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    Canada Research Chair

  • Heather Armstrong
  • Assistant professor

    Max Rady College of Medicine
    Internal Medicine
    Room 842B John Buhler Research Centre
    715 McDermot Avenue
    University of Manitoba
    Winnipeg, Manitoba R3E 3P4

    Phone: 204-789-3815
    Email: heather.armstrong@umanitoba.ca

Cross appointments

Cross appointments held: departments of immunology and medical microbiology and infectious diseases

Research summary

Dr. Armstrong’s research has helped identify how the hallmark dysbiosis in inflammatory bowel diseases leads to dysregulated fibre fermentation, increased interactions of unfermented fibres with immune cell receptors, and reduced beneficial fermentation byproducts (e.g., SCFAs), resulting in worsened inflammation in select patients. Her teams work aims to understand the mechanisms behind diet-associated inflammation in inflammatory diseases, mediated by gut microbes. This is particularly critical as the sustained inflammation in the gut of IBD patients is directly associated with increased risk of cancer, and mortality.

Research themes

  • Chronic inflammatory diseases
  • Cancer
  • Dietary fibres
  • Microbiome

Research groups

  •  Manitoba Centre for Proteomics and Systems Biology
  •  Manitoba IBD Clinical and Research Centre
  •  Manitoba Multiple Sclerosis Research Centre (MMSRC)
  •  The Canadian Children Inflammatory Bowel Disease Network (CIDsCaNN)

Research affiliations

Biography

Dr. Armstrong is an assistant professor of internal medicine with the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences and a a research scientist with Children's Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba (CHRIM). 

Past positions include a role as instructor for the University of Alberta School of Medicine and Dentistry.

Dr. Armstrong is passionate about mentoring and supporting young scientists who are interested in learning more about complex co-culture techniques for use in translational research approaches to personalized medicine.

She is involved in several national and international multi-disciplinary teams where she utilizes her translational models of microbiome and human biopsy tissues to better understand the pathology of diseases of dysbiosis, such as IBD, MS, and RA, and their relationship to cancer.

Education

  • Doctorate of Medicine and of Philosophy (PhD-MED), Medicine, University of Adelaide, Australia (2016)
  • Masters in Science, (MSc) cell biology, University of Alberta (2012)
  • Bachelor of Science (BSc), biological sciences major with science psychology minor, University at Alberta (2010)

Awards

Academic research awards:

  • IMPACTT Microbiome Mentee – Dr Elena Verdu Mentor (McMaster University) (2021)
  • Editor’s Choice Publication – Cancers Journal (2020)
  • Canadian Institute of Health Research (CIHR) Postdoctoral Fellowship ($90,000) (2020)
  • Mitacs Elevate Postdoctoral Fellowship ($60,000) (2019)
  • Honourable Mention – Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG) and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (CCC) (2018)

Student prize ($500)

  • Canadian Association of Gastroenterology Travel Award ($1,500) (2018)
  • Women’s and Children’s Health Research Institute (WCHRI) Travel Award ($750) (2018)
  • Discipline of Medicine Travel Grant ($3,000) (2014)
  • Australian Postgraduate Award ($75,000) (2013)
  • Freemasons Foundation Centre for Men’s Health Scholarship ($15,000) (2013)
  • Government of Alberta ALIS Graduate Student Scholarship ($1,500) (2012)

Conference awards:

  • Poster of Distinction – Canadian Digestive Disease Week (2021)
  • Best Oral Presentation – Pediatric Research Day ($125) (2019)
  • Poster of Distinction – Canadian Digestive Disease Week (2019)
  • Poster of Distinction – The North American Society for Pediatric (2018) Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition
  • Best Oral Presentation – Postdoctoral Fellows Association Day ($500) (2018)
  • Best Oral Presentation – Canadian Digestive Disease Week ($500) (2018)
  • Best Oral Presentation – Postdoctoral Fellows Association Day ($375) (2017)
  • Best Oral Presentation – University of Alberta Department of Pediatrics Research Day ($150) (2017)

Contact us

Internal Medicine
Room GC430, Health Sciences Centre
820 Sherbrook Street
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB R3A 1R9 Canada

204-787-7772
204-787-4826