Lisa Strug

Lisa Strug, PhD
Senior Scientist

Senior Scientist | SickKids Research Institute

Associate Director | The Centre for Applied Genomics

Associate Professor of Biostatistics | University of Toronto

Dr. Lisa Strug is a Senior Scientist in the Genetics and Genome Biology program at SickKids, an Associate Director of The Centre for Applied Genomics, and an Associate Professor of Biostatistics at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto.  Strug completed her graduate work in Biostatistics at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Toronto under the supervision of Drs. Charles Rohde and Paul Corey, contributing to a theory of statistical evidence. Strug joined SickKids after a postdoctoral fellowship with Dr. Susan Hodge and a faculty appointment in Statistical Genetics at Columbia University in the City of New York.  Strug’s research program focuses on the development of novel statistical approaches to identify genetic contributors to human disease.

Scientific contributions
Google Scholar

Current members


Jiafen Gong

Jiafen Gong, PhD
 Senior Biostatistician

Dr. Jiafen Gong earned a B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Computational Mathematics from Wuhan University in China. She then moved to the University of Alberta for her PhD in Applied Mathematics specializing in Mathematical Biology, followed by another M.Sc. in Biostatistics from the University of Toronto. Currently she is a Biostatistician and the Research Manager in the lab.

Scientific contributions
Naim Panjwani

Naim Panjwani, M.Sc.

Naim Panjwani completed his undergraduate degree in Biochemistry at the University of Waterloo, followed by an M.Sc. in Dr. Daniel Drucker’s lab at Mount Sinai Hospital conducting atherosclerosis research in the context of diabetes. Next, he completed another M.Sc. in Biostatistics where he discovered his passion for statistical genetics through a practicum placement in Dr. Lisa Strug’s lab studying the genetic epidemiology of cystic fibrosis. He now works as a biostatistician evaluating and understanding genetic associations in non-coding regions of the genome.

Scientific contributions
Bowei Xiao

Bowei Xiao, M.Sc.

Bowei Xiao completed his HB.Sc. in Mathematics and Statistics from University of Toronto in 2014, and received his M.Sc. in Biostatistics in 2015. His previous research experience focused on building Spatial Statistics models and implementing R packages for these models. Bowei joined the Strug lab as a Biostatisitical Analyst in 2015 focusing on identifying genetic modifiers for Meconium Ileus in cystic fibrosis, and on the genetics of neurodevelopmental disorders with our collaborators at SickKids and the University of Calgary.

Scientific contributions
Katherine Keenan

Katherine Keenan, HB.Sc.
Clinical Research Project Manager

Katie Keenan completed her HB.Sc. in Human Biology and Psychology at the University of Toronto. She began working at SickKids in her final year of studies and has since been involved in several different research projects. She currently functions as a project manager for international newborn screening and genetic modifier studies in cystic fibrosis.

Scientific contributions
Fan Lin

Fan Lin, M.Sc.
Research Technologist II

Fan Lin completed her Bachelor of Science and Master of Genetic Toxicology degrees in China. She has been working on the Cystic Fibrosis Gene Modifier Study for over 12 years. Lin has much expertise in preparing samples for high-throughput technologies, and contributes to genotyping and gene expression analyses for both our cystic fibrosis and epilepsy studies.

Scientific contributions

Scott Mastromatteo, M.Sc.

Scott Mastromatteo completed his M.Sc. in Applied Computing at the University of Toronto and his B.Sc. at the University of British Columbia in Computer Science and Molecular Biology. Scott is a data scientist with a particular infatuation for genetics. He has experience with all levels of the informatics pipeline from data storage to processing and analysis.

Scientific contributions
Zeynep Baskurt

Zeynep Baskurt, PhD
Research Associate

Dr. Zeynep Baskurt completed her B.Sc. in Statistics at the Middle East Technical University. She earned M.Sc. degrees in Industrial Engineering at Bosphorus University and in Statistics at the University of Toronto. She holds a PhD in Statistics from the University of Toronto. During her PhD studies, she contributed to new theories of statistical evidence.  She is currently a research associate, developing methods and software to integrate heterogeneous next generation sequence data.

Scientific contributions
Ted Chiang

Ted Chiang, M.Sc.

Ted Chiang has a background in Molecular Genetics and Bioinformatics. His interests are in applying computational approaches to medical genetics and genomics. He enjoys analyzing, managing, hacking and playing with next-generation big data and he contributes to troubleshooting and management of the computing architecture for the lab.

Scientific contributions

Postdoctoral Fellows

Mohsen Esmaeili, PhD

Post-doctoral fellow

Dr. Mohsen Esmaeili achieved his BSc in Microbiology from University of Isfahan, Iran. Next, he earned his MSc in Human Genetics from Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran. He then accomplished his PhD at Institute of Human Genetics, Jena University Hospital in Germany under the supervision of Dr. Aria Baniahmad, analyzing functional inhibition of androgen receptor. Mohsen joined Dr. Strug’s lab as a post-doctoral fellow to study how modifier genes contribute to cystic fibrosis disease.

Scientific contributions

Graduate Students

Sangook Kim

Sangook Kim, PhD Candidate

Sangook completed his B.Math and M.Sc. in Statistics from Carleton University and is currently a PhD candidate in Biostatistics at the University of Toronto. His current research focuses on the development of a new phenotype to assess and quantify lung disease severity in cystic fibrosis.

