Dr. Andrew Halayko
Dr. Andrew Halayko is Professor of Physiology and Medicine, Canada Research Chair in Airway Cell and Molecular Biology, and Leader of the Biology of Breathing Group. Born and raised in Winnipeg, his research is built upon training in cell and molecular biology from fields as diverse as plant science and agriculture.
Today, his focus is on the biology of lung disease, and since completing his PhD at University of Manitoba he has built fundamental concepts concerning the functional role of airway smooth muscle in asthma pathogenesis. His training has led to him to operate a broad research program using cell biology and physiology, and mouse models for drug testing and investigating airway inflammation, wound healing and function. A current focus is on mediators called alarmins and their contribution to development of severe asthma, a condition that is refractory to typical steroid therapies.
His research has a translational character, focusing on avenues for new treatments for obstructive airway disease, and testing these in pre-clinical models: presently he is assessing whether statins (widely used to lower serum cholesterol) and associated pharmacological inhibitors may prevent and reverse allergic asthma.
His work has pointed out shortcomings in drug development and delivery to the bedside, thus in the past two years he has worked within the Biology of Breathing Group to establish a research and development unit that will generate bio-engineered human airways and blood vessels to bridge the gap between studies in mice and "men."
He has published over 130 peer-reviewed articles and holds significant provincial, national and international administrative responsibilities, serving as Board Member and Research Chair for both the Manitoba Lung Association and the Canadian Thoracic Society, and is a Board Member of the American Thoracic Society.
Dr. Leigh Anderson
Born in Australia, Dr. Leigh Murphy arrived at the University of Manitoba's Faculty of Medicine in 1987. She is a professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics, Chair and acting Director of the Breast Cancer Research Group at the University of Manitoba and a senior scientist at the Manitoba Institute of Cell Biology.
Over the course of her 30-year career, Murphy's research has focused primarily on the role played by estrogen receptors in the development of breast cancer. In that time, she has published over 180 research papers, reviews and book chapters and conducted numerous research projects. In 1997, her research team was the first to show that some types of breast cancer cells contained not just one estrogen receptor, as had been previously believed, but two (estrogen receptor alpha, or ERa, and estrogen receptor beta, or ERb). She and her team have also shown that ERb is present in two types of breast cancers: those that contain ERa and those that contain ERb alone. As well, her research team was the first to publish that human breast tumours contain special chemical changes (called phosphorylation on ERa), which affect the tumour's activity.