Lab Members

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Quentin Laurent, PhD

Hi! I’m Quentin, I come from Lyon, in France. I have studied between there and Switzerland, doing my MsC both in the École Normale Supérieure de Lyon the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne. From 2018 to 2022, I worked as a PhD student in the University of Geneva, studying supramolecular and dynamic-covalent approaches to cellular uptake, before joining the Sleiman lab as a postdoctoral fellow. Outside of the lab, I like cooking, hiking, skiing and board games.

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Daniel Saliba, PhD​

Hello, I’m from Lebanon, where I completed my bachelor’s degree in chemistry at the Lebanese University and my master’s degree in chemistry at the American University of Beirut. I joined the From 2016 to 2022, I pursued my PhD in the Sleiman group, focusing on employing minimalist strategies for large DNA nanostructure assemblies. By the end of 2022, I had joined Galenvs Sciences as a MITACS postdoctoral researcher in partnership with the Sleiman group. My current research focuses on developing chemically modified probes for robust molecular diagnostics.
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Christophe Lachnace-Brais, PhD

My name is Christophe Lachance-Brais and I love molecules! I get to play with them all day working on DNA hydrogels and small-molecule/DNA supramolecular assemblies. I come from right here, Montréal, a beautiful city of festivals and potholes. I like to ski, climb, and canoe in this beautiful country. Proud owner of a lizard, a snake and a slime mold! christophe.lachance-brais@mail.mcgill.ca

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Dr. Violeta Toader

Research Associate with CSACS

Graduate Students​

Jathavan Asohan

Hi, my name is Jath. I come from Toronto, Ontario but did my undergrad at McMaster University. I joined the Sleiman lab in 2018. My project focuses on DNA drug delivery and testing of DNA nanostructures in biological systems. Outside of the lab I love music, movies, and travelling.

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Ghufran Rafique

I hail from Karachi, Pakistan, and am the Sleiman Lab’s resident chai connoisseur. After completing a Bachelor of Science in chemical engineering at Texas A&M in 2017, I joined the Sleiman Lab (co-supervised by Dr. Perepichka) in 2019. My research focuses on sequence-controlled synthesis of conjugated polymers and the self-assembly of DNA-polymer conjugates. In my spare time, I like to work in the lab. because I am a conscientious graduate student!

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Fangzhou Zhao

My name is Fangzhou Zhao and I got my Bachelor degree in Wuhan University. After my internship in Edmonton during my undergraduate, I decided to go back to Canada to continue my PhD study. I like photography, travel, basketball and scuba diving outside the lab.

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Sepideh Kaviani

Hi! My name is Sepideh and I am from Iran. I had my Bachelor in chemistry at Sharif University of Technology. After that, I joined the Sleiman group for my PhD, and my project will be focused on DNA assemblies and their biological applications. In my free time, I love watching movies, hanging out with my friends and going for a walk!
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Tyler Brown

Hello! I hail from a small town named Lantzville in British Columbia, near which I finished my BSc at the University of Victoria. I joined the Sleiman group in 2019, and my research focuses on the extracellular application of DNA nanotechnology. When not in the lab I enjoy board games, scrapbooking, and cooking new dishes for my friends.

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Paty Islas García

lthough I was born in Los Angeles, I grew up in Chihuahua (yes, like the dog breed), México. I moved to Mexico City to get my B.Sc. in Chemistry; after graduating, I joined the Sleiman and Cosa groups in 2020 for my Ph.D. studies focusing on DNA-based nanotubes, single-molecule characterization and their applications in biosensing. I love cooking, baking, oil painting, playing videogames and travelling.
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Son Bui

Hi, my name is Son and I’m from Hanoi, the lovely capital of Vietnam. I got my B.Sc. at Nagoya University, Japan and after my graduation, I join Sleiman and Mckeague groups as a joint M.Sc. student in 2020. My research will be the de novo enzyme development from the sequence-defined modified aptamer libraries. In my free time, I enjoy reading books and watching football (the European one). I am also fond of hiking and cycling !

