Departments of Microbiology & Statistics, The University of Manitoba
Our lab applies evolutionary principles and statistical methods to understand evolution of human fungal pathogens. We are particularly interested in determining the factors that constrain and promote genotypic and phenotypic diversity in the context of drug resistance and virulence. When existing methods don't do what we need, we develop new ones!
The MicroStats Lab is part of the Evolution of Fungal Pathogenesis (EvoFunPath) pan-Canadian training program.
24/01/12 We can finally offiically announce that the lab was awarded a two-year Research Manitoba Operating Grant (Biomedical) to fund our THRIVE-yeast mulit-omics studies on recurrent vulvovaginal candidiasis.
23/07/01 Congrats to Aruni Sumanarathne for receiving a Research Manitoba MSc studentship (Basic Biomedical),
23/05/01 Welcome to new Msc. student Kelsey Wog, who will be co-advised with Dr. Matthew Bakker and will bring a new organism (Fusarium graminearum) into our world (physically our computers only, her wet lab work will be done in Dr. Bakkers lab). Kelsey joins us alongside five undergraduates for the summer!
22/09/01 Congrats to Margot Henry our first Statistics MSc. graduate! Margot is now working as an epidemiology at Public Health Agency of Canada.
22/05/01 We have a full lab again this summer! Javier San Juan (new PhD student) and Aruni Sumanarathne (new MSc student) have arrived and will be working in the lab alongside Beamlak Manyaz (who wrote a great honours thesis and is funded by a FoS USRA) and Alexia De Graaf (funded by a Science Students’ Association & FoS USRA). Thanh Hoang (FoS USRA) will be testing the package Margot Henry wrote for her MSc .
22/04/01 Congrats to lab manager extraordinaire Rebekah Kukurudz who was accepted to the University Manitoba Genetic Counselling Program. We will be incredibly sad to see Rebekah leave at the end of the summer but are so proud of her for getting in!
22/03/30 Congrats to Parul Sethi, Javier San Juan and Aruni Sumanarathna for their acceptance into the second cohort of EvoFunPath program fellows.
22/01/31 Congrats to Abdul-Rahman Adamu Bukari for successful completion of his PhD qualifying exam, he is now the first PhD *candidate* of the MicroStats Lab!
21/11/03 A bit late on this but we are happy to welcome Parul Sethi as a new PhD student and Beamlak Manyaz as a new honours project student!
21/08/20 We are sad to say goodbye to our three summer undergraduates. Brooke Sidney is off to the University of Alberta for her MSc., Inder is heading into his last semester, and we're hoping to get Devin back in the lab again in the future.
21/08/02 Congrats to Abdul-Rahman who will be one of inaugural program fellows in the EvoFunPath NSERC CREATE training program.
21/06/27 We're excited for the future of the MicroStats lab. Aleeza was named a CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar in the Fungal Kingdom: Threats and Opportunities Program. Aleeza was also part of a group of 11 professors across Canada awarded an NSERC CREATE grant to form a pan-Canadian training program in Evolutionary Fungal Pathogenesis. This funding will let us grow the lab and we look forward to new members joining in the upcoming months.
21/05/05 Welcome to undergrad students Devin Habon and Inderpreet Singh who are joining us for the summer.
21/04/10 Student success is the best success! Congrats to Margot Henry who received an NSERC CGS-M and current honours student Brooke Sidney who got accepted to the University of Alberta MSc program in Epidemiology for the fall!
21/01/27 New paper out in FEMS Microbiology Reviews on 'The Population Genetics of Ploidy Change in Unicellular Fungi' by Aleeza and Nathaniel Sharp.
20/06/24 New paper out in mSphere: Candida albicans Genetic Background Influences Mean and Heterogeneity of Drug Responses and Genome Stability during Evolution in Fluconazole. The last manuscript from Aleeza's postdoc in Judy Berman's lab that was started at Tel Aviv University and completed at the University of Minnesota.
20/06/08 Congrats to Madison Chapel, the first honours student from the lab, who won a Canadian Society of Microbiologists Undergraduate Award!
20/05/04 We're thrilled to welcome three new undergraduate students to the MicroStats lab. Brooke Sidney, Riley Sierhuis, and Yana Syvolos, in addition to Rebekah Kukurudz were all awarded undergraduate scholarships to spend the summer with us. We're starting off as a virtual group but are hoping to get back in the lab (if it's safe to do so) in the near-ish future. In the meantime, we've never been more appreciative to have a computational component of the work we do since!
20/04/27 Our first 4th year honours student, Madison Chapel, turned in a fantastic thesis. Madison followed up on work done by NSERC USRA student Quinn Wonitowy last summer. Now it's up to others in the lab to see this project across the finish line, hopefully this summer.
19/07/17 New paper is out in mBio that uses GWAS to link pathogen genotype to human immunological phenotype during cryptococcal meningitis. GWAS in microbes is rad, because it gives us a way to screen for genes of interest that can then be followed-up with targeted experiments. In this case we identified 40 genes (and 3 hypothetical RNAs) with a statistically-significant association. We then found that 6 of 17 available knockout strains had a virulence effect in mice (not finding an effect doesn't necessarily mean that the identified gene doesn't influence virulence; it could be that the knockout doesn't recapitulate the necessary effect; e.g., over-expression or mis-translation). The intersection of microbiology & statistics is a great tool for genomics research!
19/07/12 MSc student Ola Salama was awarded a prestigious University of Manitoba Graduate Fellowship. Congrats Ola!
19/06/25 Experiments are underway and data is being collected. We have a student at each bench and are enjoying our first summer in operation.
18/11/07 We have space! Our first two undergrads will start working soon: Rebekah Kukurudz is waiting for biosafety training and clearance before she can start working in the lab (helping Aleeza unpack boxes and then mastering empirical yeast techniques), while Margot Henry will spend the winter semester in a co-op term analyzing evolve-and-resequence data.
18/09/01 The lab is officially a lab! It's a bit lonely and we don't have physical lab space yet so Aleeza is writing all the grants to secure funding. Will you be the first student? We're looking for undergrads, MSc and PhD students! Ongoing projects are both empirical and statistical (and a mix), so we're looking for students with diverse backgrounds and interests in microbiology, genetics, bioinformatics, biostatistics, and/or computational biology. See the People page for more information.
18/06/18 Aleeza gave a talk at the Canadian Society for Microbiology Meeting, conveniently located in Winnipeg. It was a great meeting and really fun to show non-Winnipegers around town.