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  • Dr. Martin Olivier

    Dr. Martin Olivier

    McGill University, Montreal, QC

    Dr. Martin Olivier received his B.Sc. in Biological Sciences and M.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology from the Université de Montréal, and his Ph.D. in Parasitology from McGill University. He completed postdoctoral training both at UBC in Vancouver with Dr. Neil E. Reiner and at the Montréal General Hospital Research Institute with Drs. Emil Skamene/Danuta Radzioch. In 1993 he became an Assistant Professor at Université Laval. And in 2002 he relocated to McGill University where he is a Professor of Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology. His team is at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre and part of the Program “Infectious Diseases and Immunology in Global Health”. He is the chair of the infection and immunity section of the MUHC FOCIS Centre of Excellence in Translational Immunology (CETI). He is member of the McGill Research Centre on Complex Trait (MRCCT) and the McGill Research Centre on Cannabis.

    Dr. Olivier is internationally known for his seminal findings in host-pathogen interaction, pathogen evasion mechanisms, innate immune response, Exosome biology and insect vector nanobiome. His work uses cell biology, immunology and proteomic methods to study pathogenesis of malaria, leishmaniasis and viruses (HIV, Ebola, Phlebovirus). His research has translated into the development of nanovaccine technology, anti-inflammatory molecules and immunomodulators. Until now he has published over 165 peer reviewed papers and presented over 200 conferences in national and international meetings.

    Dr. Olivier has been part of several multidisciplinary research teams in the parasitology, extracellular vesicles, neutrophils, inflammation and vector transmitted areas. Since the first Canadian Society for Immunology meeting in 1987, where he presented his Ph.D. degree findings, he has been thereafter highly involved in spring meeting and symposium organization, as well as CSI councillor and secretary/treasurer for several years. He was also member of the Local Organization Committee for the memorable Montréal 2004 International Congress of Immunology meeting. Importantly, impact of his research has been celebrated by the reception of awards from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, The Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI Investigator), the Canadian Society for Zoology Wardle Medal, and the Bose Institute Centenary Celebration Recognition award (Kolkotta, India) for his exceptional work in the field of immunology and parasitology. He participates in peer review for multiple national and international funding agencies and journals. His work has been continuously funded by CIHR/MRC and NSERC for the past 28 years and has also attracted substantial funds from a variety of other agencies. In career he trained over 60 graduate students and postdoctoral fellow, and over 100 undergraduate students many of whom are now highly successful in their own governmental, industrial and academic careers.



  • Hanna Ostergaard

    Hanna Ostergaard

    University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB

    I completed my PhD at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where I worked on CD8 T cells (then known at Lyt2+ cells) and their mechanism of killing. I examined the requirement for calcium fluxes in T cell activation and as a result of control experiments found that degranulation was not the only mechanism of killing but that a calcium-independent pathway could lead to the killing of certain target cells. This pathway was later shown to be FasL-dependent killing. Given my interest in calcium signaling I wanted to continue working in the area of signal transduction as pathways required for T cell activation were just being elucidated. I moved south to La Jolla to do a postdoctoral fellowship at the Salk Institute with Dr. Ian Trowbridge where I worked on CD45. Even though the function of CD45 was unknown at the time I started my fellowship, I proposed that its large cytoplasmic tail would contribute to T cell activation. I had no idea how important it would turn out to be. I showed that CD45 had tyrosine phosphatase activity and that it dephosphorylated the negative regulatory site of the tyrosine kinase Lck that allows TCR-dependent activation to proceed.

    In 1991 I moved to the Department of Immunology at the University of Alberta to become an assistant professor and progressed from Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research Scholar, to Senior Scholar then Scientist. I am now a Professor in the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology and the Associate Dean Research for Graduate Programs in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry. I initially focused my research on CD45 and other aspects of T cell receptor and integrin signaling in CD8 T cells. My primary research interest has remained centered on how TCR signals integrate with cytoskeletal rearrangements that are important for adhesion, migration, cell polarization and killing by CD8 T cells. More recently, we have focused our efforts on the cytoskeletal adaptor protein leupaxin and are dissecting its contributions to CD8 T cell adhesion and function in vitro and an in vivo. I have always been interested in CD8 T cell function in a tumor context and we are examining CD8 T cell infiltration and effector function in various tumor models.

    I attended my first CSI meeting at Lake Louise in March of 1991 prior to my move to Canada. I found the Canadian immunology community very welcoming and I met a number of CSI members who became mentors and friends. They were supportive of me as my career progressed and I am proud to have been given the chance to give back to the society that has given me so much. I also appreciate how the society organizes its meetings to give the next generation of scientists a chance to present and discuss their data. It is exciting to see students I met at a CSI meeting return as faculty members and bring their graduate students to the meetings. I served as councillor from 1997-2001 and organized a few of the annual meetings held in Alberta. I was elected as Vice President of CSI in 2011, followed by President and Past President. In these roles, I worked closely with Lori Coulthurst, who keeps the society and the meetings running smoothly. In 2016, I was elected as a councillor for the International Union of Immunological Societies (IUIS) and was re-elected again in 2019. I represent the CSI at the IUIS and participate in activities associated with the IUIS Education Committee. I had the privilege of helping John Reynolds organize some of the meetings at Lake Louise in the 1990s and saw first-hand his commitment to the CSI as he worked tirelessly to move the society forward. It is an honor to be named the 2020 recipient of the John D. Reynolds Award.



    Sylvie Lesage ,Université de Montréal, Montreal QC

    My passion for immunology started during the first year of my BSc program at McGill in the Microbiology & Immunology program. I found Immunology quite intriguing; in contrast to other disciplines, most of the tenets were new and constantly being challenged. I transited to the Interdepartmental Honours Immunology program which allowed me to undertake a one-year internship with Dr. Patrice Hugo where I studied T cell differentiation. I continued this project during my PhD at McGill University in Experimental Medicine. One year into my PhD, I attended my first CSI conference in Ste-Adèle and I was invited to present in a workshop! This meeting made me appreciate the diversity of questions and hypothesis that still need to be addressed. Loving challenges, I was hooked! I am very grateful to the CSI community for their continued support, providing scholarship which gave me opportunities to present my work at international conference, as well as to provide their appreciation through presentation prizes.

    After completing a postdoctoral training with Dr. Christopher C. Goodnow in Australia, where I applied the concepts of immune tolerance and immunogenetics in mouse models of type 1 diabetes, and a second postdoctoral training in Montreal, working on immune tolerance, I set up my research laboratory at Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont affiliated to the Université de Montréal. I am now Full Professor at l’Université de Montréal in the département de microbiologie, infectiologie et immunologie. My current research focuses on cellular immunogenetics, where we address the impact of gene variations in immune composition and immune responses. This research program encompasses both a fundamental and translational research program, where we strive to develop therapeutic approaches to prevent autoimmune diseases or improve cancer treatments. Over the past few years, you may have seen or heard some of this work at CSI meetings, as I continue to encourage my graduate students to join the CSI community.

    More locally, I founded the “Montreal Immunology Meetings network in 2014, which organizes local seminars and an annual symposium, attended by over 200 participants from the greater Montreal area, Québec, Sherbrooke, Ottawa and beyond. I am actively engaged in various networks and I am always very proud to represent the Immunology community.

    Having felt the support of the CSI throughout my career, I had decided to give back to the community. I presented my candidacy and was pleased to act as elected council member from 2015 to 2019. During that time, CSI was building their new website. Among other things, I helped translate key web pages, such that the site is now accessible to the French-speaking community. For those of you who knew John Reynolds, I am sure that you all remember that he created and acted as webmaster for the CSI website. It is thus a great honour to receive the John D. Reynolds award, for having contribute to improve the website. Thank you to all my colleagues for the collegial and collaborative environment. I will continue to attend and to encourage all immunologists, même les francophones!, to join this rich community.



  • Dr. Jean-Philippe Julien

    Dr. Jean-Philippe Julien

    University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

    Jean-Philippe Julien received his B.Sc. from McGill University, obtained his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto, and trained as a postdoctoral fellow at The Scripps Research Institute. In Fall 2014, he joined the Molecular Medicine Program at the Hospital for Sick Children Research Institute and the Departments of Biochemistry and Immunology at the University of Toronto where he leads a team of multi-disciplinary researchers. His laboratory focuses on the molecular characterization of immune interactions, with a particular focus on how antibodies recognize viral, bacterial, parasitic and cell-surface antigens. These studies provide the atomic blueprints for the development of next-generation immunotherapies and vaccines. Notably, he is a Canada Research Chair in Structural Immunology, a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar and a Member of the College of the Royal Society of Canada.



    Judith Mandl, McGill University, Montreal, QC

    Judith Mandl is a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in Immune Cell Dynamics at McGill University in the Department of Physiology. Originally from Vienna, Austria, she embarked on her scientific journey at the interface of maths and biology with an undergraduate degree in Computational Biology at the University of Warwick in the UK to pursue her interests in the evolution and ecology of infectious disease. Wishing to address quantitative questions on within-host interactions between immune cells and pathogens, Judith moved to Atlanta, USA in 2002 to do her PhD in the Population Biology, Ecology, and Evolution Program at Emory University. She trained with Dr. Mark Feinberg at the Yerkes Primate Centre, studying the pathogenesis of HIV by comparing the immune responses of two primate species to Simian Immunodeficiency virus (SIV), contributing to our understanding of the immune responses that distinguish pathogenic SIV infections from the disease-free virus-host equilibrium that is achieved in primate reservoir hosts for SIV. In 2008, Judith relocated to the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, to work with Dr. Ronald Germain and study the dynamic behaviour of immune cells, drawing on the intravital microscopy and systems biology tools established by his group. Her research at NIH showed that CD4 and CD8 T cells have distinct recirculation dynamics through secondary lymphoid organs. Her work also demonstrated that there is a direct relationship among naive CD4 T cells between the self-reactivity and strength of binding of foreign antigen, shedding light on why positive selection in the thymus is able to establish an effective T cell repertoire. Since establishing her lab at McGill in 2015, the focus of Judith's research team has been the fundamental role of immune cell migration in shaping T cell responses, the regulation of T cell motility and its consequences for T cell interactions with other cells that play a critical role in shaping immunity prior to antigen encounter, both in lymphoid organs and in tissue sites of infection. Recent work from her team has shown that we can learn a lot about immunological diseases, such as allergies, from studying disease mechanisms when immune cell migration goes wrong. Moreover, Judith is fascinated by, and has written about, the unique relationship of bats with the RNA viruses they harbor, many of which seem to be pathogenic when they cross the species barrier to humans. Judith’s collaborative, multi-disciplinary research is funded by grants from NSERC, CIHR and the International Human Frontier Science Program.



  • Dr. Naoto Hirano

    Dr. Naoto Hirano

    University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

    Dr. Hirano received his MD and PhD from the University of Tokyo and did his post-doctoral training at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School. Before moving to Toronto in 2011, Dr. Hirano was Assistant Professor of Medicine at the Harvard Medical School. He is currently Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Professor of Medicine in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto. He is also Associate Director for Research of the Tumor Immunotherapy Program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre.

