Graduate Information Days Oct 26 & Oct 30

Graduate Information Days Oct 26 & Oct 30

What: Molecular Genetics M.Sc./Ph.D. Graduate Programs and Application Info Sessions

When: Thurs. Oct 26th, 5-6:30 pm. , Mon. Oct 30th, 5-6:30 pm

The sessions are the same - you only need to attend one!

Where: MoGen Interacthome, Medical Sciences Building #4284, 1 King's College Circle

Come Talk with professors about how to apply and learn about a career in science!

Free pop and pizza!

RSVP required by Oct 22nd

Next application deadline is Nov. 15th, 2017

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McLaughlin Centre, University of Toronto Scholarship Recipients Announced

McLaughlin Centre, University of Toronto Scholarship Recipients Announced

The Genetic Counselling program is pleased to announce the inaugural McLaughlin Centre, University of Toronto recipients. The McLaughlin Centre has provided funds to support two merit-based scholarships for the MSc Genetic Counselling Program. One incoming first year student will be awarded an entrance based scholarship to be granted based on overall merit including demonstrated academic excellence prior to entering the program. In addition, one second year student will be awarded an in-course scholarship based on overall academic excellence in their first year of study in the M.Sc. Genetic Counselling Program. This year each successful student will receive a $10,000 CAD scholarship.

Congratulations to incoming student Kalene van Engelen and second year student Emily Thain!

Kalene van Engelen

Kalene van Engelen

Emily Thain

Emily Thain

 

 

Dr. Brenda Andrews - University Professor

Dr. Brenda Andrews - University Professor

Dr. Brenda Andrews is among four faculty members to be named University Professor, the highest rank that can be awarded by the university.

"A professor of molecular genetics, Dr. Andrews is the director of the Donnelly Centre for Cellular and Biomolecular Research and an alumna who completed her PhD in medical biophysics at U of T. Dr. Andrews’s current research interests include analysis of genetic interaction networks in budding yeast and mammalian cells. She sits on many editorial and advisory boards and is the founding editor-in-chief of the journal Genes|Genomes|Genetics, an open access journal of the Genetics Society of America. Andrews is an elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Microbiology." See full story here.

Molecular Genetics Welcomes Dr. Aaron Reinke

Molecular Genetics Welcomes Dr. Aaron Reinke

Dr. Aaron Reinke, our top candidate in the MoGen search "Molecular Microbiology & Infectious Disease", will join the Department as an Assistant Professor in September 2017, on the 16th floor of the MaRS West Tower. His research program is focused on a unique model system of microsporidial parasites that infect worms, specifically studying co-evolution of Caenorhabditis nematode hosts and Nematocida pathogens. His research encompasses interdisciplinary approaches with biochemistry, genetics, systems biology, and technology development. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of California, Davis, and his PhD at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Amy Keating’s laboratory studying bZIP-mediated protein-protein interaction networks using biophysical approaches. During his postdoctoral work with Emily Troemel at the University of California, San Diego, he has developed technology to identify microsporidian effector proteins with tissue and subcellular specificity in C. elegans, and has leveraged genomic analyses to dissect mechanisms of host-pathogen interactions.

Ryan Gaudet - 2017 Winner of the Barbara Vivash Award in Molecular Genetics

Ryan Gaudet - 2017 Winner of the Barbara Vivash Award in Molecular Genetics

Dr. Ryan Gaudet is the 2017 winner of the Barbara Vivash Award in Molecular Genetics for his thesis, TIFA-Mediated Innate Immune Recognition of the Bacterial Metabolite HBP and its Role in Host Defense. This award acknowledges the most outstanding Ph.D. thesis defended during the 2015/2016 academic year. Nominees for this award must have produced a major work of scholarship that has led to significant advance in understanding the molecular genetics mechanisms underlying an important biological process. This is in addition to having written an outstanding thesis and conducted an excellent oral defence. 

Seminar and Award Ceremony: June 26th, 2017 @ 2PM in MSB 4171

MoGeNews Issue 9

MoGeNews Issue 9

Issue 9 of the MoGeNews is now available. Find out about Departmental activities, research, education, new initiatives and the successes of our faculty and trainees.

