Program and Logistics

Page Contents

Symposium Location

Student Commons (formerly Stone Lobby)

Medical Sciences Building (MSB)

1 King's College Cir

Toronto, ON M5S 1A8

Parking is available around campus and in the new King's College Circle garage, right next to MSB. Please note that vehicle access in and out of the garage is from the Wellesley Street underpass only. There is no access from King’s College Road, Galbraith Road, or King's College Circle.

Update (April 25th, 2024): There will be a charity run (supporting colon cancer) on Sunday, April 28. The route includes Queens Park Crescent, College St, Spadina, Harbord, and Ursula Franklin as part of the run. The roads will be closed from 5:30 AM until 12:00 PM.

Campus is also highly accessible via public transit. Queen's Park is the closest subway station to MSB.


For the best viewing experience, we recommend downloading the symposium program.



All listed times are local (EST). Keynote speakers are underlined. You can find a PDF version of the schedule here.

Posters can be hung starting April 26th at 10:30 and must be removed by April 28th at 14:00.

Day 1 - Friday April 26th

10:00 - 15:00 Registration MSB 2173

10:30 - 12:00 AOMF-sponsored session† MSB 3153 

• Workshop: Beyond Confocal Microscopy 

• AOMF-sponsored lunch and Q&A for workshop attendees 

12:00 - 14:30 Featured workshops: 

• Coarse-grained Molecular Dynamics: A Bridge between Physics and Chemistry MSB 3153

• Theory and Practical Aspects of Cryo-EM MSB 4171 

14:30 - 14:45 Coffee break 

14:45 - 17:00 Session I MSB 3153 

Session Moderator: Yousuf O. Ramahi

14:45 - 15:00 Opening remarks 

15:00 - 16:00 Zoya Leonenko (University of Waterloo) Biophysics of neurodegeneration: molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer's disease, towards prevention and cure 

16:00 - 16:20 Wing-Yiu Choy (Western University) Interaction between α-synuclein and co-chaperone STIP1 in Parkinson's Disease 

16:20 - 16:40 Yue Xu (University of Waterloo) Trehalose sugar protects lipid membrane against amyloid-β toxicity in Alzheimer's disease 

16:40 - 17:00 Liu Yu (University of Toronto) Identification of novel information transmission mechanisms as druggable targets for brain network disorders

17:00 - 17:15 Coffee break MSB 2173 

17:15 - 18:30 Panel Discussion: Sustainability Research and Sustainability in Research MSB 3153 

18:30 - 21:00 Networking dinner Davenport atrium, Lash Miller Chemical Laboratories

†Platinum sponsor

Day 2 - Saturday April 27th 

08:45 - 09:30 Light refreshments MSB 2173 

09:30 - 11:30 Session II MSB 3153

Session Moderator: Motasem Suleiman

09:30 - 10:30 Adriaan Bax (National Institutes of Health) Non-equilibrium processes studied by pressure-jump NMR 

10:30 - 10:50 Nicole Dcosta (University of Guelph) Structural characterization of the interaction between the UBA domain of p47 and ubiquitin using NMR spectroscopy 

10:50 - 11:10 Josephine Esposto (Trent University) TDP-43 aggregation and antibody inhibition: biophysical methodologies used to assess in vitro protein mechanisms 

11:10 - 11:30 Ethan Lee (University of Toronto) Intrinsically disordered regions in Katp channels are allosterically coupled 

11:30 - 12:00 Lunch (priority for Poster Session A presenters) MSB 2173 

12:00 - 13:15 Poster Session A (Odd-numbered posters) Student Commons

13:15 - 15:15 Session III MSB 3153 

Session Moderator: Nemo Liu

13:15 - 14:15 Kresten Lindorff-Larsen (Københavns Universitet) Conformational ensembles of the human intrinsically disordered proteome 

14:15 - 14:35 Robert Lu (University of Toronto) Heparin promotes tropoelastin coacervation through a specific domain 36 interaction 

14:35 - 14:55 Jonas Wessén (University of Toronto) Field-theoretic models of disordered protein phase separation for 20-amino-acid-type sequences 

14:55 - 15:15 Spencer Smyth (University of Toronto) Experimentally restrained conformational ensembles of a dynamic protein complex 

15:15 - 15:30 Coffee break and light refreshments MSB 2173 

15:30 - 16:45 Poster Session B (Even-numbered posters) Student Commons 

16:45 - 18:45 Session IV MSB 3153 

Session Moderator: Sara Evans

16:45 - 17:45 Gonca Erdemci-Tandogan (Western University) Modelling developmental processes 

17:45 - 18:05 Eleanor Cloves (Toronto Metropolitan University) Investigation into the effects of ultrasound and microbubbles on triple negative breast cancer mitochondrial morphology 

18:05 - 18:25 Yilei Xue (University of Toronto) Single-cell forcespectroscopy uncovered region-specific interactions between plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria and the roots of the model plant, Arabidopsis thaliana 

18:25 - 18:45 Muhammed Simsek (McMaster University) Biophysical design principles of sequential embryo patterning 

