THE RESEARCH TEAM
Dr. Edana Cassol (Principal Investigator)
Edana is an Associate Professor in the Department of Health Sciences with a cross appointment in the Department of Neuroscience. She started the Systems Immunology Lab after exploring the world as a graduate student and a post doctoral fellow (South Africa, Italy and USA) and developing expertise in cellular and molecular immunology, infectious disease and systems biology approaches. Her research group uses a combination of transcriptomics, metabolomics, biochemical and immunological techniques to understand how cellular metabolism contributes to the regulation innate immune function during infection. A detailed description of the current research projects in the lab can be found under the Research tab.
Duale Ahmed (PhD Student)
Born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Duale Ahmed received his BSc in Biochmeistry from Carleton University in Ottawa, Ontario. It was during his undergraduate studies where he was first exposed to laboratory research and decided to pursue research as a career. Remaining at Carleton, Duale completed his MSc in Biology where is his research focused on the metabolic disorder homocystinuria and how genetic mutations in Cystathionine b-synthase contributed to its pathogenesis. Currently, Duale as part of his PhD he is investigating the role that cellular metabolism plays in the regulation of antiviral responses in macrophages. These studies use a combination of immunological, biochemical and systems biology approaches to have a global understanding of the intereactions between metabolic networks and immune responses. The studies are designed to provide critical insights into the development of novel treatments of infectious diseases with dysregulated IFN signalling such as HIV.
David Roy (PhD Student)
Born and raised in Ottawa, David moved to Schenectady, NY, to pursue a neuroscience degree on the pre-med track at Union College, where he was also awarded a sports scholarship to play on the NCAA ice hockey team. Following his 4 years at Union, he was awarded a Minerva Fellowship, allowing him to live for 9 months in Johannesburg, South Africa, and coordinate a program at the Witkoppen Health and Welfare Centre, servicing mothers and children with HIV. This experience drove him to continue working with HIV, but through research in Systems Immunology lab, where he completed a Master's in Health Sciences in September 2019, with his thesis titled "The effects of ART and HIV on mitochondrial function and cytokine production in primary monocyte derived macrophages". Using biological and immunological approaches, these studies are designed to bring to light the importance of the mitochondria in immune function, and the potential for ART and HIV to induce chronic inflammation in patients living long lives on life-saving medication. The goal is to reduce the rate of comorbidities in these patient populations, and reduce the burden on the healthcare system due to chronic inflammation.
Mary-Elizabeth Sheridan (MSc Student)
Mary-Elizabeth originates from Montreal, where she received her first undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Psychology from McGill University. For her thesis she studied children’s lying behavior in the classroom, where she both conducted interviews and cognitive testing of children under the age of 12. It was during this time that she realized her career goals had shifted and obtained a second bachelor’s degree, this time an Honors Bachelor of Science at Carleton, majoring in Biology. For her second undergraduate thesis she worked in the field of microbiology, specifically antimicrobial resistance. It was during this time that she fine-tuned her career aspirations of working in the field of infectious diseases. She is currently a Master’s of Science student at Carleton University where her research focuses on HIV mediated reprogramming of mitochondrial function, and how this affects both inflammatory and antiviral responses. In order to conduct her research, she works collaboratively with both researchers and clinicians from two leading research institutes, the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) and the Ottawa Research Institute (OHRI). Her research aims to contribute to the understanding of how HIV interacts and influences host immunometabolism, which will provide crucial information for the development of novel therapeutics.
Zoya Versey (MSc Student, co-supervised by Dr. Joerg Overhage)
Zoya grew up in Botswana, where she spent many years nurturing her penchant for science and medicine. Upon returning to Canada, she pursued a BSc Honours degree in Biochemistry at Carleton University, receiving her degree in 2020. Her Honours Thesis Project focused on designing methods to characterize the interactions occurring between macrophages and bacterial biofilms in vitro. Building on this research, her MSc Thesis aims to use immunological and microbiological approaches to investigate how these immune-microbe/host-pathogen interactions play a role in driving chronic wound formation. To conduct her research, she works in collaboration with both the Overhage Lab and the Cassol Lab (Systems Immunology Lab) in the Department of Health Sciences at Carleton University.
Romanah Ahmed (BHSc Student, fourth year thesis)
Her research is investigating how the BCG vaccine reprograms antiviral immune responses in macrophages.
Emily Russell (BHSc Student, fourth year thesis)
Her research is investigating how cellular metabolism regulates interactions between macrophages and bacteria.
Allan Humphrey (Lab technician)
Olivia Robin (Health Sciences, Thesis)
Emma Rektor (Journalism, Capstone project student)
Catherine Copley (Neuroscience, Thesis)
James Donner (Health Sciences, Thesis)