    The overarching goal of Dr. Hirano's research is to devise novel anti-tumor immunotherapeutic modalities that can cure cancer. His laboratory is particularly interested in understanding how the interactions between T cells and antigen-presenting cells affect priming, expansion, persistence and differentiation of T cells. He also seeks to clarify how this leads to the subsequent generation and maintenance of T cell memory.

    Dr. Hirano has received prestigious awards and honors including the American Society of Hematology Scholar Award, Ontario Institute for Cancer Research (OICR) Investigator Award, and UHN Inventor of the year award. He has been continuously obtaining extramural funding for his research program. He is, or has been, a PI on many grants since 2008, including grants from the NIH, CIHR, OICR, Networks of Centres of Excellence (BioCanRx), Terry Fox Research Institute, Canada First Research Excellence Fund (Medicine by Design), Ira Schneider Memorial Cancer Foundation, and Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. Dr. Hirano has been Editorial Board Member of Cancer Immunology Research and Cancer Science, the official journals of American Association for Cancer Research and Japanese Cancer Association, respectively.



    Dr. Nathalie Labrecque, Professor, Universite de Montreal, Montreal QC

    Dr. Nathalie Labrecque, Professor, Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre, Department of Medicine and Department of Microbiology, Infectious Diseases and Immunology, University of Montreal

    Dr. Labrecque is Professor at the University of Montreal and Investigator at the Maisonneuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Centre. She did her undergarduate studies in Biological Sciences at the University of Montreal. Nathalie completed her PhD at the Clinical Research Institutes of Montreal under the supervision of Dr. Rafick-Pierre Sékaly, working on the molecular analysis of superantigen recognition by T cells. She then did a post-doctoral training with Drs Christophe Benoist and Diane Mathis at the IGBMC (Strasbourg, France), where she demonstrated using an in vivo inducible TCR expression system that T cell responsiveness is not dependent on TCR density and that TCR expression is required for peripheral T cell homeostasis. In 2000, she was recruited at Maisonneuve-Rosemont Research Centre with an affiliation at the Department of Medicine, University of Montreal.

    Dr. Labrecque research focuses on defining the molecular events controlling effector and memory CD8+ T cell differentiation. More specifically, her laboratory is defining how the Notch signalling pathway, the NR4A orphan nuclear receptor family members and the UCH family of deubiquitinases influence CD8+ T differentiation during acute and chronic responses. In addition, her team is studying the impact of the circadian clock on T cell immunity. Her research program is currently supported by CIHR, NSERC, CFI and ASAP.

Keynote Speakers

  • Dr. Tania Watts

    Dr. Tania Watts

    University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

    Tania Watts received her BSc (hon) and PhD in Biochemistry at the University of Alberta, where her thesis with Professor William Paranchych focused on the structure and assembly of bacterial pili. From there Dr. Watts went on to do post-doctoral training with Professor Harden McConnell in Chemistry at Stanford University, California, where she used MHC-containing planar bilayers and TIRF microscopy to study how T cells recognize peptides. In 1986, Dr. Watts joined the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto where her research focuses on T cells and the role of TNFR superfamily members during acute and chronic virus infections and cancer. Her lab currently studies T cell responses to influenza, LCMV, and more recently, SARS-CoV-2. Dr. Watts is a past-president of the Canadian Society for Immunology (CSI) and is currently Chair of the Publications committee of the American Association of Immunologists. She has won the Investigator, Hardi Cinader and John Reynolds awards of the CSI and in 2019 won the JJ Berry-Smith award for doctoral mentorship at the University of Toronto. Dr. Watts was a 2014 winner of the GSK fast track challenge for a drug discovery project on B cell cancers, and from 2009-2019 held the Sanofi Pasteur Chair in Human Immunology at the University of Toronto. Dr. Watts has 132 papers on PubMed. Her research is funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health research, the Canadian Cancer Society and by a private donation from the Speck Family.

  • Dr. Joanne Langley

    Dr. Joanne Langley

    Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS

    Dr. Joanne Langley is a Professor of Pediatrics and Community Health and Epidemiology at Dalhousie University and the Canadian Center for Vaccinology in Halifax, NS Canada, head of Pediatric Infectious Diseases at the IWK Health Centre, and lead for the Clinical Trials Network of the Canadian Immunization Research Network. She currently co-chairs the Canadian COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force. Her research is focused on the epidemiology and vaccine prevention of respiratory infections, particularly Respiratory Syncytial Virus and influenza, and immunization decision making.

Equity Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Session & EDI Active Learning Session

  • Dr. Yanet Valdez, Chair

    Dr. Yanet Valdez, Chair

    Born in Perú Dr Valdez began her research under Dr Gilman’s supervision (John’s Hopkins and UPCH), Dr Valdez led a research team investigating the molecular epidemiology of Helicobacter pylori, bacteria an inducer of gastric ulcers and cancer. She then completed her MSc with Dr Townsend at the BRC/UBC in Vancouver studying fundamental question on how T and B cells communicate to produce an effective immune response. She did her doctoral studies in Dr Finlay’s lab and revealed novel concepts of innate responses to the pathogen Salmonella, with important implications for human infectious diseases, infectious colitis, IBD and intestinal fibrosis. After 5 years of post-doctoral work in many institutes in UBC she joined StemCell Technologies Inc. leading a team in Innate Immunology. She returned to academia and managed the Research Office at the UBC Faculty of Medicine. She volunteers for Immunology Without Borders, founder of ImmunoLatinXs, Covid Resources Canada, Women in STEM initiatives in Canada/Globally, and as scientific advisor of the Anti-NMDRA Encephalitis Foundation. She is proud mother of two.

