Dr. Bryan Heit
Dr. Bryan Heit is an Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Director of the MNI Microscopy Facility, and the Associate Chair Interdepartmental Affairs & Research at the University of Western Ontario.
Bryan was born and educated in Calgary where he developed an interest in research following a undergraduate research project in the laboratory of Dr. Paul Kubes. Here, Bryan began researching the role of phagocytes such as neutrophils in inflammatory responses. In 2001 This undergraduate project morphed into a PhD project where Bryan discovered the signalling pathways used by neutrophils to sort through the multitude of inflammatory mediators released in the vicinity of an infection such that the neutrophils are able to migrate to and destroy the invading pathogen. Bryan published 13 papers over the course of this project, and ultimately received the Governor Generals Gold Medal for Academic Achievement – Canada’s highest academic award – for this work.
In 2008 Bryan moved to Toronto, to pursue a post-doctorate in the laboratory of Dr. Sergio Grinstein. Here, Bryan studied a variety of topics including the molecular pathways regulating programmed cell death (apoptosis), phagocyte maturation and the survival of pathogens within phagocytes, and elucidated the signalling mechanisms used by CD36 – a receptor used to phagocytose malaria, tuberculosis and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol). During this time Bryan developed significant expertise in live-cell and super-resolution microscopy; an interest which continues to this day and forms the foundation of much of his research.
In 2011 Bryan took up his first faculty position at the University of Western Ontario. Here, Bryan began studies assessing the mechanisms used by phagocytes for the removal of apoptotic cells, with a focus on how failures in these processes lead to diseases such as atherosclerosis. In addition, Dr. Heit continues his research into general phagocyte biology, phagocyte membrane biophysics, pathogen-phagocyte interactions and development of next-generation microscopy methods and analytical routines.
Awards & Distinctions
- 2018 – Lung Association of Canada/Ontario Thoracic Society Breath New Life Award
- 2016: Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Early Researcher Award
- 2013: Canadian Society for Immunology Travel Award
- 2012: Top-Ranked Grant in CIHR Vascular Biology Panel C
- 2010: Canadian Institutes for Health Research Post-Doctoral Fellowship
- 2008: Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada Post-Doctoral Award
- 2008: J.B. Hayne Research Innovation Award
- 2008: Governor General’s Gold Medal for Academic Achievement
- 2007: University of Toronto/Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation Post-Doctoral Fellowship
- 2003: Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research award for research excellence in the first year of a masters or PhD degree.
- 2003: Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research (AHFMR) PhD Studentship.