Immune Cell Biology and Biotechnology

Our Faculty and research trainees are applying cutting-edge technologies such as live cell fluorescence imaging and tracking, single cell transcriptomics, custom microfluidic devices and proteomics to discover new molecular and cellular mechanisms controlling the function of our immune system. Researchers are shedding light on how different immune cell types are called into action or shut down at the appropriate time and place within the body, to ensure that immune responses protect us without damaging the body.


  Cell fate decisions – the choice to live or die, to become different cell types with unique functions — are essential to our understanding of health and disease. Different types of T cells are critical for the body’s defense machinery against infection and play a role in immune dysregulation which can lead to chronic inflammatory conditions. My lab studies CD8 T cell fate diversity during immunity at the single-cell level. We are interested in how T cells become different functional regulators of the immune response to viral infections, as well as in chronic inflammation (e.g. autoimmunity, cancer), and vaccination.
ARSENIO, Janilyn (PhD)
Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Systems Biology of Chronic Inflammation
Assistant Professor in Internal Medicine; cross-appointed in Immunology
Vice-Chair, Women in Science: Development, Outreach, and Mentoring (WISDOM) in Manitoba

Office Phone: (204) 789-3609
Email: Janilyn.Arsenio@umanitoba.ca    
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  Our group is working on neuro-immune and—endocrine mechanisms that contribute to the development of inflammatory bowel diseases. Our research program aims to elucidate the role of chromogranin-derived peptides, the autonomic nervous system, and central disorders during the development of gastrointestinal inflammation and to elucidate the precise mechanisms involved. This may lead to the identification of new specific agents that will open new therapeutic avenues for treating ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
GHIA, Jean-Eric (MSc, PhD, IUD, AGAF)
Associate Professor
Co Appointee, Internal Medicine section of Gastroenterology
Director, Gastrointestinal Basic Biology Research, IBD Clinical Research Centre

Office Phone: (204) 789-3802
Email: Jean-Eric.Ghia@umanitoba.ca    
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KUNG, Sam (B.Sc, M.Phil, PhD)
Professor
Director, Core Platform of shRNA libraries and lentiviral vector production

Office Phone: (204) 480-1301
Email: Sam.Kung@umanitoba.ca 
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Lentiviral Web Page

Natural Killer (NK) cells are bone marrow derived cells that constitute 10-15% of blood lymphocytes. They are critical in regulating anti-viral and tumor immunity.  NK-cell functions and migration are tightly regulated.  They can be activated by receptor recognition of target cells, cytokines or dendritic cells (DC).  Upon activation, NK cells will exert their effector functions (such as cytotoxic activity and/or production of signature cytokines) directly and/or indirectly via “crosstalks” of other immune cell types.  The Kung laboratory uses cellular approaches (tissue cultures, mouse models and human cohorts of breast and head-and-neck cancers), molecular approaches (transgenic, gene silencing, Crispr) and novel platforms (lentiviral vectors gene therapy, microfluidics) to study factors that (i) regulate natural killer cell differentiation and functions, (ii) natural killer cell-dendritic cell crosstalk; (iii) NK-cell migrations.  This research will support development of novel NK-cell based immunotherapy of cancers.

My group at the University of Manitoba applies lab-on-chip and organ-on-chip tools in combination with biophysics, cell biology and immunology approaches to study cell migration and trafficking in various physiological and pathological systems. In parallel, we develop microfluidics-based methods for point-of-care diagnosis applications with the current focus on respiratory and renal related diseases.

LIN, Francis (PhD)
Associate Professor - Cross Appointee

Office Phone: (204) 474-9895
Email: Francis.Lin@umanitoba.ca 
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MARSHALL, Aaron (PhD)
Professor, Department of Immunology
Head, Department of Immunology
Director, Flow Cytometry Core Platform

Office Phone: (204) 272-3082
Email: Aaron.Marshall@umanitoba.ca 
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Our group is working to decode the intracellular signals that control the activities of immune cells during both healthy immune responses and in various disease states. Specifically, we focus on phosphoinositide (PI) kinases and phosphatases: enzymes that modify certain lipids in the plasma membrane to generate docking sites for intracellular signaling proteins.  Our goal is to functionally map PI signaling pathways in key immune cells such as B lymphocytes by defining the roles of various PI modifying enzymes and PI-binding proteins in regulating cell proliferation, migration and generation of immune effector functions.  By understanding the behaviour and regulation of B lymphocytes at the molecular level, the research will lead to improved understanding of disorders of the immune system such as autoimmune diseases, allergic diseases and chronic leukemia.

