Wetmore Group

Email: stacey.wetmore@uleth.ca

Webpage: http://people.uleth.ca/~stacey.wetmore/index.html


The Wetmore lab models the structure and reactivity of nucleic acids using high-performance computers. Our calculations provide a foundation for experimental approaches by serving as powerful predictors of experimental outcomes, and clarifying discrepancies between experimental hypotheses and results. Accurate molecular modelling makes it possible to explore atomistic details that are simply unavailable at the experimental level. When this approach is directly used to complement traditional experiments, examinations that seem impossible with conventional methods are suddenly achievable. For example, calculations can be used to complement traditional experiments in order to explain observed reactivities and/or guide novel experiments by assessing the probability that a molecule will exhibit a desired trait. Due to the many improvements in computing power and computational methodologies, molecular modeling has become an important tool for biochemical research.

Molecular modeling is used in the Wetmore group to study projects that can be categorized into three main areas: 1) We are interested in the effects of damage on the chemical properties and function of nucleic acids. Recent projects include characterizing how the addition of carcinogens to DNA nucleobases affects DNA structure and function, as well as how damage to messenger RNA nucleobases can affect protein translation in the ribosome. 2) We explore the function of enzymes that process nucleic acids. Current interests include atomic level insights into the interactions between nucleic acids and proteins, the steps involved in repairing and replicating damaged nucleic acids, and the chemistry surrounding nucleoside salvage pathways. 3) We are interested in the development of chemically modified nucleosides with novel applications in medicine (i.e., drugs that bind to regions in DNA responsible for disease), biotechnology (i.e., bioprobes used to study the structure and function of enzymes) and nanotechnology (i.e., nucleic acid-mediated synthesis of nanoscale materials and devices).

Group Members (Spring 2018)

  1. Dr. Mohamed Aboelnga (Postdoctoral Fellow)
  2. Shahin Sowlati Hashjin (PhD Student; AI-TF Scholar)
  3. Stefan Lenz (PhD Student; NSERC CGS-D)
  4. Katie Wilson (PhD Student; Vanier, AI-TF Scholar)
  5. Ryan Kung (PhD Student; SGS Fellowship)
  6. Priya Bhutani (MSc Student)
  7. Rajwinder Kaur (MSc Student)
  8. Hanzala Hussain (MSc Student)
  9. Lindey Felske (Undergraduate)
  10. Simmonne D'souza (Undergraduate)
  11. Cassidy Griffith (Undergraduate)
  12. Cynthia Fonderson (Undergraduate)

Past Group Members

  • Cynthia Fonderson (Undergraduate, Summer 2017)
  • Hanzala Hussain (Undergraduate Honours Graduate, 2016)
  • Ryan Kung (Undergraduate Honours Graduate, 2015; NSERC USRA Summer 2015)
  • Mohadeseh Majdi Yazdi (MSc Graduate, 2014)
  • Emmanuel Naziga (PhD Graduate, 2013)
  • Jennifer Kellie (PhD Graduate, 2013; NSERC CGS-D)
  • Stefan Lenz (Undergraduate Honours Graduate, 2013; NSERC USRA Summer 2013)
  • Katie Wilson (Undergraduate Honours Graduate, 2013; NSERC USRA Summer 2013)
  • Cassandra Churchill (MSc Graduate 2011; NSERC Julie Payette, AIF Scholar)
  • Lesley Rutledge (PhD Graduate, 2011; NSERC CGS-D, AIF Scholar)
  • Andrea Millen (PhD Graduate, 2011; NSERC CGS-D, AIF Scholar)
  • Carl Holland (Undergraduate, Spring and Summer 2015)
  • Hanzala Hussain (Undergraduate, Summer 2014 – 2015)
  • Ryan Kung (Undergraduate, Spring 2014)
  • Devany Holland (High School Intern, Summers 2014 and 2015)
  • Rochelle Caruso (Undergraduate, Fall 2014 and Spring 2015)
  • Luciana Prada (Undergraduate, Fall 2014)
  • Rachael Wells (Undergraduate, Spring and Summer 2012, Summers 2013 and 2014) Colin Anderson (Undergraduate, Spring 2014)
  • Minette Abendong (Undergraduate, Fall 2013, Spring 2014)
  • Ryan Brookwell (Undergraduate, Fall 2013)
  • Stefan Lenz (Undergraduate, Spring, Summer and Fall 2011, Summers 2012, Chinook Summer Research Awards)
  • Katie Wilson (Undergraduate, Summer and Fall 2011,Summer 2012)
  • Jackson Knott (Undergraduate, Spring 2013)
  • Alysha Young (Undergraduate, Spring 2013)
  • Ashlyn Merriman (Undergraduate, Spring, Summer and Fall 2012, Spring 2013)
  • Johnathan Kohout (Undergraduate, Summer 2012)
  • Cidney Stinnissen (Undergraduate, Spring and Summer 2012)
  • Ashley Schellenberg (Undergraduate, Summer 2012)
  • Oba Powis (Undergraduate, Spring 2012)
  • Patrick Court (Undergraduate, Spring 2011)
  • Lindsay Forestell (Undergraduate, Spring 2011)
  • Breanne Kamenz (Undergraduate, Summer 2010, NSERC USRA)
  • Matthew Carvey (Undergraduate, Summer 2010)
  • Fern Leavens (Undergraduate, Fall 2009, Spring and Summer 2010, NSERC USRA)
  • Vanessa Alexander (Undergraduate, Fall 2009, Spring and Summer 2010)
  • Beth Millions (Undergraduate, Spring and Summer 2010, NSERC USRA)
  • Jenna Friedt (Undergraduate, Spring 2010)
  • Scott Malmberg (Undergraduate, Spring 2010)
  • Omar Zabaneh (Undergraduate, Spring 2010)

Some Recent Successes

  • Hanzala Hussain and Devany Holland were awarded NSERC USRAs
  • Ryan Kung was awarded an NSERC CGS-M
  • Ryan Kung received a Masters' School of Graduate Studies Fellowship, 2015
  • Loren Hepler Gold Medal for PhD Research Excellence, second place, for Katie Wilson at 9th Annual Chinook Symposium for Chemistry & Biochemistry 2015
  • Devany J. Holland won the Rookie of the Year Award at the 9th Annual Chinook Symposium for Chemistry & Biochemistry 2015
  • Stacey Wetmore awarded Tier I Board of Governors Research Chair (2017-2022)
  • Stefan Lenz won the 1st place poster price from the Canadian Society for Chemistry, Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Division 2015
  • Stefan Lenz won the 1st place prize for the Best Poster Presentation in M.Sc. Chemistry Division at the 8th Annual Chinook Poster Symposium in Chemistry and Biochemistry 2014
  • Katie A. Wilson won the 2nd place prize for the Best Poster Presentation in M.Sc. Chemistry Division at the 8th Annual Chinook Poster Symposium in Chemistry and Biochemistry 2014
  • Katie Wilson, Most Outstanding Student Presentation at the 97th Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition 2014
  • Jennifer Kellie received the Ph.D. Medal of Merit (Graduate Studies), 2014
  • Cassandra Churchill received the Governor General’s Academic Gold Medal (Graduate Studies), 2012