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Research unit director

Javier Marcelo Di Noia, PhD

  • Director, Mechanisms of Genetic Diversity research unit
  • Associate Vice-President, Student Affairs
  • Full IRCM Research Professor
  • Assistant Research Professor, Department of Medicine (accreditation in biochemistry and molecular medicine; molecular biology; and microbiology, infectiology and immunology), Université de Montréal
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Medicine (Division of Experimental Medicine), McGill University
  • Canada Research Chairholder in Genetic Diversity

Dr. Di Noia is seeking to understand the mechanisms by which genetic diversity is actively induced through mutation. The model is based on the diversification mechanisms of genes that code immunoglobulins, components of antibodies. In an infection, antibodies diversify to improve their capacity to eliminate antigens following genetic changes that occur in the B-cell immunoglobulin genes: somatic hypermutation and isotope changes. Both of these processes depend on the AID enzyme, which switches one of the four bases that make up DNA (from C to U). For reasons that are not yet fully understood, the foreign DNA base (U) is recognized by DNA repair enzymes, which set off recombination or mutation instead of repair. The team is studying these mechanisms and their regulation in B-cells to advance our understanding of the molecular causes of immune deficiencies and dysfunction in B-cell lymphomas.

Degrees and relevant experience

  • PhD in biochemistry, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (2000)
  • M.Sc. in biological sciences, University of Buenos Aires, Argentina (1994)
  • Postdoctoral fellowship, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge, United Kingdom (2001-2006)
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