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June 3, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Exopolysaccharide biosynthesis

Dr. Lynne Howell
Professor, University of Toronto

Dr. Lynne Howell is a Senior Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), where she has held administrative roles as Head of the Program in Molecular Medicine (formerly the Program in Molecular Structure & Function) from 2002-2014 and as Associate Chief, Research Integration and Communication 2014-2016. She holds a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Structural Biology and is a Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, University of Toronto.


Dr. Howell obtained her undergraduate degree in Biophysics from the University of Leeds in 1983, and her Ph.D. from the University of London in 1986 under the direction of Professor Dame Julia Goodfellow. She spent three years as a PDF at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology before moving to Paris for two years to study at the Institute Pasteur. She joined The Hospital for Sick Children in late 1991 and was cross-appointed to the University of Toronto shortly afterwards. Dr. Howell is interested in the development of novel antibiotics and is currently focused on phenomena that are critical for bacterial biofilm development. Her contributions over the past twenty years to the structural biology field range from the development and application of novel methods for routine structure determination using X-ray crystallographic techniques to the de novo structure determination of over 140 structures. Her research has resulted in over 145 publications and >200 abstracts. Her expertise, international stature, advocacy and strong commitment to the structural biology field have also resulted in her current appointments as a member of the Board of Directors of the Canadian Light Source, the Canadian National Committee for Crystallography and the formerly Commission for Biological Macromolecules of the International Union of Crystallography (2008-2017); the governing body for the Crystallographic community worldwide. Dr. Howell is a former recipient of a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Investigator Award.


Development of an active site titration reagent for amylases

Dr. Ryan Sweeney
Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Alberta

Ryan Sweeney obtained his B.Sc in Chemistry from The Ohio State University in 2011 and his Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of Alberta in 2018 under the supervision of Professor Todd Lowary. He then joined the laboratory of Professor Stephen Withers in 2018 as a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow. His current research involves developing an active site titration reagent for α-amylases.

June 10, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Navigating commercial development with API

Andrew MacIsaac
CEO, Applied Pharmaceutical Innovation

Over the past decade Andrew has successfully established over $75 million in partnerships between industry, academia, government, and donors, and developed catalysts for economic investment totalling more than $200 million. With a background in economics and public sector management, Andrew has worked with UBC, and the University of Alberta, and is currently the Assistant Dean for the Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Andrew sits on the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce, Policy Committee, the Edmonton Health City Steering Committee, and the board of the Canadian Mental Health Association, Edmonton.

June 17, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Polysaccharide hydrogels enable local drug & cell delivery

Dr. Molly Shoichet
Professor, University of Toronto

Molly Shoichet is an expert in the study of polymers for drug delivery and tissue regeneration. She holds the Tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Tissue Engineering and is Professor of Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry and Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto. Professor Shoichet was recruited to the faculty at the University of Toronto in 1995 with a NSERC University Faculty Award, after completing her S.B. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Chemistry, 1987), her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (Polymer Science & Engineering, 1992), and three years at CytoTherapeutics Inc.


Professor Shoichet was promoted to Full Professor in 2004, after being named one of Canada’s Top 40 under 40 (2002), and receiving CIFAR’s Young Explorer’s Award (to the top 20 scientists under 40 in Canada, 2002) and NSERC’s Steacie Research Fellowship (2003-2005). In 2014, Professor Shoichet was appointed University Professor in recognition of her dedication to the advancement of knowledge and the University’s academic mission, and her excellence as a teacher, mentor and researcher. This is the University of Toronto’s highest distinction, and is held by less than 2% of the faculty. In 2015, Professor Shoichet was the North American Laureate for the L’Oreal-UNESCO for Women in Science and in 2016, she was named foreign member of the US National Academy of Engineering. In 2017, Professor Shoichet won the Killam Prize in Engineering, the most important engineering prize in Canada. In 2018, Professor Shoichet was appointed Chief Scientist, Ontario and inducted as an Officer of the Order of Canada – one of the highest distinctions for a Canadian.


Professor Shoichet aims to advance the basic science and enabling technologies of tissue engineering and drug delivery. She is a world leader in the areas of polymer synthesis, biomaterials design and drug delivery in the nervous system. Her research program is unique in its breadth, focusing on strategies to promote tissue repair after traumatic spinal cord injury, stroke and blindness and enhance both tumour targeting through innovative strategies and drug screening via 3D cell culture with new hydrogel design strategies.


