RAD 2015: Biochemistry Research Awareness Day

As per tradition, this year’s Research Awareness Day, organized by the Biochemistry Undergraduate Society, was kicked off with coffee, treats, and a few presentations by its faculty. 

(The day would turn out to be a long but eventful one, involving networking opportunities, more food, poster presentations, tours, and closing off with a wine and cheese.)

The full list of presenters, with a brief introduction to their research, is as follows: 


Sidong Huang


Prof. Huang’s research at the Goodman involves functional genomics as a guide to cancer therapy, with methods including chemotherapeutics, genetic tools, and high throughput barcode screening to downregulate, kill, and identify various genes in accordance to their drug resistance, thus identifying novel genes and cancer-dependent pathways.


Thomas Duchaine


Dr. Duchaine’s lab focuses its study on RNAi regulatory functions in the onset and development of cancer, in a setting that fosters passion and creativity. His work spans several levels of study, from molecular to physiological—including biogenesis, dsRNA silencing, and microprocessing, and multiple approaches including systems experimentation, bioinformatics, and genetics.


Kalle Gehring


Dr. Gehring’s research is focused mainly on structural biology, utilizing NMR spectroscopy in its study of proteins and nucleic acids, combining approaches from chemistry, biology, and bioinformatics. Undergraduate research is highly encouraged in the Gehring lab, and the annual GRASP symposium is an event where students interested in structural biology will be able to learn more about this field of study.


Vincent Giguere


Also located in the Goodman building, Prof. Giguere’s lab studies approaches to fighting diseases by reprogramming metabolism, and the role of nuclear receptors in cancer, with an integrated approach involving transgenics and functional genomics.


Albert Berghuis:

Dr. Berghuis is pursuing the answer to antibiotic resistant bacteria using structural biology.One area that his work focuses on is next-generation antibiotics which prevent enzymatic degradation of antibiotics.


Bhushan Nagar:

Dr. Nagar uses structural biology to gain insight into the structures of molecules involved in the human innate immune system. One application for his research involves the creation of potential therapies against infectious diseases and autoimmune disorders.


Joe Teodoro:

The focus of Dr. Teodoro’s research is tumor angiogenesis and apoptosis. By using viruses to attack blood vessel formation, Dr. Teodoro hopes to gain insight into specific destruction of cancer cells.


Jason Young:

Dr. Young’s lab is investigating the mechanisms of molecular chaperones in regulating protein folding and the roles of co-chaperones in determining the function of these regulatory enzymes. Dr. Young and his team aim to use their knowledge of chaperones to better understand neurological diseases caused by protein misfolding and aggregation.


Martin Schmeing:

Using X-ray crystallography and electron microscopy, Dr. Schmeing’s lab is exploring the architecture of large enzymes in order to better understand how they perform their functions. During the presentation, Dr. Schmeing played a very detailed animation of a ribosome during translation, coupled with a compilation of pop music to explain each step in the process. These animations and more can be found at Dr. Schmeing’s website


We also interviewed a few attending personalities, and what they were hoping to get out of RAD 2015. The response was overwhelmingly positive, with a few excited grins eager to learn the works of research at McGill. Here’s a few of them. 


Jean Luo:

Jean Luo is a U1 Biochemistry student currently working in Dr. Gehring’s laboratory. She is helping with purification and crystallization of a protein called LPG0195, and is attending today’s event to learn about new research being done in biochemistry.


Maria Levshina:

Maria is a U2 student in honours biochemistry, as well as a first timer at RAD. She is attending to learn more about the research being done at McGill, as well as the plethora of personalities amongst our professors, which she feels is something that she is not exposed to much in classes. She finds the event refreshing.


Jessica Del Castillo:

Jessica is an exchange student from Mexico, currently completing a dual program in biology and biochemistry. She is working in Dr. Schmeing’s lab, and is attending RAD to learn more about other labs at McGill, as well as to learn more about the skills she can develop both as a student and a potential future researcher.


To get involved with RAD 2016, keep an eye out for posters and announcements from BUGS.

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