Maternal and Child Health Scholarship Program

Potential Supervisors

All faculty in Pediatrics, Medical Genetics and Obstetrics & Gynecology are potentially able to take MatCH students. Listed below are faculty who have specifically stated availability in their laboratories, but students are encouraged to list any faculty member in these departments whose research is of interest to them in their listing of five preferred supervisors.

If you are a supervisor interested in participation in the MatCH Program, please contact match@ualberta.ca to be added to this directory. The MatCH Program provides 100% of the student's stipend for the first semester. For the remaining two years of the program, the stipend is split 50-50 between the MatCH Program and the student's chosen supervisor. For more information regarding supervisor experience in the MatCH Program, see Dr. Lynne Postovit's interview here.


Medical Genetics

Fred Berry* (fberry@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc or PhD (MSc Possibly transferring to a PhD)
Project Title: Genetic regulation of skeletal growth and patterning
Keywords: Gene regulation, Bone, Development

*Note: accepting students for Fall 2019 and Winter 2020

Oana Caluseriu (caluseri@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc
Project Title: Molecular characterization of gens causing rare disorders in children
Keywords: Rare diseases, Craniofacial anomalies, Limb anomalies

Daniel Graf (dgraf@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Bmp7 function in cranial neural crest cells: molecular and cellular characterization of a complex craniofacial phenotype
Keywords: bone morphogenetic proteins, mouse genetics, craniofacial development, craniofacial malformation, neural crest cells, bone formation
Brief Project Description: Using a mouse model of midfacial hypoplasia associated with nasal airway obstruction, which is a feature of many congenital craniofacial syndromes, we investigate bone and cartilage development to elucidate molecular and cellular causes for this growth deficiency.

For more information: www.dentistry.ualberta.ca/en/AboutUs/.../DanielGraf.aspx

Sarah Hughes* (shughes1@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: A genetic model for Neurofibromatosis Type II: Identification and characterization of protein partners of the Merlin tumour suppressor protein
Keywords: Drosophila, tumour suppressor, cell adhesion, cytoskeleton

For more information: http://www.medgen.ualberta.ca/AboutUs/Faculty/SarahHughes.aspx

*Note: unable to take students for rotation until Fall 2020

Ordan Lehmann (ordan.lehmann@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Developing mechanistic insight into neurogenetic disease
Keywords: Neurogenetics, eye disease, stroke, vascular biology

Anastassia Voronova*

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc or PhD (MSc Possibly transferring to a PhD)
Project Title: Role of Ankrd11, an autism spectrum disorder risk gene, in cranial neural crest and brain development
Keywords: mouse genetics, craniofacial development, craniofacial malformation, neural crest cells, bone formation, brain development, neural stem cells, epigenetics, developmental neuroscience, autism, neurodevelopmental disorders, intellectual disability

*Note: unable to take students for rotation until Winter 2020

Zhixiang Wang (zwang@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Overcoming the drug-resistance in breast cancer by understanding the mechanisms and designing novel treatment strategies.

For more information: http://www.medgen.ualberta.ca/AboutUs/Faculty/ZhixiangWang.aspx

Rachel Wevrick* (Rachel.wevrick@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Keywords: Medical Genetics, Neuroscience, Obesity, Development, Cell Biology, Gene regulation
Brief Project Description: Two positions are available for students with a B.Sc in Biology, Life Sciences or a related discipline, and a keen interest to learn. The projects examine differences in gene expression, morphology, cell biology, and physiology in knock-out mouse models of Prader-Willi syndrome. Techniques will include cell biology, neurophysiology, RNA in situ hybridization, and immunohistochemistry.

For more information: http://www.medgen.ualberta.ca/en/AboutUs/Faculty/RachelWevrick.aspx

*Note: unable to take students for rotation until Winter 2020

Toshifumi Yokota (toshifumi.yokota@ualberta.ca)

Department: Medical Genetics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Antisense and Genome Editing Therapies for Neuromuscular Diseases/ Role of Water Channel in Muscle and Brain 
Keywords: Muscular Dystrophy, Genome Editing, Water Channel Aquaporins 
Project examples:

1. Antisense and Genome Editing Therapies
Antisense-mediated therapy is an exciting new approach to treat diseases using DNA-like molecules. These molecules act like a stitch or Band-Aid to mitigate the effects of genetic mutations and restore the gene function. We also employ CRISPR/Cas9-based genome editing to rescue these mutations. Our focus is on several devastating genetic diseases.

2. Role of water channel aquaporin-4 (AQP4) in muscle and brain
A water channel Aquaporin-4 (AQP4) is known to selectively express in the fast-twitch skeletal muscle fibres and at the perivascular blood-brain-barrier (BBB) in the brain; however, its physiological function remains poorly understood. In the past ten years, we have published several key findings related to the role of AQP4 in muscle fatigue and recovery using mutant mouse models. These include regulation of water flow across muscle membrane (sarcolemma) by AQP4 against osmotic changes and the recovery of muscle force generation after osmotic changes or exercise. The goal of our research program is to characterize the role of AQP4 in response to the muscle exercise and fatigue in muscles and brains.

