Lab Members

Antoine Dufour, PhD

Assistant Professor, University of Calgary

Department of Physiology & Pharmacology

Dr. Antoine Dufour has joined the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology as an Assistant Professor.  Dr. Dufour obtained his BA (Hons.) in Chemistry from the State University of New York at Oswego, his MSc and PhD in Chemical Biology from the Stony Brook University (2010).  He completed a Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia in 2017 under the supervision of Dr. Chris Overall.  Antoine’s research is focused on the role of proteases in immunity and novel drug target identification in inflammatory musculoskeletal diseases, with a particular interest in quantitative mass spectrometry and systems biology. He owns two patents for the inhibitory methods of protease-mediated cell migration. His research program aims to understand the key mechanisms of inflammatory and immune responses in musculoskeletal diseases.  Antoine has already published >70 journal papers, 4 book chapters and has an outstanding track record of academic awards. Dr. Dufour’s lab and office space is located at the Centre for Mobility and Joint Health on the third floor of the HRIC building. Dr. Dufour was named as one of Calgary’s Top 40 Under 40 in 2020, was awarded the 2021 Young Investigator Award from the Canadian Society for Mass Spectrometry and the Groll Calpain award in 2022. 

Daniel Young

Lab Manager

Daniel joined the Dufour lab in February 2018. He obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Mount Royal University in 2016. His previous research experience includes exploring the mechanism by which lipids are exported from the epidermal cells to the plant cuticle. He also has some experience working in a diagnostic Poultry lab; specifically he was running assays for various poultry pathogens (Salmonella, Bordetella, Campylobacter), running a vaccine monitoring programs, Well water pH studies, and Biofilm sensitivities to disinfectants. Currently, he is expanding on his lab skills and working on proteomics projects.  

Mohamed Ziad Dabaja 

Postdoctoral Associate

I have a scientific background in metabolomics, lipidomics and proteomics studies. I have been working my whole academic life to better understand metabolism alteration, focusing on creating prognostic and biomarker tools for metabolic diseases. I obtained my Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology from the Federal University of Alfenas in Brazil with one complimentary year at Buffalo State College in Buffalo, New York-USA (2016). I obtained my MSc (2018) and Ph.D. (2023) in Medical Pathophysiology from the State University of Campinas. Currently, I hold a position as a postdoctoral associate at the University of Calgary under the supervision of Dr. Dufour, working with proteolytic post-translational modifications and metabolomics data analysis.

Luiz Gustavo Nogueira de Almeida 

Graduate PhD Student

I obtained my B.Sc. in Biotechnology from the Federal University of Alfenas, Brazil, complemented by one year as an exchange student at the University of California – San Diego, USA. Then I completed an M.Sc. in Basic and Applied Immunology from the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Currently, I am a Ph.D. student under the supervision of Dr. Dufour and I will be profiling the protein content from synovial fluid and serum samples of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and juvenile idiopathic arthritis patients (JIA). Bioinformatics will be applied to help us in the identification of biomarkers that can better classify disease progression and predict drug responsiveness. A precision medicine approach to RA and JIA patients is our main goal.

Afshin Derakhshani

Graduate PhD student 

I obtained my M.Sc. in Medical Immunology from the Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran. After graduation in 2019, I joined as a junior research assistant at Immunology Research Center, Tabriz University of Medical Sciences, Tabriz, Iran. I had this chance to work there for about two years to learn, improve my academic resume, and mentor the master students, which gave me a deep insight for my future career while working on basic immunology, systems biology, and cancer. Then, I was encouraged to move to I.R.C.C.S. Cancer Institute "John Paul II" of Bari, Italy as a research assistant to characterize the immune landscape in peripheral blood of Pancreatic Cancer patients using single-cell RNA sequencing and flow cytometry. Currently, I am a Ph.D. student in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology under the supervision of Dr. Dufour, and I will apply multi-algorithm machine learning approaches, systems biology, and wet-lab techniques to determine biomarkers and novel aspects of macrophages in Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases.

Taylor Bader

Graduate PhD student 

Taylor Bader received a Bachelor of Health Science from Mount Royal University where we studied brain blood flow and high-altitude physiology. Furthering his interest in research, he completed his MSc in medical science under the supervisor of Dr. Swamy and Dr. Hart studying intervertebral disc degeneration. He is now continuing his work with intervertebral discs with Dr. Swamy and Dr. Dufour in a PhD program. Outside of UoC, Taylor has been an aid and volunteer working with children with physical limitations for the past 8 years. Taylor enjoys hiking, photography, and training for endurance sports.

Anjali Kapilan  

Graduate PhD Student (Co-supervised with Dr. Pina Colarusso)

Anjali obtained her Bachelor of Science (Hons) Degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, with minors in religious studies and bioethics, at Dalhousie University. Her honors research project focused on how the ablation of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter exacerbated calpain activity in mice subjected to an experimental model of multiple sclerosis. She has also conducted research with both Environment and Climate Change Canada, and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Her Masters project will focus on discovering the role mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component 1 (MTARC1) plays on the body, through the analysis of proteomics and imaging of mitochondrial - ER contact sites. Through her research, she is hopeful to discover the role of this protein, and then move on to discovering the similarities and differences between MTARC1 and mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component 2 (MTARC2). She is an avid community volunteer and enjoys skiing and playing the fiddle in her free time.

Kenzie Birse


Graduate PhD Student


Kenzie obtained her MSc in Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases from the University of Manitoba in 2016. After completing her MSc, she continued to work as a research manager in a proteomics and systems biology lab. She contributed to projects focused on identifying host and bacterial protein signatures associated with disease susceptibility and/or progression in the female genital tract such as HIV-1, HPV and bacterial vaginosis. Kenzie's current PhD research aims to understand the role of vaginal bacteria in adverse pregnancy outcomes such as spontaneous preterm birth. She is studying how specific vaginal bacteria interact with and potentially manipulate fetal fibronectin, a protein that is important for attaching fetal membranes to the uterine wall during pregnancy. She is attempting to understand if this bacteria-fibronectin interaction is linked to labour-inducing signaling cascades. Kenzie plans to use a combination of bacteriology, bacterial gene manipulation, cell culture and shotgun proteomics/N-terminomics techniques to address her hypothesis.

Mitchell Bulluss 

Graduate MSc Student

I completed my bachelor’s degree and honours thesis in biomedical science at Murdoch University in association with the Western Australian Centre for Thrombosis and Haemostasis (WACTH). My research involved aspects of haemotology, molecular biology and assay development in an investigation of dysfunctional haemostatic mechanisms in autoimmune disease. I am currently pursuing my master’s degree with the Dufour lab and developing skills in cell biology, proteomics, and metabolomics. My current primary research project is investigating the roles of calpain-1 and -2 proteases in HCT116 colon cancer cells. I will identify novel substrates, and cellular localization of biochemical interactions within the cell to elude a new understanding of how calpain-1 and -2 function in colon cancer.

Ana  D'Aubeterre

Graduate MSc Student (Co-supervised with Dr. Laura Sycuro)

Ana completed her Bachelor of Science in Immunology and Infection (Honors) at the University of Alberta with a certificate in Biomedical Research.  Her honor’s thesis focused on the analysis of clinical samples from patients with the rare autoimmune disease Scleroderma for differences in glycan profiles associated with sex and disease severity. Her master’s project aims to understand the impacts of complement-targeting proteases (interpains) from vaginal bacteria on pregnancy outcomes, namely preterm birth. Supported by the P3 Cohort Study (, she will use N-terminomics to investigate interpain activity and microbial signatures in high-risk pregnancies to uncover new biological targets for diagnostics and interventions that reduce the burden of preterm birth on families and healthcare systems. In her free time, Ana enjoys reading sci-fi and historical fiction, hiking and painting.

Sonali Bhardwaj

Graduate MSc Student 

Sonali completed her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology with minor in agricultural sciences, at Lovely Professional University, Punjab, India. Her bachelor’s project focused on isolation and characterization of cellulase producing bacteria to produce bioethanol from rice straw. She is currently a master’s student in Dufour lab and Slater lab where she is dedicated to unravel the mysteries of pregnancy complications leading to preterm birth. Her project, led by Dr. Antoine Dufour and Dr. Donna Slater focuses on the fascinating field of proteomics and metabolomics profiling of first trimester maternal serum to bridge the gap in understanding between normal and adverse birth outcomes. Using the cutting-edge technology, mass spectrometry with both Data-Dependent Acquisition (DDA) and Data-Independent Acquisition (DIA) modes, she will be conducting in-depth analysis of serum samples to get a holistic view of the molecular landscape associated with preterm birth outcomes. 

Regan Penner

Graduate MSc Student 

Regan is a first year Master of Science student that works in the Dufour lab. He is co-supervised by both Dr. Cathy Lu, a gastroenterologist at the University of Calgary. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 2022 with a BSc in Genetics, minoring in chemistry. His current work in the Dufour lab includes looking into protein biomarkers in both Crohn's Disease and Ulcerative Colitis using high-throughput omics technologies. He is also well versed in data analysis, and is using this skill, paired with omics data to build a 3D spatial proteome of the large intestine in flaring Ulcerative Colitis patients. 

Nicole Osinchuk

Graduate Student 

Nicole is pursuing her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (DVM) degree at the University of Calgary after studying a Bachelor of Science in Animal Health at the University of Alberta for 3 years. Her work involves proteomic analysis to understand the role of mitochondrial amidoxime reducing component 1 (MTARC1) in vivo, which will eventually be applied to fatty liver disease. She is focusing on the animal work and genotyping for the mouse model used in this study. She is also participating in understanding the mechanism of osteoarthritis and stem cell biology as well as tendon regeneration in equine models. Her free time, Nicole enjoys playing volleyball, hiking, skiing, and spending time with her family and friends. 

Isabella Orchard

Undergraduate Student

Isabella Orchard is an undergraduate student studying Biomedical Science at the University of Calgary. Her research surrounds finding biomarkers in participants’ plasma which correspond to changes in cognitive function after an aerobic exercise intervention. Outside of academics Isabella enjoys ultimate frisbee, painting, and volunteering.

Kaia Ybema

Undergraduate Student

Kaia is an undergraduate student pursuing a Bachelor of Science with a concentration in Neurobiology from the University of Victoria. Her current research involves the identification of biomarkers in Alzheimer’s disease, and how exercise, sex, and sleep quality may influence the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. She is also interested in pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension, and how biomarkers in the early gestational period may be indicative of premature birth. Kaia enjoys hiking and biking with friends and family outside of school and the lab. She also loves spending time with her dog, Oscar. 

Maria Petryk 

Undergraduate Student

Maria is an undergraduate student pursuing a major in Neuroscience with honours at the University of Calgary. Her research focuses on Multiple Sclerosis, and the effects of immune activation on its morbidity. Her current project is to investigate the effects of Matrix Metalloproteinase 12 (MMP-12) on myelin degradation in a mouse model. Outside academics, Maria coaches artistic gymnastics a few days a week. A former gymnast, Maria loves to teach people her sport. Her favorite hobbies are weight lifting, calisthenics, and running.

Pauline Nkathazo 

Administrative Assistant