Sixth Joint IRTG Meeting: Registrations OPEN!!! Abstract submission Deadline – February 9

Congratulations to Dr. Joe Casey for receiving a 5 Year Grant from CIHR.

Dr. Joanne Lemieux is the new Director of the MPDRG and Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat is the new Associate Director.
Our heartiest Congratulations to Dr. Lemieux and Dr. Cordat and our best wishes to the both of you.

We would like to thank Dr. Joe Casey for doing an exceptional job of leading the MPDRG over the last ten years, ensuring our success.



The 10th General Meeting of the International Proteolysis Society: Frontiers in Proteolysis will be held from 28 October – 2 November 2017. Early career seminars and training workshops will be conducted on 27 – 28 October. Read more ..

Congratulations to Kristian Caldo from Lemieux Lab for successfully defending his PhD thesis.

Congratulations to Ruiqi Cai from Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen‘s Lab for winning the Alberta Innovates Graduate Student Scholarship (AI GSS). Read more about the Alberta Innovates Scholarship here..

Congratulations to Robin Kim who recently graduated from Harley Kurata’s lab for having paper published this week.

Title:“PIP2 mediates functional coupling and pharmacology of neuronal KCNQ channels” 


We are pleased to announce the winners of this competition:

First prize: Justin Lee (Supervisor Dr. Todd Alexander)

Second prize: Clark Thomson (Supervisor Dr. Joe Casey)

Third prize: Jeremy Thomas (Supervisor Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat)

A hearty Congratulations to Justin, Clark and Jeremy!




Lisa Ohler, an IRTG student form from Torsten Mohlmann’s lab (University of Kaiserslautern) is visiting from September 29th until December 21st and will be working in the Lemieux Lab. During her visit she will work on nucleoside transporters. We would like to wish Lisa a lot of success and a pleasant stay in Canada.




Lena Kramer, is from the group of Johannes Herrmann’s lab, cell biology, at the TU Kaiserslautern.

She is visiting Todd Alexander’s lab from September to November, 2017. We wish Lena a lot of success and a pleasant stay in Canada!




Carina Groh, is from the group of Johannes Herrmann’s lab, cell biology, at the TU Kaiserslautern.

She is visiting Emmanuelle Cordat’s Lab from September to November, 2017. We wish Carina a lot of success and a pleasant stay in Canada!




  • Congratulations to Megan Beggs who has been awarded a 3-year Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. Read more..
  • Congratulations to Dr. Elaine Leslie & Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat for being awarded a 5-year NSERC Discovery grant.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Joe Casey for being awarded a 1-year CIHR bridge grant and a 2-year WCHRI grant.
  • The Lemieux lab says best wishes to Dr. Rashmi Panigrahi who left the lab in July 2017, and will be conducting a PDF in the Glover lab (Biochemistry, University of Alberta).
  • Aruna Augustine has completed a MSc degree and is no longer working at the Fliegel lab. We wish her the best for her future endeavours.
  • Ayo Odunewu-Aderibigbe has completed her PhD this year and is now working in a laboratory in the Katz Building.


Sixth IRTG Joint Symposium Aug 28 – Aug 31, 2017









EXCURSION TO NOVARTIS: IRTG Trainees visited Novartis on August 31

In order to allow our Trainees insights into research beyond the classical boarders the IRTG 1830 organized a scientific field trip to Novartis Pharma AG in Basel, Switzerland. The visit included a presentation given by a former research employee about the research focuses of Novartis, tours through several departments (Lead Discovery, Musculoskeletal Disease Area, Innovative Lab Design) as well as a Campus tour. We would like to thank the people responsible at Novartis for making this visit possible and for all their efforts during the visit.



We had our summer students present the findings on their research. We had  a total of 10 students present over 2  Thursdays.

Aug 17th presentations:

Jacqueline Karathra     “Understanding the role of intramembrane proteins PARL and PINK1 in Parkinson’s disease”

Andrew Song                  “Programmed Cell Death Protein 1”

Clark Thompson            “Role of SLC4A11 in Endothelial Corneal Dystrophy”

Shauna Peng                   “Investigating the role of Sarcolipin Tail Mutants in Heart Failure”

Justin Lee                       “Delineating the Functional Roles of Trpv6 & Cav1.3 in Mediating Jejunal Calcium Absorption Pre-weaning”

Aug 24th Presentations:

Dary Chen                       “The role of Band 3 Protein in Red Blood Cell Senescence”

Cen Yang                         “Characterization of Teleost Sodium and Acid Base Transfer Proteins.”

Deborah Yee                   “Characterization of Novel Na+/H+ Exchanger Inhibitors for use in Triple Negative Breast Cancer.”

Jeremy Thomas             “Characterization of novel mutations in kAE1 that cause distal renal tubule acidosis.”