  • DR. Akiko Iwasaki

    DR. Akiko Iwasaki

    Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Maryland, USA

    Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Immunobiology and Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology; Professor of Molecular Cellular and Developmental Biology; Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute

    Professor Akiko Iwasaki has made major discoveries in innate anti-viral and mucosal immunity that have resulted in paradigm shifts in the understanding of the immune response to pathogens as well as in vaccine design. Her research focuses on the mechanisms of immune defense against viruses at mucosal surfaces, which are a major site of entry for infectious agents. The knowledge gained in her lab can be used to design more effective vaccines or microbicides to prevent transmission of viral and bacterial pathogens.

    Professor Iwasaki’s research group developed a new vaccine strategy, termed “Prime and Pull”, that can be used to treat those infected with virus, unlike many vaccines that are given preventatively. This method is currently under phase 2 clinical trials for the treatment of high grade cervical lesions caused by infection human papillomavirus (HPV).

    Professor Iwasaki received her Ph.D. in Immunology from the University of Toronto and completed her postdoctoral training with the National Institutes of Health before joining Yale’s faculty in 2000. She has received numerous awards and honors, including the Burroughs Wellcome Fund Career Award in Biomedical Sciences, the Wyeth Lederle Young Investigator Award, the BD Biosciences Investigator Award, and the Seymour & Vivian Milstein Award for Excellence in Interferon and Cytokine Research. Professor Iwasaki has been a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator since 2014, a prestigious honor that provides the researcher long-term, flexible funding that gives them to freedom to explore new avenues of research. She was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2018, and to the National Academy of Medicine in 2019. Dr. Iwasaki is also well known for her Twitter advocacy on women and underrepresented minority in the science and medicine fields.

    Currently, Professor Iwasaki is directing translational immunology team to investigate the role of immune response in COVID-19 disease outcome. She also co-directs the IMPACT (Implementing medical and public health actions against coronavirus in Connecticut) team to generate an extensive biorepository for specimens collected from patients and health care workers, as well as implementing viral testing in both groups.

  • Dr. Ninan Abraham

    Dr. Ninan Abraham

    University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

    Dr. Ninan Abraham is Associate Dean, Equity and Diversity in the UBC Faculty of Science and a Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology and the Department of Zoology. His research focuses on the regulatory points in immune cell control with specific interest in airway immunity to pathogens and lung cancer. As Associate Dean, he has responsibility for equity, diversity and inclusion initiatives, including the training of faculty search committees, faculty data analysis, reporting on EDI progress for the Faculty of Science, and liaising with the UBC EDI leaders. He has been interviewed by the Globe and Mail and advised CIHR, NSERC and NRC policymakers on best practices. He serves on the UBC President’s Anti-Racism and Inclusive Excellence Task Force.

  • Chanelle Tye

    Chanelle Tye

    Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, BC

    Chanelle Tye is a dynamic and engaging equity facilitator and coach. A trained educator pursuing her Masters of Education in Equity Studies at Simon Fraser University, she brings a deep knowledge of systemic oppression, power, and privilege and specializes in the areas of anti-racism, sexual orientation, and gender identity (SOGI). As a queer of colour, she uses her lived experience and academic learnings to inform her work with educational, non-profit, and governmental agencies. She has most recently been the provincial SOGI Education Lead working closely with British Columbia's Ministry of Education to support safe, inclusive schools for all children and staff. Chanelle uses humour, conflict-resolution strategies, and participant engagement to ensure safe learning environments for novices and experts in social justice issues alike. She is based on the unceded and rightful territory of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh), and xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) peoples.

Symposium I: Single Cell Approaches to Study Tissue Immunity

  • Co- Chair: Dr. Slava Epelman

    Co- Chair: Dr. Slava Epelman

    University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

    Dr. Slava Epelman MD, PhD is a Clinician-Scientist in the Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology at the University Toronto, Peter Munk Cardiac Centre, a Scientist and the Cardiovascular Research Group lead at the Toronto General Research Institute, University Health Network, and the Loretta Rogers Chair in Immunobioengineering for the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research, University of Toronto. Dr. Epelman obtained his MD / PhD (in Immunology) from the University of Calgary and then did his medical residency / clinical fellowships at the Cleveland Clinic, Baylor College of Medicine and Washington University. He is a staff cardiologist in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre at the Toronto General Hospital. His scientific interests focus on the role of macrophages in cardiac tissue injury and regeneration.  

  • Dr. Joachim Schultz

    Dr. Joachim Schultz

    University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany

    Joachim L. Schultze is Director of Systems Medicine at the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) and Founding Director of the PRECISE Platform for Single Cell Genomics and Epigenomics at the DZNE and the University of Bonn. He went to Medical School in Tübingen, spent 10 years at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, in Boston before he returned to Germany with a Sofia Kovalevskaya Award of the Humboldt Foundation. He is the coordinator of the German DFG-funded NGS competence centers in Germany and speaker of the West German Genome Center. He contributes his expertise to several EU consortia. He is an expert in macrophage biology and works at the interphase between immunology, genomics and the computational sciences. With his team he was the first to apply memory driven computing and Swarm Learning to medical research. His goal is to bring single cell technologies and machine learning approaches to the clinical arena. He is leading several programs on applying single cell technologies, memory driven computing and Swarm Learning to patients with Alzheimer’s disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer or HIV. He has established research collaborations with HPE, AstraZeneca, Boehringer Ingelheim, Becton Dickinson and other companies.

