecular biology, and high-throughput sequencing.

Note: Asterisks (*) indicate faculty researchers who can accept graduate students.

Faculty Researcher Research Area
* James Choy Intrinsically disordered proteins
* Stanley Dunn ATP synthase
* David Edgell Mobile genetic elements
* Gregory Gloor Protein coevolution
* Bogumil Karas Synthetic biology, designer microbes, DNA replacement strategies
Lila Kari Biocomputing and bioinformatics
* Gilles Lajoie Mass spectrometry/proteomics: biomolecules
* Shawn Li Structure, function, connectivity of cellular proteins
* Patrick O'Donoghue Synthesis of proteins containing atypical amino acids
* Peter Rogan Inherited genetic diseases and cancer

ii) Alphabetical List of Faculty and Their Research

Note: Asterisks (*) indicate faculty researchers who can accept graduate students.

Peter Ainsworth
   - neurofibromatosis type I
Eric Ball
   - cytoskeletal proteins
Nathalie Berube *
   - ATRX protein
Vipin Bhayana
   - cardiac biomarkers for heart attack detection
Michael Boffa *
   - proteolysis in fibrinolysis and cancer
Christopher Brandl *
   - transcriptional regulation in eukaryotic cells
James Choy *
   - intrinsically disordered proteins
Fred Dick *
  - retinoblastoma protein (pRB)
Gabriel DiMattia *
   - growth factor signalling in ovarian cancer
Stanley Dunn *
   - ATP synthase
David Edgell *
   - mobile genetic elements
Christopher Garnham *
   - management of agricultural crop pests
Gregory Gloor *
   - protein coevolution
Harvey Goldberg *
   - bone proteins
Madhulika Gupta *
   - perinatal diseases
Victor Han *
   - fetal, placental, newborn growth/development
David Haniford *
   - DNA transposition
Robert Hegele *
   - genetic basis of specific human diseases
Ilka Heinemann *
   - RNA turnover and polymerases
Robert Hudson *
   - bioorganic chemistry of nucleic acids & peptides
Murray Huff *
   - lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis
Murray Junop *
   - DNA repair
Bogumil Karas *
   - synthetic biology, designer microbes, DNA replacement strategies
Lila Kari
   - biocomputing and bioinformatics

Marlys Koschinsky *
   - Lipoprotein(a) structure and regulation
Lars Konermann *
   - protein folding, dynamics, function; biocomputing
Gilles Lajoie *
   - mass spectrometry/proteomics: biomolecules
Shawn Li *
   - structure, function, connectivity of cellular proteins
Hong Ling *
   - DNA damage response and regulation 
David Litchfield *
   - signalling events in cell proliferation and survival
Susan Meakin
   - receptor tyrosine kinases in the nervous system
Patrick O'Donoghue *
   - synthesis of proteins with atypical amino acids
David O'Gorman *
   - wound healing and Dupuytren's contracture
Gregory Penner 
   - aptamer identification and development
Geoffrey Pickering *
   - smooth muscle cells in vascular disease 
Jack Rip
   - diagnostics of metabolic diseases; glycoproteins
David Rodenhiser
   - epigenetic control in tumourigenesis/development
Peter Rogan *
   - inherited genetic diseases and cancer
Anthony Rupar *
   - therapies for metachromatic leukodystrophy
Caroline Schild-Poulter *
   - cellular response to DNA damage
Gary Shaw *
   - calcium signalling proteins; protein degradation
Brian Shilton *
   - enzyme structure, mechanism, biological function 
Walter Siqueira *
   - salivary components and biomarkers
Victoria Siu
   - metabolic and genetic disorders
Norman Smith
   - therapeutic drug detection, toxicology
Joseph Torchia *
   - eukaryotic gene regulation in oncogenesis
Eva Turley *
   - signalling paths of cell motility and tumour invasion
Liju Yang
    - trace element analyses of clinical specimens
    - clinical evaluation of kidney biomarkers
Ken Yeung *
   - microscale protein analysis