Research Spotlights - Current

Each month the IRMACS Centre is proud to feature novel research being conducted at the centre. We call this "Research Spotlights".


iReceptor is a distributed data management system and scientific gateway for mining “Next Generation” sequence data from immune responses. The goal of the project is to: improve the design of vaccines and therapeutic antibodies by integrating Canadian and international data repositories of antibody and T-cell receptor gene sequences.

iReceptor will provide a technology platform that will lower the barrier to immune genetics researchers who need to federate large, distributed, immune genetics databases in order to answer complex questions about the immune response. The focus of the iReceptor project is to leverage existing capabilities and technologies to build a new scientific platform for the immune genetics research community. In order to provide such a system, the iReceptor project will develop the following components:

The iReceptor project is working closely with international partners to develop both the foundational biological and immune genetics requirements as well as to develop the technological components of the iReceptor Scientific Gateway. The iReceptor team has been working with colleagues from the international ImMunoGeneTics information system (IMGT) at the Centre national de la recherche scientifique (CNRS), Montpellier, France to determine the initial scientific requirements of the iReceptor Gateway. At the same time, iReceptor has been working with the Agave scientific gateway team from the Texas Advanced Computing Centre to design and develop the technological platform on which iReceptor will be based.

About Felix Breden and Jamie Scott

About Dr. Felix Breden

Dr. Felix Breden is a professor in the Department of Biological Sciences and the Executive Director for the IRMACS Centre. He is also Chair of the IRMACS Management Committee and the Executive Director of the Complex Systems Modelling Group (CSMG).

Dr. Breden is a population geneticist interested in behaviour, sexual selection, guppies and human immunogenetics. He has worked on toads, beetles, cornborers, and mathematical models of the evolution of social behaviour. Currently he concentrates on opsin evolution and speciation in guppies, and how variability in human immunoglobulin genes can affect susceptibility to autoimmune and infectious diseases, and response to vaccines. 

About Dr. Jamie Scott 

Dr. Jamie Scott is a Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences with a joint appointment with MBB. 

Dr. Scott's  research interest is in understanding the molecular basis for antigen recognition by antibodies using peptide as probes of these interactions. As a molecular immunologist and physician, she has a strong interest in understanding how the peptide recognition profile of an antibody response may be applied to the development of vaccines and autoimmune diagnostics. One of Dr. Scott's most interesting projects involves her search for peptides will bind to human monoclonal antibodies that kill HIV-1. She hopes to create a vaccine that will elicit these same antibodies in uninfected people, and thus protect them from AIDS.