Tommy Michel Alain

Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

I was appointed to the position of Scientist at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute (CHEO RI) and Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology and Immunology (BMI) at the University of Ottawa in January 2014. My training is in virology, innate immune responses, cell biology, and oncology. I received my B.Sc. (2000) in Biochemistry from Université Laval and my Ph.D.

(2007) in Medical Science from the University of Calgary. During my Ph.D., I studied the virology and the oncolytic potencies of reovirus, vesicular stomatitis virus, herpes simplex virus and myxoma virus against brain cancers. From 2007 to 2013, I pursued post-doctoral work at McGill University studying mRNA translational control and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway, linking both viral immunity and oncology research.

My current research in Ottawa focuses on exploiting translation initiation factors and downstream effectors of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) to modulate innate immune responses to oncolytic viruses, and to augment the anti-proliferative efficacies of cancer therapeutics.

Related News

Research Projects

  1. Quercetin induces pannexin 1 expression via an alternative transcript with a translationally active 5′ leader in rhabdomyosarcoma


    We present here a correlation between the levels of 5′ UTRcontaining PANX1 transcripts and PANX1 protein in skeletal muscle and RMS. We show that quercetin increases PANX1 levels in RMS cells by enriching the binding of the transcription factor ETV4 to the PANX1 promoter, which induces the expression of an alternative PANX1 mRNA transcript variant containing a translationally competent 5′ leader. Moreover, we also demonstrate the tumor-suppressive effects of quercetin in RMS and the possibility for future clinical translation

  2. Near real-time determination of B. 1.1. 7 in proportion to total SARS-CoV-2 viral load in wastewater using an allele-specific primer extension PCR strategy


    Our study demonstrates that this strategy can provide public health units with an additional and much needed tool to rapidly triangulate VOC incidence/prevalence with high sensitivity and lineage specificity.

  3. Identification of pannexin 1-regulated genes, interactome, and pathways in rhabdomyosarcoma and its tumor inhibitory interaction with AHNAK.


    Using this unbiased genome-wide approach, our transcriptomic analysis identified the genes that are regulated in PANX1-expressing RMS cells together with the key cellular processes in which they may be involved.

  4. Catching a resurgence: Increase in SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA identified in wastewater 48 hours before COVID-19 clinical tests and 96 hours before hospitalizations


    Wastewater-based COVID-19 epidemiology programs have been initiated in many countries to provide public health agencies with a complementary disease tracking metric and non-discriminating surveillance tool.

  5. Quantitative analysis of SARS-CoV-2 RNA from wastewater solids in communities with low COVID-19 incidence and prevalence


    Can we find COVID-19 markers in the wastewater that will help predict outbreaks?