KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Nada Jabado

Nada Jabado

Professor of Pediatrics and Human Genetics, McGill University
Division of Hematology and Oncology, Montreal Children’s Hospital

Dr. Jabado began her career as an independent investigator in 2003 at the RI-MUHC, pioneering a research program in pediatric brain tumors, which is now unparalleled. Dr. Jabado’s group was among the first to identify a histone mutation in human disease which has revolutionized this field. The epigenome was a previously unsuspected hallmark of oncogenesis and this discovery linked development and what we now know are epigenetic-driven cancers. Dr. Nada Jabado has over 150 peer-reviewed publications to her credit in such prominent journals as Nature Genetics, Nature, Science and Cancer Cell. She is invited as keynote speaker to International symposia and top ranked universities and has been awarded funding from CIHR, Genome Canada, NIH, as well as a Large-Scale Genomics grant from Genome Canada. In 2015, Dr. Jabado was named as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in the Life Sciences Division

 

TRAINEE KEYNOTE

Jamie Hackett

Group Leader, Epigenetics and Neurobiology (EMBL), Rome, Italy

Jamie Hackett is a group leader at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), within the Epigenetics and Neurobiology unit in Rome, Italy. He obtained his PhD at the University of Edinburgh, and completed postdoctoral training at the University of Cambridge, UK, under Prof. Azim Surani. Jamie’s research group has two overarching scientific themes. (i) To dissect the regulatory impact and logic of chromatin changes in health and disease, by engineering precision epigenome manipulations. (ii) To investigate the potential for (altered) epigenetic states to be transmitted through mitosis or meiosis and influence phenotype. 

INVITED SPEAKERS

Cheryl Arrowsmith

Professor, Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto

Dr. Arrowsmith received her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Toronto and carried out postdoctoral research at Stanford University. She is the director of the Toronto Node of the Structural Genomics Consortium (SGC), Senior Scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, and Professor of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. Dr. Arrowsmith is an internationally recognized expert in cancer related structural biology & chemical biology and epigenetics. She has been the leader of the Toronto site of the SGC since its inception and coordinates the SGC’s epigenetic chemical probe program. Dr. Arrowsmith was co-founder of Affinium Pharmaceuticals, a structure-based biotech that developed an anti-MRSA antibiotic that recently completed successful phase IIa trials. She has served as a member of 18 scientific advisory boards, grant review panels and journal editorial boards since 2000, including current membership on the Board of Directors of Academic Drug Discovery Consortium (ADDC). Dr. Arrowsmith holds a Canada Research Chair in Structural Genomics at the University of Toronto, has published over 250 peer reviewed articles, with more than 60 of these published in the last 5 years, and is co-author of over 1800 3D protein structures in the Protein DataBank (PDB). Her current research focuses on structural biology and chemical biology approaches to understand how transcriptional and chromatin regulatory proteins recognize, interact with and signal to other molecular components of the cell.

Nathalie Berube

Professor, Departments of Paediatrics, Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Oncology, University of Western Ontario

Dr. Bérubé is a Professor in the Departments of Paediatrics, Anatomy and Cell Biology, and Oncology at Western University and a Scientist at the Children’s Health Research Institute in London, Canada. Her research intersects neuroscience and epigenetics with a focus on the role of chromatin regulators in learning and memory and in neurodevelopmental disorders. Using mouse genetics, her group is investigating the function of the ATRX chromatin remodeling protein in brain development, and in specific cell types of the central nervous system. The methods used include the culture of primary cells, genome-wide sequencing, bioinformatics, and behavioral testing to better understand the effects of ATRX deficiency in the brain.

Guillaume Bourque

Professor, Human Genetics, McGill University

Guillaume Bourque is a Professor in the Department of Human Genetics at McGill University and the Director of Bioinformatics at the McGill University Genome Center. He is a member of the Research Advisory Board of CIHR’s Institute of Genetics, of the Research Advisory Council of Compute Canada, the national platform for high-performance computing, of CANARIE, responsible for Canada’s ultra-fast network backbone and on the External Consultant Panel of ENCODE. He leads the Canadian Center for Computational Genomics (C3G), a Genome Canada bioinformatics platform, and the McGill initiative in Computational Medicine (MiCM). He is also the head of the Epigenomics Mapping Center at McGill, a project that oversees data generation and processing as part of the Canadian Epigenetics, Environment and Health Research Consortium (CEEHRC). His research interests are in comparative and functional genomics with a special emphasis on applications of next-generation sequencing technologies.

