Dr. Nathalie Arbour

endMS Program Co-Director
University of Montreal

nathalie.arbour@umontreal.ca

Nathalie Arbour obtained her Ph.D. in Virology and Immunology at INRS-Armand-Frappier in Quebec, Canada. She completed post-doctoral training at the Scripps Research Institute in the laboratory of Dr. Michael B.A. Oldstone and subsequently at the Montreal Neurological Institute in the team of Dr. Jack Antel. Since 2006, she is professor at Université de Montreal and researcher at Centre de Recherche du CHUM (Université de Montreal affiliated hospital). Her research program aims at characterizing and understanding the interactions between the immune system and the central nervous system (CNS), especially the roles of T cells in the context of multiple sclerosis (MS). Her research strategy is to first identify molecules or mechanisms that are specifically altered in human samples obtained from MS patients. Then, her team investigates the mechanistic impact of such factors using primary cultures of human immune and CNS cells. Finally, using relevant animal models of MS, Nathalie Arbour and her team confirm and dissect the role played by these identified mechanisms and test in vivo strategies to correct these altered factors and thus validate them as bona fide therapeutic targets. The Arbour’s team performs mechanistic studies on human cells as well as on relevant animal models using a wide array of complementary techniques.

Dr. Nathalie Arbour

Dr. Philippe Beauchemin

Université Laval

philippe.beauchemin.1@ulaval.ca

Dr. Philippe Beauchemin, MD, MHSc, FRCPC Le Dr. Philippe Beauchemin est un neurologue spécialisé en sclérose en plaques, exerçant à l’Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus du CHU de Québec et à la clinique de sclérose en plaques de l’IRDPQ à Québec depuis 2014. Après sa formation médicale et sa spécialisation en neurologie à l’Université Laval, il obtint une surspécialisation en sclérose en plaques et une maîtrise en épidémiologie appliquée de l’Université de la Colombie-Britannique (UBC). Dr Philippe Beauchemin is a neurologist specialized in Multiple Sclerosis, working at Hôpital de l’Enfant-Jésus (CHU de Québec) and at the Quebec City MS Clinic (IRDPQ) since 2014. After completing his medical degree and a specialisation in neurology at Laval University, he pursued a two-year MS fellowship and a master degree in epidemiology from the University of British Columbia (UBC).

Dr. Philippe Beauchemin

Dr. Meghan Beier

Johns Hopkins University

mbeier1@jhu.edu

Dr. Meghan Beier is a psychologist who specializes in multiple sclerosis (MS) at the Rowan Center for Behavioral Medicine. She is also on faculty at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine where she engages in research on the cognitive and emotional aspects of multiple sclerosis. Dr. Beier completed her PhD in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in Health and Neuropsychology. Her postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Washington focused on rehabilitation, cognition, and mental health in individuals living with MS. Her passion for increasing access to mental health care inspired her to found Find Empathy - a free directory of medically-informed mental health providers and continuing education platform.

Dr. Meghan Beier

Nicolas Bertrand

nicolas.bertrand@pha.ulaval.ca

Nicolas is a pharmacist by training and associate professor at the faculty of Pharmacy of Université Laval. His research group works on the development of nanomedicines as novel therapies for human diseases.

Nicolas Bertrand

Syamala Buragadda

2022-23 SPRINTer

Memorial University of Newfoundland

sburagadda@mun.ca

Syamala is a physiotherapist with a master's degree and a major in neurology. As a professional trained in prescribing exercise treatment to patients suffering from neurological disorders, she focused on improving their function and quality of life. Since graduating in 2005, she has been instructing and supervising future researchers in rehabilitation. With an h-index of 17, she has peer-reviewed publications in well-regarded rehabilitation journals and presented her work at several international conferences. She is a full-time Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Epidemiology at the Faculty of Medicine, Memorial University of Newfoundland. Her future goal is to be a clinician, scientist, and health policymaker at the World Health Organization. Aside from being a mother of two children, she enjoys experiencing new cultures and environments. Now, she enjoys being part of St. John's vibrant arts and cultural community and would love to explore new places around the world in the future.

Syamala Buragadda

Dr. Peter A. Calabresi

Johns Hopkins University

pcalabr1@jhmi.edu

Peter A. Calabresi, MD is a Professor of Neurology, Neuroscience, and Ophthalmology at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and Director of the Johns Hopkins Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center. Dr. Calabresi is also Director of the Richard T. Johnson Division of Neuroimmunology and Neurological Infections. He earned his undergraduate BS degree from Yale College and medical degree from Brown University. Dr. Calabresi completed residency training at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, NY, and a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Neuroimmunology Branch. Dr. Calabresi has served on the Editorial Boards of the Journal of Clinical Investigation, Neurology, and the Multiple Sclerosis Journal. He served as Chair of a grant review committee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and was a standing member of the NIH Clinical Neuroimmunology and Brain Tumors Study Section. Dr. Calabresi has been the principal investigator on several clinical trials and also oversees translational laboratory research projects. His specific laboratory research interest lies in understanding the mechanisms by which effector memory T cells interface with glial cells in the brain to mediate neurodegeneration. The Calabresi lab uses the animal models cuprizone and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) and human iPSC derived glia to study the immunopathogenesis of MS. Dr. Calabresi has published more than 400 peer reviewed manuscripts in the field. He is a past recipient of the Jacob Javits Neuroscience Investigator award from the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Calabresi was co-awarded the Barancik prize for innovation in MS research in 2015 for his collaborative work on studying retinal neurodegeneration and its association with brain atrophy and disability progression in MS. He was elected to the American Association of Physicians in 2017 and was awarded “Giant in MS” research award in 2022 by the CMSC.

