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I received my MSc in Integrative Biology from Laurier, and my PhD in Biology from the University of Waterloo, under the supervision of Stephanie DeWitte-Orr, and my HBSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics from McMaster University. After my PhD, I was an industrial research scientist with a local biotechnology company.
My areas of expertise lie in immunomodulation using nanotechnology, and cancer biology at the cellular level.
Despite the recognition of the role of innate immunity in clearing cancerous cells, the current body of research lacks perspective and information on the cancer cell-mediated immune response. We can determine the most optimal targets for cancer therapies by understanding the basic underlying immunological mechanisms within cancer cells.
My research program explores the broad question: What immune pathways are intact in cancer cells?
My research program includes graduate students, undergraduate thesis students, third- and fourth- year directed studies students, and volunteer positions. Students have opportunities to complete wet-lab based or literature-based research projects. To ensure that all interested students have equal opportunities to be considered for these opportunities I will be transitioning to an application-based process.
I am not currently accepting graduate students for the Fall 2023 academic year. Opportunities for Fall 2024 will be posted in January 2024.
If you are interested in doing a 4th year thesis project or a one or two term 0.5 directed studies project with me and my team in starting September 2023, please submit the following documents in an email to me by March 14th, 2023:
1) What type of lab involvement you are interested in (directed studies or thesis, literature-based or lab-based)
2) A short paragraph or two describing: (i) why you want to do research and why with my team, (ii) what research you have done thus far, (iii) any specific circumstances I should know regarding your application package
2) A CV or resume
3) A copy of your unofficial transcript (there is no grade cut-off to apply for these positions)
4) If you feel comfortable doing so, please indicate if you belong to an equity-deserving group (those that identify barriers to equal access, opportunities and resources due to disadvantage and discrimination and actively seek social justice and reparation)
I will be contacting students by March 25th. If you haven't been contacted, unfortunately we won't have a position for you this year. We generally get a large volume of inquiries for a small number of positions and it is a challenging decision.
All undergraduates will be paired with a graduate student mentor. You will be given your own project that will be contribute to a larger research aim within the lab. Any data generated by you while working in the lab that contributes to a paper will earn you authorship on that paper.
1 Literature-research position - completing a literature review of nanoparticle-based cancer therapies in ovarian cancer
1 Literature-research position - completing a literature review of dsRNA-based cancer therapies in ovarian cancer
1 Lab-based position - exploring innate immune pathways in human cells using nucleic acid nanocarriers
Fourth-year honours thesis
I am not currently accepting thesis students for the Fall 2023 academic year. Opportunities for Fall 2024 will be posted in January 2024.
For more information about the thesis program (HE490) or directed studies (HE450) please see the course offerings page.
Poynter, S.J., Herrington-Krause, S., and DeWitte-Orr, S.J. 2019. Two DExD/H-box helicases, DDX3 and DHX9, identified in rainbow trout are able to bind dsRNA. Fish & Shellfish Immunology, 93, 1056-1066.
Poynter, S.J. and DeWitte-Orr, S.J. 2018. Understanding viral dsRNA-mediated innate immune responses at the cellular level using a rainbow trout model. Frontiers in Immunology, 9.
Poynter, S.J., Monjo, A.L., and DeWitte-Orr, S.J. 2018. Identification of three class A scavenger receptors from rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss): SCARA3, SCARA4, and SCARA5. Fish & Shellfish Immunology, 76, 121-125.
Poynter, S.J., Monjo, A., Micheli, G., and DeWitte-Orr, S.J., 2017. Scavengers for bacteria: Rainbow trout have two functional variants of MARCO that bind to gram-negative and–positive bacteria. Developmental & Comparative Immunology, 77, 95-105.
Poynter, S.J., and DeWitte-Orr, S.J. 2015. Length-dependent innate antiviral effects of double-stranded RNA in the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) cell line, RTG-2. Fish & Shellfish Immunology, 46(2), 557-565.
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