Lehang Zhong, M.Sc. Candidate

Lehang Zhong completed his HB.Sc in Statistics and is currently a M.Sc candidate in Biostatistics at the University of Toronto. He is interested in theories of statistical evidence, and his research project focuses on deriving and applying robust adjustments for log-linear models in the presence of extra-Poisson variability to RNA-seq data from patients with Cystic Fibrosis.

Fan (Crystal) Wang, PhD Candidate

Fan received her HB.Sc in Statistics from University of Toronto in 2015 and right now she is a PhD candidate in Department of Statistics at University of Toronto, co-supervised by Dr. Strug and Dr. Sun.

Yu-Chung (Jerry) Lin, PhD Student

Jerry completed his B.ASc in Electrical Engineering and M.Sc in Statistics at the University of Toronto before enrolling in PhD  program in Biostatistics at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health. He joined the lab as a Practicum student in Fall 2017. Under the supervision of Dr.Strug, he is currently building predictive models for Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (CFRD) and severity of CF Lung Disease using sequencing data from Canadian patients.

Gengming He

Gengming He, M.Sc.

Gengming He completed his first M.Sc. in Physics at McMaster University investigating the magnetic properties of ultra-thin metal films. He then pursued another M.Sc. in Biostatistics and joined the lab as a practicum student. He enjoyed his statistical genetics training in the Strug lab and he joined the lab as a Biostatistical Analyst and for his PhD studies, to study the role of gene modifiers in cystic fibrosis lung disease.

Scientific contributions

Current Stage Trainees

Lin Zhang
Lin ZhangPhD Candidate

Lin received her HB.A in Statistics and B.A in Economics from University of California, Berkeley in 2012, and received her M.A in Applied Statistics from University of California, Santa Barbara in 2015.  Lin is currently a PhD candidate in Statistics Department at University of Toronto, working with Dr. Lei Sun. Her current research focuses on robust association studies, multiple hypothesis testing and meta-analysis with applications in genetics and genomics in the presence of heterogeneity. Lin is also a trainee of the CIHR STAGE training program at University of Toronto with Dr. Strug in her STAGE committee.

Elizabeth Corfield, PhD
Elizabeth Corfield, PhDPost-doctoral Fellowship

Dr. Elizabeth Corfield received her B.S. in Genetics and B.S. (Honors) in Biochemistry from the University of Queensland in 2013 and her Ph.D. in Statistical Genetics from the Queensland University of Technology in 2017. Currently, Elizabeth is working as a research fellow at the Hospital for Sick Children for Dr. Russell Schachar and Dr. Jennifer Crosbie. Her current research focuses on characterizing the genetics of ADHD traits with cognitive deficits in clinical and population paediatric cohorts. Elizabeth is also a CIHR STAGE fellow in genetic epidemiology and statistical genetics receiving mentorship from Dr. Lisa Strug, Dr. Andrew Paterson, and Dr. Anne Bassett.

Yanyan Zhao, PhD
Yanyan Zhao, PhDPostdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Yanyan Zhao achieved her M.Sc. degree in Southwest Jiaotong University, supervised by Prof. Haitao Zheng. And she completed her PhD in Statistics from Nankai University under the supervision of Prof. Zhaojun Wang and Prof. Changliang Zou. She has accumulated experiences on rare variants association studies and on model specification test in massive data. Yanyan is currently a CIHR STAGE Postdoctoral fellow receiving mentorship from  Dr Lei Sun, Dr. Lisa Strug and Dr. Johanna Rommens. Her current research interest is in set-based association analyses based on summary statistics.

Summer Students

Please contact Dr. Strug at for any summer student queries.

    The Centre for Applied Genomics Statistical Genetics Team

    Liz Li

    Liz Li, PhD


    Nicole Roslin, M.Sc.
    Statistical Geneticist

    Jingjing Cao, M.Sc.
    Clinical Research Project Coordinator


    Gengming He
    Now pursuing his PhD studies in our lab

    Liz Li, Biostatistician
    Now works full time as Service Manager for TCAG at SickKids

    Andreea Cojocaru, Biostatistician

    Xin Li, Biostatistician

    Dong Su, Biostatistician

    Lizhen Xu, Statistical Geneticist (TCAG)
    Now working at Apotex

    Melissa Miller, PhD
    Now manager at Pfizer

    Zeynep Baskurt, PhD
    Now working as research associate in our lab

    Fouad Yousif, Practicum student

    Liz Li, PhD
    Now working as Service Manager for TCAG at SickKids

    Naim Panjwani, Practicum student
    Now working as Biostatistician in our lab

    Lauren Erdman, Practicum student
    Now pursuing graduate studies in Computer Science

    Gengming He, Practicum student
    Now pursuing his PhD in our lab

    Bowei Xiao, Practicum student
    Joined our lab as biostatistical analyst

    Gemini Lam,Practicum student

    David Soave, PhD
    Now faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University

    Yue Yin, Practicum student

    Liz Li
    Now working as Service Manager for TCAG at SickKids

    David Soave
    Now faculty at Wilfrid Laurier University

    Jessica Dennis

    Melissa Miller
    Now manager at Pfizer

    Yue Jiang

    Christie Burton
    Now Research Associate at SickKids

    Angelina Pesevski
    Summer 2015

    Benjamin Dekoven
    Summer 2017

    Adam Eisen
    Summer 2017