  • Dr. Janilyn Arsenio

    Dr. Janilyn Arsenio

    University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB

    Dr. Janilyn Arsenio completed her PhD in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases in 2011 at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She then moved to San Diego, USA to complete her postdoctoral training in immunology and single-cell genomics at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) from 2012-2016. Under the mentorship of Dr. John Chang, Dr. Arsenio’s postdoctoral research focused on the molecular understanding of CD8+ T cell differentiation after microbial infection using single-cell gene expression analysis techniques. Dr. Arsenio returned to Canada as Assistant Professor in the Departments of Internal Medicine and Immunology in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba at the end of 2017, and holds a Canada Research Chair in Systems Biology of Chronic Inflammation. Research in the Arsenio lab aims to understand the molecular regulation of T cell differentiation in the immune response to infection and chronic inflammation using single cell genomics technologies. The Arsenio lab is currently supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program, Canadian Foundation for Innovation John R. Evans Leaders Fund, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada Discovery Grant, Research Manitoba, Health Sciences Centre Foundation, and the University of Manitoba. Dr. Arsenio currently serves as Vice-Chair of Women in Science: Development, Outreach, and Mentoring (WISDOM) in Manitoba, and Senior Mentor Manitoba of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Gender and Health (CIHR-IGH) Trainee Network Manitoba Chapter.

  • Dr. Muzlifah Haniffa

    Dr. Muzlifah Haniffa

    Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK

    Muzlifah Haniffa is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow, Lister Institute Research Fellow and Consultant Dermatologist based in Newcastle University. She graduated from medical school in Cardiff, trained as a junior doctor in Cambridge and received her dermatology specialist training in Newcastle. She was awarded an Action Medical Research Training Fellowship and a Wellcome Trust Clinical Intermediate Fellowship.

    Muzlifah is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences (2020) and the recipient of the Academy of Medical Sciences Foulkes Foundation Medal (2019) and the European Federation of Immunological Societies ACTERIA Prize in Immunology and Allergology (2018). She is a leading member of the Human Cell Atlas initiative and pioneered the application of single cell genomics to decode the developing human immune system, and the human skin in health and disease.

CIHR-III/CSI Early Career Investigator Session

  • Dr. Charu Kaushic

    Dr. Charu Kaushic

    McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

    Charu Kaushic, PhD, is the Scientific Director of the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR)-Institute of Infection and Immunity, serving in this role since July 1, 2018. Dr. Kaushic is also a tenured Full Professor in the Department of Medicine in McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada. In her role as the Scientific Director for CIHR-III, Dr. Kaushic is responsible for making decisions for CIHR strategic investments in the area of infection and immunity, nationally and internationally. She also represents CIHR and Government of Canada at various national and international forums related to infectious diseases. In this capacity she serves as a Chair of GloPID-R, a global consortium of funders in pandemic preparedness and emergency response research. She also represents Canada on the JPIAMR Management Board. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been closely involved in shaping CIHR’s research response to the pandemic and is serving on Canada’s COVID-19 National Immunity Task Force.

    Dr. Kaushic has a PhD in Immunology and did her post-doctoral training in mucosal immunology. Since her faculty appointment in McMaster in 2002, she has done extensive teaching and training in immunology and built an interdisciplinary research program in women’s reproductive health, specifically basic, clinical and translational research examining susceptibility and immune responses to sexually transmitted viruses, HIV-1 and HSV-2. Prior to joining CIHR, Dr. Kaushic’s research program was funded by CIHR, CFI, CANFAR and OHTN. She has received numerous national and international awards including a Rockefeller post-doctoral fellowship, CIHR New Investigator Award, OHTN Research Scholar award, OHTN Research Chair award and the 2017 American Journal of Reproductive Immunology Research Excellence Award.

  • Dr. Ali Abdul-Sater

    Dr. Ali Abdul-Sater

    York University, Toronto, ON

    Dr. Abdul-Sater completed his PhD in 2010 in Immunology at the University of California, Merced, where he investigated host-pathogen interactions and inflammasome activation in response to Chlamydia trachomatis infections. He then moved to New York City, where he pursued his postdoctoral studies at Columbia University and studied interferon responses and bacterial cyclic dinucleotides. In 2013, Dr. Abdul-Sater moved to Canada and joined the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto, as a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Tania Watts, where he investigated the role of TRAF1, a multi-functional adapter protein required for immune signaling, in lymphoma survival and in regulating inflammation. Dr. Abdul-Sater was then appointed as an Assistant Professor in 2016 and established his research group. Dr. Abdul-Sater’s research is focused on the regulatory mechanisms of inflammation and how aberrant inflammation and related cytokines drive autoimmune diseases. Dr. Abdul-Sater was awarded a Tier 2 York Research Chair in 2020 and a Stars Career Development award from the Arthritis Society to target specific functions of TRAF1 as a therapy for rheumatoid arthritis.