Designing novel chemical tools to study β-glucocerebrosidase: a relevant biomarker and therapeutic target in Parkinson’s Disease

Akay Akohwarien
Research Technician, University of Saskatchewan

Akay Akohwarien obtained her B.Sc in Chemistry (major) and Environmental Studies (minor) from Queen's University in 2016. In 2019, she completed her M.Sc degree in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan under the supervision of Professor David R.J. Palmer. Akay is currently working as a Research Technician for Dr. Christopher Phenix at the University of Saskatchewan. Her research involves developing non-radioactive probe and radioactive inhibitors of GCase for labeling and imaging the enzyme.

June 24, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Social media for scientists

Krista Lamb
Krista Lamb Communications


Krista Lamb is a writer, communications professional and podcast producer and host. She was most recently the Director, Communications and Marketing at the Ontario Institute for Regenerative Medicine and is currently the Director of Krista Lamb Communications. She specializes in helping translate complex medical, scientific and health-related topics into interesting and understandable stories for diverse mediums.

In addition, Krista produces and hosts the Diabetes Canada Podcast and writes regularly about research and science.

On Upkeep: Wine, Body and Soul, she writes about her adventures balancing healthy living with a passion for the art of wine. She is an associate member of the Wine Writer’s Circle of Canada and was the Ontario Correspondent for Wine Tourist Magazine. Follow her updates on wine on the @kristalamb and @kristavino feeds. Enjoy her healthy lifestyle and science writing @kristalambcomms. Learn more on her website: https://www.kristalamb.com/

Workshop summary:


Please check back soon for more webinars! If you are interested in presenting a workshop or a seminar, please contact us at glyconet@ualberta.ca.

Past Webinars

APRIL 8, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Inhibitors of the human neuraminidase enzymes as probes in glycobiology

Dr. Christopher Cairo
Associate Professor, University of Alberta

Christopher W. Cairo is an Associate Professor of Chemistry at the University of Alberta. He obtained a BSc in Chemistry from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. He went on to graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with Prof. Laura L. Kiessling where he worked on multivalent carbohydrate-protein interactions. Chris then moved to an NIH-funded Postdoctoral fellowship with Prof. David E. Golan at Harvard Medical School where he studied the regulation of integrins in T cell adhesion. Chris joined the faculty of the University of Alberta in 2006 as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry and was promoted to Associate Professor (with tenure) in 2012. He was a principal investigator in the Alberta Glycomics Centre, and is currently a Network Investigator with GlycoNet. The Cairo research group studies the function of glycoproteins and glycolipids in cardiovascular disease, cancer, and immunity. Their work takes place at the chemistry-biology interface with major projects targeting the design of inhibitors for the human neuraminidase enzymes, the recognition of carbohydrate antigens in immune response, and bioconjugate labelling strategies for glycolipids and glycoproteins.


Genetically encoded multivalent liquid glycan array (LiGA)

Mirat Sojitra
Graduate Student, University of Alberta

Mirat obtained his B.Sc in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta in 2016 and joined the laboratory of Dr. Ratmir Derda in 2018 to pursue his Ph.D. in Chemistry. His current research involves developing a genetically-encoded Liquid Glycan Array (LiGA), to study ex-vivo and in vivo carbohydrate binding profiles of cell surface receptors.

APRIL 15, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Simplifying conjugation: ready to conjugate CRM197 carrier protein

Dr. Andrew Lees
Founder and Scientific Director, Fina Biosolutions LLC

Andrew Lees is founder and scientific director of Fina Biosolutions, LLC (Rockville, MD), a company focused on promoting affordable conjugate vaccines by making the technology available to emerging market vaccine manufacturers. Among his contributions in the field, Andrew developed an efficient linking chemistry which is widely used in conjugate vaccines, a class that includes vaccines for S. pneumoniae and meningococcal disease. The chemistry has helped to reduce the cost of these vaccines.


Prior to starting Fina Biosolutions in 2006, he was Director of Vaccine Development at biotech companies Virion Systems (1993-1999) and Biosynexus (1999-2006).  He was also an associate research professor at the Uniformed Services University (1993-1999).  Andrew is now an associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine Center for Vaccine Development (part-time) and an adjunct professor at the Uniformed Services University, Dept. of Medicine and at the University of Toledo, Dept of Chemistry. He has over 70 publications and 25 patents, mainly in the area of conjugate vaccines.


He received his BS in chemistry from Harvey Mudd College in chemistry (1976) and his Ph.D. in Biophysics from Johns Hopkins (1984).  Honors include the Uniformed Services Meritorious Service Award , Harvey Mudd College Outstanding Alumni Award and is a Johns Hopkins University Outstanding Alumni.  On graduating from Hopkins, he was on the cover of Baltimore Magazine as one of “84 people to watch in ‘84”, due to his role as a leading Baltimore area magician. 


