About the department
Founded in 1969, the Department of Immunology was the first of its kind in Canada. Originally known as the MRC Group for Allergy Research, Dr. Alec Sehon along with various others, provided a strong core of research activity and a lasting legacy. Today the department is known and respected internationally as a centre for diverse immunology research and teaching. Our focus has been on the establishment of a multidisciplinary program in immunology, encompassing basic and clinical biomedical scientists with expertise in a broad range of immunological topics.
From our strong research faculty to our award-winning students, the department of Immunology is a vibrant and diverse place to study. Throughout the year, the department hosts a number of activities designed to provide opportunities for students to develop essential professional skills, such as oral and written scientific communications, grant-writing, mentorship, job searches, and many more. We also host a weekly seminar series which brings in an excellent array of local, national and international speakers to provide students with exposure to a wide range of research topics and foster multi-disciplinary thinking.
What we offer
Immunology offers graduate courses at the master’s and PhD level. Our programs have a strong emphasis on laboratory research and developing oral communication and presentation skills—providing suitable experience for careers in biomedical science research in the context of industry, government or academic laboratories.
Current student resources
Awards and scholarships
The University of Manitoba issues more than $17 million to students each year in the form of scholarships and bursaries. Find out how you can access funding so you can focus on your studies.
The Department of Immunology offers graduate students several opportunities to be recognized for their academic and research accomplishments.
Annual internal scholarships
Mindel and Tom Olenick Research Award in Immunology (Entrance Scholarship)
This $5,000 scholarship is awarded annually to two full-time students enrolled in their first year of studies in the Faculty of Graduate Studies, in a program delivered by the Department of Immunology who has achieved high academic standing and has proposed to conduct research in any area of Immunology.
Mindel and Tom Olenick Research Award in Immunology
This award is given annually on the basis of scientific merit for immunology research conducted in Manitoba by a graduate student (master’s or PhD) or post-doctoral fellow affiliated with the University of Manitoba.
Department of Immunology and Ade & Co. Award for Excellence in Graduate Research Seminars
This awarded is given annually on the basis of scientific merit for immunology research conducted at the University of Manitoba by a graduate student (master’s or PhD) in Immunology.
Department of Immunology Award for Best Journal Club Presentation
University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship (UMGF)
University Graduate Fellowships (UMGF) are offered to full-time master’s and PhD students to recognize and support academic excellence. The fellowships are offered to students who have demonstrated superior intellectual ability and academic accomplishment.
The Department of Immunology’s research activities are based in a modern open-concept lab that includes several large cell culture suites, complete molecular biology capabilities, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy.
Allergy and asthma research
Our faculty and research trainees are investigating fundamental immune regulatory mechanisms contributing to allergy and asthma and applying multi-omic approaches to understand lung and airway inflammation. Several projects are investigating the effects of early life exposures to multiple factors such as specific microbes or breast feeding and others are determining the impact of vaping, smoking and air pollution.
Our faculty and research trainees are investigating the role of the immune system in multiple types of cancers including leukemia, lymphoma, head and neck cancer and breast cancer. Researchers are also mapping cellular signal transduction pathways contributing to malignant transformation or immune dysfunction and investigating anti-cancer therapies targeting signaling pathways.
Chronic inflammatory diseases research
Our faculty and research trainees are addressing how the immune system can become a destructive force leading to autoimmunity or other chronic inflammatory diseases. Researchers are addressing diseases affecting various body systems such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, Lupus, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or neurodegenerative disease.
Infectious diseases research
Our faculty and research trainees are investigating how the immune system fights a range of infectious diseases including human viral infections such as HIV and Sars-Cov2, parasitic diseases, bacterial infections or a number of animal diseases of economic importance. Research goals include development of diagnostics, immunotherapeutic strategies or vaccines to improve disease management.
Immune cell biology and biotechnology research
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.
Transplantation and cell therapy research
Our faculty and research trainees are investigating the interaction of the immune system with transplanted organs or cells. Researchers are implementing improved donor matching with recipients needing kidney transplants based on sophisticated analyses of immune responses and are developing cell-based therapies for burn victims and cancer patients.
Find out how our researchers push the boundaries of knowledge to provide real-time solutions to the most pressing challenges affecting patients, caregivers and decision-makers.
Dr. Arsenio’s lab studies CD8 T cell fate diversity during immunity at the single-cell level. They 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.
Abdelilah Soussi Gounni
Our open-concept laboratory accommodates up to eight principal investigators. The facility includes four large cell culture suites, complete molecular biology capabilities, flow cytometry and confocal microscopy, an immunophenotyping core facility and numerous additional instruments.
Our facility includes multiple FACS analyzers (eight to 16 parameter) and a high speed cell sorter within biosafety level 2 containment, managed by Dr. Christine Zhang.
Our microscopy facilities include several digital fluorescence microscopes as well as a four laser Zeiss Cell Observer spinning disk confocal with FRAP, photoactivation and TIRF capabilities for high speed live cell imaging.
MesoScale Discovery and BioPlex platforms
Our MesoScale Discovery and BioPlex platforms provide multiplex analyses of biological fluids for measurement of numerous analytes with high accuracy over a wide dynamic range.
Community and partners
Faculty and staff
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Max Rady College of Medicine
Room 471, 750 McDermot Avenue
University of Manitoba (Bannatyne campus)
Winnipeg, MB R3E 0T5 Canada