  • Dr. Rebecca Shapiro

    Dr. Rebecca Shapiro

    University of Guelph, Guelph, ON

    Rebecca is an Assistant Professor in the Department Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. Rebecca completed her Bachelor’s degree at McGill University in the Department of Biology. She then moved to Toronto to join the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto as a PhD student. At the University of Toronto, Rebecca worked with Dr. Leah Cowen where she studied the genetic mechanisms of fungal morphogenesis and pathogenesis. After finishing her doctoral studies, Rebecca joined the lab of Dr. Jim Collins at MIT and the Broad Institute as a Banting Postdoctoral Fellow. Her postdoctoral work focused on CRISPR-based technologies for functional genomics and microbial genomic analysis. Her new research group at the University of Guelph started in January 2018, and focuses on studying microbial fungal pathogens and developing and employing CRISPR technologies to allow us to better understand the biology and pathogenesis of these fungal species. She is currently part of the CIFAR Global Scholars program on the Fungal Kingdom.

  • Dr. Sonya MacParland

    Dr. Sonya MacParland

    Toronto General Research Institute, Toronto, ON

    Dr. Sonya MacParland, PhD, is a scientist in the Ajmera Transplant Centre and the Schwartz Reisman Liver Research Centre at the University Health Network and an Assistant Professor in the University of Toronto’s department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology and the department of Immunology. Dr. MacParland's research program is focused on translating fundamental knowledge about the immune biology of the liver into clinical applications. Dr. MacParland and her research team are using advanced genomics including single cell and single nucleus RNA sequencing to describe the microenvironment of the healthy and diseased human liver. Her team is examining how the liver immune environment can be therapeutically targeted and manipulated using nanoparticles to slow or reverse ongoing damage.

Symposium II – Sex Effects on Immune Function and Disease

  • Dr. Manu Rangachari

    Dr. Manu Rangachari

    Université Laval, Laval, QC

    Dr. Manu Rangachari is Associate Professor in the Faculty of Medicine at Laval University in Quebec City, and is appointed as a researcher in the Department of Neurosciences at the Quebec City University Hospital Research Center. The focus of his lab is in understanding the role of cellular immunity in the pathogenesis of MS and in progressive MS in particular. His lab has developed lymphocyte adoptive transfer preclinical models of relapsing/progressive MS, and they recently showed that male sex chromosomes are associated with worsened Th17-mediated chronic CNS autoimmunity. Dr. Rangachari is a Junior-2 Scholar of the Fonds de recherche du Québec – Santé, and his lab is supported by funding from the MS Society of Canada, NSERC and CIHR

  • Dr. Neeloffer Mookherjee

    Dr. Neeloffer Mookherjee

    University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, MB

    Dr. Neeloffer Mookherjee is a Professor within the departments of Internal Medicine and Immunology, at The University of Manitoba. Dr. Mookherjee’s research group at the Manitoba Centre for Proteomics and Systems Biology uses various Systems-level approaches to identify molecular hubs within inflammatory networks, and to define disease-related biosignature that can be targeted for the development of new immunomodulatory drugs, with a focus on asthma and arthritis. She is an internationally recognized leader with seminal contributions in defining the immunity-related functions of cationic host defence (antimicrobial) peptides, in particular the role of these peptides in the regulation of inflammation. Dr. Mookherjee is the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) Sex and Gender Science Chair in Respiratory Health. She has undertaken to incorporate Sex- and Gender-Based Analyses in her research program, primarily focusing on sex as a biological variable in the regulation of inflammation in the lungs and response to therapy in asthma. For more information see

  • Dr. Eleanor Fish

    Dr. Eleanor Fish

    University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

    Dr. Fish received her B.Sc. from the University of Manchester, UK,her M.Phil. from King’s College, University of London, UK and her Ph.D. from the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto, Canada. A focus of Dr. Fish’s research is the investigation of host-pathogen interactions at the cellular and molecular level, specifically in the context of viruses and interferons. During the 2003 outbreak of SARS in Toronto, she initiated studies to investigate the therapeutic potential of interferon in SARS patients. Encouraging results have directed her group’s efforts toward examining type I interferons’ activities against a number of emerging infectious diseases, such as avian H5N1 and pandemic H1N1 influenza viruses. During the ebola virus outbreak in West Africa in 2013-2016, her studies focused on investigating the therapeutic effectiveness of interferon treatment for Ebola virus disease, with a clinical trial in Guinea, with positive outcomes. Dr. Fish was a member of a WHO Working Group to evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of different antiviral interventions against Ebola virus. Most recently, in an exploratory clinical study in Wuhan, China, she evaluated the therapeutic effectiveness of IFN-a treatment for COVID-19. The positive outcomes from this study have led to a number of ongoing international clinical trials with interferon. Dr.Fish is a member of the Federal government COVID-19 Therapeutics Task Force.

  • Dr. Connie Krawczyk

    Dr. Connie Krawczyk

    Van Andel Institute, Michigan, USA

    Connie Krawczyk, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Van Andel Institute investigating the links between metabolism, epigenetics and the immune system, with the goal of understanding how they work together in health and disease. She earned her B.S. with honors in molecular biology and genetics from University of Guelph followed by her Ph.D. in cell and molecular biology from University of Toronto. She then completed postdoctoral fellowships in the labs of Dr. Hao Shen and Dr. Edward Pearce at University of Pennsylvania before taking a position as a senior research biologist at Merck Frosst. In 2011, Dr. Krawczyk was recruited to McGill University as an assistant professor, where her work focused on the molecular mechanisms regulating dendritic cell function. She joined VAI as an associate professor in 2018 as part of its new Department of Metabolic and Nutritional Programming. Research in her laboratory focuses on epigenetic and metabolic programming of T cells and dendritic cells, with specific interests in immune responses to infection and sex-differences in immune function.

