Dr. Aru Narendran MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Oncology and Pediatrics
Alberta Children's Hospital
Hughes Children's Cancer Research Laboratories
Southern Alberta Cancer Foundation Institute (SACRI)
Office Tel: 1 (403) 210-6418
Laboratory Tel: 1 (403) 210-6402

Academic Record: MD, McMaster University; Ph.D. Immunology, Arizona State University; MSc. Immunology, University of Bath; BSc. (Hons.) Biochemistry, E. London Polytechnic.

Postdoctoral Fellowship. Hematopoiesis and Cancer, 1988- 1992, Ontario Cancer Institute. University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Research Fellow, Arthritis Society of Canada 1988-1992.

Residency in Pediatrics, 1995-1998, Tufts University, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Clinical Fellowship, 1998-2002, the Hospital for Sick Children/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Research Fellowship, 2000-2002, the Hospital for Sick Children/University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, Clinician Investigator Program (CIP) Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 2000-2002, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto Toronto, Ontario, Canada

The Hospital for Sick Children, Division of Hematology and Oncology, Chief Fellow, 2000-2001, Toronto, Ontario


Graduate Students

David Liu BSc, MSc

Education: BSc Microbiology & Immunology, University of British Columbia; MSc Biochemistry & Molecular Biology, University of Calgary

Current Research: Primary research aim involves the use of in vitro drug screens to identify novel pharmaceutically-based therapeutics for the treatment of paediatric bone cancers, including osteosarcoma and Ewing's sarcoma.

Future Goals and/or Interests: David will be moving to Edmonton in August 2012 to complete his MD at the University of Alberta. When not giving his thumb a workout with a pipette he is most often found exploring the trails of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, working on his golf swing, or testing his taste buds at a new eatery or watering hole.

Aarthi Jayanthan BA, BSc

Education: BSc Natural Sciences (Biological Sciences, Chemistry), BA Social and Cultural Anthropology, University of Calgary

Current Research: Aarthi is researching the inhibition of aurora kinase as a novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of refractory pediatric and infant leukemia. To learn more about this project, please visit the Research section of this website.

Future Goals and/or Interests: When Aarthi is not in the lab setting up experiments while listening to her iPod, she spends her free time reading books about different cultures (applying her Anthropology degree to some extent), watching movies (no horror movies – nightmares are not fun), trying out new recipes and making motivated, but not always successful attempts as an amateur painter.

Halah Obaid, MD

Education: King Abdul-Aziz University, Saudi Arabia; Pediatric Hematology-Oncology Fellowship at Alberta Children's Hospital/ University of Calgary - Graduate student medical science master program-Cancer Biology University of Calgary

Current Research: Halah is currently working on a project entitled "Receptor Cross Talk in the Biology and Therapeutics of Pediatric Rhabdoid Brain Tumors". Atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor is a highly malignant brain tumor that usually affects infants and very young children. Despite the application of aggressive treatments, patients with this tumour typically have a poor prognostic outcome. Please refer to the Research section of this website to learn more about Halah's project.

Future Goals and/or Interests: Halah's greatest accomplishment in her life is being a mother of twin boys. Although it is challenging at times, it brings her great joy to watch them grow. In her free time she likes to chill at home with family, read, watch TV and travel to explore new areas.

Anjali Singh BSc, MSc

Education: BSc Biology, India; MSc Biotechnology India; MSc Biomedical Technology, University of Calgary

Current Research: Anjali's research project is to identify novel anti-cancer agents as an effective therapeutic approach for the treatment of Neuroblastoma. By screening current and novel chemotherapeutic agents, Anjali hopes to obtain results that will be beneficial for clinical outcome in Neuroblastoma.

Futures Goals and/or Interests: When not travelling to Edmonton, you will find Anjali in the theatre watching a movie (most likely an animated film!). She also loves to travel and intends on exploring the most famous places on Earth!

Undergraduate Students

Shelby Thompson, Biology BSc Student

Education: BSc in Biology, McGill University.

Current Research: Shelby is working to establish preclinical data on targeted c-Met inhibitors to make possible the formulation of new clinical studies for refractory pediatric leukemias. In particular, Shelby is hoping to identify inhibitors successful in treating childhood T-ALL and infant leukemia.

Future Goals and/or Interests: Shelby is an avid golfer, tennis and volleyball player. She is a keen traveller and loves spending time with her family. If not nestled on the couch with a good book in hand, Shelby can be found out with friends exploring all that Calgary has to offer.

Paulina Podgorny, BHSc Student

Education: BHSc Biomedical Sciences, University of Calgary

Current Research: Paulina is currently working on a project that aims to identify novel therapeutic agents for the malignant pediatric cancer, Neurocutaneous Menalocytosis (NCM). Whilst NCM is rare, with only 100 reported cases to date worldwide, and comes with a poor prognosis, Paulina is hopeful that her research will uncover chemotherapy drugs and synergistic combinations that in the future could be applied to the treatment of NCM.

Future Goals and/or Interests: Having grown up in a household with two brothers, there is nothing Paulina loves more than a day out playing sports with the boys. Paulina enjoys playing tennis and volleyball, and cheering on her favourite athlete and tennis legend, Roger Federer. When she's not out on the field, Paulina's a city girl who spends her time lounging around downtown and snapping photos.

Wei Wei Zhang, BSc

Education: BSc in Cellular, Molecular, and Microbial Biology at the University of Calgary

Current Research: In collaboration with Dr. Dort's lab from the Ohlson Research Initiative, the research interest involves in vitro drug screens to identify novel chemotherapeutic agents for the treatment of head and neck cancer. The primary focus is to further investigate polo-like kinase inhibitors as a novel therapeutic treatment for recurrent and metastatic oral squamous-cell carcinoma.

Future Goals and/or Interests: Wei Wei will be pursuing an MPH in Infectious Disease Epidemiology in Fall 2012 at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Infamous for her love of everything surrounding food, you should be able to find her eating, dabbling at cooking, or even just talking about food. On the occasion that she is not in a food venue of some sorts, you'll be able to catch her at the pool, in a mock defense of the plaintiff, or spot her serenading her hairbrush to the latest tunes.

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