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 in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in the Cumming School of Medicine. He is a member of the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases and the Alberta Children's Hospital Research Institute.

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. Larissa Lucena Périco

Larissa holds a bachelor's degree in Generalist Pharmacy from Faculdades Adamantinenses Integradas, Brazil (2007-2010), a Master's degree in Biological Sciences (Pharmacology) from the Biosciences Institute, UNESP, São Paulo State University, Brazil (2012-2014), and PhD in Pharmacology and Biotechnology, also from São Paulo State University (2014-2018). Larissa joined the MacNaughton lab as a Postdoctoral Fellow in March 2019, where she is advancing our studies of protease-activated receptor (PAR)-2 as a novel effector of mucosal healing in inflammatory bowel diseases. She brings a wealth of experience to the lab, having worked with experimental models of protection and healing of peptic ulcers, diarrhea, intestinal motility, pain and inflammation in animal models, as well as molecular biology techniques. Larissa is the recipient of the Beverly Phillips Postdoc Award from the Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases, and a postdoc award from the Cumming School of Medicine. She recently received a postdoctoral fellowship awarded by the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology in partnership with the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Dr. Preedajit Wongkrasant

Preedajit (who goes by Som) is a postdoc who joined us from Thailand in January 2021 and who is working in the MacNaughton and Sharkey labs. Som graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Nursing Science (2007-2010) and worked as a nurse in the neurological department for 1 year (2011). She then decided to move to research and received a Master’s degree (2012-2014) and a Ph.D. (2015-2020) in Physiology from the Faculty of Science, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. Her main projects in her doctoral work included the role of chitosan and fructose oligosaccharides in colorectal cancer development and intestinal tight junction integrity in vivo and in vitro, respectively. Moreover, her studies involved gut inflammation and GLP-1 secretion. She also gained experience working with enteriod cells during a Ph.D. project in the lab of Prof. Kim Barrett at the University of California San Diego. Som is currently working on enteric nervous system regulation of gut function in health and disease.

Elizabeth Hughes

Elizabeth has a BSc and MSc in pharmacology, both from the University of Alberta. During her career Elizabeth has worked on projects ranging from diabetes to MS to autism. Elizabeth brings to lab a wealth of experience using a variety of techniques including islet isolation, western blots, qPCR, cell culture, and animal work. Elizabeth has been working at University of Calgary since 2008 and joined the MacNaughton lab as a cell culture technician in the Human Tissue Research Platform in March 2019.

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.

Kristen Tran

Kristen is an undergraduate student working towards a Bachelor of Health Sciences at the University of Calgary. Starting in May, she is returning for her second summer in the lab and plans to stay on for her BHSc Honours Project. Her research involves uncovering the role of novel bioactive peptides in the resolution of colitis. Kristen holds a Summer Student Scholarship from the Canadian Association of Gastroenterology.

Sarah Varghese

Sarah is currently in the third year of her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary, majoring in Biological Sciences. She joined the MacNaughtonLab in May 2021 and is exploring plant-derived polysaccharides as effectors of wound healing in the gut. Sarah is the recipient of an Alberta Innovates Summer Research Studentship. Her interests include playing the piano, reading and bike riding.