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Trainee Association

The GlycoNet Trainee Association (GTA) is composed of the students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, and research associates affiliated with the Canadian Glycomics Network.

GlycoNet Trainee Association Executive Committee

The GTA Executive Committee (GTA-EC) represents the interests of all members of the Association. In addition to providing a trainee perspective to the GlycoNet training program, the Committee facilitate networking events and meetings, contribute to Network communications, and work to promote GlycoNet to the broader community. The GTA-EC meets regularly to discuss ideas and issues that matter most to the next generation of Canadian glycoscientists, and to help ensure that GlycoNet trainees have access to a diverse set of opportunities during their time in the Network.

Terms of Reference

View Terms of Reference (PDF)

The GTA 2023-2024 Executive Committee (GTA-EC)
David Firer • Chair

I am pursuing a M.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology in Dr. Don Sheppard’s lab at McGill University. Prior to this, I completed a B.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology with an undergraduate thesis project that focused on chytrid fungi. While these fungi have been leading a global amphibian pandemic for decades, there is still very little known about them. My research, which is a direct extension of my undergraduate work, aims to provide insight into chytrid life cycles by characterizing the structure and function of chytrid cell wall polysaccharides. Outside of the lab, I enjoy cooking, cycling, making pottery, and watching (many) films! 

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Ninoschka D’Souza • Communication Officer

I am currently in the PhD program in Dr. Michael Riddell’s lab at York University, Toronto. I originally came to Canada on an exchange scholarship from India, went on to complete a Master’s degree and worked for 2 years as a Research Associate for Dr. Riddell. My master’s thesis focused on metabolic aspects of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinsons, which later became my link to diabetic research that I am now heavily focused on. As a Research Associate to Dr. Riddell, I worked on pre-clinical drug development research for hypoglycemia prevention in type 1 diabetes, culminating in Phase 1 clinical trial studies currently underway. My PhD research will focus on further pre-clinical investigations of the same drug, a somatostatin type 2 receptor antagonist (SSTR2a), for hypoglycemia prevention in type 2 diabetes. Outside of the lab, I enjoy travelling, cooking, reading, and trying new foods.

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Jackline Irungu • Communication Officer

I am a chemistry Ph.D. student in The University of British Columbia, Okanagan working under the supervision of Dr. Wesley Zandberg. Before joining UBC, I pursued B.Sc. in chemistry in Meru University in Kenya, an M.Sc. in chemistry in University of Siena Italy, and Master of Instrumental Chemical Analysis at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. I am fascinated by the dynamic aspect of glycosylation and the power the glycans have in our bodies in health and disease. I love the great efforts being put in place by researchers and funders worldwide to promote glycosylation studies and I am happy to be part of this great community. My current research is focusing on the development of analytical methods for glycosylation studies (especially mucus-linked glycans), that are considered high-throughput. I am especially focused on the precision of these methods and the impact of sample preparation methods on data quality. Other than academia I enjoy spiritual growth, chatting with family and friends, road trips, community volunteering, listening to music and trying new foods. 

Natalie Stewart
Natalie Stewart •  Symposium Committee Represenative

I am a MSc student in Dr. Simon Wisnovsky’s lab in the Faculty of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of British Columbia. I recently completed my BSc in Microbiology at the University of Victoria this year, where I also participated in a Co-op program. For my last Co-op work term, I had a research project in the Wisnovsky Lab investigating the immune functions between the glyco-immune checkpoint receptor, Siglec-7 and a glycoprotein called CD43, which I am excited to continue on with as a MSc student. Glycoprotein ligands can be quite complex and difficult to characterize, understanding how they engage with receptors can reveal therapeutic targets for cancer treatments. Outside of the lab, I like to hike, read and try new brunch places on the weekends. 

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Joshua Kofsky • EDI Committee Representative

I am a PhD candidate in the Capicciotti Lab at Queen’s University. I completed a BSc in Chemistry at Queen’s University in 2020 with an undergraduate thesis project on the chemical synthesis of O-glycans. My current research focuses on new ways to access defined O-glycan structures through chemoenzymatic synthesis and extraction of glycans from natural sources. These O-glycans are useful for studying glycan-protein binding interactions and determining their functional effects in cell-based assays. Outside of the lab, I enjoy swimming, cooking and reading.  


Canadian Glycomics Network
E5-33 Gunning/Lemieux Chemistry Centre
University of Alberta, T6G 2G2
Tel: 780-492-6204
Fax: 780-492-4147

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