Lynne Quarmby

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Lynne Quarmby
Lynne Quarmby, 2013 (cropped).jpg
Lynne Quarmby, in 2013
Personal details
Political partyGreen Party
ProfessionScientist, activist, politician.

Lynne Quarmby is a Canadian scientist, activist, and politician. She is a professor and Chair of the Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry[1] at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia. She was a candidate for the Green Party of Canada in Burnaby North—Seymour in the 2015 federal election,[2] and is the Green Party of Canada's Science Policy Critic.[3]

Research and education[edit]

Quarmby completed a BSc in Marine Biology and a MSc in Biological Oceanography at the University of British Columbia before moving to the University of Connecticut to complete her PhD in Biochemistry.[4] She worked as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Nobel laureate Alfred Gilman at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Austin, TX, then in the lab of Criss Hartzell at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where she also held her first faculty position.[5] She moved her lab to Simon Fraser University in 2000.

Quarmby's research has been aimed at understanding the signals and mechanisms of deflagellation, the process by which cells shed their cilia into the environment.[6] Cilia are found on most eukaryotic cells and on most cells in the human body, and defects in a cell's ability to form or maintain its cilia can cause diseases known as ciliopathies, that may include symptoms such as cystic kidney disease, blindness, and obesity.[7] Through her research using the single-celled ciliated green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii as a model organism, Quarmby identified members of the NIMA-related family of serine/threonine kinases that function in deflagellation[8][9] as well as in the assembly and maintenance of cilia.[10][11] Her group went on to show that NEK8 localizes to cilia,[12] and that mutations in NEK8 interfere with its ciliary localization[13] and cause a severe juvenile cystic kidney disease known as nephronophthisis,[14] underscoring the important link between cilia and cystic kidney disease.

Quarmby's work has been funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR), and the Kidney Foundation of Canada (KFoC).[15][16][17] In 2011 NSERC recognized Quarmby's research program by awarding her a Discovery Accelerator Supplement, a funding program reserved for researchers who show strong potential to become international leaders within their field.[18]

Quarmby is known for outstanding undergraduate teaching, and received a SFU Teaching Excellence Award in 2011.[19]

Quarmby was the co-recipient of the 2015 Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Quarmby lives in Burnaby, British Columbia. She is a painter, and her science-inspired art has been featured in the magazine The Scientist.[21] Her adult son, Jacob Sheehy, lives in Toronto Ontario, where he runs a company called PressureNET.[22]

Advocacy and politics[edit]

In May 2010, Quarmby wrote an op-ed in the Ottawa Citizen on gender equality in Canadian science and technology, after the Canada Excellence Research Chairs program did not select any women scientists for the nineteen awards it handed out.[23][24] This prompted the Vancouver Sun to name her one of 100 BC "Women of Influence" in 2010.[25] She has been an active member of the American Society for Cell Biology's Women in Cell Biology Committee throughout her career.[5]

Quarmby has maintained a blog called The Crux on which she has written on the process of science and the state of science funding in Canada, with guest posts on a variety of science and climate issues.[26] Her work has been featured on the literary blog Numero Cinq.[27]

More recently, Quarmby has been an advocate for action on climate change. In May 2012, she joined the group Voters Taking Action on Climate Change (VTACC)[28] in an anti-coal protest in which they blockaded a coal train carrying coal from Wyoming to Deltaport for export overseas.[29] Thirteen protesters, including Quarmby, were arrested for trespassing under the Railway Safety Act.[30] She was a featured speaker at the People's Climate March in Vancouver, BC.[31][32]

In November 2014, while Quarmby was involved in the protests of the Trans Mountain Oil Pipeline, she was arrested for civil contempt.[33][34] The charges were dismissed after it was discovered that she and other protestors had not actually crossed the line prohibited by the court because of a mix-up about GPS coordinates used in the relevant court order.[35]

In December 2014, Quarmby announced that she would be seeking the Green Party of Canada nomination in Burnaby North—Seymour for the upcoming federal election.[36] She was confirmed as the candidate in January 2015,[37][38][39] and placed fourth, with five percent of the vote.[40]

2015 Canadian federal election: Burnaby North—Seymour
Party Candidate Votes % ±% Expenditures
Liberal Terry Beech 18,938 36.09 +20.37 $112,731.67
New Democratic Carol Baird Ellan 15,537 29.61 -5.55 $151,963.09
Conservative Mike Little 14,612 27.84 -16.39 $74,815.44
Green Lynne Quarmby 2,765 5.27 +1.39 $104,104.37
Libertarian Chris Tylor 252 0.48
Independent Helen Hee Soon Chang 207 0.39 $1,011.85
Communist Brent Jantzen 126 0.24
Marxist–Leninist Brian Sproule 43 0.08
Total valid votes/Expense limit 52,480 100.00   $206,738.46
Total rejected ballots 260 0.49
Turnout 52,740 70.34
Eligible voters 74,982
Liberal gain from Conservative Swing +18.38
Source: Elections Canada[41][42][43]


