Department of Immunology News
August/September 2015 Edition

(photos courtesy of Xun Wu and Vasudeva Bhat)

Goodbye Summer. Hello Fall!

As Mother Nature paints the leaves with autumn colour, a new academic year begins, bringing new names and faces to our ever-growing and changing Department. Join us in welcoming our new members.  They are:

Students: Sheena Manghera, Ph.D. Program Supervisor: Dr. Renée Douville and Dr. Yvonne Myal, co-supervisor

Bryce Warner,
Ph.D. Program – Supervisor: Dr. Gary Kobinger 

Anthony Altieri, M.Sc. Program – Supervisor: Dr. Neeloffer Mookherjee
Technicians: Paul Lopez  arrived during the summer and is working with Thomas Murooka

Kimia Sheikholeslami worked in Aaron Marshall's lab this past summer as a student volunteer and is staying on for the next 6 months as a casual technician.
Post Docs: Wan Koh will be arriving on October 1st. She will join Paul Lopez in Thomas Murooka's lab.

Ying Peng, who is no stranger to members of the Xi Yang lab, is once again working with them.
Visiting Students: Ruoxin Wang and Sai Qiao are students of Tianjin Medical University in China. Ruoxin will be here for 18 months and Sai will be here for 24 months, working with Xi Yang.
Caretakers: Sylwester Zlotucha is our new caretaker, replacing Joe Lécuyer.  You will see him working side by side with Emilia Berezanski, who is temporarily filling the shoes of Melody Carlson until her return in a few weeks.
Volunteer: Liumei Lui was a student research assistant with us last year and graduated with a B.Sc. since then.   She joined Jude Uzonna's lab as a volunteer earlier this summer and will be here until February.

Fascinating Fact - Did you know.....

that scientists love data, and that the most engrossing kind is data about ourselves?  

As of September 29, 2015 we now number 84 souls:

4 Professors
2 Associate Professors
3 Assistant Professors
20 Cross-Appointed Professors
1 Senior Scholar
1 Professor Emeritus
5 Research Associates
6 Post Doctoral Fellows
9 Technicians
1 Volunteer
18 Ph.D. Graduate Students
10 M.Sc. Graduate Student
2 Administrative Staff
2 Custodial Staff


And The Awards Go To....

Neeloffer Mookherjee In true beginning-of-the-academic year tradition, the Department handed out awards on September 28th to recognize our students' achievements of the last academic year and to applaud the teaching skills of Dr. Neeloffer Mookherjee, the 2014/15 winner of the  Department of Immunology Graduate Students Teaching Award.  This award is given annually to a professor who consistently demonstrates excellence in all aspects of teaching at the graduate level. Bravo Neeloffer!  You did it again!  

L-R:  Vasudeva Bhat, Dr. Neeloffer Mookherjee

Student winners are:

Ka-Yee Grace Choi, Ph.D. Program - Best Journal Club Presentation, 2014/15

L-R:  Dr. Xi Yang, Grace Choi
Grace Choi

Forough Khadem, Ph.D. program
- Department of Immunology and Ade & Company - Award for Excellence in Graduate Research Seminars 2014/15  (Presented in absentia)
Nour Eissa, Rony Thomas, and Emelissa Mendoza (M.Sc. program students) - The  Graduate Entrance Scholarship 2014/15.  These students received their awards several months ago but hadn't received certificates until this year's celebration. 

Dr. Xi Yang with:

Nour Eisaa

Nour Eissa

Rony Thomas

Rony Thomas

Emelissa Mendoza

Emelissa Mendoza

NOTES:  Winners for the 2015/16 Entrance Scholarship have been chosen and will be announced after the Department's decision has been approved by the Financial Aid and Awards Office.  Stay tuned. The Department of Immunology Graduate Student Academic Award was not given this year.  One of the criteria is that the awardee must have achieved the highest cumulative grade in the core course IMMU7020 - Immunobiology (6 credit hours) and one other Immunology course (3 credit hours).  Since IMMU7030 - Immunobiology was not offered in 2014/15, the award was not given out.

And the Accolades Just Keep Coming!

Research funding makes the scientific world go around.  In our current economic climate, it is getting harder to come by.   Perseverence and excellent proposals have paid off for our researchers.   Congratulations to our faculty, Post Doctoral Fellow and students on their latest successes in grant and travel award competitions.  

Dr. Jean-Eric GhiaResearch Manitoba Partnership Program Grant (CIHR) - $65,000 for one year. 
Project: Anatomy, physiology and pathophysiology of electrically coupled enteric neurons in the intestinal system.

Dr. Jean-Eric GhiaCIHR operating grant from the INMD Start-Funds (Clinician and New Investigators) competition - $100,000 for one year.
Project: Semaphorin 3E and Gut Inflammation

Dr. Jean-Eric Ghia (Drs. Abdelilah Soussi Gounni & Charles Bernstein, co-applicants)Crohn’s and Colitis Canada - $375,000 over 3 years.
Project: How Semaphorin 3E regulates relapse of quiescent experimental colitis.

Dr. Thomas Murooka - Research Manitoba New Investigator Operating Grant - $225,000 over 3 years
Project: Dynamic in vivo imaging of DC:T cell interactions and their role in HIV spread

Dr. Thomas Murooka - GSK-CIHR Partnered Chair Program - $67,000 per year over 5 years.
Project: Dynamics of cell-to-cell mediated HIV-1 spread in the lymph node

Dr. Thomas Murooka - CanCURE Pilot Project Grant - $25,000 for one year
Project: Cellular mechanisms of HIV-1 transmission through macrophage:T cell interactions

Dr. Afshin Raouf - Richard Hoeschen Memorial Award from the Manitoba Medical Services Foundation and St. Boniface Hospital Research for his contribution to the B.Sc. (Med.) program.

Dr. Aaron Marshall Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada  - $160,000 over 2 years
Project:  Control of malignant B cell migration by PI 3-kinases.

Qingdong GuanDr. Qingdong Guan (Post Doctoral Fellow working with Dr. Donna Wall) – The  Mindel and Tom Olenick Research Award in Immunology: (Health Sciences Centre Foundation) - $10,500
Project:  The functions of MSC from multiple sclerosis patients and effects of MSC infusion on the adaptive immune cells in multiple sclerosis

L-R:  Dr. Xi Yang and Dr. Qingdong Guan

Vasudeva Bhat, Ph.D. Program - The Breast Cancer Society of Canada Hope Scholarship for breast cancer research - $20,750 plus $1,000 for travel expenses

Sheena Manghera, Ph.D. Program - The Breast Cancer Society of Canada Hope Scholarship for breast cancer research - $20,750 plus $1,000 for travel expenses

Nour Eissa, Ph.D. Program – Faculty of Graduate Studies Travel Award - $1,000

Emeka Okeke, Ph.D. Program – Faculty of Graduate Studies Travel Award - $750


Dr. Ghia Has Left The Building....

Jean-Eric Ghia on Radio-Canadabut he'll be back. Jean-Eric did his first radio broadcast on September 22nd for the CBC French radio network. He is taking part in a new initiative to promote and explain Manitoban and Canadian biomedical research news to the public. He will appear on 88.1 FM (Ici Radio-Canada Première) every second Tuesday at 7:45 a.m., on the morning show Le 6-9. He shares this program with Professor Fernand Saurette of the Université de Saint-Boniface who will talk about the natural sciences. His first topic was entitled Des éprouvettes et des hommes (Of Test Tubes and Man). Check it out on 88.1 FM

Previous Immunology News postings:

June/July 2015