  • Dr. Molly Ingersoll

    Dr. Molly Ingersoll

    Pasteur Institute, Paris, France

    I received my PhD in host-pathogen interactions from NYU School of Medicine in New York City working with Arturo Zychlinsky at NYU and at the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology in Berlin, Germany. After a brief postdoctoral fellowship at Washington University School of Medicine, in St Louis, MO with Scott Hultgren, studying innate immunity to urinary tract infection, I moved back to New York for a postdoctoral fellowship at Mount Sinai Medical Center, investigating monocyte and dendritic cell biology with Gwen Randolph. I moved to Paris in 2012 to establish a group at the Institut Pasteur, where I am currently a Directeur de Recherche/Research Director and have recently established a dual appointment at the Institut Cochin where my team Mucosal Inflammation and Immunity and I will continue to investigate mucosal immunity in the bladder in the context of infection and cancer.

Symposium III: Allergic Disease: Pathogenesis, Prevention and Therapeutics

  • Dr. John Gordon

    Dr. John Gordon

    University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, SK

    Dr. John Gordon received his PhD in immunopathology from the University of Saskatchewan in 1984. He did Fellowships at the National Institute for Medical Research (Mill Hill, UK) and in the Department of Pathology at Harvard Medical School, and returned to the University of Saskatchewan in 1991, where he is presently a Professor in the Division of Respirology, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine. Dr. Gordon’s research is largely focused on the development of immunotherapeutic approaches for allergic and other inflammatory diseases. His has published more than 130 research reports, and holds a dozen patents. He has served on numerous private and public sector boards, is a Fellow of the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences, serves on the Advisory Board of the CIHR Institute of Infection and Immunity. He has served as the President of the Canadian Society for Immunology, on the Executive Council for the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum, and on the Gairdner Foundation’s Medical Review Panel, among others.

  • Dr. Kelly McNagny

    Dr. Kelly McNagny

    University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

    Dr McNagny obtained his PhD in Cellulal Immunology at the U of Alabama, Birmingham (1990) with Max D Cooper (National Academy of Sciences, HHMI). He then performed postdoctoral training with Thomas Graf (EMBL, Heidelberg) studying transcriptional control of stem cell fate and macrophage, eosinophil and thrombocyte development. In 1998 he started his own laboratory at the University of British Columbia focused on the CD34 family of stem cell sialomucins, stem cell behavior, innate immune responses, inflammatory disease, cancer biology and therapeutics. He is currently a Professor of Medical Genetics and Biomedical Engineering and his research relies heavily on the use of transgenic mice and animal models of human inflammatory disease as well as high-throughput “omics” technologies to reveal the origins of human disease. Nationally, he has fulfilled leadership roles in the Stem Cell Network Centre of Excellence, the Centre for Drug Research and Development and as the Associate Scientific Director of the AllerGen Network Centre of Excellence.

  • Dr. Bart Lambrecht

    Dr. Bart Lambrecht

    Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium

    Bart N. Lambrecht obtained an MD (1993) and PhD (1999) in Medicine at Ugent and specialized in Pulmonary Medicine (2002) at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He is Professor of Pulmonary Medicine at ErasmusMC and at UGent, Belgium, and since 2012 the director of the VIB Inflammation Research Center, hosting 350 scientists . He is a multiple ERC grant awardee and serves on the editorial board of Trends in Immunology and Journal of Experimental Medicine. He has (co)authored 356 papers in the field of asthma and allergy and respiratory viral infection.

    Together with Prof. Hamida Hammad he leads a research unit of 25 people. The research in their unit is centered around the role of antigen-presenting in asthma and respiratory viral infection. They study how DCs and macrophages get activated to bridge innate and adaptive immunity in the lung and cause inflammation in response to allergen inhalation or exacerbations by respiratory virus. They focus on the traditional immunological functions of APCs, but the research team is also known for their approach on how epithelial cells and innate immune cells communicate with APCs to cause or perpetuate disease. Their research strategy is to continuously develop new tools and therapeutic targets, so that they can tackle questions in an innovative and competitive manner. Their ultimate goal is to find novel ways to prevent and treat asthma, and to achieve this goal they set up early stage collaborations with Biotech and Pharma, to take their ideas to the clinic. Since the COVID-19 crisis, he has initiated two large multi-center trials on new immunomodulators in COVID-19, the SARPAC trial testing the effect of inhaled GM-CSF; and the COV-AID trial addressing the impact of early interleukin-1 and -6 blockade in COVID-19.

    A full list of publications can be found at

  • Dr. Marsha Wills-Karp

    Dr. Marsha Wills-Karp

    John Hopkins University, Maryland, USA

    Marsha Wills-Karp obtained her PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara in 1987. She completed her postdoctoral training at Yale University and Johns Hopkins University. She is currently the Anna M. Baetjer Professor and Chair of the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the Whiting School of Engineering. She has a strong track record of NIH funding and has served on numerous editorial boards and currently serves as Associate Editor of the Journal of Clinical Investigation. She has (co)authored 176 papers in the field of asthma and allergy and the impact of environmental pollutants on respiratory health.

    Her research activities focus on defining the environmental and genetic determinants of allergic airway diseases such as asthma. She and her lab members have specifically explored the role of CD4+ Th2 cells and cytokines (IL-13), and innate immune pathways (complement activation pathways, TLRs, CLRs), in the pathogenesis of asthma. Her group has made substantial contributions to our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying allergenicity of common allergens-specifically how allergens activate innate immune pathways through dysregulated pattern recognition receptor recognition of common ubiquitous environmental antigens. Moreover, her team has explored the role of environmental factors (e.g., PM2.5, metals, microbiome) on susceptibility of a variety of immune-related diseases in childhood.

