GlycoNet Trainee Association:
January 2016 e-Newsletter
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Welcome from the Executive committee

Welcome to the GlycoNet trainee association (GTA)! The GTA is composed of all trainees affiliated with the Network, including students, postdoctoral fellows, technicians, and research associates. Our vision is to create a support network for trainees that provides the training and tools for you to be successful now and in the future. This includes workshops, funding opportunities, hands-on training, leadership opportunities, and day-to-day support for asking questions both experimental and theoretical. We have a number of initiatives that we are working on and will provide you with more details as they become available. 
This monthly newsletter will be used to facilitate communication between the GTA executive committee and all GTA members. It will include updates on network developments, upcoming events, funding and training opportunities. Submissions are welcome - please send submissions for consideration to the communications officer, Omar El-Halfawy.
GlycoNet Trainee Association Executive Committee (left to right)
Tianlin Guo (Member-at-Large): Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB
Omar El-Halfawy (Communications Officer): Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences, McMaster University, Hamilton, ON

Perrin Baker (Secretary): Postdoctoral Fellow, Molecular Structure and Function, The Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, ON
Lisa Willis (Chair): Postdoctoral Fellow, Chemistry, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON
François Le Mauff (Vice-Chair): Postdoctoral Fellow, Medicine/Microbiology, McGill University, Montreal, QC
Christian Lizak (Former Member): Postdoctoral Fellow, Biochemistry, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC
Ryan Snitynsky (Observer): Training Coordinator, Canadian Glycomics Network, Edmonton, AB

It is both a pleasure and honor for us to serve on the inaugural GTA Executive Committee. Our role as the GTA Executive Committee is to represent the interests of the GTA, and we will be meeting regularly to discuss ways the Network can help support the next generation of Canadian glycomics scientists. Your input is key for our success to better represent you! Please don’t hesitate to contact any one of us with ideas, concerns, things you would like to see addressed, etc.

GlycoNet AGM: May 16-18, 2016 

Canadian Glycomics Symposium: May 18-20, 2016

Abstract Submission Deadline: February 15! Submit Now! 
There are two GlycoNet meetings scheduled back-to-back in May  in Banff, Alberta at the Banff Park Lodge. .
The first is the annual general meeting, which takes place over three days. 
We have many fun and exciting events planned, including various career development workshops, 
an ethics panel and social events. Stay tuned for more information!
The second meeting is the 2016 Canadian Glycomics Symposium, from May 18 - 20, 2016. Trainees are 
encouraged to submit abstracts for selected talks or posters in any area of the glycosciences. Abstracts 
can be submitted through the Symposium website:, 
and the abstract deadline is 
February 15. 
Please be sure to register for both meetings!
GlycoNet will be funding the trip to Alberta for some trainees so be sure to ask your supervisor 
if your trip is covered!

Research Highlights
In Press
We would like to highlight recent publications by GlycoNet trainees in each issue of this newsletter. If you have recently published a paper and would like it featured in this monthly newsletter, you can submit it directly by email to Omar El-Halfawy
Have you read an interesting article and think it might be of interest to other trainees? You may write a short commentary about it and we will feature it in the newsletter. If you are interested, please send a quick note of interest to Omar El-Halfawy
Featured Trainee
Trainees are the hearts and souls of any research program. To acknowledge your hard work and accomplishments, we would like to feature one of you in each newsletter.
If you are interested or would like to nominate, please send a quick note of interest to
Omar El-Halfawy
This month’s featured trainee: 
Ben DiFrancesco.

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Dr. Mark Nitz at the University of Toronto.

Ben received his B.Sc. in Chemical Biology from McMaster University and in 2011, started working in the
 lab of Dr. Mark Nitz at the University of Toronto, where he is now a Ph.D. candidate.

Q:What is the focus of your project?
A:I work on bacterial polysaccharides, biofilm formation, synthesis of deacetylase inhibitors and drug 
Q:What techniques do you use in your research?
A:I use carbohydrate synthesis, medicinal chemistry, analytical chemistry and virtual screening
Q:What inspired you?
A:During my undergrad I discovered that I love applying chemistry and synthesis to biology so I found
 a lab where I could do both the synthesis and testing of compounds.
Q:What would you like to do next?
A:Something in the pharmaceutical industry or consulting
Q:What advice would you offer other researchers?
A:Find a way of incorporating your interests into your project. Virtual screening was never meant to be a
 part of my project but it was something that I found cool so I was able to learn about it and then use it
 for inhibitor design.
Q:Lastly, what do you like to do for fun?
A:I like to read, go to concerts, play board games, and explore craft beer (especially in Toronto).

Forum Registration
You are receiving this message as a member of the GlycoNet Forum. Please encourage other graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, technicians, and research assistants in your lab to sign up as an HQP on the Forum at to ensure they receive important updates from GlycoNet.
Important Dates
February 1: Summer awards for undergraduate students application deadline.
February 15:
Canadian Glycomics Symposium Abstract submission deadline.
March 31:
GlycoNet AGM & Canadian Glycomics Symposium.Early Bird registration deadline. 
More details on Upcoming events.
We want to hear from you! 
Communicating your research findings is an important responsibility as a scientist. GlycoNet is here to help support and promote communication of your research, but we need your help. Please keep us updated about your research developments. We'd appreciate it if you email photos, research successes or milestones, and information about awards or any press coverage you receive to Omar El-Halfawy. Help us spread the word about the important work being done within GlycoNet!
Your feedback is important! If you have any suggestions for us, whether on the newsletter or for ideas of training initiatives you would like GlycoNet to support, please share them with us.
Submit to the newsletter!
Copyright © 2016 Canadian Glycomics Network, All rights reserved.