Dr. Peter A. Calabresi

Alexandre Daoust

Norton Rose Fulbright
alexandre.daoust@nortonrosefulbright.com

During my studies, in parallel with my profound interest in physics, I had developed a significant interest for writing and for law. Soon after graduating in Physics Engineering at Laval University, I joined the law firm in which I was going to become a partner a few years later. It was then called Ogilvy Renault. I developed the knowledge and training to become a patent agent at that firm where I still practice today, which has become a first tier international law firm called Norton Rose Fulbright. In my daily work, I help innovators translate research efforts and investment into commercial value by guiding them and taking care of their intellectual property, as well as navigating the landscape of the rights others may have already reserved. I have significant experience working on medical device technologies, namely for Icentia and several universities. I also help innovators develop and adhere to intellectual property strategies taking into consideration industrial secret, software, data, and namely AI.

Alexandre Daoust

Dr. Jessica Deslauriers

Université Laval

jessica.deslauriers@pha.ulaval.ca

Dr. Deslauriers’ laboratory uses translational and multidisciplinary approaches (1) to understand the mechanisms of susceptibility to psychological trauma, with a primary focus on immune signaling pathways; (2) to identify inflammatory and imaging biomarkers of increased susceptibility to trauma; and (3) to use a personalized medicine by targeting pharmacological approaches based on molecular and pathophysiological characteristics specific to the patient or the “at-risk” individual. Dr. Deslauriers uses a methodology translatable from rodents to humans, including behavioral paradigms, magnetic resonance imaging, as well as genetic and chemogenetic approaches.

Dr. Jessica Deslauriers

Dr. Haritha Desu

2022-23 SPRINTer

Centre de Recherche du CHUM

desuharitha5@gmail.com

Dr. Haritha Desu is a postdoctoral researcher in Dr. Catherine Larochelle’s laboratory at the CRCHUM. Her long-term research interest is to identify therapeutic targets that can promote repair and/or regeneration of the central nervous system in MS patients. Haritha completed her bachelors degree at Stony Brook University (SBU), where she volunteered as a research assistant in Dr. Holly Colognato’s laboratory and also worked part-time as a data coordinator for the pediatric MS center at SBU. This simultaneous exposure clinical work as well as basic science research led her to pursue a PhD and sparked her passion for conducting translational research. Haritha completed her PhD in Dr. Roberta Brambilla’s laboratory at the University of Miami Miller School of medicine in August 2021. Under Dr. Brambilla’s mentorship, she investigated the role of TNF receptor 2 signaling in neuroinflammation and remyelination during MS. Her work during her PhD was presented at various international conferences and resulted in multiple first author manuscripts. Now, as a postdoctoral researcher, Haritha investigates T cell-oligodendrocyte interactions in the context of MS with the hope of identifying approaches to protecting oligodendrocytes during/following injury.

Dr. Haritha Desu

Félix Distéfano-Gagné

Université Laval

felix.distefano-gagne.1@ulaval.ca

Currently a graduate student in the lab of Dr David Gosselin, I have a strong passion for neuroimmunology and transcriptional regulation. I soon realised during my training that bioinformatics would be very useful for my research interests, therefore I taught myself how to perform massively parallel sequencing analyses and how to best report those results using R and other software. In particular, I am leveraging molecular biology and bioinformatic tools to better understand the inner workings of cells, such as microglia, in neuroinflammatory diseases like multiple sclerosis. While still early in my career, I hope to open my own lab in a not-so-distant future and further help halt disease progression of MS. I am currently supported by a doctoral scholarship from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, and have previously received funding from the CIHR and the Fonds de Recherche du Québec - Santé at the MSc level. I coauthored three published articles and share co-first authorship for another manuscript, currently available as a preprint, with more to come. I am also an author on an upcoming review on the roles of microglia in MS that has been accepted for publication in Nature Reviews Neuroscience. Finally, I had the opportunity to present my work at multiple conferences and symposia, including a short talk at a recent Keystone Symposium on Neuroimmunology. https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4583-4311

Félix Distéfano-Gagné

Dr. Afolasade Fakolade

2022-2023 SPRINT mentor

Queen’s University

a.fakolade@queensu.ca

Dr. Fakolade is a physiotherapist by training. She completed her MSc in Neurorehabilitation at Cardiff University, Wales, and her PhD in Rehabilitation Science at Queen's University, Kingston. She then completed her Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Ottawa, where she focused on developing a dyadic behavioural physical activity intervention for people with moderate-to-severe MS and their family caregivers. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Rehabilitation Therapy at Queen's Health Sciences, where her research focuses on supporting full participation in health-promoting behaviours, particularly physical activity, among persons with neurological disabilities, including MS, and their family caregivers. The overarching goal of her research is to develop strategies to maximize the individual and collective well-being of persons with neurological disabilities and their family caregivers.

