Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute

Team

Group picture of the AVI team.

The team at the Li Ka Shing Applied Virology Institute

OPERATIONS

Darren Hockman, BSc (Biochemistry)
Laboratory Coordinator

With over 15 years of experience as laboratory technician, Darren is in charge of running the AVI’s laboratory and ensuring all the scientists have the reagents and equipment they need while also enforcing biosafety standards. Darren is also an accomplished scientist with multiple publications in the areas of biochemistry and immunology. He is also a key member of the vaccine development team, specifically the downstream protein purification group.

Office Location:7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Office Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: dhockman@ualberta.ca


Janelle Johnson, BSc, MSc
Laboratory Technician

With several years of experience as a laboratory and animal technician, Janelle has been involved with several aspects relating to the development, testing and production of the HCV vaccine. Janelle has multiple roles in the AVI: she helps Darren with the coordination of the AVI laboratory, mainly involved in the maintenance of equipment, she assists the HCV R&D team with the conduction of neutralization assays and most recently, she has become a member of the downstream GMP protein purification team, contributing to the purification of a protease required for the manufacturing process, as well as assisting the team with the purification of the HCV vaccine.

Office Location:7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Office Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: jjohnson@ualberta.ca


Iman Ibrahim

Administrative Assistant

Office: 7-126 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Phone: 780.248.5816
Email: ii1@ualberta.ca


CHEMISTRY

James A. Nieman, BSc, PhD
Head of Chemistry

James has over 20 years of drug discovery experience at large pharma (Pfizer/Pharmacia), academia (UBC and UofA) and with biotech companies (e.g. Anacor). He has worked in multiple different therapeutic areas on programs at every discovery stage and James and his direct report’s contributions have produced 3 compounds that entered clinical trials. James is the author or co-author of 20 peer-reviewed publications and is an inventor on over 130 patents and patent applications in different countries around the world. James is responsible for supervising the chemistry operations in the LKSAVI and business development activities for the institute and its spin out companies. He is also the principal investigator for an antiviral drug discovery project and the medicinal chemistry leader on the Alzheimer’s Disease project.

Office Location: 7-126F Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.8704
Email: jnieman@ualberta.ca
LinkedIn


Bing Bai, PhD
Research Associate

After obtaining his PhD degree at the University of Alberta, Bing worked in industry for 3 years on custom synthesis and drug discovery projects. Bing joined the Institute in 2017 where, based on results from team biologists and modellers, he designs and synthesizes compounds to develop new drugs against viral and CNS diseases.

Office Location: 7-080 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research
Contact Phone: 780.492.3950
Email: bb@ualberta.ca


Alexandr Belovodskiy, PhD
Research Associate

Alexandr obtained his PhD in Organic Chemistry from the Vorozhtsov Novosibirsk Institute of Organic Chemistry (Russian Academy of Sciences, Siberian Branch), after a short Post-Doc at Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie (Paris, France) Alexandr came to Canada as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Alberta to work on Breast Cancer imaging probes with Professors Frederick G. West and Chris I. Cheeseman. He joined the AVI in 2013, initially as a PDF then later he was promoted to an RA, where he works as a medicinal chemistry on drug discovery projects predominantly in the areas of antivirals, cancer immunotherapy, and CNS. Alex also is responsible for maintaining the LC/MS in the AVI and for non-routine analyses (qualitative/quantitative; occasionally).

Office Location: 7-080 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research
Office Phone: 780.492.3950
Email: belovods@ualberta.ca


Mostofa Hena, PhD
Research Associate

After obtaining a Ph.D. in organic synthesis, Mostofa undertook postdoctoral research at the University of Notre Dame and then the University of Alberta (AHFMR research fellow). Mostofa then joined a local company working with international clients performing drug discovery where he worked for 14 years. In 2016, Mostofa joined the Li Ka Shing AVI where he is involved in the design and synthesis of small molecules for interdisciplinary drug discovery teams in several therapeutic areas.

Office Location: 7-080 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Office Phone: 780.492.3950
Email: mostofa@ualberta.ca


Appan Srinivas Kandadai, PhD
Senior Synthetic Chemist

Srinivas obtained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from University of Delhi, India. After completing his postdoctoral research at McMaster University, Srinivas joined the pharmaceutical industry and he worked for three different companies. He has over 10 years of experience in synthesizing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) and other building blocks from milligram scale to kilogram scale. In 2016, Srinivas joined the AVI. He is actively involved in the design and synthesis of small molecules for various AVI drug discovery programs.