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Abdelrahman Elmanzalawy

Hello! My name is Abdelrahman and I am from the Mediterranean city of Egypt, Alexandria. I moved to Montreal to do my BSc in Biochemistry at Concordia University. After getting attracted to the beautiful city, I decided to stay and start my PhD studies at McGill University. My work in the Sleiman Group focuses on the design of modified aptamer libraries for biosensing applications. Outside of the lab, I like to walk outdoors, watch sports, and cook.
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Sinan Faiad

Hey! My name is Sinan and I moved to Montreal in the Fall of 2021 to pursue a Ph.D. in the Sleiman group which focuses its work on DNA Nanotechnology. I am originally from Lebanon where I completed my Bachelor of Science in Chemistry at the American University of Beirut. The scope of my research involves using DNA-based nano systems for selective therapeutic delivery in an amplified manner.
Trisha

Trishalina Das

Hi, I am Trisha. I was born and brought up in Guwahati, India. I did my integrated Bachelor’s and Master’s in Chemical Sciences from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, India. After completing my master’s, I joined the Sleiman Lab in January’22 for my PhD. My research will focus on designing DNA nanostructures and testing them in biological systems. In my free time, you will mostly find me binging a TV series, reading or sleeping!
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Jessica Bennett

Hi there! My name is Jessica and I am from Montreal, I love this city and adore spending my free time exploring as much of it as I can! I joined the Sleiman lab in September 2022 and really like the way we look at DNA as a supramolecular polymer; I think this perspective is so cool because it helps bridge biology and chemistry together. My research focuses on merging the small molecule world with DNA to create interesting assemblies.
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Yihao Wu

Hello! My name is Yihao. I am from China. I finished my undergraduate study at the University of Toronto. I joined Sleiman’s group for my Ph.D. study on September 2022. My research focus is to improve gene silencing and drug delivery by combining DNA nanostructures and sequence-controlled polymers. I’d like to play badminton and table tennis with my friends during my free time.
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Ziyi Sun

Hi! I’m Ziyi, from a beautiful city in Shandong, China. I have a diverse educational background in both chemistry and biomolecular engineering, experiencing different academic systems spanning mainland China, Hong Kong (SAR), and Canada. I am excited to join Sleiman’s research group in 2023, and look forward to exploring the potential of DNA nanotubes in biological applications. Beyond the world of academia, I love music, movies, and outdoor pursuits.

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Sally Yao

Hi! I am Sally. I joined the Sleiman lab in May 2022 as an undergraduate and decided to continue my graduate research after I graduated! I’m from Taiwan but grew up in Shanghai. My research involves using supramolecular assembly between small molecules and nucleic acid strands to induce nuclease resistance. In my spare time, I like to try new things, new foods, especially spicy food. Also, I enjoy playing board games. But when I am in the lab, I run gels. A big user of acrylamide.

Visiting Students​

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Shiyuan Liu

My name is Shiyuan Liu. I’m from Henan Province China and went to Hunan University for my undergraduate in Chemistry. In 2017, I joined Kemin Group to persue my PhD. Now I am a visiting student in Sleiman group. In my spare time, I enjoy reading and watching movies.
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Beatrice Lucia Bona

Hello! I’m Beatrice, I come from Milan, Italy, where in 2020 I obtained the master’s degree in biomedical engineering at “PoIitecnico di Milano”. I am now enrolled in the last year of my PhD, being part of the SupraBioNanoLab at “Politecnico di Milano”. My research focuses on the development of fluorinated nano-systems for controlled drug release in the diseased heart. Here at the Sleiman lab as a visiting student, I am instead focusing on the development of highly fluorinated oligonucleotides therapeutics.