MOOKHERJEE, Neeloffer (PhD) 
Associate Professor
Internal Medicine & Immunology

The vision of my research program is to advance fundamental knowledge of how inflammation is enhanced or controlled in chronic disease, with focus on asthma and arthritis. We study immunity-related functions of molecules known as host defence (antimicrobial) peptides. We also examine aspects of how air pollution impacts the lungs. We are currently integrating impact of biological sex in the process of inflammation and response to therapy in asthma. My drug discovery projects aim to develop small peptide-based therapies for difficult to treat steroid-unresponsive asthma. My lab is an inclusive environment, committed to Equity, Diversity and Inclusion. I ensure that everyone is given opportunities to excel in scholarly activities. For more information see mookherjeelab.com

CIHR Sex and Gender Science Chair; Circulatory & Respiratory Health.
Chair WISDOM (Women In Science: Development, Outreach & Mentoring), RFHS

Office Phone: (204) 272-3115
Email: Neeloffer.Mookherjee@umanitoba.ca   
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MUROOKA, Thomas (PhD)
Assistant Professor
Departments of Immunology and Medical Microbiology

Office Phone: (204) 789-3941
Email: Thomas.Murooka@umanitoba.ca   
Web Page

In order to keep us healthy, the immune system must recognize and destroy a wide range of invading pathogens, while limiting damage to healthy tissues.  This is accomplished by a complex network of immune cells and stromal cells that continuously survey the body in order to rapidly respond to pathogenic insults.  My lab uses a microscopy-based approach to better understand how cell-to-cell communicative behavior between immune cells is regulated within healthy tissues, and how these behaviors are altered in response to infections in vivo.
We use multiphoton intravital microscopy (MP-IVM) to visualize the migration, dynamic behavior and localization of immune cells within their physiological tissue in live, anaesthetized mice.  Our MP-IVM suite is contained within a dedicated BSL2+ facility, allowing investigations into immune responses in animals infected with various pathogens, such as HIV-1. My overall goal is to visually describe the spatiotemporal dynamics of the immune response against microbes, and to use this information to inform new strategies to prevent or better eliminate infectious diseases.

 

SANTER, Deanna (PhD)
Assistant Professor
GSK Endowed Research Chair in Immunology of Infectious Diseases
Department of Immunology

Office Phone: TBD
Email: Deanna.santer@umanitoba.ca  
Twitter
Webpage

Interferons (IFNs) serve as the backbone of the innate antiviral immune response. All types of IFNs induce a host of genes collectively called IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), with antiviral, anti-proliferative, and immunomodulatory properties.Type I IFNs were discovered in 1957 with thousands of articles describing their role in immunity. In contrast, type III IFNs and their unique heterodimeric receptor (IFN-LR1/IL-10RB) were discovered in 2003, meaning there is much to discover about their biology and mechanisms of immunoregulation with multiple differences already noted between mice and humans. My research program will focus on IFN biology and how type I versus type III IFNs regulate human immune cell responses against viruses or after vaccination. Most recently, we are testing the effectiveness of type III IFN therapy in COVID-19 patients through a CIHR funded grant with the University of Alberta and University Health Network.


SOUSSI GOUNNI, Abdelilah (PhD)
Professor

Dr. Abdelilah S. Gounni, is currently a Professor of Immunology at the Max Rady College of Medicine, University of Manitoba and a scientist at the Children Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba.Dr. Gounni research interests include the mechanisms of airways diseases and pathways regulating structural and inflammatory cell recruitment, activation and survival Over the years, his work has focused on the role of high-affinity IgE receptor (FceRI), cytokines (interleukin-9, thymic stromal lymphopoeitin), soluble pattern recognition receptor (pentraxin-3) in regulating airway inflammation, airway hyperresponsiveness and remodelling.
Most recently, his lab studies the function, expression and regulation of a neuronal chemo-repellent protein, Sema3E, in asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Office Phone: (204) 975-7750
Email: Abdel.Gounni@umanitoba.ca      
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Dr. Uzonna’s primary research program focuses on understanding cellular and molecular mechanisms that regulate the induction, maintenance and loss of protective immunity against parasitic infections, particularly those caused by protozoa, with a view to exploiting the information gained from these studies for the development of effective vaccines and vaccination strategies against these infections. In addition, he is also interested in understanding the immunomodulatory mechanisms that regulate the pathophysiology of systemic inflammatory response syndromes, particularly those associated with sepsis and septic shock.

UZONNA, Jude (DVM, PhD)
Professor
Department of Immunology & Medical Microbiology
Associate Dean (Research)

Office Phone: (204) 977-5659
Email: Jude.Uzonna@umanitoba.ca 
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