19:00 - 21:00 Banquet dinner at Dim Sum King 

Day 3 - Sunday April 28th 

08:45 - 09:30 Light refreshments MSB 2173 

09:30 - 11:00 Session V MSB 3153 

Session Moderator: Rosie Irwin

09:30 - 10:30 Paul Cremer (Penn State University) Non-Additive effects on the liquid-liquid phase separation of intrinsically disordered proteins 

10:30 - 10:50 Eugene Klyshko (University of Toronto) Water-mediated allostery in enzymes 

10:50 - 11:10 Norman Ly (University of Waterloo) Molecular interactions governing VISTA binding to a pH-selective antibody 

11:10 - 11:30 Mazdak Khajehpour (University of Manitoba) The Streptococcus phage protein paratox is an intrinsically disordered protein 

11:30 - 11:45 Coffee break and light refreshments MSB 2173 

11:45 - 13:45 Session VI MSB 3153 

Session Moderator: Wilson Zeng

11:45 - 12:45 Alana Ogata (University of Toronto) High resolution characterization of enzymatic biomineralization: towards the design of bioinspired nanomaterials for gynecological diagnostics

12:45 - 13:05 Max Reed (University of Toronto) Effects of binding partners on thermal reversion rates of photoswitchable systems: A unifying model 

13:05 - 13:25 Janani Balasubramanian (Ontario Tech University) Nano-biosensors working via electrochemical SERS: advancing diagnostics for hemoglobin analysis 

13:25 - 13:45 Shane Scott (McMaster University) Investigating surface modification with fetuin-a and the role of calciprotein particle formation for improving biomaterial-cell interactions 

13:45 - 14:00 Closing remarks 


Beyond Confocal Microscopy

Led by James Jonkman from the Advanced Optical Microscopy Facility

Confocal Microscopy has become a standard tool for visualizing cells and tissues. But what if you want to go faster, or deeper, or achieve higher resolution or wider fields of view?  In this workshop, we will review some of the “routine” optical microscopes (confocal and widefield) and explore some of the fancier technologies and image analysis tools that may help you take your project to the next level.

Coarse-Grained Molecular Dynamics: A Bridge between Physics and Chemistry

Led by Dr. Colin Denniston, University of Western Ontario

Molecular Dynamic (MD) simulations and modeling provide critical insight into physicochemical principles  for numerous areas of research from drug design, protein function, polymer chemistry, material sciences and many others. The accuracy of MD is steadily on the rise, amplifying its significance and expanding its utility across all scientific fields. Despite the abundance of computational resources in Canada, there yet remain many technical and intellectual barriers for many graduate students seeking to use MD simulations. This workshop will provide participants with an introduction to running coarse-grained MD simulations of polymers (applicable to both biochemistry and chemistry facing participants), with a strong emphasis on the practical aspects so that students can run these on their own.

Theory and Practical Aspects of Cryo-EM

Led by Yingke Liang and Gautier Courbon from Dr. John Rubinstein's lab

Cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM) has revolutionized the life sciences as a powerful new method for macromolecular structure determination. As advances in both hardware and algorithms for data and image processing make cryo-EM more routine and ubiquitous for 3D structure determination, it is both helpful and increasingly necessary for those in life sciences to understand its foundational principles and practical aspects. This workshop will provide an overview of cryo-EM theory and practice, with emphasis on aspects of sample preparation and data analysis.

Discussion Panel

Sustainability Research and Sustainability in Research

To address the global challenges today's world faces and to mitigate the impact of human activity on the environment, a massive effort by individuals at all levels of society and sciences is necessary to shift institutions, policy, and research towards sustainable development.  As individuals and researchers, we are concerned with the challenges facing humanity, but in practice, what do the solutions entail? How can a researcher's activity be “sustainable,” and how do we integrate sustainable practices into research projects? Where do we start? What research is ongoing that shows promise? Join us for a panel discussion of experts with diverse insight and efforts in sustainable research and sustainability in research.


Dr. Maria Sanchez Osuna

"I love looking for answers in life, solving problems, moving forward. Competences such as leadership and critical thinking have become as much part of myself as much as my love for science. And that necessarily involves contextualizing the impact that research has in society and the environment. Developing more sustainable ways to accomplish the scientific goals of my lab is an imperative to continue my scientific career according to my core values."

Brendon Samuels

Brendon Samuels is a PhD candidate in the Department of Biology at Western University in the City of London, Ontario. Brendon is an advocate and researcher focusing on various sustainability topics on and off campus, serving in advisory roles for the university, the city and nonprofit sector. Brendon's interests include birds, biodiversity, waste reduction, pollution prevention, climate change adaptation and public education.

Dr.  Oleksandr Voznyy

Dr.  Oleksandr Voznyy became an assistant professor at the University of Toronto Scarborough in 2018.  His topics of interest are materials for energy storage and novel materials discovery, specifically development of new materials for Li-ion batteries, hydrogen storage, CO2 capture, and photovoltaics  for development and adoption of low-cost and scalable energy storage solutions. The group utilizes atomistic simulations, machine learning, automated high-throughput materials synthesis and characterization to demonstrate proof-of-principle devices that will speed-up the transition to renewables.

We encourage panel attendees to submit questions here for our panelists in advance.