Ivy Porter                       “Effects of Hereditary Mutations of Phospholamban on the Regulation of SERCA”


JUNE 2017

The Department of Biochemistry is celebrating the fruitful and long career of Dr. Michael James on June 15, 2017 from 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm in 1080 Katz Lecture Theatre. The celebration will feature presentations from Alumni, including from Drs. Randy Read (University of Cambridge, UK), Natalie Strynadka (University of British Columbia), and Amir Khan (Trinity College, Ireland). Join us if you can!

We are also proud to announce the launch of the website for the 61st CSMB annual meeting on “Membrane Proteins in Health and Disease” that our group will organize in Banff, AB, from April 11-18, 2018. Check it out!

Welcome to our Summer Students 2017!!!

Here is the list of our students:

Dr. Joanne Lemieux: Jacqueline Karathra, Andrew Song

Dr. Larry Fliegel: Deborah Yee, Cen Yang (recipient of an NSERC summer studentship)

Dr. Todd Alexander: Megan Ure (recipient of a WCHRI summer studentship), Justin Lee (recipient of an AI summer studentship)

Dr. Joe Casey: Dary Chen, Clark Thomson

Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat: Jeremy Thomas (recipient of a STEP award)

Dr. Howard Young: Shauna Peng and Ivy Porter, both recipient of an AI summer studentship

Dr. Michael Overduin: Anna Jutla, McKayla Jelley, Jaslyn Rasmuson, Aadya Thapliya

May 2017

  • Welcome back to Dr. Marek Michalak and his team who are joining the MPDRG! Dr. Michalak was a co-founder and member of the group for many years. After taking an “administrative” break from the group, he finally decided to return. We are all eager to hear about his research!
  • Dr. Michael Overduin has organized a very successful SMALP Conference at the University of Berkeley, California on March 24, 2017.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Michael Overduin for receiving funding from Alberta Innovates Health Solutions, Community Engagement and Conference grant 201607 “Cure Cancer: Technology, Innovation & Medicine” and a Wellcome Trust Seeding Drug Discovery grant on  “Structure-aided discovery of kinase inhibitors as targeted therapeutic agents”!
  • Congratulations to Drs. Todd Alexander and Emmanuelle Cordat for receiving funding from the Kidney Foundation of Canada, Biomedical Grant
  • Kudos to Dr. Howard Young who has received funding from Alberta Prion Research Institute and Alberta Alzheimer’s Research Program grant

April 2017

Congratulations and thank you to Ms. Katie Badior (PhD candidate, Casey Lab) who will be the new MPDRG Graduate Student Association President.

Thank you to Mr. Gareth Armanious who just completed his term as President.We wish you all a happy and productive New Year 2017!

January 2017

In Dr. Fliegel’s laboratory, Ayo Odunewu defended her PhD thesis in September 2016. Well done and best wishes for the future!

Sabrina Marz has been a visiting student in the laboratory of Dr. Todd Alexander from September to December 2016. Sabrina worked hard for the past 3 months!

Dr. Mustafa Alam is no longer working in Dr. Michael Overduin’s laboratory.

Congratulations to Darpan Malhotra who won the Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. Graduate Scholarship

Congratulations to Dr. Todd R Alexander for being awarded a Tier II Canada Research Chair!

December 2016

Holiday Season Celebration
On December 15, all members and friends of MPDRG group came together to start and celebrate the holiday season with our traditional international potluck in a festive atmosphere. See pictures here.



September 2016


We started the new academic year with the 5th IRTG joint meeting in Edmonton with our German partners from IRTG. It included an exciting scientific program, a visit to Elk Island National Park, a BBQ at Emily Murphy park and plenty of time for scientific and non-scientific discussions. A big Thank You to Skirmante Tamelyte, Gareth Armanious, Joe Primeau and MPDRG graduate students for organizing this wonderful meeting with our German partners!


Other news:

• Dr. Chris Cheeseman is now retired and has closed his laboratory. “Dr. C.” is now a Professor Emeritus in the department of Physiology.

• Dr. Joanne Lemieux’s lab has welcomed two new graduate students: Laine Lysyk (Biochemistry) and Emmanuella Takyi (Neurosciences). Dr. Xing-Zhen Chen also has one new graduate student, Xiong Liu. Welcome to all!

• Dr. Chris Lukowski has left Dr. Joe Casey’s lab at the end of August to take up a position as a Lecturer at Medicine Hat College.

• Dr. Raj Amith left Dr. Larry Fliegel’s lab and took a faculty position in the UK. Raj started her new position as Lecturer (equivalent to Asst. Prof. in Canada) in Biomedical Science, School of Life Sciences, Keele University, on September 1, 2016. Here are her new contact details.

