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Current Lab / Alumni

Current Lab

MEI ZHEN, PhD

CV | Profile

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR

Professor, University of Toronto
Department of Molecular Genetics
Department of Physiology
Department of Cell & Systems Biology

Senior Scientist
Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

Wesley Hung, PhD

Research Associate & Lab Manager

BSc, Simon Fraser University
PhD, University of British Columbia

Investigating the molecular mechanisms and neuronal circuit requirements for C. elegans locomotion

Ying Wang, MD

Senior Researcher & Lab Manager

1988, BSc
2000, MD, Dalian Medical University, China

Yan Li, PhD

Senior Researcher

2011, PhD, University of Saskatchewan
2011-2014 Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Connecticut

Dylan Fong, BSc

Programmer

2016, BSc, University of Toronto (Computer Science)

Ben Mulcahy, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow

2009, BSc
2013, PhD, University of Southampton, United Kingdom

Investigating circuit wiring, development, and neurophysiology

Tosif Ahamed, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow

2019, PhD, Biological Physics Theory Unit, Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, Japan

Leila Lesanpezeshki, PhD

Post-doctoral Fellow

2015, BSc, Chemical Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Iran
2020, PhD, Chemical Engineering, Texas Tech University

Jun Meng

PhD Candidate

2009, BAgrSc DVM, China Agricultural University
2014, MSc, Hangzhou Normal University, China

Investigating the molecular mechanisms for neuronal and circuit excitability

Hongruo Zhang

PhD Candidate

2018, BSc, Wuhan University

Mechanisms that regulate central pattern generators and neuronal excitability

Mona Wang

PhD Candidate

2018, BSc, University of Toronto

Investigating the influence of environment on neural circuits

Jayant Rai

PhD Candidate (Co-supervised with Dr. Kenichi Okamoto)

2018, HBSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Biology)

Investigating the spatiotemporal roles of cAMP in learning & memory

Neeraja Ramakrishnan

PhD Candidate

2017, BSc, University of Waterloo

Mechanisms of synaptic development

Jiacheng (Jackie) Chen

PhD Candidate

2020, BSc, Wuhan University

Investigating the mechanism of CLIFAHDD, a neurodevelopmental disorder, in mice model

Christine Rehaluk

MSc Candidate

2018, BSc, University of British Columbia

Gap junctions in the C. elegans connectome

Julian Moran

MSc Candidate

2017, BSc, University of Toronto

Imaging analysis pipeline design, mechanisms that regulate central pattern generators

William Li

MSc Candidate

2018, BSc, University of Toronto

Genetic methods to determine the functional and behavioural effects of neural connectivity

Shifei (Samuel) Wu

NSERC Summer Research Student, Work-study Student

BSc Candidate, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Identifying Insulin-Signalling Targets That Regulate Synapse Development

Linyan (Alice) Xu

UROP, Work-study Student

BSc Candidate, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Mohammad Haddadnia

UROP, Work-study Student

BSc Candidate, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Rory Gao

Work-study Student

BASc Candidate, University of Toronto (Engineering Science)

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Alumni

Randa Higazy

2020-2021, 4th Year Thesis Student

BSc Candidate, University of Toronto (Cell and Systems Biology)

Mengyao Lui

2020, Visiting PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate, Chinese Ministry of Education

Christina Wong

2018-2020, Undergraduate ROP, Work-study Student

Current: Undergraduate Student, Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto

Maggie Chang, BSc

2016-2020, Post-graduate Research Assistant, Undergraduate ROP, 4th-year Thesis

BSc, University of Toronto (Physiology)

Current: PhD Candidate, Biology, McGill University

Daniel Witvliet, PhD

2015-2020, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Current: Data Scientist, Coursera

Yangning Lu, PhD

2014-2020, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Physiology)

Current: Post-doctoral Fellow, Boyden Lab, McGovern Institute / Media Lab, HHMI, MIT

Yufang (Flora) Liu, BSc

2019, Undergraduate Work-study Student

BSc, University of Toronto (Computer Science)

Current: Software Engineer, Google

Raymond Zhang

2019, Undergraduate ROP, Summer Student

​Current: Undergraduate Student, BSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Mindy Kim, BSc

2019, Summer Research Student

Current: Research Assistant, Harvard University

Lili Chen

2019, Visiting PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, China (Gao Lab)

Neuromodulation of the C. elegans motor circuit

Anson Sathaseevan, BSc

2017-2019, Undergraduate ROP, 4th-year Thesis

BSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Current: MSc Candidate (Molecular Genetics), University of Toronto, Derry Lab

Claudia Arndt, BSc

2016-2019, Undergraduate ROP, 4th-year Thesis (co-supervised with the Park lab); Research Technician

BSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Establishing the C. elegans and Drosophila models for ALS-causative mutations

Current: MD program, Western University

Shangbang Gao, PhD

2016-2019, Visiting Professor
2008-2015, Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD, Chinese Academy of Science (Institute of Biophysics)

Neuronal excitability in C. elegans

Current: Professor, Huazhong University of Science and Technology (Gao Lab)

Danqian Cao, BSc

2018, Visiting Summer Intern, Department of Physics, Chinese University of Science and Technology, (Wen Lab)

Motif analyses for C. elegans connectomes

Current: PhD Candidate, King’s College London

Andreas Cuentas Condori

2018, Visiting PhD Candidate (Vanderbilt University, Miller Lab)

EM reconstruction of the GABAergic motor neurons

Tianqi Xu, PhD

2018, Visiting PhD Candidate

Current: Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Physics, Chinese University of Science and Technology (Wen Lab)

Katarina Pankova, PhD

2017-2018, Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD, Ludwig Maximilian University

Investigating neuronal circuits underlying locomotion in C. elegans

Quan Wen, PhD

2017, 2018 Visiting Professor

Professor, School of Life Sciences, University of Science and Technology of China (Wen Lab)

Soomin Maeng, BSc

2016-2018, Undergraduate ROP

BSc, University of Toronto (Physiology; Immunology; Computer Science)

Min Wu, MSc

2016-2018, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

C. elegans model for Johanson-Blizzard Syndrome

Current: Bioinformatician, Geneseeq Technology Inc.

Jerry (Zhitong) Wang, BSc

2015-2017, Summer student, 4th-year Thesis

BSc, McMaster University

Current: PhD Candidate, Caltech, Thomson Lab

Yan Li, PhD

2015-2017, Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD, University of Saskatchewan

The role of K2P channels in C. elegans

Current: Senior Researcher, Zhen lab

Wan Xian (Kate) Koh, BSc

2014-2017, Undergraduate ROP, 4th-year Thesis

BSc, University of Toronto (Physiology)

Current: MD program, University of British Columbia

Kevin Chan, BSc

2014-2017, Undergraduate Summer Student

BSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Current: MD program, University of Toronto

Vivek Venkatachalam, PhD

2017 Visiting Professor

Assistant Professor, Physics, Northeastern University (Venkatachalam Lab)

Frederick Heim, PhD

2017 Visiting Intern, University of Wurzburg, Germany

Albert Lin, PhD

2017, Visiting PhD Candidate

PhD, Harvard University (Samuel Lab)

Establishing a calcium imaging line for olfaction neurons​

Charline Roy

2017, Visiting PhD Candidate

PhD Candidate, NeuroMyoGene Institute (Bessereau Lab), Lyon, France

Cell-sorting of dissociated C. elegans neurons and muscles

Maria (Ria) Lim, PhD

2012-2016, Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD, University of Pennsylvania (Neuroscience)

Current: Scientist and Medical Writer

Sebastian Britz, PhD

2016, PhD Candidate

Imaging Core Facility, Theodor-Boveri Institute, Julius-
Maximilians University, Germany

