About Us

Lab exchanges are available for the 2020/21 year with the following VADA Program faculty:

  • Meaghan Jones
    • 8 or 16 weeks in duration
    • Focus of placement: Our current main focus is the role of epigenetic changes in the link between mothers’ exposure to inhaled pollutants like cigarette smoke and their children’s risk of developing asthma. Students will have the opportunity to use large epigenetic data sets from human birth cohort studies or controlled exposure animal models to discover epigenetic changes associated with specific environmental exposures. We have ongoing human projects on air pollution, IBD, diabetes, cigarette smoke, and aging, and mouse projects on cigarette smoke, all of which have different types of data to analyze. For summer 2021, the likely projects are human IBD or air pollution, with some possibility of a mouse cigarette smoke project depending on COVID-related delays in data acquisition.
    • What skills would be acquired? Bioinformatics on DNA methylation microarrays or bisulfite sequencing data, depending on the project. Data analysis primarily by linear regression, interpretation, and biological validation of results (lab work component possible if desired). Understanding of epigenetics and DNA methylation.
    • How should interested students learn more? Contacting faculty member directly

 

  • Pourang Irani – 2 placements

    • Data videos as it relates to health data communication.
      • 8 or 16 weeks in duration
      • Focus of placement: A project on data videos as it relates to health data communication.
      • What skills would be acquired? Programming, video editing/composition, data analytics
      • How should interested students learn more? Through program coordinator
    • Visualizing Covid contact tracing network graphs (funded)
      • 8 or 16 weeks in duration
      • Focus of placement: A project on visualizing Covid contact tracing network graphs
      • What skills would be acquired? Programming, video editing/composition, data analytics
      • How should interested students learn more? Through program coordinator
  • Gary Van Domselaar
    • 8 or 16 weeks in duration
    • Focus of placement: A project would be designed with participation of the student. Example analysis would be SARS-CoV-2 genomics, microbiome
    • What skills would be acquired? Bioinformatics, machine learning, data analytics
    • How should interested students learn more? Through program coordinator

 

  • Jason Leboe-McGowan
    • 8 weeks (an MSc placement or half of a PhD placement)
    • Focus of placement: To be determined in collaboration with trainee
    • What skills would be acquired? Psychological Research Design
    • How should interested students learn more? Contacting faculty member directly

 

  • Lyle McKinnon
    • 16 weeks
    • Focus of placement: My lab focuses on mucosal immunology and HIV transmission in human cohorts, combining epidemiological with immunological approaches. Cohorts include female sex workers, young women in places with high prevalence, and men who have sex with men. We characterize immune cells, gene expression, concentration of proteins, microbiota, and relate these to clinical status and/or future outcomes. We also track transmission phylogenetically using HIV sequences to empirically link transmission network, and study the epidemiological and geographical aspects of these networks. A project in my lab could involve analyzing an existing dataset in new ways, to generate additional insights into the relationships between the variables in these complex datasets.
    • What skills would be acquired? The student will learn ways to better combine analyses of immunological and epidemiological variables as they relate to the study of HIV transmission and/or mucosal homeostasis. This includes statistical and clustering/classification approaches to determine those at highest risk of HIV infection, and where prevention should focus.
    • How should interested students learn more? Through program coordinator