2022 Annual Meeting of the BSC

Joint 7th Annual BSC Meeting & IUPAB Focused Meeting | May 23-27, 2022 | University of Ottawa | Ottawa, ON

7th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society of Canada

BSC 2022

Welcome to the 7th Annual Meeting of the Biophysical Society of Canada (BSC)! This year’s meeting will be held on the campus of the University of Ottawa (uOttawa) located minutes walk from the heart of the Nations Capital including the Canadian Parliament and all of Canada’s Capital attractions. After a three-year hiatus, we return with an in-person meeting with a livestreaming option for those who cannot attend in person. The annual meeting offers attendees the opportunity to learn about exciting new developments in biophysics research and to network with peers from across Canada and further afield. The meeting is dedicated to biophysical techniques and discoveries that have revolutionized research leading to advancements in medicine, pharmaceutical sciences, biotechnology, material sciences and biosensing.

The 2022 meeting will be held in conjunction with an IUPAB Focused Meeting titled “The biophysics of ligand-gated ion channels: from structures to drug discovery”. The IUPAB meeting hosts the top ligand-gated ion channel structural and functional biologists from across the globe from May 23rd – 25th, with one day overlapping the 7th Annual BSC meeting from May 25th – 27th. The IUPAB meeting features two keynote talks by Eric Gouaux (Vollum Institute, OHSU) and Henry Lester (Caltech). The BSC meeting features four keynote talks by Cees Dekker (TU Delft), Ruth Nussinov (NIH), Sandra Schmid (CZ Biohub), and Sriram Subramaniam (UBC). The BSC also features the National Lecture by Julie Forman-Kay (University of Toronto), the 2022 BSC Fellow, and the 2022 Young Investigator Award Lecture by Trushar Patel (University of Lethbridge). All attendees are invited to participate in the trainee symposium in the afternoon on May 24th, just prior to the opening mixer. The symposium will consist of a career session and will provide a venue for trainees to share their research accomplishments and network with their peers.

Conference Organizers


BSC Speakers

A world leader in elucidating the relationships between structure, dynamics and function of intrinsically disordered proteins and biomolecular phase separation. Julie Forman-Kay received a BSc in Chemistry from MIT in 1985 and a PhD from Yale in 1990, followed by post-doctoral training at the NIH. In 1992, she joined The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), where she is now the Program Head of the Molecular Medicine research program. She holds a cross-appointment in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Toronto.

The Forman-Kay lab uses NMR and computational methods to better understand the dynamics of intrinsically disordered proteins. Her pioneering studies of the Sic1:Cdc4 complex changed our view of what a protein interaction is and set the stage for the idea that dynamic multivalent interactions can drive liquid-liquid phase separation. She is now exploring how phase separation involving disordered proteins regulates the cellular organization and biological function, focusing on the biophysics and biochemistry of biomolecular condensates. Her work demonstrated in particular that disordered regions of RNA-binding proteins phase separate to create condensates that regulate enzymatic reactions and that post-translational modifications and charge effects control this phase separation. Her group has also characterized the functional dynamics, disease mechanisms, and drug binding of the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel. The Forman-Kay lab develops computational tools to describe ensembles of disordered protein structures and predictors of phase separation and, in collaboration with Alan Moses, bioinformatics approaches for disordered protein regions based on features rather than positional alignment.

Dr. Forman-Kay holds a Canada Research Chair in Intrinsically Disordered Proteins; was awarded the 2012 CSMB Jeanne Manery Fisher Memorial Lectureship and the 2013 Zellers Senior Scientist Award from Cystic Fibrosis Canada; and was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada in 2016 and of the Royal Society (London) in 2021.

A pioneer in the communication of human proteins and viral nucleic acids central to viral infection. Trushar Patel obtained a BSc (2000) and an MSc (2002) in Biotechnology from India. He joined the University of Nottingham in the UK for his PhD (2007), where he studied solution structure and interactions of plant polysaccharides. Subsequently, he joined the University of Manitoba in Canada, working on the structures of human extracellular matrix proteins. Dr. Patel started his career as an independent researcher at the University of Lethbridge in 2016.

Dr. Patel uses interdisciplinary approaches to study the interaction of viral nucleic acids with host proteins – an interaction at the heart of viral infections. Information on the specific sites of host proteins that communicate with viral nucleic acids will ultimately allow the development of therapeutics that prevent host-viral communication. These interactions are essential for the survival and replication of the virus – stopping the interactions is thus of benefit for treating viral infection.

Dr. Patel holds a Tier 2 Canada Research Chair in RNA and Protein Biophysics. He is also one of the editors of the European Biophysics Journal. His work was supported by postdoctoral fellowships from the Manitoba Institute of Child Health (2008) and the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (2010). He also received the Marie Sklodowska-Curie fellowship (2013) from the European Union. He has been very active in training the next generation of researchers, as well as with scientific and science-policy-related conference organizing activities.ipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Cees Dekker is Distinguished University Professor at Delft, and KNAW Royal Academy Professor. Trained as a solid-state physicist, he discovered many of the exciting electronic properties of carbon nanotubes in the 1990s. 20 years ago, he moved to single-molecule biophysics and nanobiology. His recent research is on nanopores for sequencing and nuclear transport, chromosome biology, and synthetic cells.

Ruth Nussinov is at Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. Her group aims to elucidate the detailed mechanisms of key protein nodes in oncogenic signaling pathways of receptor protein kinases (RTK), centering on upstream regulation and downstream activation and communication of Ras signaling pathways. She is an Elected Fellow of the American Physical Society, the AIMBE (Medical and Biological Engineering), the Biophysical Society, and the ISCB. She won many Awards, and has been a frequent Keynote speaker in domestic and international meetings. She was the Editor-in-Chief of PLOS CB, and currently is Editor-in-Chief of Current Opinion in Structural Biology.

