Frank Jirik, M.D.
The Jirik lab has considerable experience with the generation and analysis of transgenic animals as a means to study gene function in vivo, including the creation of models of human genetic disease. Engaged in research activities spanning various disciplines, the work has involved a variety of collaborative projects, past and present, including:
(i) studies in inflammation and autoimmunity (involving models of inflammatory arthritis, T cell and macrophage biology, tumour immunology, models of experimental colitis, and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis);
(ii) developing models of human genetic disease;
(iii) selenoprotein biology (in collaboration with Drs. Dolph Hatfield and Bradley Carlson, NCI-USA);
(iv) prion biology (in collaboration with Drs. Keith Sharkey and Markus Czub);
(v) tumorigenesis and tumor preclinical studies, in collaboration with Drs. Gwyn Bebb, Shirin Bonni, Joseph Dort, Michael Monument, Karl Riabowol and Tannin Schmidt); and in the testing of novel methods to detect circulating tumour biomarkers using unbiased screens with our collaborator Dr. Vince Rotello (University of Massachusetts Amherst);
(vi) studies various genes involved in DNA repair and mutagenesis; and
(vii) and we have collaborated with Drs. Hans Vogel and Aalim Weljie (University of Pennsylvania) on various metabolomics studies. We have also made use of bioluminescence imaging of tumor and gene reporters in various projects, and have extensively used micro-computed tomography with our main collaborators, Drs. Stephen Boyd and Benedikt Hallgrimsson.
Recently, the lab generated two novel transgenic disease models: one characterized by an auto-inflammatory interferonopathy characterized by a vasculopathy resembling that of a disease of infants known as STING-associated vasculopathy of infancy (SAVI), and a second, stemming from conditional mutation of a DNA repair gene known as polynucleotide kinase phosphatase (PNKP) that exhibits defective progenitor cell function. Key collaborators in the latter two projects have included: Drs. Jeff Biernaskie, Ina Dobrinski, Marvin Fritzler, Margaret Kelly, Michael Weinfeld (University of Alberta & Cross Cancer institute), and Bryan Yipp.