  1. ^ "Welcome from our Chair — Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MBB) in the Faculty of Science at Simon Fraser University".
  2. ^ "Lynne Quarmby elected Green Party Candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour". Vancouver Observer. 14 January 2015. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  3. ^ "Elizabeth May Appoints Green Candidate Lynne Quarmby as Science Policy Critic". Green Party of Canada. 23 January 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2015.
  4. ^ "Lynne Quarmby". SFU Dept. of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Lynne Quarmby" (PDF). ASCB Newsletter. September 2006. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  6. ^ Quarmby, Lynne M. (2004). Cellular deflagellation. Int Rev Cytol. International Review of Cytology. 233. pp. 47–91. doi:10.1016/S0074-7696(04)33002-0. ISBN 9780123646378. PMID 15037362.
  7. ^ Krisch, Joshua A. (10 December 2014). "Why Scientists Are Blaming Cilia for Human Disease". Scientific American. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  8. ^ Finst, Rip J.; Kim, Peter J.; Quarmby, Lynne M. (1998). "Genetics of the deflagellation pathway in Chlamydomonas". Genetics. 149 (2): 927–936. PMC 1460167. PMID 9611203.
  9. ^ Mahjoub, Moe R.; Montpetit, Ben; Zhao, Lifan; Finst, Rip J.; Goh, Benjamin; Kim, Apollos C.; Quarmby, Lynne M. (2002). "The FA2 gene of Chlamydomonas encodes a NIMA family kinase with roles in cell cycle progression and microtubule severing during deflagellation". J Cell Sci. 115 (Pt 8): 1759–1768. PMID 11950892. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  10. ^ "Cellular tail length tells human disease tale". Science Daily. 31 October 2013. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  11. ^ Ardenne, M.; Reitnauer, P. G. (1975). "PubMed Search "Quarmby AND nima"". Arzneimittel-Forschung. 25 (9): 1369–79. PMID 22.
  12. ^ Mahjoub, Moe R.; Trapp, Melissa L.; Quarmby, Lynne M. (2005). "NIMA-related kinases defective in murine models of polycystic kidney diseases localize to primary cilia and centrosomes". J Am Soc Nephrol. 16 (12): 3485–3489. doi:10.1681/asn.2005080824. PMID 16267153. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  13. ^ Trapp, Melissa L.; Galtseva, Alevtina; Manning, Danielle K.; Beier, David R.; Rosenblum, Norman D.; Quarmby, Lynne M. (2008). "Defects in ciliary localization of Nek8 is associated with cystogenesis". Pediatr Nephrol. 23 (3): 377–387. doi:10.1007/s00467-007-0692-y. PMID 18189147.
  14. ^ Otto, Edgar A.; Trapp, Melissa L.; Schultheiss, Ulla T.; Helou, Juliana; Quarmby, Lynne M.; Hildebrandt, Friedhelm (2008). "NEK8 Mutations Affect Ciliary and Centrosomal Localization and May Cause Nephronophthisis". J Am Soc Nephrol. 19 (3): 587–592. doi:10.1681/ASN.2007040490. PMC 2391043. PMID 18199800. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  15. ^ NSERC-CRSNG. "2011 Research Grants Competition - Results by Institution". Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  16. ^ Canadian Research Information System Retrieved 26 February 2015. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  17. ^ "KFoC Supporting Research Excellence". Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Competition Results for the Discovery Accelerator Supplements Program 2011". NSERC-CRSNG. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  19. ^ Luckow, Diane (16 February 2012). "2011 Teaching Excellence Awards". SFU News. Retrieved 17 February 2015.
  20. ^ "The Nora and Ted Sterling Prize in Support of Controversy".
  21. ^ Bernstein, Rachel (4 April 2014). "Bridging Two Worlds". The Scientist. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  22. ^ CBC (25 January 2015). "How your smartphone could help predict the weather". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  23. ^ Quarmby, Lynne (8 June 2010). "Elite research needs more women". The Ottawa Citizen.
  24. ^ Steffenhagen, Janet (28 May 2010). "Exclusion of women from prestigious university appointments reignites battle of the sexes". The Vancouver Sun.
  25. ^ Quarmby, Lynne (29 October 2010). "Women of Influence: Science and Medicine". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  26. ^ Quarmby, Lynne. "Introducing The Crux". The Crux. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  27. ^ Quarmby, Lynne. "A Feeling for the Model Organism". Numero Cinq. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  28. ^
  29. ^ CBC News (5 May 2012). "Anti-coal protesters arrested in White Rock". Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
  30. ^ MacKinnon, J.B. (19 September 2012). "I Broke the Law to Defeat Climate Change". The Tyee. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  31. ^ Quarmby, Lynne (October 2014). "Ten things we can do to take action on Climate Change". Common Ground. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  32. ^ Quarmby, Lynne (19 September 2014). "March for the Climate". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved 26 February 2015.
  33. ^ Cole, Yolande (22 January 2015). "Lynne Quarmby launches Green campaign in Burnaby North-Seymour". The Georgia Straight.
  34. ^ Moreau, Jennifer (21 November 2014). "More arrests on Burnaby Mountain as Kinder Morgan moves in". Burnaby Now.
  35. ^ Keller, James and The Canadian Press (27 November 2014). "Civil contempt charges dropped against B.C. pipeline protesters". The Toronto Star.
  36. ^ Prystupa, Mychaylo (17 December 2014). "Kinder Morgan arrestee Lynne Quarmby to run for Greens in federal election". Vancouver Observer.
  37. ^ Vancouver Observer (14 January 2015). "Lynne Quarmby elected Green Party Candidate in Burnaby North-Seymour". Vancouver Observer.
  38. ^ Chow, Wanda (14 January 2015). "SFU's Quarmby to run for Greens in Burnaby North-Seymour". Burnaby News Leader.
  39. ^ Morton, Brian (19 January 2015). "SFU professor and activist acclaimed as Green candidate in Burnaby". Vancouver Sun.
  40. ^ "Burnaby North-Seymour: Tech CEO's win a surprise". 20 October 2015.
  41. ^ Elections Canada – Confirmed candidates for Burnaby North—Seymour, 30 September 2015
  42. ^ Official Voting Results - Burnaby North—Seymour
  43. ^ "Elections Canada – Preliminary Election Expenses Limits for Candidates". Archived from the original on August 15, 2015.