About Fina Biosolutions

Fina Biosolutions LLC is a privately held research and development company in Rockville, Maryland providing laboratory and consulting services in the field of conjugate vaccines. Fina Biosolutions’ principal focus is on affordable conjugate vaccines. Its scientists work with emerging market vaccine companies to develop technology, train scientists and assist in implementing the processes. FinaBio performs contract conjugation for companies worldwide and has worked on projects as disparate as vaccines for S. pneumoniae, for malaria, for drugs of abuse and for animal health. In addition, Fina Biosolutions has developed a patented expression system for the widely used conjugate vaccine carrier protein, CRM197, which it markets as EcoCRM®. EcoCRM® has been licensed to PATH for use in low-income countries.

APRIL 22, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



3D models of glycosylated SARS-CoV-2 protein suggest challenges for vaccine development

Dr. Robert Woods
Professor, University of Georgia

Prof. Woods holds joint faculty appointments in the Dept. of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the Dept. of Chemistry, the Dept. of Infectious Diseases, and the Complex Carbohydrate Research Centre at the University of Georgia. From 2008 to 2014, he was also Chair of Computational Glycosciences at the School of Chemistry at the National University of Ireland, Galway. His academic expertise is in biophysical carbohydrate chemistry. He is creator of the GLYCAM force field for modeling carbohydrates, a developer of the AMBER molecular modeling package, and integrates experimental and theoretical methods in his research. Prof. Woods guides the productization, commercialization strategy, and research.


Campylobacter jejuni chemotaxis and metabolism of fucose

Dr. Jolene Garber
Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of British Columbia Okanagan & Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada

Dr. Jolene Garber recently completed her PhD in Microbiology, focusing on understanding carbohydrate sensing and metabolism by the gastrointestinal pathogen Campylobacter jejuni and its implications on human infections, particularly in the context of breastfeeding. She is now beginning her postdoctoral work examining the roles of carbohydrate metabolism and mucin modification in infections by Clostridium perfringens, a causative agent of necrotic enteritis in poultry.

April 29, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Lectenz® and GlycoSense™: novel tools for glycan detection and analysis

Dr. Lori Yang
CEO & CSO, Lectenz Bio

Dr. Yang received her B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Virginia and her Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry from Yale University. Her expertise is in protein engineering, molecular evolution, and flow cytometry. As CEO and CSO, she leads the development of Lectenz Bio’s platform technologies, corporate partnerships, and non-dilutive funding. Then known as Glycosensors and Diagnostics, she established satellite operations at Johnson & Johnson Innovation, JLABS San Diego in 2013. The company is now an alumnus and based at the San Diego Science Center.

May 6, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Modulation of microglia by the glycan-binding protein CD33

Dr. Matt Macauley
Assistant Professor, University of Alberta

BSc – University of British Columbia, 2003.
PhD – Simon Fraser University, 2010.
Postdoctoral Fellow – The Scripps Research Institute, 2010-2014.
Assistant Professor – The Scripps Research Institute, 2014-2017.


Trained as a biochemist, Dr. Macauley carried out his PhD with Professor David Vocadlo, at Simon Frasier University, using chemical biology to tackle roles for glycosylation. This interest was further developed during his Postdoctoral research with Professor James Paulson, at The Scripps Research Institute, where Dr. Macauley developed an expertise in glycoimmunology. For the three years prior to joining the University of Alberta, Dr. Macauley has been an Assistant Professor at The Scripps Research Institute where he has been developing projects that he is excited to carry on at University of Alberta. As a primary investigator at GlycoNet, Dr. Macauley joins an exceptional group of investigators with a specialty in the glycosciences.


From free radical chemistry to novel classes of bioactive modified furanosides

Carla Eymard
Graduate Student, Institut de recherches cliniques de Montreal (IRCM)

Carla Eymard is a PhD Candidate in the bio-organic chemistry laboratory of Dr. Yvan Guindon at the Clinical Research Institute of Montreal. Her doctoral research focuses on the synthesis of nucleoside analogues against gastrointestinal cancers. She holds a Magister degree in Molecular Physico-Chemistry from the Ecole Normale Supérieure of Cachan and the University of Paris-Sud, and a Master degree in Chemistry from the University of Pierre et Marie-Curie. Her previous research affiliations include Lonza and Sanofi where she developed a strong interest in the design, the synthesis and the biological-responses of new therapeutic compounds.

MAY 13, 2020
10 AM – 12:30 PM MT



A guide to non-academic job search

Dr. Anne Krook
Practical Workplace Advice


Anne Krook began her career as an assistant professor at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she taught for seven years before moving to Seattle. After a stint in restaurant bartending, she joined Amazon.com.  During thirteen years at the company, she held various roles in US and international website development, program management, internal audit, and infrastructure. She then worked as VP of Operations at a startup, Mindbloom, and then as VP of Operations at Synapse, a product design engineering company in Seattle. In addition to her university consulting practice, she chairs the Board of Directors of Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, whose mission is to achieve full recognition of the civil rights of LGBTQ+ people and everyone living with HIV.

Workshop Summary:

In this workshop, I discuss how employers view PhDs and postdocs. We examine how to position yourself for the non-academic job market: how to think about yourself, how to describe yourself, and how to reach out to others. We then go through the mechanics of a non-academic job search. At the end of this session, you should be able to conduct a non-academic job search on your own, whether you ever want or need to. Two hours with lots of time for Q&A; PDF of slides and native excel copies of the tool reviewed in the session.

May 20, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT



Polysialic acid as a prognostic marker in breast cancer

Dr. Karla Williams
Assistant Professor, University of British Columbia

Dr. Williams received her PhD from the University of Guelph in 2013. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship in surgery at Western University and is now an assistant professor at UBC Pharmaceutical Sciences.


Dr. Karla Williams' research program is focused on cancer cell dissemination and the development of evidence based medicine for cancer detection and prognostication. Dr. Williams studies small invasive structures termed invadopodia to define their role in metastasis and is investigating potential applications for targeting them to prevent, or stabilize, metastatic disease. In addition, her research is exploring the use of extracellular vesicles to help detect and diagnose cancer. She uses nano-scale flow cytometry to analyze extracellular vesicle biomarker composition for the development of evidence based tests capable of directing patient treatment.


O-GlcNAc modification affects clathrin coated pit assembly and efficiency at the plasma membrane

Sadia Rahmani
Graduate Student, Ryerson University

Sadia is working between the Wakarchuk lab (University of Alberta) and the Antonescu lab (Ryerson University). Sadia’s cell biology expertise is being applied to understanding how endomembrane traffic is influenced through nutrient sensing and extracellular glycosylation. Her work also includes application of glycosyltransferases to probe signalling effects of cell surface modification.

MAY 27, 2020
11 AM – 12 PM MT


What I wish I knew: a chat with researchers, patent experts & entrepreneurs

Discussion Topics

In this panel discussion, panelists will share their experiences and stories about their different routes of research innovation, IP protection, technology commercialization, as well as their failures and successes in their journeys.



David Vocadlo
Professor, Simon Fraser University
Chief Scientific Officer, Alectos Therapeutics

David is currently cross-appointed as Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and is a Tier I Canada Research Chair in Chemical Biology. He is a co-founder of Alectos Therapeutics which was founded on technology licensed from SFU from the Laboratory of Chemical Glycobiology and which has partnered with Merck to advance OGA inhibitors into the clinic.


Stephanie White
Partners, Kirby IP Canada

Stephanie is an accomplished patent professional with a proven track record of building and maximizing the value of her clients’ intellectual property assets. Stephanie has over 17 years of experience in patent portfolio development and IP counseling, where she is skilled in integrating IP strategy with business strategy. According to Stephanie, the most exciting part of her job “is working with inventors and entrepreneurs to help them leverage their technology advances to really make a difference.” Stephanie is keenly aware that IP is among a company’s most critical assets and, especially in the case of early stage companies, it is essential these companies are provided with the proper support to allow them to grow, manage, and benefit from their IP portfolio.


Kaley Wilson
Director of Business Development, Quark Venture

Kaley is currently the Director of Business Development at Quark Venture, a Vancouver based venture capital group that invests globally in health science. Investing out of the $500M USD Global Health Sciences Fund, Kaley is responsible for identifying and performing due diligence on potential investment opportunities. Kaley obtained her PhD at the University of British Columbia (UBC), Canada, where she worked in close collaboration with senior scientists at INEX Pharmaceuticals on the immunomodulatory activity and vaccine potential of lipid encapsulated nucleic acids. During her Ph.D. Dr Wilson was the recipient of a number of prestigious scholarships and awards including the Doctoral Research Award, Canadian Institutes for Health Research (2005-2008); Trainee Research Award, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research (2003-2005) and the PGS-A Scholarship, NSERC (2002-2004). Dr. Wilson was also the 2008 recipient of the Gattefosse Canada/Canadian Society for Pharmaceutical Sciences Research Award.


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