Molecular Genetics Welcomes Dr. Thomas Hurd

Molecular Genetics Welcomes Dr. Thomas Hurd

Dr. Thomas Hurd, our top candidate in the MoGen search "Genetic Models of Development & Disease", will join the Department as an Assistant Professor in January 2018, on the 15th floor of the MaRS West Tower. He studies mitochondrial biology in Drosophila and mammalian cells. His research program will focus on determining how mitochondrial DNA is inherited through the female germline, and how mitochondria influence stem cell fate and differentiation in vivo, with a long-term interest in applying this knowledge to develop better protocols for reprogramming and differentiating human stem cells in vitro. He completed his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto, his PhD at the University of Cambridge in Mike Murphy’s laboratory at the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, and his postdoctoral work with Ruth Lehmann at NYU School of Medicine.

Lewis Kay - Recipient of a 2017 Canada Gairdner International Award

Lewis Kay - Recipient of a 2017 Canada Gairdner International Award

Dr. Lewis Kay has been recognized with a 2017 Canada Gairdner International Award “For the development of modern NMR spectroscopy for studies of biomolecular structure dynamics and function, including applications to molecular machines and rare protein conformations.” Dr. Kay, a professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Chemistry is the 1st Canadian to win this award since 2008.

Gairdner

Globe & Mail

 

Dr. Julie Brill & Dr. William Navarre Win Undergraduate Teaching Awards

Dr. Julie Brill & Dr. William Navarre Win Undergraduate Teaching Awards

Dr. Julie Brill is the 2017 recipient of the Excellence in Undergraduate Laboratory Teaching in Life Sciences Award. The award recognizes Dr. Brill's sustained excellence in teaching, coordination and development of laboratory based instruction in life sciences laboratory courses.

Dr. William Navarre is the 2017 recipient of Excellence in Linking Undergraduate Teaching to Research in Life Sciences Award. The award recognizes Dr. Navarre's sustained excellence, mentorship and innovative methods that link undergraduate teaching to experiential research opportunities in Arts and Science offered by the Basic Sciences Departments in the Faculty of Medicine. 

3rd Annual Career Development Symposium

3rd Annual Career Development Symposium

Our third annual Career Development Symposium will take place June 9, 2017!

Join us for:

  • Round table career discussions with alumni
  • A panel on career trajectories with alumni
  • A Q & A with our alumni
  • Wine and cheese networking session

Current Molecular Genetics students, trainees, alumni, staff and faculty can register here.

Deadline to register extended to May 24.

Faculty Position Available

Faculty Position Available

Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream
Department of Molecular Genetics
, University of Toronto

Medical Genomics

The Department of Molecular Genetics in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto invites applications for a teaching-stream appointment in the area of Medical Genomics. The successful candidate will serve as the inaugural Director of our Professional Master’s in Medical Genomics, and will have a key role in genetics and genomics education in the Department. The appointment will be at the rank of Assistant Professor, Teaching Stream, and will commence on July 1, 2017.

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent in Human Genetics, Genomic Medicine, Molecular Genetics, Genetics, or a closely related field by the time of appointment. An established record of excellence in research is required, as demonstrated by publications in leading journals, presentations at significant conferences, awards and accolades, and strong endorsement by referees of high international standing. The successful candidate must have expertise with genomics methodologies, human genetics, statistics, and communication of genetic information. Candidates must also have a deep understanding of the impact of genomics on medical practice. Postdoctoral experience would be an asset, as would experience in the private sector and experience with project management and building partnerships. The successful candidate must have experience with course and curriculum development, and must demonstrate teaching excellence at the undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as experience and demonstrated commitment to excellent pedagogical practices. This evidence can include performance as a course instructor or teaching assistant, experience leading successful workshops or seminars, student mentorship, or excellent conference presentations or posters, as well as the teaching dossier submitted as part of the application.

The Department of Molecular Genetics (http://www.moleculargenetics.utoronto.ca/#our-research-focus) holds a leadership position in Canada and internationally as a premier venue for biomedical and genomics research and education. We are an engaged and collaborative community with over 100 faculty members that fosters exceptional innovation and discovery. Our faculty, fellows, and students are highly acclaimed for pioneering phenomenal advances in some of the most exciting areas of modern science with a profound impact on human health. The University of Toronto has one of the most concentrated biomedical research communities in the world, including 10 academic hospitals/research institutes that are all fully affiliated with the University. This community attracts greater than $800M in annual research investment.