C. elegans connectome and correlative microscopy

Asuka Guan, MSc

2012-2015, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Physiology)

The Anatomic Connectome and Functional Dissection of the Caenorhabditis elegans First-stage Larvae (L1) Motor Circuit

Current: Medical Writer, Sanofi

Jyothsna Devi Chitturi, PhD

2009-2015, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Institute of Medical Science)

How do ubiquitin ligases regulate synapse formation

Current: Postdoctoral Researcher, Rutgers New Jersey Medial School

Tetyana Pekar, MSc

2011-2013, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Physiology)

The role of GABAergic synapses in the adult Motor Circuit

Current: Tutor and Academic Editor

Valeriya Laskova, MSc

2010-2013, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Physiology)

Regulation of neuromuscular junction formation by guidepost neurons

Current: Design Assistant, Wall-Sections

Salvadore Alcaire, MSc, MD

2010-2013, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Institute of Medical Science)

Identification of signaling transducers and regulators of the NCA sodium leak channels

Current: Dentist, Toronto

Lin Xie, PhD

2007-2013, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Institute of Medical Science)

Identification of signaling transducers and regulators of NCA-1 channels

Current: Managing Partner, HEDA Ventures

Louis Wei-Chun Barbier, MSc

2009-2012, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Regulation of the C. elegans motor circuits

Current: Registered Psychotherapist, Toronto

Hang Li, MD

2008-2012, Technician

​Current: Okamoto lab, Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute

Calvin Mok, PhD

2006-2012, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Institute of Medical Science)

C. elegans as a model for Bardet-Biedl Syndrome

Current: Bioinformatician and Educator, University of Toronto

Nicholas Watkins, MSc

2008-2011, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

The role of insulin-signaling in the nervous system development

Current: Genetic Diagnostic Data Specialist, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto

John Calarco, PhD

2006-2011, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Understanding the role of alternative splicing in C.elegans nervous system development and function

Current: Assistant Professor, Department of Cell and Systems Biology, University of Toronto

Michelle Po, PhD

2005-2011, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Gap Junctions and Stomatins Dictate Directional Movement

Current: Senior Medical Writer, Highland Therapeutics

Taizo Kawano, PhD

2003-2011, Post-doctoral Fellow and Research Associate

PhD, Kobe University (Genetics)

Motor circuit dynamics in C. elegans

Current: Assistant Professor, International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine, University of Tsukuba

Magali Bouhours, PhD

2005-2010, Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD, University Paris VII (Neuroscience)

Electrophysiology analysis of C. elegans

Current: Bilingual Information Specialist, Health Nexus Santé

Sharon Ng, MSc

2006-2008, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

A putative nematode calcium channel, NCA-1, and its accessory component UNC-80 regulates synapse formation

Current: Research Scientist, GSK

Joanne Kim, MSc

2006-2008, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

Activity and pathways of SAD-1 kinase in neuronal cell polarity and synaptogenesis in C.elegans

Current: Senior Consultant, Ontario Ministry of Health

Kyota Aoyagi, PhD

2005-2007, Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD, Tokyo University (Neuroscience)

Role of SAD-1 kinase during synapse development

Current: Senior Associate Professor, Kyorin University School of Medicine (Japan)

Edward Liao, PhD

2001-2007, Graduate Student

PhD, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

The role of a SCF-like ubiquitin ligase complex in synapse formation

Current: Associate Director, Kite Pharma

Yu Lui, MSc

2004-2006, Graduate Student

MSc, University of Toronto (Physiology)

Identifying genes regulating SAD-1 localization

Current: Programmer, Toronto

Roman Chlupaty, PhD

2004-2006, Technician

​Current: Author, The Evolution of Money, Columbia University Press

Edward Yeh, PhD

1995-2001, Post-doctoral Fellow

PhD, University of Toronto (Molecular Genetics)

A genetic screen to identify molecular determinants for active zones

Current: Lab Technologist, Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario

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