Members of the MacNaughton Lab

Dr. Wallace MacNaughton

Wally obtained his BSc (1984) and MSc (1986) in Biology from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. After a brief stint as a lab technician at McMaster University and Queen’s, he completed his PhD in Physiology at Queen’s in 1989, under the supervision of Dr. John Wallace. It was in Dr. Wallace’s lab that he developed his interest in the mediators of mucosal healing in inflammatory diseases of the gut. He then did post-doctoral fellowships at University of Calgary, under Dr. Grant Gall, and at the University of Ottawa, under Drs. Tony Krantis and Kent Harding. In 1991, Wally joined the Department of National Defence (Canada) as a Defence Scientist in the Radiation Biology Group, studying the effects of ionizing radiation on intestinal epithelial function, and had adjunct appointments in the Departments of Physiology and Medicine at the University of Ottawa. He joined the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Calgary in 1996, and is currently Professor and Head of the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the Cumming School of Medicine. Wally’s current research interests are in intestinal epithelial biology in health and disease, particularly the factors that regulate epithelial restitution and mucosal healing in the Inflammatory Bowel Diseases, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. His lab has been continuously funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada, with additional support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the University of Calgary.

Dr. Cristiane Baggio

Cris joined the MacNaughton lab as a University of Calgary Eyes High post-doctoral fellow in 2015, and is currently a senior Research Associate and lab manager. She obtained her BSc in Pharmacy (1996-2001), MSc in Pharmacology (2002-2004) and PhD in Pharmacology (2006-2010) at Federal University of Parana (UFPR), Brazil. Before coming to Calgary, Cris held the positions of Research Associate (2010-2012) and first Post-doc (2012-2015) also at UFPR. Her research interests include the role of intestinal epithelial barrier in health and in Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), and the effect of polysaccharides isolated from natural products on epithelial barrier function.

Dr. Marilyn Gordon

Marilyn completed her BSc (Biological Sciences) in 2007 and her PhD (Medical Sciences) in 2015, both from the University of Alberta, and was a post-doctoral fellow in the MacNaughton lab from 2015 to August 2018. Between 2007 and 2011, Marilyn worked as a Research Associate at Global IQ Inc and the University of Alberta, coordinating and running several clinical and longitudinal studies in arthritis medications, diabetes management, childhood metabolic diseases, and inflammatory bowel diseases, exploring new diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, as well as investigating disease development and progression. During her Doctoral studies, Marilyn studied the role of tumor-suppressing proteins in regulating intestinal inflammation, which led to her current research interest in how chronic inflammation disrupts epithelial tissue homeostasis and cell signaling to promote the development of cancerous lesions. In September 2018, Marilyn took on a new role as a research associate and technical director of the Organoid Platform run by the MacNaughton and Hirota labs.

Dr. Jean-Baptiste Cavin

Jean-Baptiste obtained a bachelor's degree in cellular biology and physiology from the University of Burgundy in 2011 and then moved to Paris where he obtained a Master’s degree in nutrition and health from the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in 2013, and a PhD in gastroenterology and physiology from the Université Paris Diderot in 2016. During his doctoral thesis in the lab of Dr. André Bado, under the supervision of Dr. Maude Le Gall, Jean-Baptiste studied how the gastrointestinal tract adapts to different diets and bariatric surgeries, and the consequences of this adaption on metabolism. His thesis work has been recognized by several awards, including the Claude Rozé Prize in 2016, best thesis award from the European Association for the Study of Obesity, and the young researcher prize of the Bettencourt Schueller Foundation in 2017. Since joining the University of Calgary in October 2016, Jean-Baptiste has received postdoctoral fellowships from the Human Frontier Science Program, Alberta Innovates, the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology and the Killam Foundation. Working in the labs of Drs. Keith Sharkey and Wally MacNaughton, Jean-Baptiste is working to understand the role of the enteric nervous system in how nutrients affect gastrointestinal permeability in healthy subjects and in the context of inflammatory bowel diseases.

Mahesha Bandara

Mahesha joined the lab in September 2016 as a MSc student in the Gastrointestinal Sciences graduate program. She completed her BSc (Hons) Zoology at the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. Mahesha received the Gold Medal for the Best Undergraduate Research Project in Zoology (2014) from the University of Colombo and the Henry Koopmans Memorial Entrance Scholarship (2016) from the University of Calgary. Her research interests range from epithelial dysfunction to epithelial restitution. Currently, she is working on how protease-activated receptor 2 activity contributes to epithelial repair with the aim of finding novel therapeutic interventions.

Andrew Vegso

Andrew is a MSc student born and raised in Calgary. He graduated from the Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of Calgary in 2014, completing his honour’s undergraduate project in the MacNaughton lab. Since then, Andrew has worked in multiple health research-related positions and is currently pursuing further graduate studies. His project is focused on identifying the underlying mechanisms and signaling pathways that promote epithelial wound healing induced by proteases and their receptors. Andrew is the recipient of a Master’s Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Judie Shang

Judie is an undergraduate student working towards a Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Judie joined the MacNaughton lab in 2014 as a Heritage Youth Researcher Summer (HYRS) high school student and has returned to work in the lab every year since. In the past, her projects have been funded by Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions (AIHS), the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA) and Crohn’s and Colitis Canada (CCC) through the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology (CAG). Her current project is focused on determining the signalling pathways and the mechanisms responsible for the rhamnogalacturonan (RGal)-mediated increase in intestinal epithelial barrier function. Judie is a recent recipient of an American Physiological Society Undergraduate Research Excellence Fellowship.