The successful candidate will be expected to have a key role in genetics and genomics education in Molecular Genetics, and to serve as Director of our new MHSc in Medical Genomics. This new program will provide medical trainees, research scientists, and laboratory professionals with the theory and practical knowledge necessary to incorporate genomics data into medical practice. This new program will consist of a core set of lecture, discussion, and project-based courses across a two-year program duration. In addition to lecture-based learning, students will participate in a capstone practicum during the final academic term of the program with a focus on patient interaction and laboratory data generation. The candidate will have a leadership role in student recruitment and admissions, teaching courses and recruitment of other faculty to participate in teaching, development of online course modules, applying for educational grants, networking to establish research positions in the final term, and finding routes to employment for graduates.

Salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience.

Applicants should submit a single PDF that includes (in order): 1) a one-page summary that includes education/training history, citations of the applicant’s most important publications (up to five), and a 350-word abstract of their teaching philosophy; 2) a cover letter; 3) a curriculum vitae; 4) a teaching dossier comprised of a teaching philosophy statement, sample course materials, course evaluations, and other evidence of teaching excellence. Submission guidelines can be found at http://uoft.me/how-to-apply . Applicants should also arrange to have three letters of reference sent directly by the referee (on letterhead, signed and scanned) to Dr. Leah Cowen at mogen.chair@utoronto.ca . Inquiries should be sent to mogen.chair@utoronto.ca.

Deadline for applications (including reference letters): April 18th, 2017.

The University of Toronto is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from racialized persons / persons of colour, women, Aboriginal People of North America, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, and others who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas.

As part of your application, you will be asked to complete a brief Diversity Survey. This survey is voluntary. Any information directly related to you is confidential and cannot be accessed by search committees or human resources staff. Results will be aggregated for institutional planning purposes. For more information, please see http://uoft.me/UP.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, priority will be given to Canadians and permanent residents.

For further details and to apply online, please visit: https://utoronto.taleo.net/careersection/10050/jobdetail.ftl?job=1700340  

 

Samuel Lambert is One of this Year's Winners of the Jennifer Dorrington Graduate Research Award

Samuel Lambert is One of this Year's Winners of the Jennifer Dorrington Graduate Research Award

"After graduating in biology from the University of Guelph, Lambert joined Professor Timothy Hughes’ group, which is among world-leading in studying how cells read the genome. Each cell in the human body contains the exact same genetic information, yet brain cells are very different from heart cells, which are again different from, say, cells that make up the liver. What makes one cell different from another is a set of genes that is switched on at any given time. In fact, all biological processes, from intricate patterning of butterfly wings to foetal development, are underpinned by the right genes being switched on in the right cells at the right time. When this process breaks down, it can lead to disease.

During his PhD, Lambert has been studying proteins called transcription factors (TFs), which bind DNA to turn genes on or off. TFs do this by triggering or halting, respectively, the transcription of genes' sequences into instructions for making proteins, the building blocks of life. TFs recognize specific landing sequences in the DNA, and Lambert’s project focused on finding the diversity of sites for TFs in different organisms. Contrary to previous thinking, Lambert found that similar TFs from closely related species often recognize different sites in DNA. He then showed that the same is true across the tree of life suggesting that TF binding differences may be part of the driving force behind evolution.

This is Lambert’s second Dorrington Research Award, having first received it while he was a Master’s student. “With the generous support from the Dorrington family, I continued my research in what I think is one of the most fascinating questions in biology. The hope is that if we can understand how cells normally perform these functions we’d have a better clue at how to fix it when it goes awry in disease,” says Lambert.

Expecting to graduate in less than five years from starting his PhD, Lambert is planning his next move. “For my postdoc, I would like to join a lab where I can combine what I’ve learned about gene transcription in my PhD with human genetics to better predict our risk for disease,” he says.

The award was established by the Dorrington family in 2006 as a tribute to Dr. Jennifer Dorrington, who was a professor in the Banting and Best Department of Medical Research. Dorrington’s pioneering research greatly advanced our understanding of reproductive biology and ovarian cancer."

See full story here

Donnelly Teams Sweep National Funding Grants

Donnelly Teams Sweep National Funding Grants

By Jovana Drinjakovic

Dr. Sachdev Sidhu

Dr. Sachdev Sidhu

Five Donnelly Centre teams have won Genome Canada’s Disruptive Innovation in Genomics grants in support of research projects totalling more than $6 million. The competition was set to boost development of technologies that have a potential to transform and speed up the commercialization of biomedical discovery.

Dr. Igor Stagljar

Dr. Igor Stagljar

Professors Sachdev Sidhu and Igor Stagljar received advanced Phase Two grants — the sole two grants awarded in Ontario — to further advance their technologies for the study of disease-related proteins. Stagljar was also awarded an early stage grant, along with Professors Charlie Boone, Jason Moffat and Andrew Emili for proposals that tackle how genes and proteins work together in human cells.