Office Location: 7-080 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.3950
Email: kandadai@ualberta.ca


GMP MAMMALIAN CELL MANUFACTURING

Chao Chen, MSc
Biological Technologist

Chao has been involved in the research and development of a vaccine against HCV since 2011. His main responsibilities include scaling up cell culture, assisting with animal model studies and evaluating cross-neutralizing antibodies in vitro. His main role is as a part of the GMP upstream cell manufacturing team producing large volumes of mammalian cells for the manufacturing of the HCV vaccine antigen for clinical trials.

Office Location: 7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: cc6@ualberta.ca


Kevin Crawford, BA
Senior Research Specialist

Kevin has over a decade of experience working for pharmaceutical companies producing GMP clinical-grade mammalian cell lines to be used in manufacturing of human vaccines. He has expertise in expressing and characterising intracellular and extracellular proteins in mammalian cell-lines and is an expert in contemporary methods of mammalian cell expression of heterologous proteins as well as in molecular biological and immunological techniques associated with producing vaccine antigens in mammalian cell-lines. Kevin’s main responsibilities include candidate vaccine antigen characterization and cell line development for the HCV Vaccine product. Kevin is part of the GMP large-scale cell manufacturing team as well as the and GMP protein purification team.

Office Location: 7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: Unavailable
Email: kjcrawfo@ualberta.ca


Catalina Mesa Prince, BSc (Bioanalysis)
Biological Technologist

Catalina is part of the upstream Hepatitis C vaccine GMP cell manufacturing team. Catalina brings years of experience in the field of clinical medical laboratory and applies her strong organizational skills and detail-oriented personality to ensuring the upstream manufacturing processes are meticulously conducted in a timely manner.

Office Location:7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Office Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: mesaprin@ualberta.ca


Drew Colin Nahirney, Diploma in Biological Sciences (laboratory & research) NAIT, C.Tech designation Association of Science and Engineering professionals of Alberta (ASET)
Biological Technologist

With over 15 years of experience as a research technician, Drew has worked in a large variety of projects of different nature and has expertise in a wide range of techniques. Drew is a member of the upstream Hepatitis C vaccine cell manufacturing team and is also responsible for the management of supplies for this group.

Office Location:7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research
Office Phone: 780.492.5781
Email: nahirney@ualberta.ca


Mark Wininger
Vaccine and Diagnostic Cell Culture Coordinator

With over 20 years of experience directing an industrial GMP mammalian cell manufacturing facility and operating large scale (100-250L) mammalian cell line perfusion bioreactors, Mark has extensive expertise in GMP mammalian cell manufacturing of vaccines and diagnostics for clinical trials and licensed products. He designed the specialized perfusion bioreactors that we are currently using for the manufacturing of our Hepatitis C vaccine and leads a team of technicians that he has trained in the operation of the bioreactors.

Office Location:7-126 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Office Phone: unavaiable
Email: wininger@ualberta.ca


GMP PROTEIN PURIFICATION

Elzbieta Dudek, PhD
Research Associate

With an MSc in Biotechnology, a PhD in Biochemistry, as well as five years as a post-doctoral fellow, ELzbieta is an expert in protein biochemistry who has over 10 years of experience in the purification of bacterial and mammalian proteins. Ela is in charge of purifying a protease required for the HCV vaccine’s manufacturing process and she is part of the team in charge of the GMP protein purification of the HCV vaccine. Ela also has expertise in a number of biochemical techniques, such as TIRF and FRET microscopy and SPR. We usually recruit her help while setting up new biochemical assays in different projects.

Office Location: 7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: edudek@ualberta.ca


Michael R Logan, PhD
Research Associate

With over 15 years of experience in virology, cell biology and biochemistry, Michael has a strong scientific background and a critical mind. Mike was one of the first members of the institute and the one who designed the major component of the HCV vaccine. Michael is part of the team working on the downstream GMP protein purification of the HCV vaccine.

Office Location: 7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: logan@ualberta.ca


Darren Hockman, BSc (Biochemistry)
Laboratory Coordinator

With over 15 years of experience as laboratory technician, Darren is in charge of running the AVI’s laboratory and ensuring all the scientists have the reagents and equipment they need while also enforcing biosafety standards. Darren is also an accomplished scientist with multiple publications in the areas of biochemistry and immunology. He is also a key member of the vaccine development team, specifically the downstream protein purification group.

Office Location: 7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: dhockman@ualberta.ca


Kevin Crawford, BA
Senior Research Specialist

Kevin has over a decade of experience working for pharmaceutical companies producing GMP clinical-grade mammalian cell lines to be used in manufacturing of human vaccines. He has expertise in expressing and characterising intracellular and extracellular proteins in mammalian cell-lines and is an expert in contemporary methods of mammalian cell expression of heterologous proteins as well as in molecular biological and immunological techniques associated with producing vaccine antigens in mammalian cell-lines. Kevin’s main responsibilities include candidate vaccine antigen characterization and cell line development for the HCV Vaccine product. Kevin is part of the GMP large-scale cell manufacturing team as well as the and GMP protein purification team.

Office Location: 7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Email: kjcrawfo@ualberta.ca


Janelle Johnson, BSc, MSc
Laboratory Technician

With several years of experience as a laboratory and animal technician, Janelle has been involved with several aspects relating to the development, testing and production of the HCV vaccine. Janelle has multiple roles in the AVI: she helps Darren with the coordination of the AVI laboratory, mainly involved in the maintenance of equipment, she assists the HCV R&D team with the conduction of neutralization assays and most recently, she has become a member of the downstream GMP protein purification team, contributing to the purification of a protease required for the manufacturing process, as well as assisting the team with the purification of the HCV vaccine.

Office Location: 7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: jjohnson@ualberta.ca


VIROLOGY

John Law, PhD
Research Associate

John is an accomplished and well-published scientist and the main virologist of the institute. While leading younger scientists and technicians he has been involved in many of the antiviral-related projects of the institute. He is involved in the R&D side of the Hepatitis C Vaccine project studying virus and host factors affecting Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) neutralization via antibodies. John led the team demonstrated for the first time that the HCV vaccine elicits broad cross-neutralising antibodies against the various global forms of the virus.

Office Location: 6-142P Katz Centre for Health Research
Contact Phone: 780.492.5367
Email: llaw@ualberta.ca


Juthika Kundu, PhD
Research Associate

Juthika is part of the R&D team for the HCV vaccine project and performs various biochemical assays as part of the development of a potent and broadly-acting vaccine. She is also involved in the screening of antiviral agents targeting different viruses, as well as experimental modelling and screening of small molecules as novel therapeutics for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Office Location:7-040 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.4626
Email: juthika@ualberta.ca


IMMUNOLOGY

Amir Landi, MD, PhD
Research Scientist

Amir is a trained immunologist and medical doctor with 18 years of intensive experience in the fields of basic and translation medicine. He is currently working as the lead scientist for the Autoimmune Liver Disease project. He is also the immunologist for the Hepatitis C Virus Vaccine Development group in Dr. Houghton’s laboratory. Amir has been instrumental in designing a key component of the Hepatitis C vaccine and has an issued patent.

Office Location: 7-126 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.8053
Email: landi@ualberta.ca


COMPUTATIONAL SCIENCE

Kamlesh Kumar Sahu, PhD
Research Associate

Kamlesh’s research includes computational calculations involving molecular dynamic simulations/binding energy calculations, pharmacophore modeling, and ligand and structure-based drug-design. His models helped us save years of research by predicting hits in the small molecule projects of Alzheimer’s Disease and Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease projects.

Office Location:7-126 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.248.5816
Email: ksahu@ualberta.ca


QUALITY CONTROL AND QUALITY ASSURANCE

Louise Tan, BSc (Biochemistry)
Quality Assurance & Regulatory Affairs Specialist

With over 25 years of experience in biopharmaceutical companies that had products enter phase III clinical trials, Louise has extensive working knowledge in setting up and implementing Quality Management System (QMS), Quality Control and validation programs that comply with Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) from various jurisdictions (FDA, Health Canada, EU, ICH, WHO) for mammalian, bacterial, and insect cell lines, as well as implementing ISO 15189 Standards for Medical Laboratory. At the AVI, Louise manages the Quality Assurance, Quality Control and Regulatory Affairs department where she assures quality is built into the Hepatitis C vaccine product.

Office Location:7-126 Li Ka Shing Center for Health and Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.8052
Email: lht@ualberta.ca


Lia Firth, BSc (Pharmacology)
Quality Control Technician

Lia is a key member of the HCV vaccine project. With over 10 years of experience in GMP lab environments focused on supporting development and manufacture of pharmaceuticals, Lia is uniquely qualified to develops and conducts methods for Quality Control testing of manufacturing samples and products.

Office Location:7-045 Li Ka Shing Centre for Health Research Innovation
Contact Phone: 780.492.3939
Email: lchekerd@ualberta.ca


PROTEIN ANALYTICS

Joydeb Kumar Kundu, PhD
Research Associate

Screening of small molecule interaction with validated drug targets using Surface Plasmon Resonance (SPR) spectroscopy for developing new drugs for the treatment of cancer and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Office Location:6-096 Katz Centre for Health Research
Contact Phone: 780.492.1216
Email: joydeb@ualberta.ca