Annika Noreen, Research Coordinator

I have a strong scientific background, with a PhD and postdoc in molecular ecology. My passion lies in research management, and I enjoy taking on the varied responsibilities that help the research environment run smoothly and efficiently.


Jonathan Han, PhD Candidate

High levels of insulin is found in the obesity linked type 2 diabetes (T2D), a metabolic disorder in blood glucose homeostasis caused by insulin resistance. Interestingly, T2D patients also suffer chronic inflammation. My research suggests in the high levels of insulin in T2D may negatively regulate Tregs and consequently impairs immune tolerance, resulting in excessive inflammation.

Jens.jpg Jens Vent-Schmidt, PhD Candidate

Inflammatory Bowel Disease, an incurable chronic disease, is associated with hyper-activated pro-inflammatory cells that promote inflammatory lesions in the gut. Concomitantly, regulatory T cells which usually suppress unwanted immune responses are reduced in numbers and are under-activated. My project aim is to genetically engineer regulatory T cells to re-gain their function and to suppress gut inflammation at the side of the lesion. This would result in a novel patient-specific therapy with significantly reduced risk of systemic side effects. 

  • Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

Katie%20MacDonald.jpg Kate MacDonald, PhD Candidate

Kate is a PhD student who is working on T regulatory cells in a clinical context. Her first project aims to genetically engineer antigen-specific Tregs to induce transplant tolerance against a graft mismatch. Her second project is to explore the plasticity of Tregs in diseases such as scleroderma. 
Scott%20Patterson.jpg Scott Patterson, Research Associate

Our lab has shown that T regulatory cells (Tregs) have a defect in the PI3K pathway. We have found that a negative regulator of the PI3K pathway, PHLPP, is highly expressed in Tregs. I found that PHLPP is important for regulating Treg function and development. Using mouse models I aim to delineate the role of PHLPP expression in Tregs during disease.
maggie_000-sfvrsn%3D0.jpg Maggie Yao, PhD Candidate

Inflammatory bowel disease is a condition that is believed to be driven by pathogenic inflammatory responses against commensal bacterial antigens. Cellular stress signals that are released during chronic inflammation may contribute to drive the vicious cycle of pathogenic immune responses in the disease. My research focuses on studying how different stress signals, such as extracellular ATP, influence the inflammatory response and regulate the crosstalk between innate and adaptive immune responses. 
maria-fernando-photo-sfvrsn%3D0.jpeg Maria Fernando, Postdoctoral Fellow

Inflammatory bowel disease is a chronic relapsing and remitting disease of the gastrointestinal tract. Canada has one of the highest rates of IBD worldwide. My research is focused on the newly developed humanized monoclonal antibody vedolizumab (trade name Entyvio), which blocks binding of the alpha 4 beta 7 integrin, thereby preventing migration of T cells to the small intestine. In clinical trials, this drug has been shown to be extremely effective in reducing the severity of IBD. The clinical efficacy of this drug has been clearly demonstrated, and the purpose of my project is to determine the exact biological mechanism by which vedolizumab exerts its effect. 


  • CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship