Research Update with Dr. Adrienne Meyers: Canada, Israel and Nairobi

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Dr. Adrienne Meyers
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Dr. Adrienne Meyers
Viruses hold the key to many important aspects of our understanding of biology, immunology and genetics — and all of them have information to offer. My passion for viruses led me to seek out a more in-depth understanding of immunology and how it relates to pathogenic viruses, which directed me to the research programs of Dr. Frank Plummer at the National Microbiology Laboratory/ Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) and the University of Manitoba. I spend a great deal of time working in sub-Saharan Africa, directing research projects and overseeing many of the studies on HIV/AIDS in one of the hardest hit parts of the world.
IMRIC Lab
Prof.Mandelboim's IMRIC Lab

 

Well, summer is here in Winnipeg, Winter in Nairobi and already well into the heat of Jerusalem!  We’re busy in all locations working on our collaborative projects.  Prof. OferMandelboim and I decided it was time to get together and evaluate what we’ve got and where to go next with the projects so I made a quick but extremely productive trip to the Mandelboim lab at the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) in Jerusalem, just a plane ride away!  It was a whirlwind trip but I managed to spend time with most of the students and discuss their work, as well as attend a great Sunday morning lab meeting where Ariella Glasner from Ofer’s lab who presented some novel data for discussion. 

Our most active study right now is the microRNA project where we are looking at what role, if any, microRNA plays in protection from HIV infection. Preliminary studies have given us some promising results and we are now full steam ahead to follow up with new data. At this time we are focused on enrolling new study participants collecting samples in the clinics in Nairobi – this started just a few weeks ago and is progressing smoothly.  All the teams involved (Canada, Israel, and Kenya) are excited to move forward with this work.

Ofer and I brainstormed some new investigations we could do and we’re pretty excited to get started!  Because of my past work in the Level 4 lab, we discussed some of the work we could do with level 4 pathogens such as Ebola or Spanish Flu 1918.  We are in the midst of finalizing our thoughts and scientific design on this and plan to initiate these studies this fall. This work will really provide insight into understanding how Natural Killer (NK) cells function in the context of these viruses which can then provide us with details on how to better approach such pathogens for development of vaccines or treatments!

Ofer and I are now left with thinking about new avenues for grant support to continue our work together….we’ve really been having fun and would love to expand our studies as much as possible as our research unfolds.  I’ve had several students keen to be involved and work on these projects so we’re trying to find a way to make it happen.

The visit was great – motivating, exciting and inspirational I thoroughly enjoyed my time with his group and you can see why they are such a dynamic productive lab – they have a super supervisor!

To learn about Dr. Adrienne Meyers click here.