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Plummer Lab Home | Directors | Technicians | Fellows | Students | Collaborators

Allison Land

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. - Microbiology-University of Manitoba
  • M.Sc. - University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing Ph.D.

Current Project:

HIV-1 sequence diversity: a tool to predicct disease progression and viral evolution

About: Allison did her undergrad at the University of Manitoba in the department of Microbiology, graduating in December 2002. She started in Dr. Plummer’s lab in January 2003 as a Master’s student and transitioned to the Ph.D. program in May 2005. Her initial work consisted of full-length HIV-1 genome sequencing, in an effort to characterize the viruses infecting the women of the Pumwani sex worker cohort. Allison wanted to determine clade distribution and recombination frequency in this cohort, and compare it with what has been previously published. The full-length sequencing revealed that some viruses had mutations in the vpu gene, which would presumably lead to it not being transcribed (i.e. not an ORF). Her project now focuses on the accessory HIV-1 protein, Vpu. She has not graduated yet, so her project may be re-focused.
Email: Allison_Land@phac-aspc.gc.ca

Ben Liang

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • MD—Internal Medicine, University of Norman Bethune
  • BSc---Computer Science, Unversity of Manitoba
  • MSc—Biochemistry and Human Genetics, University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing Ph.D.

Current Project:

Evolution of HIV-1 Envelope Genes: Evaluation by an Immunological Bioinformatics Approach

About: Ben's project is to use an Immunological Bioinformatics approach to analyze the evolution of HIV envelope genes based on all the envelope sequences available in Los Alamos HIV Sequence Database. They hypothesize that the potential immunogens in envelope sequences appropriate for vaccine design will be identified.
Email: liangb0@Ms.UManitoba.CA

John Schellenberg

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • M.Sc. Biology – UQAM
  • Pursuing Ph.D.

Current Project:

Characterization of indigenous Lactobacillus-associated microbiota related to HIV resistance on the immunological micro-environment of the genital tract.

About: John Schellenberg has worked on community-based STD/HIV prevention and research with young people in inner-city Winnipeg since 1995. He received a Master of Science degree in Biology from the Université du Québec à Montréal (2005) and joined the group as a PhD candidate in January 2005. The title of his project is: Characterization of indigenous Lactobacillus-associated microbiota related to HIV resistance and its effects on the immunological micro-environment of the genital tract. Current research activities are focussed on phenotypic and phylogenetic analysis of microbial communities in vaginal swab samples. He was selected as a trainee in the CIHR/International Centre for Infectious Diseases (ICID) Training Program in 2005, and received a Doctoral Research Award from CIHR in the October 2005 competition.
Email: schellenberg.john@courrier.uqam.ca

Jill Waruk

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. Microbiology, University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing Ph.D.

Current Project:

HIV-neutralizing antibody specificities

About: Jillian Waruk is a graduate student in the Plummer lab, pursuing her PhD. Before joining the lab in 2001, she obtained a B.Sc. Microbiology Major at the University of Manitoba. Her research entails the study of HIV-neutralizing antibody specificities and their applications in vaccine research.
Email: superjill@yahoo.com

Rae-anne Hardy

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. Honours Genetics –University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing MSc Immunology--University of Manitoba

Current Project:

NK Host genetics

About: Rae-Anne started at the lab as a Co-op student in 2004 and previously completed a project on associations between HIV-1 natural resistance and HLA DQ alleles. She finished her B.Sc. Honours Genetics at the University of Manitoba in December and started graduate studies here in January. At the moment, Hardy is working on a new project looking to identify Killer Immunoglobulin-like Receptors (KIRs), receptors on natural killer cells, which may associate with HIV-1 resistance and rates of disease progression. These studies have all been performed using samples and biological data from the Pumwani sex trade worker cohort from Nairobi, Kenya.
Email: umhardi8@cc.umanitoba.ca

Nadine Kaefer

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc--Biochemistry, Unversity of Ottawa
  • Pursuing M.Sc Medical Microbiology -University of Manitoba

Current Project:

Gene expression analysis in the genital tract of HIV-resistant women

About: Nadine is performing gene expression analysis on immune cells from the cervix of HIV resistant and susceptible women to determine if there are differences in gene expression in the genital tract that lead to HIV resistance.
Email: umkaefer@cc.umanitoba.ca

Caitlin Sarna

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. (Hons) Microbiology–University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology

Current Project:

Whole blood isolations of the patients in the ML cohort

About: Caitlin has worked with the HIV lab since May 2004. She started out as a co-op student at National Microbiology Laboratory (NML) and have recently joined Frank Plummer's lab at Med Micro to pursue a Masters degree (since January 2006). Caitlin is currently studying the involvement of HIV-1 specific IgA antibodies at the genital tract and how these antibodies are involved in resistance to HIV-1 infection. Specifically, she is producing IgA cloned from the B-cells of several HIV-resistant women in the lab for further study. I'll be investigating whether these antibodies can bind to gp120 and whether they can neutralize HIV-1 in vitro. I will also identify the gp120 epitopes involved by using MALDI-qTOF mass spectrometry.
Email: willow_529@hotmail.com

Sujata De

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Co-Supervisor:

Dr. Blake Ball

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. Microbiology - University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing M.Sc in Medical Microbiology

Current Project:

The role of intrinsic cellular defense molecule, APOBEC3G, in innate immunity of HIV-1 infected individuals.

About: Sujata joined the Plummer/Ball lab in September 2008. Her current research focus is on an endogenous innate human protein called apolipoprotein B-mRNA editing enzyme, catalytic polypeptide –like 3G (APOBEC3G) which plays a significant role in creating point mutations in HIV-1 genome. A subset of patients our cohort display dramatic hypermutation and furthermore these patients have a significantly higher CD4+ cell count. We hope to characterize and identify that APOBEC3G is the key determinant for this increase in CD4+ expression and hence explain why some individuals progress faster or slower to disease progression to AIDS. Ultimately, this knowledge may play a key role in the development of effective prophylactic and therapeutic modalities for HIV-1.
Email: sujatad84@gmail.com

Derek Stein

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Master's Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. (Hons) Genetics
  • Pursuing M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology

Current Project:

The role of Mucosal immunity in HIV infection

About: The initial site of HIV infection is most often at a mucosal barrier where IgA antibodies are the number one Ig class secreted. Stong HIV IgA specific antibody responces at the mucosal level could be a very important key in furthering vaccine development. We hope to develop HIV specific dimeric IgA antiobodies for possible therapeutic intervention at mucosal surfaces. Also identificiation and characterization of mucosal homing T and B cell markers from whole blood using iTRAQ could provide us with a novel examination of mucosal immunity and further vaccine design.
Email: Derek_Riley_Stein@hotmail.com

Aida Sivro

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Master's Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. (Hons) Microbiology–University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology

Current Project:

Effect of IRF-1 polymorphism

About: Effect of IRF-1 polymorphism associated with resistance on proteosome composition and subsequent generation of cytotoxic T cell epitopes. HIV-1 Tat represses the LMP2 levels by interfering with the binding of IRF-1 to STAT1, this leads to modified Ag processing and generation of subdominant CTL epitopes.
Email: aida_sivro@yahoo.com

Diane Mlinar

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Master's Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. Microbiology - University of Manitoba
  • Pursuing Masters

Current Project:

Trappin-2 in HIV-resistant women

About: Diana is currently working as a Master student in Blake's labl. Her project will be looking at trappin-2, an anti- protease that was found to be overexpressed in the HIV-resistant women in our cohort. She has recently graduated with my Bachelor of Science-Major Microbiology from the University of Manitoba.
Email: ummlina1@cc.umanitoba.ca

Syeda Sharmin Rahman

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Co-Supervisor:

Dr. Blake Ball

Position:

Master's Student

Degrees obtained:

  • MBBS, Bachelor of Medicine and Surgery, Bangladesh Medical College
  • Pursuing M.Sc. in Medical Microbiology ,University of Manitoba

Current Project:

Measurement and characterization of Serpin A3 (Alpha-1 Antichymotrypsin) in the cervical mucosa of HIV-1 resistant and susceptible individuals.

About: Serpin A3 is one of the anti-proteinases which antagonizes Cathepsin G enhancement of HIV infectivity. Cathepsin G (which is present in genital tract fluid) acts as a chemo - attractant for macrophages and neutrophils and increases the susceptibility of these cells to acute HIV infection. It can also cleave anti-HIV-1 factors (such as RANTES) to render them less effective against HIV-1. My project is focused on measuring the levels of Serpin A3 present in genital tract fluids collected from individuals that are resistant or susceptible to infection with HIV-1. These measurements will then be compared with values stated in the literature to determine if the levels detected in these individuals are present at physiologically relevant concentrations sufficient for inhibition of Cathepsin G and/or the control of inflammatory processes. This work will contribute to a more complete understanding of mechanisms of resistance and susceptibility to HIV infection.
Email:sharmin30@yahoo.com