Dr. Afolasade Fakolade

Dr. Chase Figley

University of Manitoba

chase.figley@umanitoba.ca

I am currently a tenured Associate Professor in the Department of Radiology at the University of Manitoba, where my research program is focused on the development and application of advanced human brain imaging methods - e.g., functional MRI (fMRI), diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), myelin water imaging (MWI), etc. - to explore brain structure and function in clinical populations. I particularly enjoy that this research is so interdisciplinary (at the interface between clinical/translational neuroscience, radiology, neurology, biomedical engineering, and medical physics), and that it is therefore highly collaborative. Before moving to Winnipeg, I completed a BSc in Chemistry (University of Saskatchewan) from 2001-2005, a PhD in the Centre for Neuroscience Studies (Queen's University) from 2005-2010, and then a CIHR-sponsored Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences and Solomon H. Snyder Department of Neuroscience (Johns Hopkins University) from 2010-2013. In addition to my research pursuits, I have also more recently taken on various administrative roles both within (e.g., sitting on the Max Rady College of Medicine Executive Council, the University of Manitoba Senate, and most recently as the founding Associate Director of the newly formed Manitoba Multiple Sclerosis Research Centre) and beyond (e.g., serving as an Associate Editor at Scientific Reports - Radiology Section, and Frontiers in Neurology - Applied Neuroimaging Section) the University of Manitoba.

Dr. Chase Figley

Dr. Louis Flamand

Université Laval

louis.flamand@crchudequebec.ulaval.ca

Louis Flamand, PhD, MBA, is a full professor and Chair of the department of microbiology-infectious-disease-immunology at the Faculty of medicine, Université Laval. Before joining Laval university, Dr Flamand obtained his PhD at the University of Montreal and post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and at the Institute of Human Virology (Maryland, USA). He received a MBA in pharmaceutical management from Université Laval in 2008. From 2008 to 2019, he was President of the biohazards risks committee at Université Laval. He is also member of the HHV-6 Foundation scientific advisory board since 2006. Regarding his work on SARS-CoV-2, Louis currently leads CoVaRR-Net’s pillar 3 (virology) activities and heads the Canadian Consortium of Academic Biosafety Level 3 Laboratories (CCABL3) initiative.

Dr. Louis Flamand

Dr. David Gosselin

Université Laval

david.gosselin@crchudequebec.ulaval.ca

I completed my Ph.D. in physiology-endocrinology at Université Laval in May 2012. My studies, conducted under the supervision of Dr. Serge Rivest, focused on understanding the role of pro-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-1 beta in regulating neuronal activity in various brain-related pathologies. Then, from July 2012 to March 2017, I did a postdoctoral fellowship in epigenomics under the direction of Dr. Christopher Glass at UC San Diego. My studies helped unravel fundamental signaling-epigenomic mechanisms that underlie microglia cell identity. (Gosselin et al., Cell, 2014, Gosselin et al., Science, 2017). Finally, in April 2017, I was recruited at Université Laval, where I lead a research team at the CHU of Quebec-Laval University Research Centre dedicated to the study of the transcriptional mechanisms that underlie microglia functions in health and diseases. Our work is supported by CIHR, MS Society of Canada, Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, and the Scottish Rite Charitable Foundation of Canada.

Dr. David Gosselin

Adam Groh

2022-23 SPRINTer

McGill University

adam.groh@mail.mcgill.ca

Adam began his research career studying neutrophil extracellular trap formation with Dr. Nades Palaniyar at SickKids in Toronto. He went on to receive his M.Sc. in Anatomy and Cell Biology from Western University in 2019 where he was co-supervised by Drs. Brian Allman and Tyler Beveridge and studied the structure and function of the autonomic nervous system. At the end of his master's, he took interest in spinal cord inflammation that follows peripheral nerve damage. This nascent curiosity in neuroinflammation brought him to the neuroimmunology unit at the Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital where he is now a PhD candidate with Dr. Jo Anne Stratton investigating ependymal cells in acute and chronic neuroinflammatory contexts. Beyond the lab, Adam lectures and writes about the history and philosophy of science and teaches cadaveric anatomy to medical students. He is delighted to be a part of the endMS SPRINT and has loved getting to know and learn from talented trainees across Canada.

Adam Groh

Vincent Jourdain

Vincent Jourdain has obtained his PhD in pharmacy at Laval University in 2013. He then pursued his research in neurodegenerative diseases during a postdoctoral fellowship under the supervision of Dr. David Eidelberg, at the brain imaging laboratory located at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in New York. Then, Vincent transitioned into the pharmaceutical industry where he worked in different therapeutic area (respiratory medicine and neurology) as a medical science liaison (MSL). He is currently working at AbbVie, where he contributes to medical and scientific education with neurologist treating migraines.

Vincent Jourdain

Dr. Pamela Kanellis

MS Canada

pamela.kanellis@mscanada.ca

Pamela is Assistant Vice-President, Research and the research lead at MS Canada. Throughout her career, she has focused on the health and life sciences sector, working closely with researchers, innovators and cross-sector stakeholders in academia, government and industry to accelerate research and innovation.

Dr. Pamela Kanellis

Gracious Kasheke

2022-23 SPRINTer

Dalhousie University

gracious.kasheke@dal.ca

I am Gracious Kasheke, a PhD student studying Pharmacology at Dalhousie University. As an undergraduate, I attended Dalhousie University in my hometown of Halifax, Nova Scotia, to major in neuroscience. During my undergraduate degree, I quickly became fascinated with neuroscientific research. I was fortunate enough to take part research early-on as a volunteer in Dr. Aaron Newman’s NeuroCognitive Imaging Lab at Dalhousie University and in Dr. Victor Montori’s KER Unit at the Mayo Clinic. My positive experiences as a volunteer lead me to pursue an Independent Research Project with Dr. Ian Weaver which focused on the relationships between epigenetic profiles and psychiatric disorders. In the final year of my degree, I chose to do an honours project with Dr. George Robertson studying compounds which showed promising remyelinating and neurorestorative properties. I decided to continue this research in the form of a PhD in the hopes of identifying new therapeutics which may have regenerative properties in progressive forms of MS. Although my main focus is on my research, I have continued to take part in my alternative interest as a varsity athlete in soccer. I have just wrapped up my fifth and final year as a Dalhousie Tiger.

Gracious Kasheke

Dr. Soheila Karimi

University of Manitoba

soheila.karimi@umanitoba.ca

Soheila Karimi is a full professor in the Department of Physiology and Pathophysiology at the University of Manitoba, and the Director of the Manitoba Multiple Sclerosis Research Centre. She received her PhD from the University of Saskatchewan, followed by a CIHR postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Toronto. Soheila has had a long-term interest in neural regeneration and stem cell research with a focus on therapeutic development for multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injury. Her research program contributes to both basic and applied regenerative medicine discoveries. Karimi’s program has been continuously funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, MS Canada and other national and international agencies, and has contributed to high impact scholarly publications in neuroscience and regenerative medicine. Soheila has been actively involved in outreach, mentorship and leadership activities in Canada and internationally. She has participated in formation of the International Women in Multiple Sclerosis, and has served in the Executive Board of the International Neurotrauma Society, the Board of Governors of the Canadian Association for Neuroscience, among other peer-review, editorial and advisory panels. In 2020, Soheila was named one of the Canada's Top 100 Most Powerful Women for her contributions to science and technology.

Dr. Soheila Karimi

Dr. Tim Kennedy

2022-2023 SPRINT Mentor

McGill University

timothy.kennedy@mcgill.ca

Professor Tim Kennedy is a member of the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery, and Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. The Kennedy laboratory at McGill University’s Montreal Neurological Institute investigates the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie neural circuit formation, myelination, and plasticity. His laboratory studies the significance of these mechanisms to neural development, to mature brain function, and to neurodegenerative disease. Ongoing studies in the Kennedy lab address the molecular mechanisms that regulate initial myelination during development, the maintenance and plasticity of mature myelin, and the mechanisms that promote oligodendrocyte survival and myelin regeneration in demyelinating diseases like multiple sclerosis. Supporting these goals, he is the co-director of the McGill Program in NeuroEngineering which promotes collaborations between neuroscientists, physical scientists, and engineers to develop new tools to study the nervous system and new methods to promote recovery of function that has been lost due to injury or disease.

Dr. Tim Kennedy

Dr. Kaarina Kowalec

2023-2024 SPRINT Mentor

University of Manitoba

kaarina.kowalec@umanitoba.ca

Dr. Kowalec joined the University of Manitoba in 2019 as a tenure-track assistant professor. Dr. Kowalec's research program investigates poor outcomes (e.g., treatment-resistance, mortality) in psychiatric disorders and multiple sclerosis (and other immune diseases) utilizing register data and extensive genomic data. Dr. Kowalec has been recognized by the US DoD Research Program, National Institutes of Health, European Commission (Horizon 2020), and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), including the prestigious Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions European Fellowship and the Government of Canada Banting Fellowship.

Dr. Kaarina Kowalec

Dr. Hedwich Kuipers

2023-2024 SPRINT Mentor

University of Calgary

hedwich.kuipers@ucalgary.ca

Dr. Kuipers received her MSc in Biopharmaceutical Sciences and her PhD in Immunology at Leiden University in the Netherlands. After this, she moved to Stanford University to do neuroimmunology research as a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of Dr. Lawrence Steinman and continued to study extracellular matrix immunology in the lab of Dr. Paul Bollyky as a research scientist. In April 2018 she joined the Departments of Clinical Neurosciences and Cell Biology & Anatomy of the University of Calgary as an Assistant Professor of Neuroimmunology. She is a member of both the Hotchkiss Brain Institute and the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases. Dr. Kuipers’ research centers on neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) and tries to understand the interaction between immune cells entering the central nervous system (CNS) and its resident cells. Her main focus is on how astrocytes regulate inflammatory responses. She has shown before that these cells, which are highly abundant in the brain, can release factors that help immune cells infiltrate into CNS tissue. She currently investigates how astrocytes interact with these immune cells and shape their responses, and the microenvironmental factors involved in these interactions, using molecular and cell biology approaches, as well as in vivo models of MS. Dr. Kuipers is also passionate about creating an equitable and safe environment to learn and do research and is the chair of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee of the Hotchkiss Brain Institute.

Dr. Hedwich Kuipers

Colleen Lacey

2022-23 SPRINTer

University of Victoria

clacey@uvic.ca

Colleen is a Ph.D.candidate in the Neuropsychology stream of the Clinical Psychology program at the University of Victoria under the supervision of Dr. Jodie Gawryluk. She also completed her Master’s and undergraduate Honours training in the Gawryluk Lab of Neuropsychology and Neuroimaging. Her research interests include using neuroimaging and neuropsychological measures to evaluate aging processes in healthy and clinical populations. For her Master’s thesis, she looked at the impact of Apolipoprotein E (APOE) alleles on brain structure, using multimodal MRI techniques, and cognitive functioning in healthy older adults. In addition, her research evaluates variables such as exercise and depression in the Multiple Sclerosis population. She is currently conducting a study with Dr. Sepideh Hedari and Dr. Jodie Gawryluk investigating the utility of a wearable sensor (PROTXX Ltd.) for early detection and monitoring of MS. Outside of school, she is an avid outdoors enthusiast, enjoys playing music, and cooking!

Colleen Lacey

Dr. Steve Lacroix

Université Laval

Steve.Lacroix@crchudequebec.ulaval.ca

Steve Lacroix is Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Faculty of Medicine of Université Laval, and the Director of the Neurosciences Axis at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Center. He received his Ph.D. from Université Laval in 1998. He then trained as a postdoc with Dr. Mark Tuszynski at the University of California-San Diego (1998-2001) and with Dr. Samuel David at McGill University (2001-2003). He now teaches and conducts research in the fields of neuroimmunology and regenerative medicine, areas in which he has directly supervised the work of >25 graduate students and >30 undergrads. With over 20 years of research funded without interruption and focusing on understanding and targeting neuroimmune interactions in the context of spinal cord injury and disease, he has published more than 75 papers with over 8,200 citations and an h-index of 44, many of which are published in the leading neuroscience and immunology journals (Nat Commun, J Clin Invest, J Exp Med, Annu Rev Neurosci, Brain, Ann Neurol, PNAS, J Neurosci). He is the recipient of the 2020 Turnbull-Tator Award that recognizes outstanding research in the field of spinal cord and/or brain injury research. His recent research has focused on the identification of the endogenous signals initiating neuroinflammation and the role of immune cells in neural damage and repair in the context of SCI and MS. The Lacroix lab has expertise with transgenic mouse models and intravital microscopy techniques to tackle key questions related to the biology of immune and barrier-forming cells, and then applying these insights in preclinical models of SCI and MS.

Dr. Steve Lacroix

Geneviève Lapointe

Université Laval

genevieve.lapointe@edi.ulaval.ca

Geneviève Lapointe holds a master's degree in sociology from the University of British Columbia and a doctorate in sociology from Université Laval. Her doctoral research focused on the socio-economic insertion of immigrants in Quebec. After post-doctoral studies at Université Laval, she is now an equity, diversity and inclusion (EDI) advisor at the same institution. She works with staff, faculty and students to improve EDI in the University.

Geneviève Lapointe

Dr. Stephane Ouellet

Novartis

stephane.ouellet@novartis.com

Stephane received his Ph.D. in molecular Biology from Laval University. He was a Pharma sales representative from 2006 to 2018 and is now a Medical Science Liaison (MSL) since May 2018.

Dr. Stephane Ouellet

Dr. Marc Pouliot

Université Laval

marc.pouliot@crchudequebec.ulaval.ca

A senior researcher studying inflammation, mainly in the context of auto-immune diseases such as arthritis and lupus.

Dr. Marc Pouliot

Dr. Alexandre Prat

Université de Montréal

a.prat@umontreal.ca

Dr Prat obtained his undergraduate degree (B.Sc.) in biochemistry from Université de Montréal in 1990 and an MD-MSc in 1995. Dr Prat completed his Neurology residency training at McGill University (Montreal Neurological Institute) in 2003, after having completed a Ph.D. degree (2000) in the laboratory of Dr Jack P. Antel. His PhD work focused on the development of the human Blood-Brain Barrier. Dr Prat is an active member of the Royal College of Physician and Surgeons of Canada (Neurology) since 2003. In 2000, he received the S. Weir Mitchell Award of the American Academy of Neurology.
Dr Prat is a staff neurologist at the CHUM (Montréal) and is a Professor of Neurosciences at Université de Montréal. Dr Prat held the Donald Paty Research Chair of the MS Society of Canada and was a senior Scholar of the FRQ-S (2012-2016). He now holds the Senior Canada Research Chair in MS and was inducted at the College of researcher of the Royal Society of Canada in 2015. From 2015 until 2018, he was Deputy Director for Development at the CHUM Research Center. Since June 2021 he serves as the Chairman of the Department of neuroscience at UdeM.
The current research interests of the Prat lab include the immunological roles of the BBB, the mechanisms of monocytes and lymphocyte migration across the BBB and the physiological regulation of the Blood-Brain Barrier functions by glial cells. The underlying hypothesis of Dr Prat’s work is that deciphering the mechanisms by which the Blood-Brain Barrier controls the passage of cells and molecules to the CNS should lead to the understanding of diseases such as MS and brain tumors, as well as to the discovery of novel routes for delivery of drugs and chemotherapies into the CNS. The research activities of the Prat lab include a special emphasis towards the biology of human and mouse TH1 and TH17 lymphocytes, as well as the important role of B lymphocytes in MS. The lab routinely performs scRNASeq, 30 color flow cytometry analysis of human or mouse CNS and peripheral blood cells, multiphoton dynamic imaging of CNS vessels, confocal microscopy of human MS brain samples, active adoptive transfer and spontaneaous/transgenic EAE, as well as primary cell culture of human or mouse CNS endothelial and glial cells.
Dr Prat has published more than 180 peer-reviewed research articles in international journals such as Science, Cell, Nature, Nature Medicine, Nature Immunology, Nature Communication, The JCI, PNAS, The Journal of Neuroscience, The Journal of Immunology, Annals of Neurology, PLOSone and Brain. He is an associate editor for Brain.

Dr. Alexandre Prat

Salima Punjani

https://www.salimapunjani.com/about

Salima Punjani is a multisensory artist grounded in relational aesthetics. A common thread through all of her work is the creation of environments that allow for receptivity of connection. She is particularly interested in how multiple senses can be used to expand the possibilities for people to feel welcome in art spaces as well as to create artful experiences of empathy, intimacy, and connection. Her recent work explores themes such as isolation and resocialization processes related to COVID-19, rest as resistance to systemic injustice and how medical data can be subverted into finding human connection rather than pathologies.

Salima Punjani

Dr. Jacqueline Quandt

2022-2023 SPRINT Mentor

University of British Columbia

jquandt@pathology.ubc.ca

Dr. Quandt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and the Centre for Brain Health at the University of British Columbia. She is a researcher and educator in addition to being the Associate Director of the UBC MS Research Group. She completed a BSc in Microbiology & Immunology and a PhD in Neuropathology (UBC) studying immune cell recruitment at the level of the blood-brain barrier(BBB). Dr. Quandt completed post-doctoral training at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD characterizing the contributions of autoreactive T cells and disease associated HLA to disease in humanized models. She later led an Animal Models Unit where her research focused on novel therapeutics applications to impart immunological tolerance in MS and stroke. Her laboratory continues to focus on the relative contributions of inflammatory cells and mediators to disease development with particular emphasis on the following: novel therapeutics to limit cerebrovascular activation and alterations of the blood-brain barrier, and identification of cyto- and neuroprotective pathways relevant to MS and other inflammatory and neurodegenerative disorders. Dr. Quandt was an MS Society of Canada Donald Paty Career Development Award recipient and is an MS Society Ambassador, continually working to bridge knowledge exchange between researchers, clinicians and members of the MS community. Follow Jacqueline’s work at www.quandtlab.com or on twitter @jacquiequandt.

Dr. Jacqueline Quandt

Dr. Manu Rangachari

2023 endMS Summer School Co-Host

Université Laval
manu.rangachari@crchudequebec.ulaval.ca

Manu Rangachari, Ph.D., is Professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at Université Laval in Quebec City. Dr. Rangachari's research interests lie studying in the interplay of lymphocyte populations in central nervous system autoimmunity. His group has a particular interest in mechanisms by which hormonal and chromosomal sex regulate inflammatory T cell function. In addition to co-organizing endMS Summer School 2023, Dr. Rangachari is organizing the 35th annual Canadian Society of Immunology meeting and is on the organizing committee of the 2023 International Society of Neuroimmunology (ISNI) meeting. Dr. Rangachari conducts peer review for Fonds de recherche de Québec-Santé (FRQS), the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the MS Society of Canada. He is a Senior Scholar of the FRQS.

Dr. Manu Rangachari

Jean-François Richard

Roche Canada

Jfrichardbiomed@gmail.com

Completed a PhD in molecular Medicine (under Luc Vallières' supervision) and a MBA in pharmaceutical management, both at Laval University. After a quick endeavour in biotech (Feldan Therapeutics), joined Roche Canada for various positions over the last 7 years. When not working, I enjoy foods, friends and music (playing drums, violin and singing).

Jean-François Richard

Dr. Serge Rivest

Université Laval

serge.rivest@crchudequebec.ulaval.ca

Regular scientist at the CHU de Québec-Université Laval Research Center and full professor in the Department of Molecular Medicine at the Laval University Medical School. He is a renowned Canadian scientist who has contributed to the advancement and acceptance of major new scientific concepts. This work has demonstrated that the CNS is a highly immunologically active organ, with complex immune responses, mostly based on innate immune processes. Such responses implicate a continuum of heterogeneous cell types, both inside the CNS, in the periphery, and at their interface, the blood brain barrier (BBB). The goal here is to manipulate such a system to prevent and cure brain diseases. Canadian Research Chair in Neuroimmunology, Twice named Quebec laureate, Radio Canada and Le Soleil (2007 et 2013). Over 32 000 citations and H factor 99.

Dr. Serge Rivest

Dr. Katherine Sawicka

2022-23 SPRINTer

The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), University of Toronto

k.sawicka@mail.utoronto.ca

I am an MD training in adult neurology and doing a PhD in clinical epidemiology. I am doing my PhD at the Institute of Health Policy Management and Evaluation at the University of Toronto. My research population of interest is adolescents and young adults with multiple sclerosis and their psychosocial and clinical outcomes into later adulthood. My PhD thesis focuses on exploring self-management in people with multiple sclerosis and how self-management relates to age of onset and health-related quality of life. My thesis is supervised by Dr. Brian Feldman in the department of Pediatric Rheumatology at Sick Kids with Dr. Jiwon Oh, Dr. Ann Yeh, Dr. Marcia Finlayson, Dr. Alene Toulany, and Dr. Joseph Beyene as committee members. I hope my work will be formative in development of a dedicated multiple sclerosis transition clinic in Toronto. My hobbies include tennis, making pasta by hand, and improv.

Dr. Katherine Sawicka

Dr. Raphael Schneider

University of Toronto

raphael.schneider@utoronto.ca

Dr. Raphael Schneider is a Neurologist at the BARLO MS Centre in Toronto. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Medicine and the Institute of Medical Science at the University of Toronto. ). Since starting his faculty position in July 2020, Dr. Schneider has been actively collaborating with Dr. Jiwon Oh on biomarker discovery in people with the radiologically isolated syndrome (RIS). The primary purpose of studying RIS is identifying biomarkers related to the risk of developing MS in its earliest stage. Such biomarkers would allow patients and clinicians to be proactive and take steps to prevent the accumulation of disability and ultimately optimize long-term health outcomes. The work is supported by an MS Canada Discover Grant 2022.

Dr. Raphael Schneider

Anik Schoenfeldt

endMS Program Manager
Research Institute - McGill University Health Centre

anik.schoenfeldt@affiliate.mcgill.ca

Anik Schoenfeldt’s involvement with the endMS Network started in 2010 coordinating a consultative process to finalize the design phase and implementation plan for a National Education and Training Program for the endMS Research and Training Network. Anik is currently the Program Manager for the endMS National Education and Training Program, based at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre, and in this role she supports the work of Dr. Christina Wolfson (the Program Director), the governance committees, coordinates program communiqués, develops standardized processes, and manages the administration and evaluation of endMS SPRINT and endMS Summer School. Anik continues to be inspired by the dedication and effort of the trainees, mentors, researchers, clinicians involved within the program and MS research community.

Anik Schoenfeldt

Catherine Talbot-Bercier

Université Laval

catherine.talbot-bercier@vrr.ulaval.ca

Catherine is an EDI advisor at the Vice-rectorate of research at Université Laval since last March. After obtaining her Master’s in career counseling, she has worked as a counselor with equity seeking groups to help them feel valued and included in the workforce. Passionate about her new role, she aims to make higher education an environment where everyone can feel empowered to make a difference.

Catherine Talbot-Bercier

Fiona Tea

2022-23 SPRINTer

Centre de Recherche du CHUM

fiona.tea@unmontreal.ca

My name is Fiona Tea and I am a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr Alexandre Prat. My research investigates immune biomarkers in multiple sclerosis, as part of the CanProCo study. I am happiest when eating or travelling!

Fiona Tea

Karine Thai

2022-23 SPRINTer

Centre de Recherche du CHUM

karine.thai@umontreal.ca

I am a second-year PhD student in the laboratory of Dr Alexandre Prat at the CRCHUM. My research project aims to identify peripheral immune cell signatures that can predict MS trajectory. I am working with high-parameter flow cytometry and biobanked MS samples with longitudinal clinical follow up. By taking part in the SPRINT program, I had the opportunity to work with Dr Timothy Kennedy and trainees Syamala Buragadda and Gracious Kasheke on the effect of exercise in remyelination in MS. This project has allowed me to diversify my expertise and to collaborate with colleagues from interdisciplinary teams.

Karine Thai

Dr. Jacques P. Tremblay

Université Laval

Jacques-p.tremblay@crchul.ulaval.ca

Prof. Jacques P. Tremblay has been working on the development of cell and gene therapies for inherited diseases (mainly Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and Friedreich's ataxia) since 1987. He has published 312 articles in peer-reviewed journals. He is very committed to the clinical application of his research work, as indicated by the conduct, in collaboration with a group of clinicians, of a Phase I clinical trial on 9 Duchenne patients. This trial demonstrated that grafting onto normal allogeneic myoblasts led to the presence of the normal gene in muscle fibers. He received the award for best researcher in Quebec and the award for best researcher in Canada presented by Muscular Dystrophy Canada for his work on DMD. The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Canadian Society for Clinical Investigation presented me with the Henry Friesen Award. He is currently using CRISPR/Prime editing technology to correct point mutations in the DMD, RYR1 and NKX6-2 genes.

Dr. Jacques P. Tremblay

Maude Vaillancourt-Audet

Mitacs

mvaillancourt@mitacs.ca

I am currently a senior business development advisor at Mitacs, a non-profit organization that develops and finances innovative and collaborative projects in every discipline from social science to artificial intelligence. I am particularly interested about research project in life sciences as well as the development of our strategy with health institutions in Quebec. I have a background in Biochemistry with a degree in Cellular Biology and I'm finishing in 2023 a MBA in business management.

Maude Vaillancourt-Audet

Dr. Luc Vallières

2023 endMS Summer School Co-Host

Université Laval

Luc.Vallieres@crchul.ulaval.ca

Dr. Luc Vallières is Director of the Department of Molecular Medicine at Laval University. As a professor, he directs a biomedical research laboratory on autoimmune neurological diseases. His program aims to better understand the biology of immune cells in the hope of finding a way to neutralize them for therapeutic purposes. He is especially interested in a population of leukocyte that constantly patrols the brain vasculature and that was discovered in his laboratory (Journal of Neuroscience 2008, 28: 10187-10199). His research is mainly funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. He was supported by national career awards from the CIHR and “Fond de la Recherche en Santé du Québec”. He is currently the Chair of the Organizing committee for the 16th International Society of Neuroimmunology (ISNI) Congress to be held in Quebec City, August 21-24, 2023. He is also Associate Editor of the journal Frontiers in Immunology.

Dr. Luc Vallières

Dr. Jordan Warford

2023-2024 endMS SPRINT Mentor
Nova Scotia Health

jordan.warford@nshealth.ca

Dr. Jordan Warford is the Senior Director of Research for Nova Scotia Health where he leads a team of 530 research professionals who support over 1500 clinical research studies that have enrolled over 17,500 patients provincially. A leader in healthcare administration and innovative discovery science, Jordan’s approach to strengthening our research ecosystem has resulted in tactical strategies that improve processes and position teams for maximum impact across Nova Scotia. Grounded in a background of translational MS research, Jordan is focused on the integration of research into the continuum of care through clinical trials. He has extensive policy experience spanning provincial post-secondary program evaluation committees, contract research organizations, MS patient advocacy groups, and many non-profits. He currently sits on the Board of Directors for N2 Canada and previously the ALS Society of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Jordan’s experience with intergovernmental affairs has supported the launch of Atlantic Canada’s first clinical trials network resulting in a new front door for industry in the region. He is a certified health executive with the Canadian College of Health Leaders, a Project Management Professional, and holds both a MSc (Pharmacology & Neuroscience) and PhD (Pathology) from Dalhousie University.

Dr. Jordan Warford

Dr. Christina Wolfson

endMS Program Director

McGill University

christina.wolfson@mcgill.ca

Dr. Christina Wolfson is Director of the endMS National Education and Training Program. She is professor in the departments of Epidemiology, Biostatistics & Occupational Health, and Medicine, at McGill University, and senior scientist in the Brain Repair and Integrative Neuroscience Program, Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre. Her program of research concerns the epidemiology of neurodegenerative disorders including dementia, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, epilepsy and Parkinson’s disease. She is a principal investigator on the Canadian Longitudinal Study on Aging, leading the Neurological Conditions Initiative and the Veterans Health Initiative.

Dr. Christina Wolfson

Emily Wuerch

2022-23 SPRINTer

University of Calgary

emily.wuerch@ucalgary.ca

After completing my Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Psychology, Neuroscience & Behaviour from McMaster University, I began my training at the University of Calgary as an MD/PhD student in the lab of Dr. Wee Yong. My research interests lie in understanding the complex interactions that take place between the nervous and immune systems, and how these interactions go awry in MS. My project focuses on combining immune-modifying therapies with exercise, in order to further increase remyelination in the EAE model of MS. In my spare time, I enjoy hiking in the mountains, reading autobiographies, and exploring Calgary on my bike.

Emily Wuerch
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