Current Members of the McCoy Lab

Kathy McCoy, PhD., Professor,

Professor Kathy McCoy obtained her PhD in Immunology from the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, Otago University, Wellington, New Zealand. She performed her postdoctoral studies and was a junior group leader at the Institute of Experimental Immunology in Zürich, Switzerland. In 2006 she joined McMaster University as an Assistant Professor where she held a Canada Research Chair in Mucosal Immunology. From 2010 – 2016 Kathy McCoy was an Assistant Professor in Mucosal Immunology in the Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern in Switzerland. In Sept. 2016 she returned to Canada and is now a Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine, University of Calgary where she continues her research on host-microbial interactions with a focus on early life.

Michael Dicay

Lab Manager

Michael is managing the McCoy and Geuking labs. He is investigating the role of the microbiome in many different disease states. He performs experiments and helps graduate students, Post-docs and staff with their projects while making sure the labs run smoothly. Michael has over 25 years of research experience with the University of Calgary. Starting in Neuroscience investigating stem cell neuroplasticity for several years working with Dr. Sam Weiss, Michael then worked in the field of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract with Dr.’s John Wallace and Wally MacNaughton.

Dr. Christina Ohland

PhD, Research Associate

Christina is a research associate for the International Microbiome Centre, led by Dr. McCoy. Christina contributes to the gnotobiotic and microbiome research at the IMC, as well as assisting with funding strategies, training, application development, and technical output from research projects. She received her PhD in medical science at the University of Calgary, followed by two postdoctoral fellowships at the University of Alberta and the University of Florida. Her research has spanned the fields of intestinal cell biology, dietary interventions, probiotics, animal behaviour, inflammatory bowel disease, and colorectal cancer. Outside of the lab, Christina enjoys biking, crafting, baking, and playing board games.

Christopher Richmond

Lab Technician

As a laboratory technician Chris supports our team by providing skilled technical procedures, which include conducting laboratory tests, experiments, and analyses to assist in the goals of the research team on projects for publication. Christopher is a graduate from St. Lawrence College (Kingston, Ontario), the Institute of Technology Sligo (Sligo, Ireland), and Queen’s University (Kingston, Ontario), awarding him an advanced diploma in biotechnology, a honours degree in medical biotechnology, and a master degree in the field of biochemistry and cellular biology, respectively.

Carolyn Thomson

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Carolyn is a senior postdoc in the department of Physiology & Pharmacology, and the Snyder Institute of Chronic Diseases, at the University of Calgary. Her current research is focused on establishing how maternal colonization impacts immune and metabolomic profiles in the offspring, from early life into adulthood, particularly in the context of autoimmune disease development. Dr. Carolyn Thomson began her academic career at the University of Glasgow, where she completed a BSc and PhD in Immunology. Her first postdoc position, also at the University of Glasgow, brought her into the field of mucosal immunology. Here she identified and characterized a novel population of intestinal fibroblasts. Carolyn is not a fan of work without play. She is an avid gin enthusiast and spends her spare time camping, climbing and hiking in summer, or shredding the slopes in the harsh Canadian winter.

Aline Ignacio

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Aline is a recipient of an Eyes High Postdoctoral Fellowship. Aline is exploring the crosstalk between members of intestinal microbiota and mucosal immune cells under homeostatic conditions, which may provide insight into mechanisms responsible for dysregulated immune responses during disease. Aline also studies the early events in microbial-mediated immune education. Aline obtained her MSc from University of São Paulo, Brazil, specializing in microbiology and her PhD from University of São Paulo, Brazil, specializing in Immunology.

Marcela Davoli Ferreira

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Marcela is a recipient of a Beverly Philipps Postdoctoral Fellowship and Cumming School of Medicine PDF Fellowship. Her research focuses on defining how host-microbiota interactions can promote or prevent autism spectrum disease (ASD). She uses a diverse set of immunological approaches, next-generation sequencing, imaging screening, microbiota cultivation and gnotobiotic models to further define the molecular mechanisms by which these specific commensals bacteria can influence ASD development. This research aims to develop novel therapeutic interventions for ASD based on the modulation of gut bacteria. Marcela obtained her MSc in Immunology at the University of São Paulo (Brazil). She was awarded a PhD in Immunology from the University of São Paulo where she studied the role of regulatory T cells in the development and maintenance of neuropathic pain after peripheral nerve damage.

Kirsty Brown

PhD student

Kirsty has a general interest in how bacteria regulate host physiology and enjoys applying wet lab techniques and bioinformatics to explore these interests. Her current project investigates how bacterial colonization impacts stromal cell populations in the intestine with a focus on bacteria-induced metabolites. Prior to entering a PhD program at the University of Calgary, Kirsty completed a master’s degree at the University of British Columbia and worked for a few years at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. She also enjoys outdoor activities including hiking, snowboarding and backcountry camping.

Shannon Pyke

Master student

Shannon studies the dynamic function of specific bacterial species in the gut and how they may play a role in anti-microbial resistance. Shannon is from Calgary and completed a Bachelor of Science in Microbiology at the University of Victoria, BC. After graduating, she worked in the biotechnology industry in Vancouver before moving back to Calgary to pursue a Master's degree. In her spare time, she swims competitively and enjoys running, hiking, skiing and reading.

Sonia Czyz

Master student

Sonia is an MSc degree student specializing in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases. She obtained her BSc in the Biological Sciences here at the University of Calgary. Having had the opportunity to investigate advanced topics in immunology during her undergraduate studies, she became fascinated with the interplay between the microbiota and the immune system. Her project is focused on investigating how the maternal microbiota shapes the newborn’s developing immune system during early-life. Her research aims to better understand how we can target the maternal microbiome to promote healthy immune development in offspring. Outside of the lab, Sonia enjoys watercolour painting, golf, soccer, and taking her little Yorkshire terrier on long walks.

Paloma Araujo Cavalcante


More about Paloma to come...

Francisca Helvira Cavalcante Melo


More about Francesca to come...


Lukas Mager

PhD, Postdoctoral Fellow

Cancer is one of the most common causes of death in Western countries. Surgery, chemotherapy, radiation or a combination thereof are the standard tools for the treatment of cancer. More recently the intestinal microbiota, a community of microbes, has been shown to modulate cancer development and even affect the efficacy of cancer therapies. Lukas aims at better understanding the interaction between the host organism and the microbiota in the context of cancer development and therapy. Besides science he deeply enjoys being out in nature. One of his favourites hobbies is hiking in the mountains and the Rockies surrounding Calgary are a great place for this. He also enjoys reading and is a fan of strategy games.

Jenine Roslyn Yee

Master student

Jenine is a MSc student in gastrointestinal sciences who is studying the impact of the gut microbiota on autism spectrum disorder. She received her nursing degree from University of Calgary before following her unanswered questions about gut health and its resident bacteria. When she isn’t culturing bacteria in lab, she spends time learning piano and cultivating the best tiny potatoes in clay soil.

Amanda Zucoloto

PhD student

Amanda is a recipient of the Beverley Phillips, the Cumming School of Medicine and the Frederick Banting & Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarships. Amanda aims to understand the crosstalk between the gut microbiota and the intravascular immunity using intravital microscopy and gnotobiotic models. She obtained her MSc in Experimental Pathology from the Universidade Estadual de Londrina, Londrina, Brazil. During her undergraduate studies, she has attended the University of Calgary as a visiting student. There, Amanda was introduced to intravital microscopy, a cutting-edge technique she aspired to incorporate in her graduate studies. Amanda joined the McCoy & McDonald labs as a PhD student in 2019. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys running, hiking, reading, and camping.

Madeleine Wyss

PhD student

Increasing evidence suggests that exposure to a diverse set of ‘friendly’ microbes in early life is important to prevent the development of allergies. The aim of Madeleine's project is to determine the minimal diversity of microbiota required that limits the induction of hygiene-mediated IgE and protects against immune dysregulation. Furthermore, she is particularly interested in the dynamics of early life microbial colonization and its impact on immune development. Madeleine did her BSc at the University of Guelph where she specialized in Microbiology. She then moved to Singapore where she did her MSc at the University of Singapore, Dept of Infectious Diseases, Vaccinology and Drug Discovery.

Noah Cooke

Master student

Noah's MSc project in Gastrointestinal Sciences investigates the potential link between major depressive disorders (MDD) and the microbiome (co-supervised by Dr. Valerie Taylor). Through gut microbial analysis combined with gnotobiotic models, he aims to further understand the mechanism by which the gut microbes can impact on MDD. Noah is a competitive cross-country skier and runner, and love the mountains. He also loves politics and public policy.

Nicola Pett

Lab Technician

Nicola is a laboratory technician. She supports the lab by assisting with experiments, procedures and general laboratory duties. Nicola obtained her Honours degree in Biomedical Science from the University of Queensland, Australia. There she focused on cell and molecular biology. After gaining experience in the field of cancer immunotherapy, her attention turned to the microbial world of the gastrointestinal tract when she joined the McCoy Lab. Outside of the lab, Nicola enjoys hiking around the Rockies, climbing and any occasion to be active while enjoying sunlight! She resists the urge to hibernate through winter by learning snowboard.

Gabriela Quiroz-Olguin

PhD Student

Gabriela is a PhD student from Mexico. She visited the Geuking and McCoy's lab for 6 months (10/19-03/20), to learn microbiome sequencing and IgA-SEQ. While working as a certified dietitian in Mexico City, Gabriela completed a Master’s Degree in Education at Universidad Tecnológica de Mexico. She then started a PhD in Clinical Nutrition at the Universidad Anahuac in Mexico City working on the effect of fasting and enteral stimulation on the IgA concentration in saliva of patients pursuing a stomal reversal. Gabriela is a great singer and guitar player. She like long distant running, completed several half marathons, and is looking forward to visit the vibrant Rocky Mountains.

Marcella Cipelli

PhD Student

Marcella started her PhD in Feb 2019, at the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. She aims to characterize the metabolism of Foxp3+RORgt+ T cells in the context of the colitis-associated colorectal cancer experimental model. To do so Marcella is standardizing an experimental model, and using in vitro differentiation experiments. She is visiting the McCoy lab for two months internship to learn about intestinal associated procedures in animal models.