• Shane Wiebe has left Dr. Todd Alexander’s laboratory after obtaining his Master’s degree. He has just started a Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Dr. Nahum Sonenberg’s lab at McGill University. Dr. Allen Plain is a new postdoctoral trainee who started in Dr. Alexander’s lab on September 1, 2016.

Welcome to new group members and best wishes to those who have left the group!

2016 Summer Students’ Research Program

Two of our group’s summer students received Poster presentation awards at the faculty-wide 49th Annual Summer Students’ Research Day:
Justin Lee from Dr. R. Todd Alexander’s lab, Department of Pediatrics, with the poster ‘Identification of Novel Calcium (CA2+) Transport Pathway in Jejunum of Suckling Mice’    and

Yesmine Elloumi from Dr. Larry Fliegel’s lab, Department of Biochemistry, with the poster ‘Intracellular Loop Five of the NA+/H+ Exchanger 1 is a Putative PH Sensor’. Congratulations!

August 2016

2016 Summer Students’ Presentations

We are pleased to announce the winners of this competition:

First prize: Matthew Saurette (Supervisor Dr. Todd Alexander)

Second prize: Justin Lee (Supervisor Dr. Todd Alexander)

Third prize: Xu Jing Qiang (Supervisor Dr. Joe Casey)

See all presentations here.

June 2016

Best Basic Research Award winner

Congratulations to Gareth Armanious, Graduate Student from Dr. Howard Young’s lab, won the Best Basic Research Award at the Mazankowski Cardiac Sciences Research Day on June 10, 2016.




April-May 2016

Summer students have arrived Welcome to our new summer students:

Xu Jing Wang (Dr. Joe Casey’s lab, NSERC funded)

Renee Dicipulo (Dr. Joe Casey’s lab, funded by a Brian Sykes Summer Studentship)

Jessi Bak (Dr. Howard Young’s lab)

Justin Lee (Dr. Todd Alexander’s lab, NSERC funded)

Stephania Irwin (Drs. Joanne Lemieux and Nicolas Touret, NSERC funded)

Andrew Song (Dr. Joanne Lemieux, AIHS funded)

Yesmine Elloumi (Dr. Larry Fliegel’s lab, AIHS funded)

Juliana Wang (Dr. Larry Fliegel’s lab, AIHS funded)

Monica Baradi (Dr. Emmanuelle Cordat’s lab, AIHS funded) and

Midhat Rizvi (Office of the Provost and VP office funded)

Welcome to all and we are looking forward to hearing about your summer research!

New Grants

Congratulations to Dr. Howard Young for receiving Grant-in-Aid funding from the Heart & Stroke Foundation.

Also kudos to Dr. Joanne Lemieux for receiving an NSERC Discovery grant this Spring.

New group members

Welcome to Saba Rehman who recently joined Dr. Todd Alexander’s lab as a graduate student!

Other Awards:

Kudos to Dr. Ray Amith for being awarded the post-doctoral Leader in Biochemistry award for her publication: Amith SR, Wilkinson JM, Baksh S, Fliegel L. The Na?/H? exchanger (NHE1) as a novel co-adjuvant target in paclitaxel therapy of triple-negative breast cancer cells. Oncotarget. 2015 Jan 20;6(2):1262-75.

Mentoring matters Dr. Joe Casey received the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry Award for Excellence in Mentoring (Tier I Basic Science).


January-March 2016

Thesis Defences and Other News

Congratulations to Yanfei Zhang and Justin Fedor who successfully defended their Ph.D. under the supervision of Dr. Joel Weiner. Yanfei is now a Postdoctoral Fellow at Princeton and Justin is a Postdoctoral Fellow ath MRC Labs in Cambrige (UK). Sheng Yi (Sally) has also graduated and is now a Ph.D. in Chemistry (U of Alberta). Good luck to all of them in their future endeavors!

Kudos to Dr. Michael Overduin for receiving a project grant from the Alberta Prion Research Institute on “Protein-Lipid Analysis using Styrene Maleic Acid Nanoparticles (PLASMAN)” (2015-2016), a project in collaboration with Dr. Holger Wille.

The Department of Biochemistry celebrated the opening of Dr. Overduin’s lab, read the report here. Check out this meeting on Membrane Protein Nanoparticles that Dr. Overduin is co-organizing on April 29, 2016: www.smalp.net

Dr. Joel Weiner has closed his laboratory as of February 29, 2016. Welcome to Nasim Danaei, a full time volunteer technician in Dr. Michael Overduin’s laboratory.


December 2015

Holiday Season Celebration

Thursday, December 17, 2015  12:00 – 2:00 PM
4003-4004 KATZ Building
International potluck, photo booth, door prizes and much more.
Check out the pictures