Current Members:

Graduate Students

DSC00430 crop

Nicole Avakyan


I was born in Uzbekistan (where chemistry synthesize you!), but have spent more than half of my life here in Montreal. My PhD research focuses on expanding the natural DNA base-pairing alphabet by introducing small molecules into the mix to reprogram the assembly outcome of unmodified DNA. Outside of lab time, I feed my creative wild side in pursuit of various musical, artistic and culinary projects.


Danny Bousmail


After finishing my undergraduate studies in Toronto, I decided to move to the city that hosted most of our long weekend road trips. I started my PhD in the Sleiman group with a research focus on anticancer drug delivery and biomedical applications of sequence-controlled polymer/DNA hybrids. Outside of work, I am a long-distance runner, soccer player, and I volunteer at several microbreweries on weekends. For more about my personal life, follow my Instagram account. For more about my research, follow my PubMed account – both free of charge. Generous donations are welcome, however!


Pongphak Chidchob


I'm from Thailand and I started my PhD here in September 2013. My research focuses on exploring the use of sequence-defined polymers in higher-order assembly of DNA nanostructures. These polymers can be synthesized to have different types of supramolecular interactions. By decorating individual nanostructures with specific polymers, the interactions other than DNA base pairing can be introduced to guide the assembly process. We hope this approach could be useful to expand functionality and dynamic behavior in the design of DNA higher-order structures.

me and dog

Michael Dore


After studying at McGill on exchange in 2013, I decided that it was the place I wanted to continue my studies. Thankfully, I was given this opportunity, and at the start of 2015 I moved from Brisbane in Australia to Montreal, where I joined Sleiman Group as a masters student. My research is in the broad field of DNA nanotechnology, more specifically in the design of DNA-polymer conjugate self-assembling micelles for the purposes of drug delivery. Other than chemistry, I’m interested in doing things outside, like walking around and taking photos.


Hassan Fakih


Hey! I am from that tiny spot on the map called Lebanon! Being a science fan, I did my Bachelors in chemistry at AUB, and worked on developing biosensors and temperature sensors with Dr. Pierre Karam. I joined The Sleiman Group in Fall 2016 to pursue a PhD centered on DNA nanotechnology. My work will be focusing on discovering and improving the structural integrity of DNA scaffolds in biological media, and building Drug delivery machines with increased specificity and sensitivity. Besides science, I enjoy sports (basketball!), music, and traveling.


John Hsu


Taiwanese Canadian. Runner. Doctor-wannabe Chemist. Spiritual Seeker. One of my dreams is to be able to buy that $300 ticket to watch a classical concert with my sister. I'm curious and adventurous. That is why I am exploring the nature through chemistry. As to how I'm going to manage all my interests when I become a physician-scientist, I have no idea. Everyone says I'm still young anyway, so why not try out more things!


Aurelie Lacroix


My name is Aurélie and I grew up close to Paris in France. After completing my MSc in Chemistry in Montpellier (France) and after a few internships and travels around Europe, Asia and Canada, I settled down in Montréal in September 2014. My research focuses on DNA nanostructures delivery inside cancer cells. Outside the lab, I love dancing (lindy hop!), tasting new delicious food, taking photos and travelling.


Xin Luo


Hi! My name is Xin Luo. I’m from Henan Province, China and I had my Bachelor’s degree at Beihang University (also known as Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics). After that, I joined Dr. Sleiman’s group at McGill University and started working on DNA nanostructures and DNA pattern transferring to nanomaterials. In my spare time, I like traveling, playing table tennis and badminton.



Casey Platnich


I am from beautiful Calgary, AB (Go Flames!), where I completed my B.Sc. and worked in the Nanomaterials Group under Prof. Simon Trudel. After graduating, I made the cross-country move to Montreal and am now a joint Ph.D. student between the Sleiman and Cosa groups. My project focuses on the synthesis and single molecule characterisation of DNA nanotubes. In my spare time, I love to play hockey, do yoga, and hike, and I love to cook.

Profile Photo

Alexander Prinzen


I am from London (Ontario) and went to the University of Western Ontario for my undergraduate in chemistry. In 2015 I joined the Sleiman group to pursue my PhD, with a focus on new polymers for DNA delivery into cells. In my free time I enjoy singing, swimming, and skiing.


Janane Rahbani


Hi, I'm from Lebanon where I finished my Masters degree in physical chemistry. I have been working in the Sleiman lab since 2012. During these past years, I had the opportunity to work on many DNA nanoarchitectures and come up with my own designs. In particular, I worked on producing DNA nanotubes with intrinsic dynamic behavior as well as tubes with hydrophobic pockets capable of encapsulating/releasing small molecules.

photo Donatien

Donatien de Rochambeau


Hi! My name is Donatien and I come from Toulouse, France. After a few years studying in the south of Paris, I stayed a few months with the Sleiman group and I loved the research and the city! So I started a PhD at McGill and I am now in my 3rd year, working on sequence-controlled polymers. My project basically consists in playing with organic chemistry tools to make phosphoramidites, use them in a DNA synthesizer to get sequence-controlled polymers and study their self-assembly.

Sonia Romero Perez


I have happily joined Sleiman's group for the summer, as part of a predoctoral research stay, while pursuing a PhD in Organic Chemistry in Madrid under the supervision of Dr. David Gonzalez. My research interests are focused on DNA-based nanomaterials and their potential application.

Daniel Saliba


Hello, I’m from Lebanon where I completed my Masters degree in Chemistry at the American University of Beirut. I joined the Sleiman group in September 2016 to pursue a PhD. My research will focus on building plasmonic systems by organizing gold/magnetic nanoparticles using DNA tiles and nanotubes as guiding templates.


Tuan Trinh


I was born in Hanoi, Vietnam – a small but beautiful Southeast Asia country. In 2014, I completed my B.Sc in Chemistry at KAIST, South Korea. Later that year, I decided to come to Montreal, Canada for my graduate studies where I joined Sleiman Group as a PhD student. In my free time, I enjoy outdoor activities, watching movies and walking around the city.

Postdoctoral Fellows and Research Associates


Mohammad Askari


I completed my PhD at Concordia in the field of inorganic chemistry and catalysis under the supervision of Prof. Xavier Ottenwaelder. I joined the Prof. Sleiman lab in the fall of 2015 working on DNA nanostructures containing transition metals.


Johans Fakhoury


I obtained my B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Ph.D. in Experimental Medicine. I subsequently worked briefly in industry then  I gravitated back to academia. I am currently overseeing biological studies being carried out in the Sleiman group with special focus to small molecule and nucleic acid delivery using DNA nanoparticles. I enjoy the occasional debate and I am an ardent soccer player and supporter.


Empar Vengut Climent


After growing up by the Mediterranean Sea, in Oliva, and performing my studies at the University of Valencia, I moved to the wonderful and lively city of Sevilla. There, I completed my PhD in Chemistry at the Institute of Chemical Research (CSIC-US), under Dr. Juan Carlos Morales supervision. Since I was tired of not having proper winters, I moved to Montreal to carry out a Postdoctoral Fellowship. At Sleiman’s group, I am trying to unravel the path of nanostructures inside the cell. Finally, but not less important, I’m a vivid person who likes practicing outdoor sports (I got addicted to Ultimate Frisbee here, and, yes, that’s a sport!) and enjoying new experiences.

Dr. Violeta Toader
Research Associate with CSACS

Undergraduate Students

Sanchit Gupta


Hi, my name is Sanchit and I am from Ottawa. I am an NSERC undergraduate summer student happily spending my time in the Sleiman Lab. My research focuses on designing and creating higher-order DNA nanostructures that can hopefully one day have biomedical applications. I play soccer for the McGill Redmen while also serving as an executive director for MealCare (check us out on Facebook)!


Former Graduate Students

  • 1. Katherine Bujold, Ph.D., NSERC PGSD (2011-2017), “Development of Optimized DNA Nanostructure Designs towards Biological Applications”; Current: postdoctoral fellow, in Prof. Chad Mirkin ‘s group, Northwestern U.
  • 2. 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.
  • 3. 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
  • 4. Amani Hariri, Ph. D. (2010-2016, Winkler awardee) “Advancing DNA nanotechnology using single molecule fluorescence methodologies’ (joint with Prof. Gonzalo Cosa) Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford U. (with Prof. Tom Soh)
  • 5. Justin Conway, Ph.D. (2009-2015) “Interfacing DNA Nanotechnology with Biological Systems: Increasing Stability, Bilayer Interactions, and Therapeutic Applications”, Current: Research Scientist IntelgenX, Montreal
  • 6. Thomas Edwardson, Ph. D. (2010-2015, CIHR DDTP fellowship, Winkler Award, MSED Award) “DNA Nanostructures as Templates for Hybrid Supramolecular Assemblies; Current: Postdoctoral researcher, ETH, Zurich, Switzerland (Prof. Don Hilvert)
  • 7. Alan Blayney, M. Sc., (2010-2012), “DNA-Mimetic Conjugated Polymers”, co-supervised with Prof. D. Perepichka, Current position: medical student at SUNY.
  • 8. 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
  • 9. 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
  • 10. 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.
  • 11. 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)
  • 12. 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
  • 13. Peggy Lo, Ph.D. (2006-2010), postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University (with Prof. Hongkun Park); Current Position: Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong
  • 14. Hua Yang, Ph. D. (2003-2009) Current Position: Research Scientist, TRIUMF (Canada)
  • 15. Roxanne Kieltyka, Ph. D. (2003-2009), postdoctoral fellow at Eindhoven University, Netherlands with Prof. E. W. Meijer, Current Position: Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Netherlands
  • 16. 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),
  • 17. Kim Metera, Ph. D. (2002-present); postdoctoral fellow at U. Montreal with Prof. Julian Zhu, Current position: currently Research Associate, Physics Department, McGill
  • 18. Rachel Nassif, M. Sc. (2005-2008), Current position: Scientist at l'Oreal, Montreal, Canada.
  • 19. Yoshihiro Ishihara, M. Sc. (2005-2007, NSERC), Current position: Group Leader, Scripps Institute, San Diego (with Prof. Phil Baran).
  • 20. Debbie Mitra, Ph. D. (2001-2007, co-supervised M. Damha), Current: Scientist, USC Roski Eye Institute
  • 21. Alison Palmer, M.Sc. (2004-2006); Current position: Executive Director at CAREX Canada
  • 22. 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.
  • 23. F. Rakotondradany, Ph.D. (1998-2003, cosupervised MA Whitehead); Researcher, Imperial Oil
  • 24. Jake Dalphond, M. Sc. (2000-2002); Current: Research Scientist at Goodyear Chemical, Akron, Ohio.
  • 25. Michel Paradis, M. Sc. (1998-2000), Current Position: Research Scientist at Teva, Montreal.

Former Postdoctoral Fellows

  • 1. Amine Garci (January 2016-July 2017) (Swiss National Science Foundation); currently postdoctoral fellow, Northwestern University with Prof. Fraser Stoddart
  • 2. Christopher Serpell (2011 –2014): “Interfacing DNA Nanostructures with Synthetic Polymers for Biological and Materials Applications” (Banting Postdoctoral Fellow)

Currently: Assistant Professor, University of Kent, UK.

  • 3. Ilton Daltro (2011 –2013): “DNA-Mimetic Polymers” (postdoctoral Fellowship, Brazil), currently group leader at the Max Planck Intitute für Kohlenforschung in Mulheim (with the team of Dr. Ferdi Schüth).
  • 4. Anita Leitgeb (2012-2013): “Interfacing DNA Nanostructures with Hydrophobic Polymers” (postdoctoral fellowship, Austrian Chemical Society), currently Research Scientist, Mayr Melnhof Karton GmbH, Austria
  • 5. Manoj Nayak (2009-2011) visiting joint postdoctoral fellow from Texas A&M University in Qatar (2 months/year); currently Assistant Professor and Senior Scientist at the CSIR-Chandigarh.
  • 6. Fiora Rosati (Sept. 2011-2013): “Metal-DNA Nanostructures” (Canadian Government Fellowship), currently business development manager, Primula Multimedia, Pisa, Italy.
  • 7. Kevin Haenni (May 2010-2012): “Biologically enabled ROMP polymers” (postdoctoral fellow, Swiss National Foundation) Current Position: Lecturer, Morges, Switzerland
  • 8. Andrzej Rys (2007-2010): Ruthenium bipyridine block copolymer micelles for biomolecule detection.
  • 9. Yongqiang Wen (2008-2009) Gold nanoparticle DNA assemblies

Current Position: Associate Professor, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing China

  • 10. N. Sankaran, Postdoctoral fellow (2006-2007):“ DNA Detection Using Luminescent Polymers”

Current Position: Senior Scientist, General Electric, Bangalore, India

  • 11. Bingzhi Chen, Postdoctoral Fellow (2003-2005): “Functional ROMP Polymers”

Current Position: Senior Scientist, General Electric, New York

  • 12. Nicolas Di Cesare, Postdoctoral Fellow (2002-2003) “Self-Assembly of DNA Nanostructures”

Current Position: Scientist, Research and Development Center, Cascades Inc., Quebec

  • 13. Ignacio Vargas-Baca, Postdoctoral Fellow (1998-2000): “Transition Metal-Linked Oligonucleotides”

Current Position: Associate Professor, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario