DAVID LANGLAIS (PHD), Principal investigator
David Langlais is an Associate Professor in the Departments of Human Genetics and Microbiology & Immunology at McGill University, and Principal Investigator at the McGill Genome Centre. Dr Langlais completed his Ph.D. with honors in Molecular Biology in 2011 under the supervision of Dr. Jacques Drouin at the IRCM. His work revealed the complex transcriptional regulation at play in the immuno-neuroendocrine interface and in the maintenance of pituitary tissue. Dr Langlais then pursued postdoctoral research in Pr Philippe Gros’ laboratory at McGill University where he studied the role of critical innate immunity transcription factors and participated in the characterization of new genes involved in immune function and neuroinflammatory conditions, including cerebral malaria. Dr Langlais has received multiple awards, including the Dept of Human Genetics Teaching Award, the Milstein Young Investigator Award from the International Cytokine and Interferon Society and the 2018 & 2022 Top 10 Discovery by Quebec Science.
ALBENA PRAMAtarova (PHD), RESEARCH ASSOCIATE
Albena studied Biology/Microbiology at Université de Montréal and Virology/Immunology at INRS Armand Frappier. She completed her PhD in neuroscience at McGill University studying neurodegeneration in the familial form of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis. For her postdoctoral training she moved to the National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NIH, Bethesda, MD) where she focused her work on neuronal migration during brain development. Upon her return to Montréal she joined the Genome Centre and has been working with multiple teams on molecular and cellular biology projects, epigenetic profiling (as part of the Epigenome Mapping Centre), and gene editing using CRISPRs. In the Langlais lab, Albena is involved in a variety of molecular biology projects, takes care of the day-to-day function of the lab and tries to help her teammates navigate the wet lab environment.
Mathieu MANCINI (PHD), POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW
Mathieu completed his Ph.D. in Human Genetics in 2020 under the supervision of Dr. Silvia Vidal at McGill University. Mathieu’s doctoral work focused on virus infections of the heart and of the brain. Specifically, he investigated how genetic variation can influence whether a protective or a lethal inflammatory response is generated against infection. In Dr. Langlais’ lab, Mathieu is currently using bulk and single-cell genomic approaches to study the development and progression of chronic autoinflammatory diseases.
BENOIT BRILLAND (MD, PHD), POSTDOCTORAL FELLOW
Benoît Brilland is a French nephrologist working in the Department of Nephrology-Dialysis-Transplantation (Angers, France). He is deeply interested in autoimmune diseases affecting the kidneys, and especially in ANCA-associated renal vasculitis. He completed his PhD in Immunology under the supervision of Pr. Jean-François Augusto in 2022, during which he analyzed the renal transcriptome of vasculitis patients to define prognostic signatures and identify promising targetable biomarkers. Benoît has recently joined the scientific board of the French Vasculitis Study Group, led by Pr. Benjamin Terrier.
After an insightful experience at the CHUM Research Centre (Montréal, 2017), where he studied the mechanisms of allograft rejection using a mouse model of transplant vasculopathy, Benoît returned to Canada by joining Dr. Langlais' lab as a postdoctoral researcher. He is currently using innovative transcriptomic approaches to decipher the pathogenesis and outcome of chronic autoimmune diseases.
Wilian Macedo, bioinformatician
Wilian is concluding a Ph.D. degree under the supervision of Dr. Erwin Schurr at department of Biochemistry. His projects are focused on bioinformatic analysis of the transcriptome responses mounted by human cells challenged with mycobacteria. In the context of tuberculosis/HIV, his work described the impact of ART regimen on alveolar macrophages challenged with Mycobacterium tuberculosis. In leprosy, he characterized the whole blood transcriptome program of patients that developed T1R, a delayed hypersensitivity reaction, before its onset. Now working as a bioinformatics analyst at C3G and in support to Drs Langlais’ and Fritz labs, he is tasked with supporting the analysis of various projects in immuno-genomics
REBECCA BELLWORTHY, PHD candidate
I am an international student from the UK, where I studied medical sciences at the University of Southampton. After graduating I worked in industry for a couple of years doing research and development in the microbiology sector, but it has always been an ambition of mine to move into genetics. Outside of work, I am a very keen cyclist and mountaineer, and I’m looking forward to lots of skiing during the Quebec winter!
ATIA AMIN, PHD candidate
Atia is a PhD student co-supervised by Prof. David Langlais at the department of Human Genetics and Prof. Mathieu Blanchette at the department of Computer Science. Her research is based on bioinformatics and machine learning approaches to identify biomarkers of pathogens causing vector borne diseases. Before starting PhD, she completed her master’s in Molecular Biology at the University of South Dakota, USA, and undergraduate degree in Microbiology at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Her hobbies include playing guitar, singing songs, and listening to music.
AUDREY CORBEIL, PHD candidate
I have a bachelor's degree in microbiology that I completed at Sherbrooke University, and I also have a background in biomedical analysis in college. I am currently doing a master's degree in the laboratory of Dr. Christopher Fernandez-Prada, co-directed by Dr. David Langlais and Dr. Martin Olivier. I am interested in the characterization of extracellular vesicles released by different isolates of Leishmania, the causative agent of visceral leishmaniasis, in order to identify new sensitive biomarkers for rapid and non-invasive diagnosis of the disease. In my spare time, you will find me outdoors on a lake or on a climbing wall !