Undergraduate Students​

Howard

Haochen Bai

Hi! My name is Howard Bai, and I am from Liaoning, China. In 2019 I moved to Montreal to start my undergraduate study in McGill, and now I am a third-year biochemistry student! I joined the Sleiman lab in fall 2021, and I am currently interested in drug delivery and self-assembly of fibrous nano-vehicle using DNA-polymer conjugates. In my spare time, I enjoy skiing, photography and cooking various food :p I also play ping-pong and badminton sometimes. Even walking around with my friends and enjoying the beauty of Montreal would also satisfy me!
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Mia Pascall

Hi! My name is Mia and I’m a fourth-year undergrad from Burlington, Ontario. I joined the Sleiman lab in Fall ‘22 to complete my Honours project, which will combine both computational and experimental techniques to explore the morphologies of various DNA-polymer assemblies. Outside of chemistry, I love reading, dancing, and music!

Former Graduate Students​

  1. Hassan Fakih, Ph.D., (2016-2022) “Biomedical Applications of Nucleic Acid-based Nanoparticles: Gene Regulation and Biosensing”; Current:  Postdoctoral fellow at the RNA Therapeutics Institute, Khvorova Lab, UMass, USA.
  2. Alexander Prinzen, Ph.D., (2015-2022) “Oligonucleotide Conjugates in DNA Nanotechnology: Applications in Drug Delivery and Gene Silencing”; Current: Scientist at Atalanta Therapeutics, Boston, USA.
  3. Xin Luo, Ph.D., (2015-2022) “Bottom-up construction of complex metal nanoparticle structures with DNA as a chaperone”; Current: Postdoctoral fellow, MacFarlane Lab, MIT, USA.
  4. Shaun Anderson, MSc., (2019-2022) “Non-nucleosidic Modifications in the Selection of Thrombin-binding Aptamers”
  5. Shayne Gracious, MSc., (2019-2022) “Study of Azobenzene Derivatives in Water & their Application in DNA”; Current: Cell Materials Engineer, Tesla, Dartmouth, Canada.
  6. Casey Platnich, Ph.D., (2015-2021) “Single-molecule fluorescence methods for DNA nanostructure assembly and actuation”; Current: Herchel Smith Postdoctoral fellow, Keyser group, Cambridge, UK.
  7. Michael Dore, Ph.D., (2015-2021) “Self-assembly of sequence-defined DNA-polymers: hierarchy and compartmentalisation”; Current: Postdoctoral fellow in Stupp Lab, Northwestern University, Chicago, USA.
  8. Aurelie Lacroix, Ph.D., (2014-2019) “DNA Structures at the Interface with Biology: Study and Optimization of Their Outcomes in Physiological Conditions”; Current: Marie Curie Fellow at Sixfold Bioscience, London, U.K.
  9. Donatien de Rochambeau, Ph.D., (2014-2019) “Expanding the Scope of Sequence-Defined Oligo(Phosphodiester)s: with Novel Building Blocks”; Current: Cegep Professor, College de Brebeuf, Montreal, QC.
  10. Tuan Trinh, Ph.D., (2015-2019). “DNA nanostructures as platforms for chemical transformations”; Current: Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford U. (with Prof. Tom Soh)
  11. Nicole Avakyan, Ph.D., (2011-2018). “Reprogramming and manipulating DNA assembly using simple self-assembly principles”; Current: Postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Akif Tezcan’s lab at the University of California San Diego.
  12. Danny Bousmail, Ph.D., (2013-2018). “Sequence-defined DNA Polymers: Applications in Drug Delivery and Supramolecular Assembly”; Current: Drug Formulation Scientist, Pharmascience, Montreal.
  13. Pongphak Chidchob, Ph.D., (2013-2018). “Hierarchical and synergistic assembly of amphiphilic DNA nanostructures”; Current: Postdoctoral fellow at Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
  14. Janane Rahbani, Ph.D., (2012-2017, NSERC Bionanomachines) “Towards the assembly of higher-order DNA nanostructures: DNA nanotube dynamics and railroad tracks for DNA ‘super-origami’”; Current: postdoctoral fellow in Prof. Lawrence Kazak’s lab, McGill University.
  15. Katherine Bujold, Ph.D., NSERC PGSD (2011-2017), “Development of Optimized DNA Nanostructure Designs towards Biological Applications”; Current: Assistant Professor of Chemistry, McMaster University; Formerly: Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, in Prof. Chad Mirkin ‘s group, Northwestern U.
  16. Kai Lin Lau, Ph.D. (2010-2017) “Minimalist Strategies for Structural DNA Nanotechnology”, Current: postdoctoral position in Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, with Prof. Nam Joon Cho.
