Bringing our vision to life – pushing the boundaries of discovery

Jefferson C. Frisbee, PhD
Professor, Chair, Medical Biophysics

Dr. Frisbee joined Schulich Medicine & Dentistry in the summer of 2016, becoming the Chair of Canada’s first Department of Medical Biophysics. He is leading an internationally renowned team of research pioneers in the development and application of advanced techniques to study fundamental physiological processes. These range from the regulation of the microcirculation to the effects of the most prominent diseases of our time including neurological disorders, cardiac disease, musculoskeletal disease, pulmonary disease and cancer.

After receiving his PhD at the University of Guelph, Dr. Frisbee spent several years in the United States where he completed a postdoctoral fellowship. He served as a professor at the West Virginia School of Medicine, Director for the Western Virginia CCRS, as well as a member of the Western Virginia Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. His research is focused on cardiovascular disease risk factors and chronic stress, depression and cardiovascular disease.

Stephanie Frisbee, PhD
Assistant Professor, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Dr. Frisbee’s research program focuses on the factors affecting cardiovascular health in entire communities or populations. Her lab evaluates impact factors such as community resources, health care resources, how communities are structured, environmental factors, and exposures and policies that affect the communities in which people live. More broadly, her work is looking at community and individual characteristics, risk factors and resources; environmental pollutant exposure; public policy and how these policies affect cardiovascular health.

Yong Gao, PhD
Assistant Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Gao believes that there is a major obstacle for the development of an effective and protective vaccine in the genetic diversity of HIV-1 regionally and globally. He is focusing on developing multiple-valent anti-HIV vaccines by utilizing HIV-1 envelop recombinants, as well as parental HIV-1 strains. He is also working on vector design, immunizations, optimization, general novel SHIVenv viruses, and screening for badly neutralizing anti-HIV antibodies. Their research also involves HIV diversity, recombination and drug resistance.

Ilka Heinemann, PhD
Assistant Professor, Biochemistry

Dr. Heinemann and members of her lab are focused on upstream steps in gene regulation. They are interested in the cellular and molecular mechanisms that control the fate of ribonucleic acid (RNA) and the role of a family of RNA polymerase enzymes in the process.

Wataru Inoue, PhD
Assistant Professor, Physiology and Pharmacology; Scientist, Robarts Research Institute

Dr. Inoue studies the effect of chronic stress on the brain and the biological basis for depression. With his team, he is using a multidisciplinary approach including patch clamp electrophysiology, optogenetics, biochemical and histological analysis and behavioural and physiological manipulations to better understand the mechanisms behind how stress changes the brain and consequently behaviour.

Murray Junop, PhD
Associate Professor, Biochemistry

Dr. Junop’s research involves trying to understand how cells overcome the constant threat of DNA damage that helps to prevent disease-causing mutations associated with neurological disorders and cancer. His primary research focuses on using X-ray crystallography to determine macromolecular structures crucial for the repair of various types of DNA damage.

By understanding the structure of DNA repair proteins, insight into their function and molecular mechanisms can be gained, and necessary information can be gathered for developing new anticancer therapies. Dr. Junop is passionate about his work, because of the complex mech- anisms involved in repairing DNA damage.

Ava John-Baptiste, PhD
Assistant Professor, Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Anesthesia & Perioperative Medicine, Schulich Interfaculty Program in Public Health; Health Economist, Centre for Medical Evidence, Decision Integrity and Clinical Impact (MEDICI)

Dr. John-Baptiste’s first love is math. Now as a health economist she’s using mathematical models to evaluate different options for health care. She conducts research on the safety, effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a wide range of health technologies, including drugs, devices and health care programs, and her research supports health policy decision-making at London’s hospitals and beyond.

She was attracted to the opportunity to join the Schulich Medicine & Dentistry team because of MEDICI, which is a hospital-based health technology assessment unit that supports evidence-based decision-making in the hospitals. At MEDICI, they answer policy-relevant questions and use these questions as a starting point for conducting methodological research.

As a teaching faculty member within the Master of Public Health Program, Dr. John-Baptiste can explore, with her students, the use of health economics to support public health decision-making.

Les Kalman, DDS
Assistant Professor, Schulich Dentistry

Dr. Kalman received his Doctor of Dental Surgery in 1999 from Schulich Medicine & Dentistry. He is a caring, conscientious and generous educator who enthusiastically promotes research and education at every opportunity. Dr. Kalman’s research focus is on new technologies that support easy, efficient and economical ways to assist with the diagnosis and treatment planning of all dental cases including the Facebow application for smart devices. He is the faculty lead for the Dental Outreach Community Service, which provides free dental care to low-income families who have no dental coverage, while enhancing the education experience of students.

Steven Kerfoot, PhD
Associate Professor, Microbiology and Immunology

Dr. Kerfoot’s lab is looking at the role that B cells (B cells are best known as the cells that make antibodies, but scientists have learned that they also have other important roles in directing and controlling immune responses) play in initiating and maintaining the chronic immune response that is responsible for the damage to the central nervous system seen in multiple sclerosis. In order to push forward with these studies, his lab’s initial task was creating a new model of the disease that would better incorporate the B cell response and better replicate the human disease.

Dr. Kerfoot believes that they have been able to come up with a model that is much more complex and appropriate for trying to understand how the immune system drives an inflammatory response in the central nervous system and it has become a platform for everything else that they are doing. The new model is already providing clues about how the B cells accumulate in the central nervous system.

Ali Khan, PhD
Assistant Professor, Medical Biophysics; Scientist, Robarts Research Institute

Dr. Khan’s lab is developing and applying sophisticated image processing and analysis techniques to extract, quantify and distill information from medical images, ultimately leading to more accurate diagnoses and more precise surgical inter-ventions. His multidisciplinary research spans across several domains, and has applications in epilepsy, cancer, cardio-vascular disease, and neuroscience. His lab is focused on answering questions such as: Can ultra-high field 7T MRI help to better understand the structure and function of the hippocampus? — a key question in research related epilepsy and Alzheimer’s disease, and Can we use advanced quantitative and diffusion MRI technologies to improve surgical treatment of neurological disorders?

Marlys L. Koschinsky, PhD
Scientific and Executive Director, Robarts Research Institute; Professor, Physiology and Pharmacology

Dr. Koschinsky began her role as the Scientific and Executive Director of Robarts Research Institute in the fall of 2015. Prior to coming to Schulich Medicine & Dentistry, she spent 17 years at Queen’s University, serving as the Director of the Cardiac, Circulatory & Respiratory Research Program and Acting Head of the Department of Physiology, and seven years as Dean of the Faculty of Science at the University of Windsor.

Dr. Koschinsky’s research is in the areas of atherosclerosis and thrombosis, focusing on the understanding of mechanisms of risk factors for cardiovascular disease. She is an internationally recognized expert in the study of lipoprotein(a) — a genetic risk factor for cardiovascular disease — and is a well-respected opinion leader in the area of lipoproteins and cardiovascular disease.