Welcome to the RIOT!

Hello Ottawa, Canada, and the world! OttawaRIOT, the Canadian Cancer Society’s Research Information Outreach Team, is live! We’re a group of students and researchers in Ottawa who want to share with you what amazing research is going on to help the fight against cancer. In the coming weeks, check back here to find engaging and exciting articles that will explain what cancer is, and what science is doing about it. Everyone talks about cancer research; if you want to get informed on what is actually going on, right here in Canada, you’ve come to the right place.

First, by way of introduction, here are the members of OttawaRIOT:

Casey Lansdell

Position

Master’s candidate in Dr. Auer’s lab enrolled in the Biochemistry program at the University of Ottawa.

Education

Casey is a graduate from Trent University (Peterborough, ON) with a Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science (Honours).

Current Projects

Her current research project is further investigating the mechanisms of surgery- induced suppression of tumuor- specific T- cell function.

Casey currently lives with her boyfriend Drew and her cat Zoe, but enjoys travelling out to Verona, ON to visit her family, where she can relax and go fishing.

Andrew Wight

Position

Ph.D. candidate (microbiology & immunology) in the Makrigiannis lab.

Education

Andrew completed his B.Sc. honours in Microbiology & Immunology at the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University in 2012.

Current Projects

Andrew is currently investigating the mechanisms behind adaptive natural killer cell responses, and their applicability in treating viral infections and cancer.

Andrew lives in Ottawa with his wife Irenee, and enjoys choral singing, knitting and spinning, and boardgames of any sort.

Dr. Lee-Hwa Tai

Position

Post-doctoral Fellow in Dr. Auer’s lab.

Education

Dr. Tai’s expertise in basic immunology comes from her doctoral studies (McGill University 2005-2010), which studied how the immune system ‘sees’ viruses.

Current Projects

Her current postdoctoral work is in the field of cancer immunology and immunotherapy and consists of using animal tumor models and cancer patient samples to study the effects of standard-of-care and experimental therapies in the treatment of postoperative metastatic disease.

In her spare time, Lee chases after her two sons, ages five years and five months.

Megan Tu

Position

Ph. D. candidate (microbiology & immunology) in the Makrigiannis lab.

Current Projects

Megan studies the role of class I MHC receptors in protection from cancer.

Connie Son

Position

Honours Student in Dr. Diallo’s lab

Education

Connie is currently studying biochemistry with option in microbiology and immunology at University of Ottawa. Her passion for research sparked when she first participated in a school science fair during her secondary education in Saint John, New Brunswick. In the summer prior to starting her BSc, she started her research career in an immunology lab, and she immediately fell in love with lab work.

Current Projects

Connie’s research project involves screening different types of tumors to find the correlation between in vivo and ex vivo infectivity of tumors with oncolytic rhabdovirus MG1. Ultimately, she hopes to find a biomarker that helps select the appropriate patients for clinical trials of an oncolytic virotherapy.

Katherine Baxter

Position

Master’s candidate in Dr. Auer’s lab, enrolled in the Microbiology and Immunology program at the University of Ottawa.

Education

Katherine is a graduate from the University of Ottawa with a Bachelor of Science (honours) in Biopharmaceutical Sciences, specialization in Genomics

Current Projects

Her current research project is investigating the use of oncolytic vaccines during the perioperative treatment of pancreatic cancer.