Department of Chemistry • University of Manitoba

RNA Biochemistry


We study protein-RNA interactions in interesting biological systems using a combination of biochemistry, structural biology, and molecular biology.

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Recent News…
Follow the McKenna Lab on Twitter: @mckennalab

September: The group was awarded a University of Manitoba Small Equipment Research Fund Grant to purchase a new FPLC system for RNA purification!

July: Our work with the Nemykin Lab on developing photodynamic cancer therapy was recently featured in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemistry!

Steven Dupas, an undergraduate student in the McKenna Lab, received two awards for his oral presentation at RIboWest 2019. Congrats Steven!

May: Congrats to Ewan McRae on successfully defending his Ph.D. work on characterization of quadruplex helices and their targets!

April: Dr. McKenna was given the Department of Chemistry "Outstanding contributions to Service" award! Click here for details.

April: Congrats to Amit on publishing his work characterizing the substrate specificity of the OAS2 enzyme in Bicohemistry & Cell Biology!

January: Welcome to two new M.Sc. students in the group, Taegi Choi and Nikki Lubna!

September: Congrats to Evan, Ewan, Taegi, and Danny on their recent publication in Nucleic Acids Research on their characterization of the protein being partners of a long non-coding RNA, BC200.

September: Welcome to our three new undergraduate honours thesis students, Negar Atefi, Nicole Neudorf, and Oscar Sze!

Congrats to Daniel Gussakovsky (NSERC USRA) for winning the Faculty of Science Summer Research Experience Best Poster Prize in the Life Sciences!

August: Congrats to former McKenna lab member Shawn Xiong on his new Assistant Teaching Professor position at Penn State in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology!

June: The University of Manitoba will be hosting RiboWest in 2019!!! Details to follow in the coming months.

June: Our work demonstrating the quadruplex substrate specificity of the helicase DDX21 was accepted in BBA-General Subjects. Congrats to Ewan McRae (Ph.D. student) who led the work, with assists from Steven Dupas (University of Manitoba URA) and Dave Davidson (NMR Facilities Manager)!

June: Congrats to Ph.D. student Ewan McRae who received the RiboClub-RiboWest travel award! Based on his presentation at RiboWest, he was invited to present the same work at RiboClub in the fall!

May: Dr. McKenna received a 2017 University of Manitoba Merit Award for his contributions to Research and Service!

May: Congrats to a former McKenna Lab member, Dr. Trushar Patel, who has received a Tier II Canada Research Chair in RNA & Protein Biophysics at the University of Lethbridge!!! Details here!

May: Our review on the innate immunity enzyme PKR written with Dr. Patel's group at the University of Lethbridge is now published in Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering Reviews!

April: Dr. McKenna was given the Department of Chemistry "Outstanding contributions to the Research Program" award!

April: Our work with the Stetefeld Group at the University of Manitoba determining the high-resolution structure of a DNA G-quadruplex was accepted in Nucleic Acids Research!

April: Congrats to the Stetefeld, McKenna, Mark, and O'Neil groups on our successful NSERC-RTI to add Quasi-elastic light scattering to our SEC-MALS instrument at the University of Manitoba.

March: Congrats to Daniel Gussakovsky (NSERC USRA), Steven Dupas (University of Manitoba URA), and Taegi Choi (Faculty of Science USRA) on their award. All three undergraduate students will be joining the group for summer 2018!

March: Our work with the Lin and Stetefeld Groups at the University of Manitoba studying neutrophil and breast cancer cell migration was accepted in Advanced Biosystems!

January: Our group (with Dr. Stetefeld's group as co-PI) has received a 5-year Canadian Institutes of Health Research Project Grant to continue our study of helicases that regulate RNA structure in the context of cancer! You can read the details about the regional press conference here.

January: Congrats to Amit Koul, who received a travel award to present his work on viral RNA pattern recognition receptors at the International Congress of Cell Biology in Hyderabad, India.

January: Our work with the Stetefeld Group at the University of Manitoba investigating protein interactions at DNA replication forks was accepted in Biophysical Journal!