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, being outdoors and reading Scottish crime novels.


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.


Ramya Singh, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

ramya.singh [at]

Ramya received her PhD from the University of Calgary where she worked in Dr. Dave Hansen's lab. Her PhD thesis was focused on characterization of the Derlin protein, CUP-2, in promoting stem cell proliferation in the C. elegans germ line. She loves working with worms and hopes she will still be picking worms for many more years to come. Her postdoctoral research is focused on understanding how rachis bridges behave during germ cell mitosis.


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.


Joleen Santos

MSc Student

joleen.santos [at]

Joleen received her BSc in Biological Sciences from MacEwan University in 2018. During her undergraduate studies, she examined symbiodinium fluorescence as a proxy for coral health under the supervision of Dr. Ross Shaw. As a MSc student, she will research mitotic regulation in the germline stem cells of C. elegans. Outside the lab she enjoys collecting records and playing the guitar.


Elizabeth Cowper

Research Assistant

elizabeth.cowper [at]

Elizabeth is a McGill graduate, who received her BSc in Computer Science and Biology in 2020. Elizabeth joined the lab as an undergraduate and since graduating has continued in the lab as a research assistant, helping us to develop our embryo image analysis pipelines.


Ran Lu

MSc Student [at]

Ran comes from China and received his bachelor’s degree in Biology from University of Utah. He worked in research labs after graduation doing cancer related research. He did his project studying the role of a ribosomal S6 protein kinase (RSK) in cancer cell migration under the supervision of Dr. Michelle Mendoza. This is the project that developed his interest in imaging. As a MSc student, his research will focus on food availability and the regulation of mitotic entry in C. elegans. After work and study, Ran loves music, food, and video games. He also likes table tennis, ski, and traveling.

Undergraduate Researchers

Robert Kidd

BSc Honours in Microbiology & Immunology

Leah Mappalakayil

BSc Pharmacology

Sydnee Hall

BSc Biology

Lab Alumni

Lina Mougharbel

Postdoctoral Fellow

Fall 2018 - Winter 2020

Current position: RA Srour and Kitzler Labs, RI-MUHC

Yasmine Azzi

UG volunteer

Fall 2018 - Spring 2020

Current position: Honors research student Fixman Lab, MUHC

Yifan Zhao

UG and SURA recipient

Summer 2019 - Summer 2020

Current position: PhD student, Harvard-MIT Health Science and Technology Program