  17. Alex Rousina-Webb, M.Sc., (2014-2016, NSERC CREATE fellowship) “Design and Optimization of Transition Metal Functionalized DNA Double Crossover Molecules”; currently: Research Scientist, Xerox Research Centre, ON, Canada
  18. Amani Hariri, Ph. D. (2010-2016, CIHR DDTP fellowship Winkler awardee) “Advancing DNA nanotechnology using single molecule fluorescence methodologies’ (joint with Prof. Gonzalo Cosa) Currently: Assistant Professor at U. British Columbia, Formerly: Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford U. (with Prof. Tom Soh)
  19. Justin Conway, Ph.D. (2009-2015) “Interfacing DNA Nanotechnology with Biological Systems: Increasing Stability, Bilayer Interactions, and Therapeutic Applications”, Current: Lead Scientist at HEXO Corp. Carignan, Quebec.
  20. Thomas Edwardson, Ph. D. (2010-2015, CIHR DDTP fellowship, Winkler Award, MSED Award) “DNA Nanostructures as Templates for Hybrid Supramolecular Assemblies; Current: Research Associate, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland (Prof. Don Hilvert)
  21. Alan Blayney, M. Sc., (2010-2012), “DNA-Mimetic Conjugated Polymers”, co-supervised with Prof. D. Perepichka, Current position: medical student at SUNY.
  22. Graham Hamblin, Ph.D. (2008-2014 Vanier scholar, NSERC PGSD, Tomlinson fellow; Ambridge and Winkler awardee): “Practical designs for DNA nanostructures: balancing minimal design and structural complexity”. NSERC postdoc, Caltech (with D. Tirrell) Current Position: Principal Scientist, Grifols USA
  23. Katherine Castor, Ph.D. (2008-2014, CIHR) “Design and Synthesis of G-Quadruplex Binders”. Current Position: Staff Chemist at California Department of Toxic Substances Control; Previous Position: Analytical Biochemist, Huntington Medical Research Institute, Pasadena, California
  24. Andrea Greshner, Ph. D. (2008-2014, FRQNT): “Effect of Synthetic Molecules on DNA Assembly”, Current Position: FQRNT postdoctoral fellow at INRS Varennes with Prof. M. A. Gauthier.
  25. Karina Carneiro, Ph.D. candidate (2006-2013): “DNA Block Copolymer Conjugates”; NSERC Postdoc at U. California, San Francisco (group of Prof. S. Habelitz), Current: Assistant Professor at U. Toronto (Dentistry)
  26. Christopher McLaughlin, Ph.D. (2006-2012, CIHR); NSERC postdoctoral fellow in the group of Prof. Molly Shoichet at U. Toronto. Current Position: Research Scientist, Moderna Therapeutics, Boston
  27. Peggy Lo, Ph.D. (2006-2010), postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University (with Prof. Hongkun Park); Current Position: Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong
  28. Hua Yang, Ph. D. (2003-2009) Current Position: Research Scientist, TRIUMF (Canada)
  29. Roxanne Kieltyka, Ph. D. (2003-2009), postdoctoral fellow at Eindhoven University, Netherlands with Prof. E. W. Meijer, Current Position: Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Netherlands
  30. Faisal Aldaye, Ph. D. (2002-2008, Winkler, Ambridge, IUPAC, MSED awards), NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard Medical School (with Prof. Pamela Silver). Medical School (U. Sydney),
  31. Kim Metera, Ph. D. (2002-present); postdoctoral fellow at U. Montreal with Prof. Julian Zhu, Current position: currently Research Associate, Physics Department, McGill
  32. Rachel Nassif, M. Sc. (2005-2008), Current position: Scientist at l’Oreal, Montreal, Canada.
  33. Yoshihiro Ishihara, M. Sc. (2005-2007, NSERC), Current position: Group Leader, Scripps Institute, San Diego (with Prof. Phil Baran).
  34. Debbie Mitra, Ph. D. (2001-2007, co-supervised M. Damha), Current: Scientist, USC Roski Eye Institute
  35. Alison Palmer, M.Sc. (2004-2006); Current position: Executive Director at CAREX Canada
  36. Hassan Bazzi, Ph.D. (1998-2003, Winkler, Ambridge, MSED Awards) NSERC postdoc at U. Montreal (F. Winnik); Current Position: Professor and Associate Dean, Texas A&M University, Qatar.
  37. F. Rakotondradany, Ph.D. (1998-2003, co-supervised MA Whitehead); Researcher, Imperial Oil
  38. Jake Dalphond, M. Sc. (2000-2002); Current: Research Scientist at Goodyear Chemical, Akron, Ohio.
  39. Michel Paradis, M. Sc. (1998-2000), Current Position: Research Scientist at Teva, Montreal.

