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Abigail (Abby) Gerhold, PhD

Assistant Professor

abigail.gerhold [at]

Abby received a BA in English from Cornell University in 2002. She discovered her love of development and genetics as a research assistant studying maize leaf patterning in the lab of Dr. Sarah Hake (UC Berkeley). Genetics lead her to Drosophila and she carried out her PhD in the lab of Dr. Iswar Hariharan (UC Berkeley) investigating the genetic control of cell proliferation during imaginal disc regeneration. She then switched coasts, switched model organisms (again) and became a life-long devotee of microscopy, while carrying out her postdoctoral studies in the labs of Drs. Jean-Claude Labbé (Université de Montréal, IRIC) and Paul Maddox (UNC Chapel Hill). When not at the microscope, she enjoys lattes, spending time with her two occasionally delightful children, growing vegetables, climbing or reading a good book.


Mohamed Réda Zellag

PhD Student

Réda received a BSc in biological sciences from the Université de Montréal (UdeM) in 2018, while also completing research internships in the lab of Dr. Marc Drolet (UdeM) and of Dr. Jean-Claude Labbé (UdeM, IRIC), where he began to work on C. elegans. Between programming and microscopy, he is currently continuing his studies at the PhD level under the direction of Dr. Jean-Claude Labbé (UdeM, IRIC) and Dr. Abigail Gerhold (McGill). Reda is trying to identify the different technical factors that can affect the division of germline stem cells (GSCs) in C. elegans during live cell imaging. During his MSc, he wants to demystify the relationship between GSC mitotic spindle orientation and the maintenance of germline tissue organization. Fun fact - Réda has been passionate about fishing since he was 8 and has been manipulating worms for years, but never imagined that worms would follow him during his studies.

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Priscila Anhel Medrano Gonzalez

PhD Student

priscila.medranogonzalez [at]

Priscila is from Mexico and studied Biology at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). She has a Masters in Biological Sciences. Her thesis focused on the expression of early developmental claudins in cancer stem cells under the guidance of Dr. Erika Rendón. She rapidly became fascinated in developmental biology and how stem cells give rise to different cells through asymmetric division. As a Ph.D. student, she will study the contribution of PAR-1, Mad1 and Mad2 proteins to SAC strength during the early stages of development in C. elegans embryos. In her leisure time, she loves swimming, playing animal crossing and spending time with her pets.


Alison Kem-Seng

PhD Student

alison.kem-seng [at]

Alison comes from New Caledonia and received a MSc in the Biology of Reproduction from Paris Diderot University in France. She did her internship in Katja Wassmann's Lab (UPMC) and worked on SAC control and the CPC during mouse oocyte meiosis II. As she likes to travel and discover new things, she has decided to change cities and change models. As a PhD student, she will study how SAC strength differs between cells in the somatic and germline lineage in C. elegans embryos and how these differences are linked to PAR-mediated cytoplasmic asymmetries.


Eric Cheng

PhD Student

eric.cheng [at]

Eric received his BSc in Biology from Queen’s University in 2019. He was first introduced to C. elegans while doing his Honours research project under the supervision of Dr. Ian Chin-Sang (Queen’s University). His project involved studying a role for a kinesin-like protein, KLP-20, in microRNA regulation. His MSc research is focused on the insulin signaling pathway and whether it regulates mitosis in the germline stem cells of C. elegans. Eric will never say no to coffee, food, or a chat. He is a lifelong Toronto Maple Leafs fan, enjoys being active and loves to nerd out about space.


John Rojas Pino

PhD Student

john.rojaspino [at]

John received his BSc in Genetics and Biotechnology from the National University of San Marcos (UNMSM) in Peru where he characterized the Lateral Line System of the African Killifish, Notobranchius furzeri, as part of his thesis work. He then had a flurry of internships working on the epigenetics of neural crest development, the post-translational process of SUMOylation and its relation to cellular senescence, the regeneration of the spinal cord in the frog Xenopus laevis, and the development of a new gene editing system in Zebrafish. As a PhD student he wants to understand the diversification of protein components of the SAC and their effect on SAC fitness. In his free time, he enjoys reading books about literature and history, as well as going to underground concerts and, of course, spending time with his family.


