Nabangshu Das

Graduate PhD Candidate (Co-supervised with Dr. Roman Krawetz)

I completed my bachelor and masters in Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology from Shahjalal University of Science and Technology, Bangladesh. My PhD research involves exploring the inflammatory signaling of Lubricin/PRG4 fragments. Altered expression and function of PRG4 is associated with changes in inflammatory signaling resulting in the joint diseases (e.g. osteoarthritis). However, the mechanism through which this occurs is unknown and deserves further rigorous study. I’ll characterize PRG4 (e.g. fragmentation pattern) in human synovial fluid samples from arthritis patients and healthy controls. Using a mass spectrometry approach, I’ll determine which proteases are cleaving PRG4 (and where) and examine the effects of these cleavages in vitro and in vivo.

Anthonia Anowai 

Graduate MSc Student

I completed my BSc., major in Biology, minor in Chemistry, from the University of Alberta in 2018. My Masters research focuses on determining the role of Calpains in chronic inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA). Calpains are an endogenous family of proteases that initiate cell-signaling pathways when activated by calcium. They have been associated with detrimental tissue degeneration across several disease profiles including Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, limb girdle muscular dystrophy type 2A (LGMD2A), Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis and RA. I hope to identify and characterize novel substrates of Calpain 1 and Calpain 2 within the network of collagen and proteoglycan in arthritic joints, using proteomics and bioinformatics. The elucidation of calpain interactions in prolonged rheumatism can point to new drug targets for more encouraging RA prognosis. I also enjoy volunteering within the Calgary community and I am a certified makeup artist!

Victoria Armstrong 

Research Assistant 

Victoria has been a research assistant with the Dufour Lab since January, 2023. She is a recent graduate from the University of Calgary with a Master of Science in Medical Sciences through the Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute. Her specialization was in Cancer Biology, wherein her project examined tumor-mediated tissue wasting (cachexia) in patients with colorectal adenocarcinoma. Specifically, her project aimed to delineate complex wasting mechanisms related to solid tumors through various methods such as computed tomography image analysis of body composition as well as through sera/tumor proteomics. This project was completed with the ultimate goal of providing novel information to the field of cachexia which may aid in improving future patient outcomes. Currently, she is working with the Dufour Lab to assist collaborating laboratories with proteomic data analysis and figure generation as well as to further develop her skillset in the field of proteomics. 

Barbara Mainoli 

Medical School Student

I completed a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia in 2017 and am now pursuing a degree in Medicine at University College Dublin. My research is focused on using proteomics and bioinformatics to identify biomarkers of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). The pathogenesis of IBD is relatively unknown, hence causative treatment is unavailable. By determining key biomarkers of IBD, I’m hoping to elucidate more information on the pathogenesis of these conditions, as well as identify potential therapeutic targets.  

Kris Chen

Undergraduate Student

Kris is an undergraduate Co-op student pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a specialization in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia. His current research involves investigating proteolytic events within the complement system and other relevant biochemical cascades in antiphospholipid syndrome (APS) serum samples from pregnant patients through N-terminomics. He hopes to elucidate how complement activation contributes to the procoagulant characteristics of APS and to improve current treatment approaches for this disease. Not only is he interested in autoimmune diseases, he is also passionate about studying genetics, cancer, and human viruses. Outside of work and studies, he enjoys cooking, baking, programming, and practicing kendo.

Jerome Timbol

Undergraduate Student

Jerome is an undergraduate student pursing a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences at the University of Calgary. Jerome’s past research projects include investigating the role of kinase inhibitors and the effect they have on the Nf-kB inflammatory pathway found in airway inflammation. He was also researching the morphology and calcium functionality of hypothalamic primary cilia while utilizing a high-throughput drug screen. Currently, Jerome is working on an honors project where he is looking at characterizing the effects of potential inflammatory inhibitors on human monocytic THP-1 cells using quantitative proteomics. In Jerome’s free time he enjoys volunteering, snowboarding, and staying active. 

Sophie Smith 

Undergraduate Student

Sophie is an undergraduate student pursing a Bachelor of Health Science Honours (BHSc) at the University of Calgary. Her research involves the study of aerobic exercise on Alzheimer Disease and Related Dementias. She is interested in identifying a signature biomarker panel of proteins, which are detectable in the plasma, to help understand the beneficial impact of exercise on brain health. Outside of her work and studies, Sophie enjoys backcountry camping and baking.

Leela Mahajan

Undergraduate Student

Leela is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Human Biology at Stanford University. Leela’s past research projects include a project that aims to assist the healing process of corneal injuries by using polyethylene glycol (PEG)-collagen hydrogels. She also helped create a chemical compound database for high-throughput drug screening and synthesized small molecules for a project that aims to map the secretions of the gut microbiome. 

Yekta Eslambolchi 

Undergraduate Student

Yekta is an undergraduate student studying toward a Bachelor of Health Science Honors in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Calgary. Her research interests include developing immunotherapies for cancers and autoimmune diseases. Yekta is passionate about making education accessible for all is active in her community through various volunteering commitments.

Kimberly Main

Undergraduate Student

Kimberly is an undergraduate student pursing a Bachelor of Science Honours (BScH) with a specialization in Kinesiology at Queen’s University. Her current research involves using quantitative N-terminomic profiling of Crohn’s Disease serum and colonic biopsies. She is interested in using the inflammatory and fibrosis-associated signalling mechanisms with Crohn’s disease to identify precision medicine-based approaches for diagnosis and treatment. Kim is an active member of the dance community and works as a student Athletic Therapist for the Queen’s University varsity teams through the year. 

Henna Sekhon

Undergraduate Student

I am an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences (BSc) at the University of Calgary. My research is focused on the biological processes of cancer, tumor development and metastasis. Using proteomics, I am investigating spontaneous tumors located within muscle tissues that arise from Kras/Tp53 mutations. I am interested in understanding, on a system-wide level, how cancer cells have a competitive advantage over normal cells and what precise signaling pathways are involved. Through my research, I will be able to better understand the biology of muscle tumors and their effect on the the immune system. 

Zoe Myers 

Undergraduate Student

Zoe is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Sciences Honours (BScH) with a specialization in life sciences. She is currently involved in investigating the role of Calpain-3 in muscular dystrophy type 2A through employing novel techniques including proteomics. Her research interests include finding biomarkers for various diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s and osteoporosis. In her spare time, Zoe enjoys volunteering at senior homes and is an active member of the curling community. 

Maggie Chopra

Undergraduate Student

I am an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Health Sciences Honours (BHSc). I am currently investigating the role of macrophages during inflammatory and immune responses in demyelinating disease such as multiple sclerosis (MS). Macrophages are important effector immune cells involved in the pathogenesis of demyelination. Unfortunately, Canada has one of the highest rate of MS in the world, with an estimated 1 in 340 Canadians living with the disease. As an active volunteer with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, I am currently investigating the protective and pathogenic roles of immune cells in brain diseases with a focus on multiple sclerosis to better understand this autoimmune disease. 

I am also the co-founder of, a crowdsourcing and social connection to provide resources, education, information and support to diminish disparity around the world and heal the future of humanity one kid at a time. 

Colette Benko 

Undergraduate Student

Colette is an undergraduate student researcher pursuing her BMSc at The University of Western Ontario. While in high school, she investigated epigenetic and nuclear transport inhibitors' ability to induce differentiation in pediatric cancer, winning both national and international recognition. She has now expanded her studies during her undergrad to include cancer metabolism and neurogenesis. As the youngest of 30 individuals chosen to represent Canadian women in STEM, Colette is humbled with the privilege to share her love of science with the community.  Outside of her studies, Colette believes in making curiosity accessible for all students and helping people share their stories as an avid storyteller herself. Colette aspires to further her research and attain her MSc and PhD. 

Mikaela York 

Undergraduate Student

I am an undergraduate student pursuing my Chemical Engineering Degree at University of Calgary with a specialization in Biomedical Engineering. Previous to entering engineering, I completed an Exercise Science Program. I am currently researching the health consequences of strenuous extended activity. 

In my spare time I can be found training to compete as a Varsity Cross Country/ Track & Field athlete or volunteering with organizations such as Robogals to increase the diversity and female representation in STEM fields.

Colton Dietrich

Undergraduate Student

Colton is an undergraduate Co-op student at the University of British Columbia currently pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a specialization in Behavioural Neuroscience. He is passionate about researching neurodegenerative diseases and the ways that proteolytic events contribute to neuronal death. Currently, he is expanding on his laboratory skills and hopes to use N-terminomics to further research the role calpain-3 has on limb-girdle muscular dystrophies. Outside of school, Colton enjoys playing and watching sports as well as spending time with friends and family. 

Aydin Herik

Undergraduate Student

Aydin is an undergraduate student completing his honours thesis in the Bachelor of Health Sciences program at the University of Calgary. His research interests concern the involvement of proteases in mediating infectious colitis. Aydin is interested in integrating transcriptomics (single-cell, spatial, and bulk) with proteomics data to elucidate the key proteases during Citrobacter rodentium infection. In his free time, Aydin enjoys reading (Kurt Vonnegut), lifting heavy objects at the gym, and playing with his dog Teddy.