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 >20 journal papers, 3 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.

Daniel Young

Lab Technician

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.

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.

Afshin Derakhshani

Graduate PhD Candidate

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.

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.

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.

Anjali Kapilan

Graduate MSc 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Pauline Nkathazo

Administrative Assistant