The awarded projects will advance our understanding of genetic and protein networks. Genes code for proteins, which make up our cells and do most of the work in them. But no protein acts alone, and it is when these molecular interactions are disrupted that disease occurs. The trick is then to find the Achilles Heel of the disease and target it selectively in a way that does not harm healthy cells and tissues.

Dr. Jason Moffat

Dr. Jason Moffat

Professors Charles Boone and Jason Moffat Recent advances in genomic technologies have allowed scientists to hunt for genetic causes of diseases faster than ever before. With Genome Canada’s support, these Donnelly teams will develop new ways of finding precise molecular antidotes to target diseases, including cancer.

Dr. Charlie Boone

Dr. Charlie Boone

Boone and Moffat teams, in collaboration with Professor Brenda Andrews’ group, will use the genome editing CRISPR technology to hunt for genes in cancer cells that help tumours evade available treatments. Working together with Sidhu, they will create selective, protein-based compounds to block the molecules that give cancer its competitive edge in order to stall its growth. These compounds can then be further developed to be tested on patients, together with already available drugs, as combination therapies.

Professor Sachdev Sidhu With previous funding from Genome Canada, Sidhu and Moffat have already established a platform for generating protein-based drugs to target disease proteins found at the cell’s surface. In less than six years, they have created hundreds of anti-cancer compounds, and many of these have been licensed or partnered with the pharmaceutical industry through the University of Toronto’s Centre for Commercialization of Antibodies and Biologics (CCAB), which was co-founded by Sidhu and Moffat in 2014. Several of these compounds are on track to reach the clinic as early as 2018. The current grant will allow Sidhu to expand the strategy to also include proteins that are found inside cells.

Professor Igor Stagljar Stagljar’s team will tackle membrane proteins, which are tucked inside a layer that surrounds each cell and its inner compartments, and which are often mutated in cancer and many other diseases. The researchers will expand their technology for detecting membrane protein interactions to include every type of human cell. This will then allow them to identify those interactions that only occur in a disease state and screen for compounds that selectively block them in search of new treatments - an approach that was already shown to work for the most common type of lung cancer.

The awarding of Phase Two grants was conditional on the researchers securing two thirds of total project costs from external sources. Both Sidhu and Stagljar have raised the funds through their start-up companies, Ubiquitech and Protein Network Sciences, respectively, with Stagljar also securing support from Genentech, a pharmaceutical giant based in San Francisco.

Dr. Andrew Emili

Dr. Andrew Emili

Professor Andrew Emili To gain a thorough view of each protein’s whereabouts in cells, Emili’s team will build a new sub-microscopic imaging technology for studying each and every one of the many millions of individual protein molecules in human cells and tissues in unprecedented detail. This will allow scientists to understand how biological systems work at the molecular level and will provide clinicians with a tool to diagnose diseases like cancer faster and more accurately.

Genome Canada is a not-for-profit organization, funded by the Government of Canada, that supports research in genomics and development of genomic technologies. Learn more about Genome Canada here.

 

Dr. Gingras & Dr. Taipale - Newest Canada Research Chairs

Dr. Gingras & Dr. Taipale - Newest Canada Research Chairs

Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras

Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras

Dr. Mikko Taipale

Dr. Mikko Taipale

Molecular Genetics faculty members Dr. Anne-Claude Gingras (Functional Proteomics) and Mikko Taipale (Functional Proteomics & Protein Homeostasis). are among the University of Toronto's 25 new Canada Research Chairs.

Dr. Keith Pardee

Dr. Keith Pardee

Molecular Genetics alumnus, Dr. Keith Pardee, now in the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy, is also a new Canada Research Chair in Synthetic Biology in Human Health.

 

 

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Monica Justice - Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

Monica Justice - Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science

The American Association for the Advancement of Science has awarded the distinction of Fellow to Professor Monica Justice (Department of Molecular Genetics). Professor Justice is the head of, and a senior scientist in, the Genetics and Genome Biology program at The Hospital for Sick Children.

Professor Justice was recognized for her contributions to the genetics field, particularly for development of mouse as a model for identifying disease genes and elucidating therapies for human diseases. More

Full list of recipients

MoGenNews Issue 8

MoGenNews Issue 8

Issue 8 of the MoGeNews is now available. Find out about Departmental activities, research, education, new initiatives and the successes of our faculty and trainees.