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Principal Investigator:  Dr. Lyle McKinnon

Assistant Professor of Medical Microbiology and Community Health Sciences, University of Manitoba.
Honourary Senior Scientist, Centre for the AIDS Programme of Research in South Africa (CAPRISA)
Honorary Lecturer, University of Nairobi

B.Sc. (Winnipeg, 2001), Ph.D. (Manitoba, 2009)

Mailing Address:
Department of Medical Microbiology, Room 504 - 745 Bannatyne Avenue, Winnipeg, MB R3E 0J9
Tel: (204) 975-7708 Fax: (204) 789-3926 

Research Interests:

  • Mucosal immunology of the gastrointestinal and female reproductive tracts 

  • Cell mediated immunity and immune cell homing 

  • HIV transmission and pathogenesis 

  • Epidemiology of HIV transmission in key populations in Africa ​​

Post Doctoral Fellow : Dr. Aloysious Ssemaganda

 Aloysious is a Post-doctoral Fellow in the McKinnon lab Since Sep 2019.
 Post-doctoral Scientist at MRC/UVRI and London School of Hygiene and Tropical  Medicine Uganda Research Unit (2018-2019)
 Basic Science Coordinator at UVRI-IAVI HIV Vaccine Program (2010-2017).

 Education:  ​ 

 B.Sc : Biomedical laboratory Technology, Makerere University , Kampala, Uganda, 2003. 

 M.Sc : Molecular Biology, Makerere University , Kampala, Uganda, 2013.

 PhD : Griffith University, Queensland, Australia , 2018.

 Research Project:

 Exploring the role of regulatory T cells, cytokines and microbiome in protection  against HIV and sexually transmitted infections in the female genital tract.

Lab Technician:  Naima Jahan

 Naima is an International Medical Graduate (IMG) from Bangladesh.

 Working as a Technician in Mckinnon lab since July 2017



 M.Sc.: Human Anatomy & cell Science, University of Manitoba, Canada (2014)

 MBBS: Dhaka Medical College, Dhaka, Bangladesh.

 Research Project:

 Presently working on a genetic study that is analyzing how host genetic makeup is linked with      HIV infection acquisition and also what are the possible roles of key cytokines in this process.

Ph.D student : Ruth Sada Mwatelah

Ruth is a PhD candidate from Mckinnon lab started in Jan 2017

Former Research assistant at International Center for Reproductive health Kenya.


Education :

B.Sc.: Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Juja, Kenya

M.Sc. Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Juja, Kenya

Research Interest:

Assessing the impact of behavioural and biological factors that increase the risk of HIV acquisition among adolescent and young women from Mombasa Kenya

Ph.D Student: Frank Cholette

Frank  is a Ph.D candidate from Mckinnon Lab, started SEP 2019
He also works at National HIV and Retrovirology Laboratory, PHAC, Canada.



M.Sc. in Community Health Science, University Of Manitoba, Winnipeg (2019)

Research interest:

Frank's project involves understanding HIV transmission dynamics in  vulnerable populations using viral genomics based approaches that are congruent with broader, interdisciplinary, research programs seeking to address the national and global spread of sexually transmitted and blood borne infections like HIV. 

M.Sc Student: Tosin Omole

Tosin is a Ph.D Candidate from Mckinnon lab, started Sep 2018.

Education :

B.Sc.: Federal University of Technology Akure (FUTA),Nigeria.

Research Interest: 

Tosin is looking at how the pre-HIV frequencies of CD4+ T cells, Innate lymphoid cells, as well as the unconventional T cells (including iNKT, Vɗ1, Vɗ2 and MAIT cells), impact the risk of acquiring HIV and the progression of the disease after the acquisition. 

M.Sc Student: Henok Gebremedhin

Henok started as a Co-op student in September 2016 and is currently a M.Sc student in McKinnon Lab.


B.Sc: Genetics, University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada

Research project:

Understanding the influence of risky sexual behaviour and HIV infection on the gut microbiome composition and inflammation in a HIV high risk MSM (Men having sex with men) cohort from Nairobi, Kenya.

M.Sc Student: Sandra Choi

Sandra is a  Master’s Student in Mckinnon lab.

Sandra also finished  one of her Co-op project from this lab in 2017.


B.Sc : Microbiology , University of Manitoba, Winnipeg (2017)
Research Project:

Anti-viral and immunological effects of anti-a4b7 therapy in blood and gut tissues. This project has collaboration with USAMD-AFRIMS in Bangkok, Thailand , where a big part of sample collection and data analyses were done during the summer of 2019.

M.Sc Student: Faisal Nuhu

Faisal started his M.Sc program in University of Manitoba in 2018 and  then transferred to Ph.D program in 2020.



B.Sc: Biological science at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Ghana.

Research Project:

It focuses on understanding the mechanisms of cytokine associated HIV susceptibility in the female genital tract, specifically defining the roles of type I interferon and IL-2.

M.Sc. Student: Cheli Kambaran

Cheli is a second year Ph.d student having transferred from the MSc. Program.


B (med) Sc. Honours Medical Microbiology, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa.

BSc. Microbiology and Biochemistry, Rhodes University, Grahamstown, South Africa.

Research Project:

Genome wide association study: defining the link between HIV risk and host genetics in a population of South African women through well-defined risk intermediates- vaginal inflammation and the vaginal microbiome.

Visiting scientist: Ana Claudia Ossa G

Ana is a Ph.D. candidate at Universidad de Antioquia, Colombia, South America. She did an International Internship in our Lab in 2019, and continue in collaboration with us in HIV researching.

She also is a Lecturer and researcher at the School of Medicine of Universidad Cooperativa de Colombia.



B.Sc. Microbiology, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia.

PGCert. Clinical Microbiology, Colegio Mayor de Antioquia, Medellín, Colombia 

Research interest:

The project Ana is developing in collaboration with us involves understanding HIV's effects on the gut microbiome. She wants to characterize the gut bacteria populations and their relationship with secretory IgA from people living with HIV and healthy people.


Ana also is working on HIV natural resistance. Her Ph.D. project describes immune and genetic factors associated with natural resistance to HIV in MSM at high risk of infection.

Additional Lab member


Co Op student : Agata Marcinow (Fall 2021)

Co Op student : Can Nguyen (Winter 2021- Present)

Co Op student : Amy Lee (Winter 2020 - Present)

Guest Post Doc: Dr. Michelle Perner (Dec 2020 - Present)


Lab Alumni

Andrew Stalker : Lab Technician (2016-2017)

Heather Muryani : Lab Technician (2017-2018)

Dom Di Curzio : Post Doc Fellow (2017-2019)

Summer student 2019: Karen Lumbalat

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