The way research is conducted at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) is changing. Flexible space within new facilities in the D- and E-Wings supports modern research activities for life and health science discovery.

Faculty, researchers, and graduate students work in open-concept lab environments to support a wide range of research projects — many of which explore the university's signature areas of research and scholarship that help to position USask among the most distinguished universities in Canada and among the very best in the world.

Research Clusters

The Biomedical and Environmental Research Cluster is comprised of a group of basic scientists and clinicians conducting a wide range of research at the University of Saskatchewan. The laboratory also contains the Core Mass Spectrometry Facility and the laboratories for the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture (CCHSA).

The cluster contains 13 faculty members, together with their students and research staff from the Departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Agriculture and Bioresources, Medicine, Microbiology and Immunology, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, the College of Dentistry, the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and the School of Public Health.

Primary contact: Shelley Kirychuk

The Cancer Cluster occupies more than 6,000 sq. ft. of space on the 4th floor of the new Health Sciences Building at the University of Saskatchewan. This group includes seven principal investigators studying various aspects of cancer cell biology, including: 

  • alterations in cellular signaling pathways that contribute to oncogenesis
  • the impact of cancer-associated mutations on protein function and cell regulation
  • epigenetic mechanisms to regulate gene expression
  • DNA repair mechanisms
  • understanding the genetic dependencies of cancer cells via synthetic lethality to define new therapeutic targets
  • tumor immunology and immunotherapeutics

This group provides high calibre interdisciplinary training in the study of cancer cells utilizing a blend of cell biology, biochemistry, molecular biology, protein structure-function, enzymology, cell-based assays, and animal models to answer fundamental questions about the nature of cancer cells and how this information could be used to identify and validate new targets for therapy.

The Cancer Cluster contains four research scientists from the Saskatchewan Cancer Agency and three researchers from the University of Saskatchewan. The combined group size is about 35 people, including graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, research associates, research technicians, summer students, and undergraduate research project students. 

Primary contact: Deborah Anderson

The Imaging and Development Research Cluster contains 14 clinicians and scientists from four departments and the School of Rehabilitation Science within the College of Medicine. A general focus of cluster activity is to develop new means to assess and treat skeletal and neural disorders, with a particular emphasis on synchrotron imaging.

Primary contact: Steve Machtaler

The Metabolic, Cardiovascular, and Respiratory (MCAR) Research Cluster is a group of scientists and clinicians conducting a wide range of research at the University of Saskatchewan. The cluster contains 11 faculty members, together with their students and research staff, from the Departments of Biochemistry, Medicine, Pharmacology and Physiology.

Primary contact: Juan Ianowski

The 6th floor research cluster contains researchers from the research areas of bacteriology, virology, and immunology. There is a blend of techniques from biochemistry, microbiology, virology, molecular biology, cancer biology, humanized mouse models, and cellular immunology.

Researchers study the following organisms and diseases: Borrelia burgdorferi, Hepatitis C Virus, Human Immunodeficiency Virus, Graft versus Host Disease, Autoimmunity, and Cancer.

In addition to our diverse faculty, we have a wide array of technical equipment available, including a BSL 2+ tissue culture facility.

Primary contact: Linda Chelico

The Molecular Design Research Cluster is comprised of scientists interested in understanding the function of proteins in the cell at the molecular level, in normal physiology, and in disease. Our research has deep roots in structural biology — NMR spectroscopy, X-ray crystallography and an assortment of biophysical methods remain the favorite tools in our labs. Our projects span the range from lipid biosynthesis, bacterial flagella, and bacterial virulence effectors to proteins linked to schizophrenia and metal-dependent modulators of cancer metastasis.

To find out more, take a look at the Molecular Design Faculty. We have never seen a dull protein and are always ready to discuss potential collaborations that involve protein science and use the full arsenal of instrumentation available at the Protein Characterization and Crystallization Facility (PCCF), the Canadian Macromolecular Crystallography Facility at the Canadian Light Source (CMCF at CLS) and Saskatchewan Structural Sciences Centre (SSSC).

Primary contact: Oleg Dmitriev

The neuroscience cluster is a group of basic scientists and clinicians conducting neuroscience-related research at the University of Saskatchewan. Here, they share contiguous laboratory and office space within the Health Sciences building. As a team, we are making great progress in understanding what causes certain brain disorders and how best to treat patients who suffer from these brain disorders. Faculty members, trainees, and research staff work in the areas of mental health, psychiatric disorders, and related illnesses, including:

  • Stroke
  • Epilepsy
  • Neurodegenerative disorders
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Pain
  • Diabetes

Primary contact: Darrell Mousseau

The Pharmaceutical and Nutritional Sciences Research Group (PNSRG) is a collaborative research group of 14 researchers from the College of Pharmacy and Nutrition and the College of Medicine. The group advances research leading to therapeutic applications for new and existing drugs as well as the discovery of bioactive compounds, such as those found in Saskatchewan agricultural products.

Primary contact: Anas El-Aneed

The Translational Cancer Research Cluster is a collective of basic and clinical research scientist with the aim of translating discoveries made in the lab into the clinic. The cluster specializes in preclinical studies necessary for filing clinical trial applications. The cluster houses the Advanced Diagnostic Research Laboratory with state-of-the-art molecular diagnostic infrastructure to support clinical trials.

Primary contact: Ron Geyer

Research Units

Building on 20 years of leadership in agricultural safety and rural health issues, the Canadian Centre for Rural and Agricultural Health has evolved into a new national centre of excellence which has an expanded mandate in the field of agricultural safety, rural health, delivery of training programs and knowledge translation.

The centre will continue to focus its resources on addressing public health issues related to the agricultural-rural ecosystem and bridge gaps that occur between the spectra of basic research, applied research, the community, and policy.

Primary contacts: Niels Koehncke and Shelley Kirychuk

The Proteomics Research in Interactions and Structure of Macromolecules (PRISM) Centre brings together a large group of scientists with diverse research programs with protein science as a common denominator. The research themes of PRISM members are related to the understanding and utilization of molecular processes in the cell and in cell-cell interactions, and include:

  • signal transduction and molecular mechanisms of cancer
  • protein-protein interactions and molecular mechanism of pathogenicity
  • molecular mechanisms of immunity and vaccine development
  • small molecular inhibitors as therapeutic agents

PRISM maintains the Protein Characterization and Crystallization Facility (PCCF), which provides access to specialized equipment guided by knowledgeable PhD-level staff.  

Primary contact: Erique Lukong

The Saskatchewan Population Health and Evaluation Research Unit (SPHERU) is a bi-university health research unit based at the Universities of Regina and Saskatchewan. Since 1999, SPHERU has established itself as a leader in cutting edge population health research that not only looks at the what and why of health inequities but also how to address these and take action.

While much population health research focuses on describing health inequities, SPHERU’s focus is on population health intervention research: We look at how to address inequities by taking action on the social determinants of health. By intervention, we mean any developments or changes to policies, programs, research, funding, or any other action that influences the determinants of health and positively affect population health outcomes.

SPHERU’s work includes the creation of new knowledge, independent policy analysis, collaborative research with policy makers, and collaboration with communities to develop strategies to reduce health inequities. Much of our work falls within the following main themes:

  • Northern and Aboriginal Health
  • Healthy Children
  • Rural Health and
  • History of Health Inequities

Primary contact: Nazeem Muhajarine