Melanie Eckersley-Maslin

Research Group Leader, Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre
Research Fellow, Anatomy and Physiology, University of Melbourne, Australia

Dr Melanie Eckersley-Maslin is research group leader and Snow Medical Fellow at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and a research fellow in Anatomy and Physiology at the University of Melbourne, Australia. Her laboratory investigates the role and regulation of epigenetic plasticity in facilitating cell fate changes in both developmental and cancer models using single-cell and CRISPR-based technologies. Melanie completed her PhD in molecular biology at Cold Spring Harbor’s School of Biological Sciences in New York, USA with Professor David Spector. In 2014, she moved to the Babraham Institute, Cambridge UK to work with Prof Wolf Reik as a postdoctoral research fellow supported by an EMBO Fellowship, Marie Curie Independent Fellowship and a BBSRC Discovery Grant. There she made seminal discoveries on the epigenetic control of early embryonic cell fate transitions including zygotic genome activation and gastrulation, and discovered some of the first epigenetic priming factors in early development. In 2021 she returned to Australia to establish her laboratory at Peter Mac combining her interests and background in developmental epigenetics to get new insights and perspectives into cancer evolution and adaptation, with the ultimate aim to identify new prognostic markers and therapeutic targets.. She was recently awarded the 2020 Metcalf prize for Stem Cell research by the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia, and the prestigious 8-year Snow Medical Fellowship in 2021.

Sarah Kimmins

Professor, Department of Pathology and Cellular Biology, Université de Montréal

Sarah Kimmins is a Professor at the Université de Montréal in the Department of Pathology and Cellular Biology, an affiliate member of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, at McGill University, Canada, and was the Associate Director of the McGill Center for Research in Reproduction and Development (2014-2017).  She is the current Chair of the Andrology Special Interest group for the Canadian Fertility and Andrology Society and a member of the International working group on Mens’ Reproductive Health.  She was awarded a tier 1 Canada Research Chair in Epigenomics, Reproduction and Development in 2021and held a tier 2 CRC from 2011-2020. She received the Society for the Study of Reproduction Young Investigator award and the American Society of Andrology Young Andrologist Award. Her research team is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms underpinning paternal epigenetic inheritance. Particular interest is given to paternal health and how environmental exposures (diet, BMI, toxicants) alter fertility, clinical outcomes, the sperm and embryo epigenome, development and health of offspring. 

Julie Lessard

Principal Investigator, Chromatin Structure and Stem Cell Biology Research Unit, IRIC

Julie Lessard obtained her Ph.D. in Molecular Biology in 2003 following research work supervised by Dr. Guy Sauvageau at l’Institut de recherches cliniques de Montréal (IRCM). She then left for California to carry out postdoctoral training at Stanford University, in Gerald R. Crabtree’s laboratory. She became familiar with the proteomics approach and enhanced her knowledge of epigenetic mechanisms that control stem cell function. She joined the IRIC team in 2007. Her group’s recent work suggests that specialized assemblies of SWI/SNF complexes regulate cell fate determination in the hemopoietic tissue. Using quantitative proteomics and molecular genetics approaches, we identified subunits that are essential for hemopoietic stem cell (HSC) function and others that are required later in the hemopoietic hierarchy, for the development of specific blood-cell lineages. Most importantly, we identified a key component of the combinatorial code that dictates hemopoietic cell fates as being the mutually exclusive usage of the Smarcd1, Smarcd2 and Smarcd3 family subunits. Using conditional knock-out alleles, we showed that Smarcd1, d2 and d3 are master regulators of lymphoid, granulocytic and hemopoietic stem cell (HSC) development, respectively. Globally, our research program aims at characterizing the molecular basis for lineage determination that emerges from combinatorial assembly of alternative subunits within hemopoietic SWI/SNF complexes.

Matthew Lorincz

Full Professor, Department of Medical Genetics
University of British Columbia

Dr. Lorincz received a BA in the Department of Zoology at the University of California, Berkeley, and did his PhD thesis work under the supervision of Dr. Leonard Herzenberg in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University. From 1999-2005 he was a Postdoctoral Fellow and subsequently Staff Scientist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center under the supervision of Dr. Mark Groudine. He took a faculty position at the University of British Columbia in 2005, where he is currently a Full Professor and Interim Head in the Department of Medical Genetics. Research in the Lorincz lab focusses on dissecting the interplay between covalent histone modifications, DNA methylation and transcription in embryonic and germline development, using the mouse as a model system.