Sandra Schmid’s highly collaborative laboratory at the Scripps Research Institute (1988-2011) and then UT Southwestern (2011-2020), applied cell and molecular biology, biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, and quantitative live cell microscopy to define the molecular mechanisms underlying clathrin-mediated endocytosis; with particular focus on the paradigmatic fission GTPase, dynamin. Schmid’s work, published in over 170 articles and reviews, has been recognized by numerous awards, including her election to the National Academy of Sciences in 2020. She currently serves as the inaugural Chief Scientific Officer of the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub.

Sriram Subramaniam is the Gobind Khorana Canada Excellence Research Chair in Precision Cancer Drug Design at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Subramaniam’s research team uses high-resolution cryo-EM imaging of native protein complexes to design effective therapeutic agents targeting key drivers of diseases such as cancer, infectious diseases and brain disorders. His lab also develops next generation technologies in cryo-EM and related methods using automated workflows coupled with advanced image processing and machine learning. Dr. Subramaniam’s research has led to major advances including the world’s first molecular-level structural analysis of the Omicron variant spike protein. His contributions have been recognized by recent major awards and nominations including the National Cancer Institute Research Highlights Award (2013), Federal Technology Transfer Award (2015), NIH Director’s Award for Scientific Excellence (2015), Orloff Award from NHLBI, NIH for outstanding scientific contribution (2016), election as Fellow of the Biophysical Society (2018), and nomination for the Breakthrough Prize in the Life Sciences.

  • Valerie Booth | Memorial University
  • Hendrick de Haan | Ontario Tech University
  • Paul Francois | McGill University
  • Reuven Gordon | University of Victoria
  • Claudiu Gradinaru | University of Toronto
  • Alba Guarne | McGill University
  • Paul Higgs | McMaster University
  • Jayesh Kulkarni | NanoVation Therapeutics
  • Francesca Marassi | Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute
  • Elizabeth Meiering | University of Waterloo
  • Giuseppe Melacini | McMaster University
  • Josh Milstein | University of Toronto
  • Alexey Onufriev | Virginia Tech
  • Lois Pollack | Cornell University
  • Jan Rainey | Dalhousie University
  • Robert Thorne | Cornell University
  • Stacey Wetmore | Lethbridge University

IUPAB Speakers

Dr. Lester’s research has focused primarily on understanding the pathophysiology of nicotine addiction, the world’s largest preventable cause of death. His research has characterized how the effects of nicotine on nicotinic receptors, receptor proteins, neurons, and the organization of neurons in circuits ultimately lead to altered animal behavior. He also conducts research on the mechanism of other abused and psychiatric drugs. Dr. Lester is Professor of Biology and Biological Engineering at the California Institute of Technology, where he has spent his entire teaching career. He has authored more than 340 scientific papers and holds seven patents on drugs and the brain. including topics such as nicotine addiction and Parkinson’s disease. He has served as President of the Biophysical Society and as a member of the Advisory Council of the U. S. National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). He has conducted research sponsored by the California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program, the Michael J. Fox Foundation, the McKnight Endowment for Neuroscience, NIMH, and the National Institutes of Drug Abuse, Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), Aging, Heart and Lung, and General Medical Science. He received the Fuller Award in Neuropharmacology from the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, the Cole Award in Membranes from the Biophysical Society, and two NINDS Jacob K. Javits Awards. He received degrees from Harvard and Rockefeller Universities.

Work in the Gouaux Lab is concentrated on developing molecular mechanisms for the function of receptors and transporters at chemical synapses by utilizing cryo-electron microscopy, x-ray crystallography, and electrophysiology. Eric Gouaux completed his B.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Chemistry at Harvard University. He remained at Harvard for a year as a postdoctoral fellow before continuing his postdoctoral studies at MIT. In 1993, he was appointed assistant professor at the University of Chicago Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. In 1996, Dr. Gouaux joined the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Columbia University as an assistant professor. In 2000, he was appointed Investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and associate professor with Columbia, reaching full professor the following year. Dr. Gouaux came to the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) in 2005 as a senior scientist at the Vollum Institute, continuing his position with Howard Hughes. In 2015, Dr. Gouaux was appointed the Jennifer and Bernard Lacroute Endowed Chair in Neuroscience Research.

  • Andrija Sente for Radu Aricescu | MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology
  • Anthony Auerbach | State University of New York at Buffalo
  • Derek Bowie | McGill University
  • Grace Brannigan | Rutgers University
  • Sudha Chakrapani | Case Western Reserve University
  • Baron Chanda | Washington University in St. Louis
  • Pierre-Jean Corringer | Institut Pasteur
  • Corrie daCosta | University of Ottawa
  • Rebecca Howard | Stockholm University
  • Vasanthi Jayaraman | University of Texas Health Science Center
  • Wei Lu | Van Andel Institute
  • Timothy Lynagh | University of Bergen
  • David MacLean | University of Rochester
  • Vera Moiseenkova-Bell | University of Pennsylvania
  • Teru Nakagawa | Vanderbilt University
  • Hugues Nury | Institut de Biologie Structurale
  • Steven Sine | Mayo Clinic
  • Sasha Sobolevsky | Columbia University
  • Kenton Swartz | NINDS – NIH
  • Pei Tang | University of Pittsburgh
  • Chris Ulens | Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • Lonnie P. Wollmuth | Stony Brook University