Augusto Urena

MSc Student

augusto.urenapichardo [at]

Augusto was raised in the Dominican Republic and recently completed a BSc with Honours in Biology at Carleton University (2023). He did an internship under Dr. Kenneth Storey researching histone acetylation in the wood frog, and an undergraduate thesis with Dr. Roslyn Dakin exploring the flocking behaviour of migrant and resident finches. During his MSc project, he will examine the effect of external stressors resulting from unfavourable environmental conditions on the mitotic progression of germline stem cells in C. elegans. For fun, Augusto loves painting figurines, rewatching The Lord of the Rings, exploring nature, and reading.

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Imge Ozugergin, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

imge.ozugergin [at]

Imge received a BSc in Pharmacology at McGill (2013). She returned to the lab life in 2017 and joined the lab of Dr. Alisa Piekny (Concordia). There she received her MSc (2019) and PhD (2022) in Biology. Imge loves anything related to cell division, so during her graduate studies she characterized cytokinesis in the two-cell C. elegans embryo and explored how a chromatin-sensing pathway functions during cytokinesis in vivo. As a postdoc, she will research how the SAC is regulated by cell size and fate in the early C. elegans embryo. In her free time, she loves to rewatch TV shows, eat, cook, travel and socialize. She does not think a dessert can be too sweet and will wait extra to sit at the front of the rollercoaster.

Undergraduate Researchers

Lilian Hanna

Fall 2023 BIOL396 Independent Research Project

Lesly Nkindi

Fall 2023 Research Intern

Imani Tchana

2023-24 Lab Helper

Lab Alumni

Graduate students & Postdocs

Ran Lu


Winter 2021 - Summer 2023

Where to next? TBD

Joleen Santos


Fall 2019 - Summer 2021

Where to next? Medical writer, TANK Worldwide

Ramya Singh


Postdoctoral Fellow
Fall 2019 - Winter 2022

Where to next? TBD

Lina Mougharbel


Postdoctoral Fellow

Fall 2018 - Winter 2020

Where to next? RA Srour and Kitzler Labs, RI-MUHC


Adam Farhat

Summer 2023


BSc Biology

Nina Jeffrey

Fall 2022 - Winter 2023

BIOL396 (Fall 2022), Research Intern (Winter 2023)

BSc Anatomy & Cell Biology

Alex Poulin

Summer 2021 - Fall 2022

Casual Research Assistant, BIOL396 (Fall 2021), SURA (Summer 2022), BIOL466 (Fall 2022)

BSc Microbiology & Immunology

Yahan Zhang

Winter 2022 - Summer 2022

Research Intern, SURA (Summer 2022)

BSc Biology & Computer Science

Selen Calgin

Winter 2022


BSc Biology & Computer Science

Margaret Hiscock

Fall 2021


BSc Anatomy & Cell Biology

Julia Osborne

Summer 2021

Casual Research Assistant

BSc Biology

Sydnee Hall

Fall 2019 - Summer 2021

Research Intern, NSERC USRA (Summer 2020), BIOL377 (Fall 2020), Casual Research Assistant (Summer 2021)

BSc Biology

Elizabeth Cowper

Fall 2019 - Winter 2021

COMP401 (Fall 2019), Research Intern, Casual Research Assistant (Fall 2020-Winter 2021)

BSc Biology & Computer Science

Yifan Zhao

Summer 2019 - Summer 2020

SURA (Summer 2019), COMP402 (Fall 2019 - Winter 2020), Research Intern

BSc Honours Biology & Computer Science

Robert Kidd

Fall 2018 - Winter 2021

Research Intern, SURA (Summer 2019, Summer 2020), MIMM501/502 (Fall 2020-Winter 2021)

BSc Honours Microbiology & Immunology

Leah Mappalakayil

Fall 2018 - Winter 2021

Research Intern, Casual Research Assistant (Summer 2019)

BSc Pharmacology

Yasmine Azzi

Fall 2018 - Winter 2020

Research Intern

BSc Interdepartmental Honours in Immunology

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