News & Events

How to protect Peroxisomes and Mitochondria from Dying

6 February 2019|

The regulation of organelle abundance is critical for cell function and survival; however, the mechanisms responsible are not fully understood. Imbalances in organelle abundance can result in disease states, including Parkinson’s Disease resulting from dysregulated mitochondrial homeostasis. Peroxisome dysregulation also results in disease, most notably the Zellweger’s spectrum disorders. Although first considered to be caused exclusively by reduced peroxisome biogenesis, recently work shows that the most are due to increase […]

10,000 PhDs Project Published in PLOS ONE

16 January 2019|

Where do today’s PhDs find work?  Do they all become professors?  The 10,000 PhDs Project at the University of Toronto (U of T) answers these questions as highlighted in an article published January 16, 2019 in the open-access science journal PLOS ONE.

The 10,000 PhDs Project used publically-available information to determine the current employment positions of the 10,886 individuals who graduated with a PhD from U of T in all […]

Hue Sun Chan recognized as the 2019 Fellow of the Biophysical Society of Canada

9 January 2019|

Professor Hue Sun Chan has been recognized by the Biophysical Society of Canada as the 2019 Fellow. He will be the National Lecturer at the Society’s Annual Meeting in May 2019.

A chemical defence for bacteria against phage infection

20 December 2018|

Just published in Nature (2018) 564:283-286, the Maxwell lab, in collaboration with the Nodwell lab, report the discovery of a chemical anti-phage defence system that is widespread in the bacterial family of Streptomyces. These produce three molecules that insert into DNA which block phage replication. This mechanism of anti-phage defence probably has a major evolutionary role in shaping bacterial communities.

SickKids-led team discovers a drug that disarms a deadly hospital superbug

7 December 2018|

In a new study that was published in Nature Communications, a team led by Roman Melnyk, Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto and Senior Scientist in the Molecular Medicine program at SickKids, screened thousands of small-molecule drugs to find any that might block the effects of the deadly toxins – without affecting the gut bacteria. Niclosamide, a drug that was approved decades […]

SickKids scientists and collaborators identify structure of key malaria protein with blocking antibody

21 November 2018|

SickKids scientists have taken an important step forward on the path to finding effective biomedical interventions to halt the spread of malaria, a disease that affected an estimated 216 million people worldwide in 2016 alone.

Jean-Philippe Julien, Canada Research Chair in Structural Immunology, Assistant Professor in the Departments of Biochemistry and Immunology at the University of Toronto, and Scientist in the Molecular Medicine program at SickKids, and his colleagues […]

A big Biochemistry welcome to this year’s 2nd year class of Specialists!

26 October 2018|

The Department of Biochemistry is pleased to welcome our incoming class of 2nd year Biochemistry Specialists.  The Biochemistry Specialist program is open to a small cohort of exceptional students who wish to pursue a career in research.  This year’s class has already begun their laboratory training in BCH242Y, applying their theoretical knowledge, while honing their skills in fundamental laboratory techniques.

A novel potential approach to treat cancer: Targetting NUAK2 to block oncogenic YAP/TAZ signaling during tumorigenesis

3 October 2018|


Time-lapse imaging of Clover-YAP WT (first movie) and 5SA (second movie) in MDA-MB231 cells. Localization of Clover-YAP WT (wild type) and 5SA (mutant at all five LATS targeting sites) was monitored before and after addition of NUAK2 specific inhibitor, WZ4003. Note that the nuclear signal is gradually lost after addition of WZ4003 in cells expressing YAP-WT but not affected in YAP-5SA. Images were captured every 10 min for 2 hours. […]

18th International Conference on Retinal Proteins

21 September 2018|

Oliver Ernst (Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics) and Leonid Brown (University of Guelph) are organizing the 18th International Conference on Retinal Proteins, 24-29 September 2018, Hockley Valley Resort, Ontario (1h northwest of Toronto). The Resort is fully booked, but day registrations are still possible to get latest insight into retinal proteins, which are key to optogenetics and understanding GPCR signaling. The conference welcomes two of the 2018 Gairdner awardees. For […]

A photo of Dr. Nana Lee.

Dr. Nana Lee participates in Stanford’s University Life Design Studio

5 September 2018|

Dr. Nana Lee was accepted as part of the University of Toronto’s team to attend the globally known Life Design Studio at Stanford University in June, 2018. Her four-day training in design thinking will be incorporated into her latest course in graduate professional development to help students use engineering design concepts toward their graduate experience and beyond.

A picture of from left to right: Vivian Saridakis (York University), Justin Nodwell, Emil Pai, Oliver Ernst, Peter Lewis, Reinhart Reithmeier, JP Julien.

Emil Pai Symposium and Retirement

8 August 2018|

Emil F. Pai is retiring after more than 25 years at the University of Toronto. Emil joined the Departments of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics from the Max-Planck-Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg in 1991 as a NSERC Industrial Research Chair following a global search for a renowned protein crystallographer to nucleate structural biology at the University of Toronto. Emil was already well-known for determining the first crystal structure of […]

An image of student winner, from left to right: Matt McCallum, Andreea Gheorghita, Ondrej Halgas, Natalie Bamford and Thomas Bateman.

Five Biochemistry Graduate Students win big at the Annual 2018 American Crystallographic Association meeting

27 July 2018|

Congratulations to graduate students: Matt McCallum, Andreea Gheorghita, and Thomas Bateman for winning the Pauling Poster Prizes and Ondrej Halgas and Natalie Bamford for winning the Taylor & Francis Biomolecular Crystallography Poster Prize and the Louis Delbaere Pauling Poster Prize, respectively, at the 2018 American Crystallographic Association (ACA) meeting held at the Sheraton Hotel, Toronto, July 22-26.

A special congratulations to Andreea Gheorghita for also winning the inaugural ACA Three minute thesis competition.