Alexander Meissner

Scientific member, Director, Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics 

Alexander Meissner studied Medical Biotechnology at the Technical University Berlin before starting his PhD studies with Rudolf Jaenisch at the Whitehead Institute/MIT in 2002. He completed his PhD in 2006 and spent the next year and a half working with Rudolf Jaenisch and Eric Lander before starting his own lab as an assistant professor in the Department of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and as an associate member of the Broad Institute in 2008. He was promoted to associate professor in 2012 and full professor with tenure in 2015. In 2016 he has been appointed as Director and Head of the Department of Genome regulation at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in secondary employment and changed it to his principal employment in 2017.

Jennifer Mitchell

Associate Professor, Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto

Dr Mitchell is an associate professor at the University of Toronto in the Department of Cell and Systems Biology where she uses CRISPR genome engineering to study the mechanisms through which transcriptional regulatory elements activate gene expression in stem cells. Dr Mitchell received her PhD from the University of Toronto and conducted her research on transcription factors regulating gene expression in the uterus during pregnancy at The Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute with Dr Stephen Lye. Dr Mitchell then pursued Postdoctoral training at the Babraham Institute in Cambridge UK where she worked with Peter Fraser to investigate how genome organization regulates transcription in erythroid cells.  Dr Mitchell started her own research group at the University of Toronto in 2009 where she investigates transcriptional mechanisms regulating pluripotency and lineage commitment during development and investigates how these mechanisms are disrupted in disease.

Will Pastor

Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry, McGill University

William Pastor earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University in the lab of Dr. Anjana Rao. He was part of the team that discovered that Tet enzymes oxidize the epigenetic mark 5mC to form 5hmC. He subsequently invented a method to map 5hmC in the genome. As a postdoctoral fellow in the labs of Dr. Steven Jacobsen and Dr. Amander Clark at UCLA, he studied mechanisms of 5mC establishment and transcriptional regulation in germ and stem cells. He became an Assistant Professor at McGill University in 2018. His lab developed a stem cell model of epigenome acquisition in placental lineage and presently studies transcriptional regulation and 5mC patterning during early embryonic and placental development.

Gustavo Turecki

Professor, Chair, Department of Psychiatry, McGill University
Scientific Director, Douglas Research Centre

Gustavo Turecki is a clinician-scientist who has been involved in the investigation of the neurobiology of depression and suicide, with a particular interest on functional genomics and epigenetics. Dr Turecki’s laboratory has made important contributions to our understanding of biological processes underlying psychopathology, including the first description of molecular mechanisms explaining the impact of childhood traumatic experiences on brain function. Dr. Turecki’s work uses epidemiological, clinical, psychosocial and basic research approaches, and has significantly advanced knowledge on mechanisms leading to suicide and suicidal behaviour. In addition, his laboratory has also made important contributions to the investigation of mechanisms of antidepressant response.

Ting Wang

Professor of Medicine, Washington University School of Medicine

Dr. Ting Wang is the inaugural Sanford C. and Karen P. Loewentheil Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis. Dr. Wang is recognized for his research on genetic and epigenetic impact of transposable element (TE) on gene regulation. His group is known for defining the widespread contribution of TEs to the evolution of species-specific gene regulatory networks as well as to the conservation of 3D genome architecture, and for revealing that epigenetic dysregulation of TEs is a major mechanism driving oncogenesis. Dr. Wang’s lab investigates epigenetic determinants of cell fates in normal development and regeneration, in cancer, and in evolution, by integrating cutting-edge experimental and computational technologies. His lab developed DNA methylomics technologies, algorithms to identify regulatory motifs and modules, and analytical and visualization tools to integrate large genomic and epigenomic data. His lab is home to the WashU Epigenome Browser, utilized by investigators around the world to access hundreds of thousands of genomic datasets generated by large Consortia including the NIH Roadmap Epigenome Project, ENCODE, 4D Nucleome, TaRGET, IGVF, and the Human Pangenome Project. Dr. Wang currently directs the NIEHS Environmental Epigenomics Data Center, the Human Pangenome Reference Consortium, and the IGVF Data Administrative and Coordination Center.

Japan-Canada AMED-CIHR International Collaboration

David Langlais

Jay Shin

Ly Vu

Soichiro Yamanaka

Akihide Yoshimi

Selected Talks

Additional talks will be selected from Abstract Submissions

Lightning Talks

Once again, we will have an exciting round of Lightning Talks given by trainees!