  • Dr. Jörg Fritz

    Dr. Jörg Fritz

    McGill University, Montreal, QC

    Jörg H. Fritz is an Associate Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. Jörg did his undergrad in Microbiology and Genetics at the University of Vienna, Austria followed by an M.Sc. at the biotech start-up Intercell AG in Vienna. He then completed a Ph.D. in Immunology and Vaccinology at the University of Vienna in cooperation with Intercell AG at the University of Vienna, Austria where he developed the novel vaccine adjuvant IC31, which is in phase 3 clinical trails. He then furthered his training during a postdoc with Dana J. Philpott at the Institute Pasteur in Paris and with Jennifer L. Gommerman at the University of Toronto, where he studied how Nod-like receptors shape antigen-specific immune responses, and how intestinal IgA+ plasma cells are regulated. Starting his own research group at McGill University with July 2010 he developed a research program that is focused on studying the priming and function of innate lymphoid cells (ILC) and B lineage cells for their role in mucosal immunity. Here Jörg’s research centers on two main pillars: (i) the regulation of group 2 innate lymphoid cells (ILC2) during allergic lung inflammation and pulmonary infection; (ii) understanding antigen-specific immunity to SARS-CoV-2 infection in the context of pre-existing immunity to previous infections.

  • Dr. Gail Gauvreau

    Dr. Gail Gauvreau

    McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

    Dr. Gail Gauvreau is a Professor in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. She graduated with an MSc in the field of Respiratory Physiology from the University of Guelph, and PhD in the field of Medical Sciences from McMaster University. This was followed by postdoctoral training in the Division of Clinical Immunology at Johns Hopkins University, and the Division of Respirology at McMaster University. Her research laboratory investigates mechanisms of allergic asthma, with a research focus on pharmacological modulation of allergic airway inflammation using human models of asthma. She is Director of the AllerGen Clinical Investigator Collaboration, a Canada-wide consortium for phase II testing of investigational products for asthma.

Trainee Talks Speakers

  • Dr. Mitra Shourian

    Dr. Mitra Shourian

    University of Montreal, Montreal, QC

    I completed my Ph.D. at McGill University in Dr. Salman Qureshi's laboratory in 2017, working on the genetic and immunological dissection of host susceptibility to Cryptococcus infection. Then I started a postdoctoral position in Dr. Decaluwe’s laboratory in September 2018 at CHU Sainte-Justine research center. My main project in the lab is focused on the role of ϒc cytokines in regulating T-cell exhaustion and memory development in adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT) of leukemia." Contact:

  • Hannah L. Raczkowski

    Hannah L. Raczkowski

    Lawson Research Institute, Canada

    Hannah Raczkowski is currently completing her MSc in Immunology in Dr. Rodney DeKoter’s laboratory at Western University, where she also obtained her BMSc in Immunology in 2019. Her research focuses primarily on the transcriptional control of B cell events. Specifically, Hannah investigates the SPI family of transcription factors and their roles in B cell development and differentiation

  • Elizabeth Balint

    Elizabeth Balint

    McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

    Elizabeth is currently a MSc student in Dr. Ali Ashkar's Lab at McMaster University, where she also obtained her HBSc in Integrated Science in 2019. Her research focuses on understanding the role of innate immunity in the pathogenesis of Zika virus infections. Currently, she is investigating how hyperinflammation induces innate-like T cell-mediated cytotoxicity during viral infection.

  • Salma Sheikh-Mohamed

    Salma Sheikh-Mohamed

    University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

    Salma Sheikh-Mohamed completed her HBSc at the University of Toronto studying human biology and psychology. She also completed her MSc in immunology in the lab of Dr. Jennifer Gommerman at UofT, where she studied the changing immunophenotype of the human gut during diseases such as HIV. She is currently a PhD student in Dr. Gommerman’s lab, and is interested in studying the mucosal immune system. Her recent research focuses on the oral microbiome as well as immune responses in the oral and nasopharyngeal cavities following both natural COVID-19 infection and vaccination. For further communication, she can be contacted by email at

  • Andrew J. Sharon

    Andrew J. Sharon

    University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC

    Andrew Sharon is an enthusiastic PhD Candidate in Dr. Lisa Osborne’s laboratory at the University of British Columbia. He loves using gnotobiotics and other mouse models to probe the fascinating interactions between the immune system and everything that lives in and passes through the intestine; in particular, he is studying how common antibiotics can alter the immune system in unexpected ways. He is also passionate about science outreach with marginalised adult communities.

  • Homaira Hamidzada

    Homaira Hamidzada

    University of Toronto, Toronto, ON

    Homaira obtained her BSc specializing in Human Biology from the University of Toronto in 2018. She is currently pursuing her PhD in Immunology at the University of Toronto under the mentorship of Dr. Slava Epelman. Her interests are widely focused on tissue macrophage heterogeneity, single cell transcriptomics, and multicellular communication in the human heart.

  • Dr. Abrar Ul Haq Khan

    Dr. Abrar Ul Haq Khan

    University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON

    Abrar earned his PhD from University of Montpellier, France. During his PhD he investigated how oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) generates an antioxidant response through the MAPK-ERK5 pathway. Furthermore, he explored how cells adapt their metabolism to different substrates and how they decide between glycolysis, OXPHOS and fatty acid oxidation. Thereafter, he moved to University of Ottawa, Canada and was awarded with Mitacs postdoctoral fellowship. His current focus of research is immunometabolism, in particular his research relies mainly on NK cell metabolism during infectious conditions. For further in person communication, he can be contacted at

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