Former Postdoctoral Fellows​

1. Felix Rizzuto (Banting Postdoctoral fellow, 2018-2021) – Current Position: ARC DECRA Fellow at UNSW, Sidney, Australia.

2. Johans Fakhoury (Research Associate, 2010-2018) – Current Position: Director of Strategic Planning and Operations for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, McGill University

3. Empar Vengut Climent (2015-2017) – Current Position: @ScienceFlows group at University of Valencia

4. Mohammed Askari (2015-2017) – Current Position: Research Assistant at Concordia University

5. Amine Garci (January 2016-July 2017) (Swiss National Science Foundation) – Current Position: Postdoctoral fellow, Northwestern University with Prof. Fraser Stoddart

6. Christopher Serpell (2011 –2014): “Interfacing DNA Nanostructures with Synthetic Polymers for Biological and Materials Applications” (Banting Postdoctoral Fellow); – Current Position: Assistant Professor, University of Kent, UK.

7. Ilton Daltro (2011 –2013): “DNA-Mimetic Polymers” (postdoctoral Fellowship, Brazil); – Current Position: Group leader at the Max Planck Intitute für Kohlenforschung in Mulheim (with the team of Dr. Ferdi Schüth).

8. Anita Leitgeb (2012-2013): “Interfacing DNA Nanostructures with Hydrophobic Polymers” (Postdoctoral Fellowship, Austrian Chemical Society); – Current Position: Research Scientist, Mayr Melnhof Karton GmbH, Austria

9. Manoj Nayak (2009-2011) visiting joint postdoctoral fellow from Texas A&M University in Qatar (2 months/year); – Current Position: Assistant Professor and Senior Scientist at the CSIR-Chandigarh.

10. Fiora Rosati (Sept. 2011-2013): “Metal-DNA Nanostructures” (Canadian Government Fellowship); – Current Position: Project Manager (Oncology Products) Menarini Ricerche Pharmaceuticals in Florence, Italy.

11. Kevin Haenni (May 2010-2012): “Biologically enabled ROMP polymers” (postdoctoral fellow, Swiss National Foundation) – Current Position: Lecturer, Morges, Switzerland

12. Andrzej Rys (2007-2010): Ruthenium bipyridine block copolymer micelles for biomolecule detection.

13. Yongqiang Wen (2008-2009) Gold nanoparticle DNA assemblies – Current Position: Associate Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing China

14. N. Sankaran, Postdoctoral fellow (2006-2007):“ DNA Detection Using Luminescent Polymers” – Current Position: Senior Scientist, General Electric, Bangalore, India

15. Bingzhi Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow (2003-2005): “Functional ROMP Polymers” – Current Position: Senior Scientist, General Electric, New York

16. Nicolas Di Cesare, Postdoctoral Fellow (2002-2003) “Self-Assembly of DNA Nanostructures” – Current Position: Scientist, Research and Development Center, Cascades Inc., Quebec

17. Ignacio Vargas-Baca, Postdoctoral Fellow (1998-2000): “Transition Metal-Linked Oligonucleotides” – Current Position: Associate Professor, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario