“I am a 2nd year medical student at the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry working as part of the Heit Lab through the SRTP program. Working on the MOPED project, my objectives are to identify associated functional and gene expression differences in alveolar macrophages of pneumonia patients associated with lung recovery vs failed recovery post-pneumonia.”
“Nima obtained his PhD in 2019 in Immunology at Brunel University London where he focused on role of Egr2 in CD8 tumor infiltrating lymphocytes under melanoma condition. In 2020 Nima moved to Canada, to pursue a post-doctorate in Dr. Bryan Heit laboratory. In his current postdoc position, he is investigating antigen-sorting mechanisms by phagocytes in the development of CD4 T cell responses. Outside of the lab, Nima enjoys playing soccer, jogging, and cooking.”
Austin Le Lam
“Austin is a former honors thesis student and current master’s student studying the formation of the efferocytic synapse. A fun fact about Austin is he likes to use back straps during experiments to improve his posture.”
Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery (University of Dhaka, Bangladesh)
I am currently exploring how MERTK engages in efferocytosis cooperatively with integrins, and mediates this cross-talk through engaging canonical integrin signaling pathways, using pharmacological inhibitors and Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET).
I am currently investigating Rab17 effectors involved in the direction of trafficking in efferocytosis. Studying this system will help advance understanding of antigen processing and may also identify previously unknown mechanisms driving autoimmune disease.
“I originally joined the Heit Lab as an Honours Project student during my final year of undergraduate studies, and now I am continuing my project on elucidating the role of a unique protein, Erc1, in regulating MHC class II trafficking pathways for graduate school. To do so, I use fluorescence microscopy to visualize the dynamics and localization patterns of various trafficking regulators in phagocytes.”