Ellis Lab group photo - October 2017

Our lab has been fortunate in attracting and retaining highly qualified individuals from around the world with diverse research backgrounds.

 

The success of our lab, in large part, can be attributed to the hard work of our past and present lab members!

Dr. James Ellis

Dr. James Ellis

Senior Scientist

Senior Scientist | SickKids Research Institute

Research Integrity Advisor | SickKids Research Institute

Professor | Department of Molecular Genetics


From:
Victoria in beautiful British Columbia

Previously: James completed his B.Sc. at McGill University in Montreal and his PhD at the University of Toronto with Dr. Alan Bernstein developing retrovirus vectors for gene targeting. His postdoctoral fellowship, studying the beta-globin locus control region, was mentored by Dr. Frank Grosveld in London UK.

Currently: He established his research team at SickKids in 1994 with a focus on blood gene therapy for sickle cell anaemia that evolved into research on retrovirus silencing and using iPS cells to model disease.

In addition: Always keen on wine tasting and mountain biking.

 

Current CV

Current Members

Peter Pasceri - Lab Manager

Peter Pasceri

Lab Manager

Lab Manager / Research Technician
1994-present


From:
Toronto

Previously: Peter Pasceri got his B.Sc. in Zoology from the University of Toronto.

Currently: He is the backbone of our lab and can usually be overheard complaining about how he hates to run.

In addition: Peter still finds time for cycling and making wine. He is also a master craftsman of gag gifts and homemade lab equipment.

Scientific contributions
Dr. Deivid Rodrigues - Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Deivid Rodrigues

Research Associate

Research Associate
2016-present

Postdoctoral Fellow
2012-2016


From:
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Previously: Deivid Rodrigues obtained his PhD in 2009 from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Throughout his scientific life, he has been interested in the intricate cellular mechanisms that regulate the metabolism of RNAs. During his PhD, he discovered new cis-acting heat-shock responsive elements in the HSP70 mRNA of the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. In 2009, he started to work with iPS cells establishing alternative and more efficient cell sources for iPS cell generation.

Currently: Deivid is studying the post-transcriptional mechanisms that modulate neurodevelopment. One of his areas of focus is to understand how the transcriptional modulator gene MECP2 is post-transcriptionally regulated during neuronal differentiation from ES/iPSC lines. Rodrigues is also interested in genomic scale studies to uncover common mechanisms that regulate the differential translation of proteins in neurons and pluripotent cells.

In addition:  As an appreciator of concert music, he takes advantage of his stay in Toronto to attend all the concerts of the Toronto and Ontario Symphony Orchestras.

Scientific contributions
Dr. Maria Sartori Rodrigues

Dr. Maria Sartori Rodrigues

Research Associate

Research Associate
2019-present

From: São Paulo, Brazil

Previously: Maria obtained her PhD in 2011 from Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands. During her PhD, she studied neural cell differentiation in zebrafish embryos. When she moved to Toronto, she first worked as a postdoc at U of T where she developed high-throughput genetic screens combined with phenotype-based selections to identify bioactive ubiquitin-based protein binders (ubiquitin variants) that affected key processes associated with malignant cell behaviour.0

Currently: Maria is investigating the proteome and ubiquitome profile of patient-derived cells during neurodevelopment and in Rett syndrome neurons.

In addition: Maria enjoys quiet long walks in the parks of Toronto and outdoor activities with her family and friends.

Marat Mufteev - Graduate Student

Marat Mufteev

Graduate Student

Graduate Student
2017-present

 

From: Ufa, Russia

Previously: Marat Mufteev completed his HB.Sc. and M.Sc. in Physics at the University of Toronto and is now a PhD candidate in QBMG program in the Molecular Genetics department.

Currently: Marat is striving to understand post-transcriptional mechanisms underlying neural development on a genome scale.

In addition: He is an enthusiastic fan of “combat-hugging” in pyjamas, as he proves a few times a week at judo practices.

Fraser McCready - Graduate Student

Fraser McCready

Graduate Student

Graduate Student
2017-present

 

From: Mississauga

Previously: Fraser McCready completed his undergraduate studies in Molecular Biology and Genetics at the University of Guelph. His undergraduate thesis investigated how RNA binding proteins and the process of asymmetric RNA localization contributes to cell fate decisions in the developing cortex.

Currently: Fraser is using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to investigate the molecular mechanisms of autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In particular, he is interested in how mutations in postsynaptic SHANK proteins can have genome-wide effects on translational regulation, and alter the connectivity and overall function of neural networks in ASD.

In addition: Fraser has an interest in amateur motorsports and enjoys repairing, modifying, and occasionally breaking old cars in his spare time.

Sara Gordillo Sampedro

Graduate Student

Graduate Student
2019-present

 

From: Barcelona, Spain

Previously: Sara Gordillo completed her B.Sc. in Biomedical Sciences at the University of Barcelona, and her RM.Sc. in Neuroscience at the University of Rotterdam (Netherlands). Her master thesis involved validating two protocols of differentiation to obtain glial cells from induced pluripotent stem cells.

Currently: Sara is using one of the protocols from her master thesis to differentiate human neural precursor cells from control and Rett Syndrome patients into astrocytes. Her goal is to study transcriptomic differences in Rett Syndrome astrocytes, and how these affect astrocyte’s ability to support neuronal networks.

In addition: Outside the lab, Sara enjoys exploring the Canadian wilderness, practicing yoga, and squeezing her cat too hard.

Gireesh Seesankar

Graduate Student

Graduate Student
2019-present

 

From: Brampton, Ontario

Previously: Gireesh obtained his Honours B.Sc in molecular biology and genetics at McMaster University. He was a co-op student and did his undergraduate thesis in investigating the use of cannabinoid compounds for the treatment of neuropathic pain using rat models.

Currently: Gireesh’s project focuses on using patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells to investigate how mutations in SHANK2 affect mGluR signaling in patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

In addition: In his spare time, Gireesh “enjoys” watching the Toronto Maple Leafs crush his hopes of them winning the Stanley Cup yearly. Thankfully, he has the Raptors for support.

Alina Piekna - Lab Technician

Alina Piekna

Lab Technician

Lab Technician
2010-present


From:
Poland/Mississauga

Previously: Alina Piekna obtained her B.Sc. (Honours) in biochemistry from the University of Guelph, and her Biotechnology Research diploma from Seneca College.

Currently: After generating various human induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cell lines, she moved her main focus toward characterization and differentiation of iPS cells into neurons.

In addition: If you are in need of immediate disposal of any sweets (especially European Swiss Chocolate), please feel free to leave them by Alina’s desk.

Wei Wei - Lab Technician

Wei Wei

Lab Technician

Lab Technician
2012-present


From:
Toronto

Previously: Wei Wei obtained her B.Sc. at McMaster University and M.Sc. at the University of Toronto. Her Master’s thesis involved the identification of cellular components that interact with the Shiga-like Toxin 1 A1 Chain in order to discover potential therapeutic targets that block SLT-1 action inside cells.

Currently: Her main goal in the Ellis lab is to assist the trainees in establishing a differentiation protocol for the neuronal production platform in order to conduct functional studies for various neurological disorders.

In addition: Outside of work, she enjoys expanding her social horizons and meeting new friends. She takes great pleasure in trying different types of food from various cultures.

Guoliang Meng - Lab Technician

Guoliang Meng

Lab Technician

Lab Technician
2017-present

 

From: China / Calgary, Alberta

Previously: Guoliang received his M.Sc and Ph.D. in Genetics and Cell Biology from Peking University, China. Since 1990, he began to work on developing and characterizing mouse ESC lines, RNA interference in different ES cell lines, and further expanded his work to include rabbit, bovine, porcine and human ES cell line derivations. He joined the Rancourt lab (the University of Calgary) in 2003 first as a postdoctoral fellow, then a research associate. His main research focused on derivation, characterization and differentiation PSCs; large-scale expansion of PSCs in stirred bioreactors; xeno-free culture and cryopreservation of hPSCs; CRISPR/Cas9 editing in hPSCs; cardiomyocyte differentiation from hPSCs; derivation/conversion of naïve hPSCs and much more.

Currently: He is working as a lab technician in the Ellis lab to maintain human patient iPSC lines and edit them with CRISPRs, as well as differentiate them into cardiomyocytes.

In addition: In his spare time, he enjoys collecting coins across the world and playing games with his little son.

Guoliang Meng - Lab Technician

Jiajie (Jane) Liu

Lab Technician

Lab Technician
2018-present

 

From: China/Toronto

Previously: Jane obtained her B.Sc. at Carleton University and M.Sc. at the University of Guelph. Her master thesis was focused on comparing plant-derived-omega 3 versus marine-based omega 3 on breast cancer development using HER-2 transgenic mouse model. By way of working in a variety of laboratory settings in university and Health Canada, Jane has gained hands-on experience in molecular biology/genetics and animal model based techniques.

Currently: Her main goal in the Ellis lab is to assist the trainees in maintaining iPS cell lines, adapting iPS cells through various differentiation protocols for the neuronal production and hepatocytes generation.

In addition: During her spare time, she likes cooking and meeting with new friends. On the basis of her nutrition background, Jane can tell you which nutrient is best for your meals.

Ellis Lab Alumni

Graduate Students

Technicians