Brigitte Bruneau

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Co-op Student

Degrees obtained:

  • Third Year of B.Sc.(H) Biochemisty - University of Manitoba

Current Project:

HLA-DP association with HIV-1 resistance and susceptability

About: Brigitte is a co-op student working in Dr. Luo's lab from January until August. She is currently in the 3rd year of an Honours Biochemistry degree at the U of M. Brigitte has been working with Erin Knight on the completion of the typing of the HLA-DP genes, where she was typing HLA-DPB. So far, they have completed all the typing and are in the process of writing a manuscript.
Email: Brigitte_Bruneau@phac-aspc.gc.ca


Rupert Capina

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Co-op Student

Degrees obtained:

  • Daniel McIntyre High School
  • 4th year B.Sc. Microbiology - University of Manitoba

Current Project:

A bioinformatic approach to study escape mutations of HIV-1: analysis of gag genes; HIV p24 and host interaction

About: Rupert works on the projects. The first project involves correlating positively selected mutations in gag with HLA alleles and patients CD4 counts. This method will identify and classify the CTL escape mutations. this project is done by 3 authors: harold (p7-p1-p6), mark (p17), and I (p24). The second project is the anaysis of p24 and its clade frequency within the Pumwani Sex worker cohort. I would be looking at how the consensus from each clade changes throughout 1980s to 2000s. I will also be looking at the frequency at which one clade may diverge or converge into another clade.
Email: umcapina@cc.umanitoba.ca/strong>

Nicole Dunn

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Co-op Student

Degrees obtained:

  • Fourth year of B.Sc. (H) Genetics - University of Manitoba

Current Project:

An investigation of the correlation between HLA Class I Genotype and HIV-1 diversity in the MCH Cohort

About: Nicole works in the NML lab with Dr. Ma Luo. She is currently in her second Co-op term (May - August 2006). Currently she is working on genotyping HLA-A for HIV positive mothers of the MCH cohort and works with work with Chris Czarnecki (who is genotyping HLA-B) and Siobhan Holland who is genotyping HLA-C) . Once genotyped, correlations between disease progression and HIV viral diversity will be looked at. The next step is to then genotype the children of these mothers and see if there are any further relationships, looking in particular at HIV status.
Email:<umdunnnk@cc.umanitoba.ca

Kulbir Gill

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Summer Student

Degrees obtained:

Current Project:

CHLA-G and mother-child HIV transmission

About:
Email: umgillk@cc.umanitoba.ca

Kulvinder Gill

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Summer Student

Degrees obtained:

Current Project:

HLA-DPB1 and HIV resistance

About:
Email: Kulvinder.g@gmail.com

Siobhan Holland

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Co-op Student

Degrees obtained:

  • 4th Year B.Sc. Immunology - UBC

Current Project:

HLA-C for patients from the MCH cohort

About: Siobhan's project is genotyping HLA-C for patients from the MCH cohort in order to eventually compare viral diversity with HLA genotype. They may also follow virus progression through mother-child transmission in association with HLA genotype. Some of her tasks include DNA Isolation from whole blood, buffy coat, blood spots; PCR; Purification; Running gels; Sequencing PCR; High-Res Sequencing; Genotyping (HLA-typing programs) along with basic lab duties.
Email: Siobhan_M_Holland@phac-aspc.gc.ca

Erin Knight

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Co-op Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc.–College Universitaire de Saint-Boniface
  • Pursuing Hnrs. Biochemistry—University of Manitoba

Current Project:

HLA-DP association with HIV-1 resistance and susceptability

About: Along with Brigitte Bruneau, Erin is currently working on a manuscript concerning the association of HLA-DP alleles with HIV-1 resistance and susceptibility. For this project DNA samples from over 1100 Pumwani Sex Worker Cohort members were amplified for exon 2 of the DPA1 and DPB1 genes and subsequently genotyped using high resolution sequence based typing. The genotyping results and DP haplotype results were then correlated with biological data to observe any existing associations with HIV-1 resistance and susceptibility.
Email: erin_knight@phac-aspc.gc.ca

Ian McArthur

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Summer Student

Degrees obtained:

Current Project:

About:
Email: i_macarthur@shaw.ca

Mark Mendoza

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Co-op Student

Degrees obtained:

  • 4th year B.Sc. (H) Microbiology - University of Manitoba

Current Project:

A bioinformatic approach to study escape mutations of HIV-1: analysis of gag genes

About: This study helps to explain why certain HLA alleles are associated with different disease outcomes and is an efficient approach to identify and classify escape mutations in HIV-1 gag. This information can be used in peptide based vaccine development lab tech. and analysis of gag p17 gene from members of HIv positive members of the kenyan sexworker cohort
Email: ummend02@cc.umanitoba.ca

Harold Peters

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Co-op Student

Degrees obtained:

  • B.Sc. Genetics - University of Manitoba

Current Project:

A bioinformatic approach to study escape mutations of HIV-1: analysis of gag genes

About: Harold is a Co-op student from the University of Manitoba and works at the National Microbiology Lab. He is currently studying positively selected amino acid sites of the p7-p1-p6 region of gag. By associating the positive selection to HLA alleles and correlating to higher or lower average CD4 count, we hope to classify these mutations. Essentially, using bioinformatics we hope to show that we can establish the functional significance of these mutations.
Email: harold.olufemi@gmail.com

William Turk

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Graduate Student

Degrees obtained:

  • High School Diploma - Grant Park High School
  • B.Sc. Biology - University of Winnipeg
  • Current medical school student University of Manitoba

Current Project:

HLA-G and HIV resistance

About: A group of sex trade workers in Punwani, Kenya have been shown to be resistant to HIV-1 infection despite frequent exposure. Previous studies have shown associations between some HLA class I and class II alleles and resistance or susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. HLA-G is a non-classical class I allele that is primarily involved in mucosal and inflammatory defence. In this study, we examined the influence of HLA-G genotypes on the resistance to HIV-1 infection using a sequenced based method. Our study showed that HLA-G plays an important role in resistance /susceptibility to HIV-1 infection. Since HLA-G is important in mucosal and inflammatory responses, further studies will be conducted to better understand HLA-G and mucosal defence. Will is currently amplifying and sequencing the rest of the ML cohort to determine their HLA-G genotype. After this is completed, he will proceed with cloning the HLA-G gene to determine if the lab has discovered new HLA-G alleles.
Email: willturk@hotmail.com

Shelley Peterson

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Summer Student

Degrees obtained:

  • Third year of B.Sc (Hons) Microbiology-University of Manitoba

Current Project:

SNP genotyping and association with HIV-1 resistance and susceptibility

About: Shelley is currently in her second co-op work term at the NML and her 3rd year of an Honours Microbiology degree at the U of M. She is genotyping members of the ML Pumwani Sex Worker cohort for a certain SNP that may be related to HIV resistance. Once genotyped, the data collected will be analyzed to see if there are correlations between genotype and HIV resistance.
Email:umpet244@cc.umanitoba.ca

Sarah Murrell

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Position:

Summer Student

Degrees obtained:

  • Third year of B.Sc Microbiology-University of Manitoba

Current Project:

Genotyping and sequencing of a SNP related to HIV-1 resistence

About: Sarah is currently in her second co-op work term at the NML and in her 3rd year of a Microbiology degree at the U of M. She is sequencing, and genotyping members of the ML Pumwani Sex Worker cohort for a certain SNP that may be related to HIV-1 resistance. Data collected will be analyzed for correlations between genotype and HIV resistance. Further directions may lead to genotyping the SNP with the MCH and Kindred cohorts.
Email:ummurre0@cc.umanitoba.ca

Ben Bailey-Elkin

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Co-Supervisor:

Dr. T. Blake Ball

Position:

Summer Student

Degrees obtained:

  • Third year of B.Sc (Hons) Microbiology - University of Manitoba

Current Project:

IRF-1 and HIV resistance

About: IRF-1 is an interferon regulatory transcription factor. In HIV infected persons it can act as a transcriptional activator, increasing viral replication. Ben is sequencing the IRF-1 gene of Kenyan sex-trade workers in order to locate a polymorphism associated with HIV resistance. After finishing his degree, Ben plans to continue on to graduate studies. As of now, he is interested in studying protein structure and function.
Email:bennbe@hotmail.com

Winnie Muyombano

Supervisor:

Dr. Frank Plummer

Co-Supervisor:

Dr. Maritim Songok

Position:

Summer Student

Degrees obtained:

  • 3rd Bsc Biochemistry- University of Winnipeg

Current Project:

DPP4 sequencing

About: Winnie is currently doing her 3yr of Biochemistry at the University of Winnipeg. She is working under the supervision of Dr Adrienne Meyers in sequencing the protease region of HIV-1 collected from members of the Pumwani sex worker cohort in Nairobi, Kenya to characterize the resistance profile that they are developing to the antiretroviral therapy (ART). She plans to continue on to graduate studies in HIV research work with the Pumwani cohort.
Email:karesh86@yahoo.com

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