JACKY TUNG, PHD CANDIDATE
Co-supervised by Dr. Langlais and Dr. Ana Nijnik, Jacky is a PhD student in the department of Physiology. Currently, he studies the stress response of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) in the context of progenitor cell differentiation and HSC survival. Importantly, he is working towards investigating potential gene targets to enhance bone marrow stem cell fitness when exposed to DNA-damaging stress, a signature off-target side effect of cancer therapies. Outside the lab, you will often have to be given a 10-digit coordinate in order to find Jacky. Wherever his location is, he is probably searching for personal growth and challenges while giving his best. "Deeds not words", a phrase that deeply inspired him.
B.Sc., Honours in Immunology (2017), McGill University, Canada
Mauricio Ayala, PHD candidate
I am an international student from Mexico, where I studied genomic biotechnology at the University of Nuevo Leon. I have a deep interest in the areas of genetics, immunology and microbiology, all with an aim towards improving human health. Outside of the lab, I am an avid philosophy enthusiast, marathon runner and nature lover.
Julia Luo, MD/PHD CANDIDATE
Julia is an MD-PhD student supervised by Dr. Langlais. Her current project looks at the role that ThPOK plays in macrophage immunity using genomics methods. She hopes to use the tools learned in her PhD to help answer patient-driven questions from her future practice. She previously did her MSc in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill under Dr. Antel exploring factors affecting oligodendrocyte myelination potential. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, playing board games, and practicing martial arts.
Catherine [qianqian] Lyu, MSc CANDIDATE
I am a Human Genetics M.Sc student who took my undergraduate studies at McGill in Biology. I am interested in molecular genetics, autoimmune diseases, and possible treatments. My research is related to Hashimoto Thyroiditis, which is the most common autoimmune disease, using the EAT mouse model. Outside the lab, I enjoy camping and I am an absolute animal lover.
Simon gagnon, MSc CANDIDATE
Hello! I studied microbiology and immunology at the Université de Montréal. I developed a new interest in parasitology after a class given by Dr. Fernandez Prada, and that gave me an opportunity to do an internship in his lab. The subject of my Masters’ thesis is on the interaction between Giardia parasites and cell rendered immunodeficient upon treatment by the drug given to transplant patient. Hopefully, this study will give us more information about the risk of zoonotic disease transmission for immunodeficient patient. Outside of work, you can find me doing all kind of sports and outside activities.
Co-supervised by Drs Christopher Fernandez-Prada and Mélanie Dieudé
HUGH DENG, MSC CANDIDATE
I am a third-year undergraduate student in the Interdepartmental Honours Program in Immunology with an interest in immunology-related research and understanding the molecular mechanism of inflammation. In Dr. Langlais’ lab, I will be investigating the role of CEBPd in macrophage activation and trained immunity. Outside of the lab, I enjoy cooking, running, skiing, and a good game of chess. I also recently discovered my interest in bouldering.
Étienne collette, MSC student
I am currently finishing the third year of my bachelor’s degree at Université de Montréal in biochemistry and molecular medicine. Having done a technical degree in biotechnology and spent a year and a half at the Canadian Centre for Computational Genomics, I have always been interested in both wet and dry lab techniques. In Dr. Langlais’ lab, I am studying the effects of glutathione and (1–3)-β-D-glucan on macrophage epigenetic memory and how these products modulate the activity of target transcription factors. If you ever find me out of the lab, I will probably be tinkering on my computer, trying out some new recipes, or hiding behind my game master screen, preparing my next game of dungeon and dragons!
Tomas Pepe, BSc Honours
Tomas is a fourth year undergraduate in the interdepartmental honours in immunology program at McGill. He joined the Langlais lab in 2022 and was involved in studying the role of ThPOK and Runx1 in the pathogenesis of cerebral malaria. He is currently working on his Honours project, investigating the role of the transcription factor, NFIL3, in macrophage activation and inflammation. Both epigenetic and functional approaches are used to explore NFIL3’s poorly understood function in myeloid immune cells. Outside the lab, Tomas can be found escaping to the outdoors, where he enjoys hiking, gardening, and running!
Larissa cassiano, visiting phd candidate
Larissa is a Graduate Research Trainee from Brazil. She holds a B.Sc. degree in Biological Sciences and an M.Sc. in Neuroscience. Currently, Larissa is a Ph.D. candidate in the Biochemistry and Immunology program at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and works as a scientific fellow at Fiocruz Minas, under the supervision of Roney Santos Coimbra. Her research focuses on the epigenetic and transcriptional regulation of innate immunity in neurodegenerative processes and infections. Through a multidisciplinary approach, Larissa aims to explore the potential of epigenetic drugs, also known as epidrugs, for treating inflammation-related diseases such as acute COVID-19, long COVID, and pneumococcal meningitis.