Lab Members

Graduate Students

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

Casey Platnich


I am from beautiful Calgary, AB (Go Flames!), where I completed my B.Sc. After graduating in 2015, I made the cross-country move to Montreal and am now a joint Ph.D. student between the Sleiman and Cosa groups. My projects focus on the synthesis and single-molecule characterization of DNA nanotubes. In my spare time, I love to play hockey, do yoga, and hike, and I love to cook.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Christophe Lachance-Brais


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.

Shayne Gracious


My name is Shayne Gracious and I am originally from London, the boring one in Ontario. I moved to Halifax to complete my undergraduate degree at Dalhousie University in 2014. After graduating I completed an internship at Tesla, working on battery research. I am currently co-supervised by Dr. Barrett and Dr. Sleiman as I complete my PhD at McGill. My research revolves around integrating light sensitive azobenzene molecules into complex DNA nanostructures. Outside of the lab I like playing soccer, music, and hiking.

Sean Laxton


Growing up in Vancouver, British Columbia, and now living in Montréal, I can unequivocally say that I am fortunate to have lived in two of the most beautiful cities in the world! I received my BSc from SFU, where I discovered my passion for materials chemistry and nanoscience. As a graduate student, my research involves printing DNA onto nanoparticles to generate highly specific and programmable assemblies. Living in Montréal has motivated me to improve my hockey skills, eat more poutine, and wait in line for quality bagels. I feel more Canadian than ever!

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.

Ghufran Rafique

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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!

Shaun Anderson


Hi, my name is Shaun and I was born and raised in Ottawa. I moved to Montreal for even more excitement and completed my Bachelor’s degree at McGill University. I joined the Sleiman Group in 2019 and my research focuses on DNA aptamers in the very exciting field of DNA nanotechnology. In my spare time I enjoy skiing, playing ultimate and hockey, as well as experiencing the many festivals Montreal has to offer

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.

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!

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.

Paty Islas García

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Although 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.

Son Bui

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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 Ph.D 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 !

Postdoctoral Fellows & Research Associates

Dr. Felix Rizzuto


Rapt by all things science and history, I completed a joint BSc(Hons I, Medal)/BA at the University of Sydney, Australia. I left the sunny shores of the southern hemisphere to undertake my PhD at the University of Cambridge with Jonathan Nitschke in 2014. Here, I designed discrete molecular architectures that could store small molecule payloads, ranging from natural products and steroids to metal complexes and interlocked machines. I joined the Sleiman lab in October 2018 as a Banting Postdoctoral Research Fellow, interfacing DNA nanotechnology with small molecule self-assembly to generate out-of-equilibrium supramolecular systems.

Dr. Violeta Toader

Research Associate with CSACS

Undergraduate Students

Amy Bantle


My name is Amy and I’m from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. In 2016, I moved to Montreal to begin my undergraduate studies in chemistry. I love learning new things, and I’m especially interested in research at the interface between chemistry and biology. In the Sleiman lab I am currently working on a method to upscale the production of DNA-templated products. In my spare time, I enjoy listening to music and exploring Montreal.

Daniel Krauss


I am currently and undergraduate student in biochemistry here at McGill. I was born in Montreal, and it’s where I’ve lived for my whole life. My scientific interests include nanotechnology, biotechnology, and chemistry. In the Sleiman lab I’m involved in biotechnological methods to make nano-structures in the department of chemistry! It goes without saying that I’m super happy to be here. Aside from science, I enjoy playing video games, and if I could, I would visit a new country every year.

Former Graduate Students

  1. 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.
  2. Donatien de Rochambeau, Ph.D., (2014-2019) “Expanding the Scope of Sequence-Defined Oligo(Phosphodiester)s: with Novel Building Blocks”; Current: Cegep Professor, Montreal, QC.
  3. Tuan Trinh, Ph.D., (2015-2019). “DNA nanostructures as platforms for chemical transformations”; Current: Scientist, Covar Pharmaceuticals, Mississauga, ON, Canada.
  4. 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.
  5. Danny Bousmail, Ph.D., (2013-2018). “Sequence-defined DNA Polymers: Applications in Drug Delivery and Supramolecular Assembly”; Current: Drug Formulation Scientist, Pharmascience, Montreal.
  6. Pongphak Chidchob, Ph.D., (2013-2018). “Hierarchical and synergistic assembly of amphiphilic DNA nanostructures”; Current: Postdoctoral fellow at Technische Universiteit Eindhoven
  7. 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.
  8. Katherine Bujold, Ph.D., NSERC PGSD (2011-2017), “Development of Optimized DNA Nanostructure Designs towards Biological Applications”; Current: Banting Postdoctoral Fellow, in Prof. Chad Mirkin ‘s group, Northwestern U.
  9. 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.
  10. 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
  11. 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: Postdoctoral Fellow at Stanford U. (with Prof. Tom Soh)
  12. 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.
  13. 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)
  14. Alan Blayney, M. Sc., (2010-2012), “DNA-Mimetic Conjugated Polymers”, co-supervised with Prof. D. Perepichka, Current position: medical student at SUNY.
  15. 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
  16. 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
  17. 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.
  18. 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)
  19. 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
  20. Peggy Lo, Ph.D. (2006-2010), postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University (with Prof. Hongkun Park); Current Position: Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong
  21. Hua Yang, Ph. D. (2003-2009) Current Position: Research Scientist, TRIUMF (Canada)
  22. Roxanne Kieltyka, Ph. D. (2003-2009), postdoctoral fellow at Eindhoven University, Netherlands with Prof. E. W. Meijer, Current Position: Assistant Professor, Leiden University, Netherlands
  23. 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),
  24. Kim Metera, Ph. D. (2002-present); postdoctoral fellow at U. Montreal with Prof. Julian Zhu, Current position: currently Research Associate, Physics Department, McGill
  25. Rachel Nassif, M. Sc. (2005-2008), Current position: Scientist at l’Oreal, Montreal, Canada.
  26. Yoshihiro Ishihara, M. Sc. (2005-2007, NSERC), Current position: Group Leader, Scripps Institute, San Diego (with Prof. Phil Baran).
  27. Debbie Mitra, Ph. D. (2001-2007, co-supervised M. Damha), Current: Scientist, USC Roski Eye Institute
  28. Alison Palmer, M.Sc. (2004-2006); Current position: Executive Director at CAREX Canada
  29. 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.
  30. F. Rakotondradany, Ph.D. (1998-2003, co-supervised MA Whitehead); Researcher, Imperial Oil
  31. Jake Dalphond, M. Sc. (2000-2002); Current: Research Scientist at Goodyear Chemical, Akron, Ohio.
  32. Michel Paradis, M. Sc. (1998-2000), Current Position: Research Scientist at Teva, Montreal.


Former Postdoctoral Fellows

  • 1. Johans Fakhoury (Research Associate, 2010-2018)

Current Position: Director of Strategic Planning and Operations for the Department of Biomedical Engineering, McGill University

  • 2. Empar Vengut Climent (2015-2017)

Current Position: @ScienceFlows group at University of Valencia

  • 3. Mohammed Askari (2015-2017)

Current Position: Research Assistant at Concordia University

  • 4. Amine Garci (January 2016-July 2017) (Swiss National Science Foundation)

Current Position: Postdoctoral fellow, Northwestern University with Prof. Fraser Stoddart

  • 5. 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.

  • 6. 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).

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

  • 9. Fiora Rosati (Sept. 2011-2013): “Metal-DNA Nanostructures” (Canadian Government Fellowship);

Current Position: Project Manager (Oncology Products) Menarini Ricerche Pharmaceuticals in Florence, Italy.

  • 10. Kevin Haenni (May 2010-2012): “Biologically enabled ROMP polymers” (postdoctoral fellow, Swiss National Foundation)

Current Position: Lecturer, Morges, Switzerland

  • 11. Andrzej Rys (2007-2010): Ruthenium bipyridine block copolymer micelles for biomolecule detection.
  • 12. Yongqiang Wen (2008-2009) Gold nanoparticle DNA assemblies

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

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

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

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

Current Position: Senior Scientist, General Electric, New York

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

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

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

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