GlycoNet welcomes the 2019-2020 Trainee Association Executive Committee

Trainees will receive support to advance their professional development and promote their research activities

The 2019-2020 GlycoNet Trainee Association Executive Committee. From left: William Scott, Ryan Sweeney, Ryan Snitynsky (GlycoNet management), Emily Rodrigues, Nolan Frame, Revathi Reddy, and Akay Akohwarien.

By Ali Chou

The Canadian Glycomics Network (GlycoNet) recently welcomed six trainees that will make up the Trainee Association Executive Committee (GTA-EC) for 2019-2020. The GTA-EC is a collective voice for Network trainees, including postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, undergraduate students, research associates, and technicians. Working closely with GlycoNet’s management team, the new committee members will advocate for the welfare and interests of fellow trainees. They will also plan activities that will drive educational and research excellence.

“The GlycoNet Trainee Association Executive Committee is an essential channel for communication between trainees and GlycoNet,” says Ryan Sweeney, Chair of the GTA-EC. “We advocate for trainees’ concerns while sharing Network’s key messages and information with trainees. We support trainees’ development by providing various resources, for example, workshops, networking events, award opportunities, etc., that enhance their experience at GlycoNet.”

On September 6, the GTA-EC gathered at GlycoNet’s headquarters to brainstorm learning opportunities for fellow trainees. In particular, the committee proposed several initiatives to engage Network trainees and promote their research to the broader scientific community. Some ideas include glycomics-themed social media contests, a monthly trainee Q&A corner, webinars focused on a broad range of subjects, blog posts on glycomics research or career development, and more.

In addition, the GTA-EC provided input on the 2020 Canadian Glycomics Symposium. The committee reviewed attendees’ feedback from last year’s event and identified strategic improvements that could make the upcoming edition of the conference even more meaningful to the development of the next generation of glycomics scientists. Potential formats for networking sessions and topics for professional development workshops were discussed.

The 2019-2020 executives comprising the committee are:

Chair: Ryan Sweeney, post-doctoral fellow, Withers Lab, University of British Columbia – exploring methods towards quantifying the enzymatic activity of amylases. His project can lead to a better understanding of how the enzymes behave in vivo.

Vice Chair: Nolan Frame, master’s student, Monteiro lab, University of Guelph – characterizing bacterial cell wall polysaccharides for use as a glycoconjugate-based vaccine towards traveler’s diarrhea.

Secretary: Akay Akohwarien, technician, Phenix Lab, University of Saskatchewan – synthesizing molecules that could potentially be used as imaging agents for the early detection of Parkinson’s disease.

Communications Officer: Revathi Reddy, master’s student, Derda lab, University of Alberta – developing a more cost-effective and accurate technology for serological diagnosis of infectious diseases.

Symposium representative: Emily Rodrigues, PhD candidate, Macauley lab, University of Alberta – developing methods to manipulate the immune system by controlling the interactions between Siglec (a family of carbohydrate-binding proteins) and certain sialic acids in the human body.

Member at large: William Scott, technician, Weadge lab, Wilfrid Laurier University – elucidating the structures of the key enzymes responsible for drug-resistance in microbes that cause infections such as meningitis, pneumonia, or periodontal diseases. 

Stay tuned for upcoming events, news, and activities about GlycoNet trainees. Trainees are invited to reach out to the GTA-EC at glyconet@ualberta.ca to share news and updates about their ongoing projects.

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