For more information: https://sites.google.com/ualberta.ca/yokota-lab/home 


Obstetrics & Gynecology

Sandy Davidge* (sandra.davidge@ualberta.ca)

Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology
Degree: PhD
Project Title: Pregnancy complications and maternal and fetal outcomes
Keywords: preeclampsia, fetal growth restriction, vascular function

For more information: http://obgyn.med.ualberta.ca/AboutUs/Academic%20Faculty/Pages/default.aspx?P=5

*Note: unable to take students for rotation until Fall 2020

Denise Hemmings (denise.hemmings@ualberta.ca) - 2 sample projects

Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology
Degree: MSc (with possibility of transfer to PhD)
Project Title: A new mechanism for control of vascular tone by regulation of endothelial permeability in human resistance arteries: is this dysfunctional in pregnancy complications?
Keywords: Preeclampsia, vascular function, sphingosine 1-phosphate

Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology
Degree: MSc (with possibility of transfer to PhD)
Project Title: The impact of pregnancy hormones on vascular responses to sphingosine 1-phosphate, a bioactive lipid.
Keywords: Pregnancy hormones, vascular responses, endothelium

*Note: unable to take students for rotation until Fall 2020

Lynne Postovit (postovit@ualberta.ca)

Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology
Degree: PhD
Project Title: Studies related to female cancers
Keywords: microenvironment, cancer, epigenetics

Meghan Riddell (mriddell@ualberta.ca)

Department: Obstetrics and Gynecology
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project 1 Title: Transcriptional regulation of placental morphogenesis
Keywords: transcription factors, placenta, trophoblasts, cell differentiation

Project 2 Title: Epithelial cell polarity defects in the pathogenesis of pregnancy complications
Keywords: preeclampsia, intrauterine growth restriction, cell polarity


Pediatrics

Stephane B Bourque (sbourque@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Prenatal resveratrol as a therapeutic for fetal iron deficiency anemia
Keywords: Iron deficiency anemia, fetal programming, kidney, blood vessels, resveratrol

For more information on our research program: https://www.ualberta.ca/pharmacology/people/faculty/bourque-detail

Geoff Ball (geoff.ball@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Preventing and managing pediatric obesity
Keywords: Obesity, Family, Communication, Motivation, Qualitative, Quantitative, Interventions

For more information: http://childhoodobesityresearchinsight.wordpress.com/

Francois Bolduc (fbolduc@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: Msc, PhD
Project Title: Neurogenetics of intellectual disability and memory.
Keywords: We use various techniques to understand the genetic basis of intellectual disability in children. This includes, comparative genomic hybridization, DNA sequencing and comprehensive neuro-cognitive investigations. We then use animal models, including Drosophila, to understand how these genes function normally and get disrupted in disease to lead to the learning and cognitive defects seen in the patients. Our goal is to develop treatment to improve the functioning of patients with intellectual disability.

Andrea Haqq (haqq@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc
Project Title: ANS function and metabolic profiling of children with Prader-Willi Syndrome
Keywords: childhood obesity, autonomic nervous system, metabolism, Prader-Willi Syndrome
A student with an academic background in neurology, physiology or is kinesiology preferred

For more information: https://www.ualberta.ca/medicine/about/people/andrea-haqq

Lisa Hartling (hartling@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: multiple projects in knowledge synthesis (e.g., systematic reviews), knowledge translation, randomized trials, methodological research, child health 
Keywords: knowledge synthesis (e.g., systematic reviews, scoping reviews), knowledge translation, methodological research, child health

Anita Kozyrskyj (kozyrsky@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: The impact of maternal overweight and other perinatal factors on the infant gut microbiome
Keywords: infant microbiome overweight

Richard Lehner (richard.lehner@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Obesity, diabetes and fatty liver disease. Descriptions: We are investigating how mutations in certain proteins either protect from or lead to fatty liver disease, obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: lipid metabolism

For more information: https://www.ualberta.ca/cellbiology/people/faculty/richard-lehner

Gary Lopaschuk (glopasch@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Maturation of cardiac energy metabolism in the newborn
Keywords: congenital heart disease, fatty acid oxidation, heart, glucose oxidation

Joanna MacLean (maclean5@ualberta.ca) - 2 projects

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc
Project Title: Cardio-respiratory function in a mouse model of sickle cell disease
Keywords: pulmonary function, animal, hematological disease
Name of Supervisor: Joanna MacLean/John Greer

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Long term cardio-respiratory outcomes of infants admitted to the NICU
Keywords: Pre-term infants, longitudinal study, epidemiology

Lesley Mitchell (Lesley.mitchell@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc possibly continuing to a PhD
Project Title: Relationship of prothrombotic markers in determining risk of thrombosis in children with cancer
Keywords: genetics, clinical translational, pediatric cancer

Sujata Persad (sujata.persad@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc
Project Title: Understanding the molecular mechanisms of cancer progression.
Keywords: Epithelial to mesenchymal transition, Metastasis, Intracellular Signaling

*Note: unable to take students for rotation until January 2021

Rhonda Rosychuk (rhondar@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc
Project Title: Various projects related to presentations to Alberta Emergency Departments
Keywords: administrative data, biostatistics, computer programming

Georg Schmolzer (schmolze@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Novel Resuscitation Techniques to improve Neonatal Resuscitation
Keywords: Neonatal Resuscitation; Delivery Room

https://www.research4babies.org

Richard Schulz (richard.schulz@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc or PhD
Project Title: Matrix metalloproteinases in heart and vascular diseases, from bench to bedside. Projects include those from basic science to translational and clinical research.
Keywords: Ischemic heart disease, heart failure, cardiomyopathy, sepsis, Chagas disease

For more information: https://www.ualberta.ca/pharmacology/people/faculty/schulz-detail

Alvaro R. Osornio Vargas (osornio@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc and PhD
Project Title: Air pollution and adverse birth outcomes
Keywords: prematurity, small for gestational age, industrial pollutants, urban air pollution 

For more information: http://www.ualberta.ca/~osornio/index.html

Dawei Zhang (dzhang@ualberta.ca)

Department: Pediatrics
Degree: MSc and PhD
Project Title: How PCSK9 promotes the degradation of the LDL receptor and reduces plasma levels of LDL
Keywords: High density lipoprotein, low density lipoprotein, LDL receptor, PCSK9, ATP-binding cassette transporter