Marie-Claire Arrieta, Ph.D
Originally trained as a medical microbiologist in San José, Costa Rica, Claire moved to Canada to pursue graduate studies. She completed M.Sc and PhD programs at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Alberta. Her doctoral work explored the role of intestinal permeability (leaky gut) in the pathogenesis of inflammatory bowel disease. Through her work, she became very interested in the concept of the gut as the engine of diseases that occur in organs far away from the gut. Following this, she completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the laboratory of Dr. Brett Finlay's, a prominent molecular microbiologist that has pioneered many studies in the field of the human microbiome. During her postdoctoral stay, Claire studied the relationship between the gut microbiome, the gut's immune system and asthma, a disease of the lungs. Besides her time spent in research, Claire is also very interested in science communication to the public. She has written one public book (Let Them Eat Dirt), and is currently working on a second book (a children's book), as well as on a documentary film project.
Erik van Tilburg Bernardes, M.Sc
Erik is the Research Associate in Dr. Claire Arrieta's laboratory and, as the first addition to the lab, he has helped Claire immensely to set up the space and get the laboratory up and running. Erik holds both a Masters of Science in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases (2014-2017), from the University of Calgary, and a Bachelor in Pharmacy (2008-2014), by the Federal University of Alfenas (Unifal-MG, Brazil). His scientific career started in his undergraduate years in Brazil and later brought him to Calgary, working in different projects that aimed to study/identify alternative treatment options for the bacterial pathogen Pseudomonas aeruginosa. Erik's previous experience include different molecular, physiological and immunological techniques, which combined with his expertise in pharmacology and microbiology make him an invaluable asset for the team. His interests include the interactions between host and microorganisms, and Erik is keen to learn more on how these interactions shape the host's immune system and finally prevent/predispose individuals to developing diseases.
Isabelle is a postdoctoral fellow specialized in microbial ecology, community ecology, bioinformatics, and biostatistics. She was awarded the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute Postdoctoral Fellowship Excellence Award as well as the Cumming School of Medicine Postdoctoral Scholarship in 2017 and 2018. She holds a Ph.D. in Biology (2012-2017) from the Université of Québec à Montréal (UQAM) for which she obtained a mention of excellence as well as the award for best student research in 2016 at UQAM. She also holds a Master in Ecology and Diversity Management (2010-2011) from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona and completed all the class training of a Master in Statistics from the Polytecnica de Catalunya (2011-2012). Her interests range from host-microbe interactions to statistics, from plant to microbial ecology, from functional ecology to community dynamics, and coding. She is also a Software Carpentry and Data Carpentry instructor since 2014.
Dr. Jumana Samara, MD
Jumana graduated from Medical School with a specialization in paediatrics after a residency-training program in Syria. Since 2015, she has been participating in a neonatal perinatal medicine program, taking care of sick newborn infants including preterm and low birth weight babies. She followed additional training in epidemiology at the University of Manitoba (2012-2013), and attended successfully the course of Quality Improvement and Patients Safety at the University of Calgary (2016-2017). One of the greatest challenges in her career is the infectious diseases targeting infants with weakened immune system. Her commitment toward her patients is to provide the best care, even beyond the discharge from Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. She recently started a Masters degree in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases with Dr. Arrieta. Her project aims to study the gut physiology and microbiome dynamics in preterm infants as well as the role of probiotics and how it contributes to childhood wellbeing.
Veronika K. Pettersen, Ph.D.
Veronika is a researcher from the University of Tromsø, Norway, who is visiting Claire’s lab from July 2018 to June 2020. Her stay at University of Calgary is funded by the Research Council of Norway via the FRIPRO mobility research grant program that is co-funded by the European Union’s Seventh Framework Program under Marie Curie grant. Veronika studied biochemistry in Prague, Czech Republic (University of Chemistry and Technology) and biotechnology in Lyngby, Denmark (Technical University of Denmark). She has a PhD in Biotechnology (Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway) and her project focused on optimizing recombinant proteins production and designing methods for evaluation of gene expression. After the PhD project, Veronika joined the Gade Research Group for Infection and Immunity, University of Bergen, where she specialized in microbial proteomics and genomics. She is currently affiliated with the Pediatric Infection group at UiT - The Arctic University of Norway. Her research interests lie in microbial metabolism, host-microbe interactions/communication, and consequences of using drugs that influence both directly and indirectly the gut microbiota.