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Christopher Anthony Dieni is originally from the suburb of Pierrefonds in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. He holds degrees in Biochemistry (BSc, Titorenko Lab) from Concordia University and Chemistry (PhD, Storey Lab) from Carleton University. He has also held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Benkovic Lab at Pennsylvania State University, a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council-Industrial Research and Development Fellowship (NSERC-IRDF) at Micropharma Ltd (acquired by UAS Labs in December 2014), and a Margaret and Wallace McCain Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Mount Allison University. As the McCain Fellow, he began teaching undergraduate courses (at Canada’s #1 primarily-undergraduate university, no less!) and participated in research in the lab of Tyson MacCormack, laying the groundwork for a small internally-funded research group of his own. He also participated in collaborative, interdepartmental, externally-funded, and academic-industrial research (e.g. an NSERC-Engage) with other faculty members at Mount Allison. Following completion of the 2-year McCain Fellowship at Mount Allison, Chris returned to Ottawa as a research associate in the Storey Lab, where he worked to bridge his research in nanotoxicology with his earlier research in signal transduction and protein phosphorylation. He received independent research funding in the form of a Carleton University Development Grant. He also maintained an active teaching role as a contract instructor in the Institute of Biochemistry at Carleton University, teaching required undergraduate courses for programs such as Biochemistry, Biochemistry & Biotechnology, Computational Biochemistry, and Bioinformatics. He additionally has experience as a Professor (Part-Time) in the School of Advanced Technology at Algonquin College (teaching primarily for the “Biotechnology – Advanced” program). Chris also served as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Ursinus College over the 2016-2017 academic year, where he taught courses to undergraduate students in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology and other programs, and continued to mentor undergraduate research students in projects focused on nanomaterial-biomolecular interactions.
Presently, he is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry at the University of Windsor, where he teaches in the Master of Medical Biotechnology professional graduate program, and co-supervises research students (currently with John Trant) in the latest incarnation of his research program that most closely follows his passion: the development of novel bioactive agents to reverse insulin resistance — relying on past research and experience in reversible regulation of insulin signaling (in freeze-tolerant frogs and hyperphagic ground squirrels) and disease-targeted probiotics (from Micropharma Ltd).
Chris’ efforts in research, mentoring, and teaching, have been widely-recognized. He is a winner of a 2016 Capital Educators’ Award. He was also nominated by his students for the 2015 Faculty of Science Excellence in Teaching Awards (Carleton University), the 2014 JEA Crake Teaching Award in Science (Mount Allison University), and the 2013 Mount Allison Students’ Union (MASU) Excellence in Teaching Award. In 2013 he was named as the inaugural winner of the Carleton University Alumni Association Young Alumni Achievement Award (the gala program detailing Chris’ award is available here).
When not engaged in teaching or research activities, Chris has also busied himself with organizations involved in the community or social aspects of science, and the post-secondary educational environment as a whole (i.e. service and outreach). In recent years, he has participated in the 2015 edition of TEDxCarletonU and the Mount Allison/Moncton Public Library Lunch and Learn program. As a grad student at Carleton University, he was involved with the Graduate Students Association and the Carleton Chemistry and Biochemistry Society. As a postdoc, he was active as an Executive Council member of the Penn State Postdoctoral Society. He has volunteered as a mentor for the Carleton Alumni Mentor Program and the Concordia Mentor Program. Chris contributes regularly to professional service and has peer-reviewed for a number of journals. When free time was in a bit more abundance, he flirted with science writing and contributed to online science magazines, including: BenchFly, Bitesize Bio, the Genome Alberta Genomics Blog, MolBio Research Highlights (currently known as the MolBio Hut), and Naturally Selected, the Faculty of 1000 blog.