Katie Ahlin (Volunteer)
Katie graduated from Queen's University in 2015 with a BSc in mathematics and biology and is currently attending Teacher's College at Queen's for the next year. If she is not busy with school work, you are most likely to find her somewhere outside either camping or climbing.
Josh Alpern (PhD Candidate - Chippindale Lab)
Josh received his BSc in genetics and MSc in evolutionary genetics from Western. During this time, he worked on Drosophila, a wonderful model genus with an extensive history of use in evo-devo studies. For his PhD, Josh is interested in evo-devo and evolutionary transcriptomics. He will be looking at the evolution of developmental timing and corresponding cis- and trans-regulation in Drosophila melanogaster. When he is not working, he is probably looking at fly sperm, because they are really cool! Occasionally there is time to watch a basketball game.
Tomas Babak (PI)
Tomas obtained his PhD in 2007 from the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, and then spent 5 years in the industry, including a postdoc at Rosetta Inpharmatics (Seattle, WA), Senior Research Scientist at Merck Research Labs (Boston, MA), and Head of Next-Gen Sequencing Methods Dev. Group also at Merck. During this time, he immersed himself developing new applications for high-throughput/next-gen sequencing, which has made an enormous impact on medical research. Prior to starting as an Assistant Professor, he then spent two years at Stanford working on questions within the newly emerging field of epigenomics. If he's not in his office, then he's probably out road cycling or struggling up a mountain.
CV: Academic , Industry
Paul Barber (Summer NSERC Thesis Student)
Paul is in third year biology with a drama minor at Queen's. Being incredibly interested in social innovation and discovering scientific techniques with strong societal impacts, Paul will be working on growing algae to help Albertan lakes this summer. Outside of school, Paul is passionate about volunteering, photography and martial arts.
Zhongshan Cheng (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Zhongshan (Sam) obtained his PhD in human genetics at the University of Hong Kong. His forte is using expression genetics to uncover how genome-wide association variants cause traits and disease. He's now using these skills to identify regulatory cancer drivers. When he's not at his computer he's out jogging or hiking in the mountains. You DO NOT want to challenge him to a game of ping pong.
Mike Davidson (Computational/IT Support)
In 2010, Mike took the Computer Programmer Analyst program at St. Lawrence College. During the summer of 2012 Mike worked at the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care as a System Tester where he worked on one of their big projects called Panorama. Mike graduated in the spring of 2013 with an advanced diploma in computer programming. Upon graduating, Mike took Computer Networking and Technical Support at St. Lawrence College, where he graduated with a diploma in the spring of 2015. In July of 2015, Mike joined Babak Lab where he is doing Computational/IT Support.
Wesley Dossett (Research Assistant)
Wesley is currently half way through completing his Bachelor of Applied Science in Mechanical Engineering. In the Babak lab, he is working on growing algae. For recreation, Wesley likes robotics, painting, and building sandcastles.
Crystal McCracken (Lab Manager)
Crystal has been working at Queen's University as a Technologist/Research Assistant/Lab Manager for the past decade. She joined the Babak Laboratory in July 2015. Crystal's educational background is in Biotechnology with a Bachelor of Science and Technologist Diploma. She has worked primarily in molecular biology labs and with many different types of tissue culture – primary, immortalized, embryonic (ESC) and induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC). In addition to managing the administrative aspects of the laboratory, Crystal will be validating potential disease-causing genetic variations using the CRISPR/Cas9 system to genetically modify specific cell lines. When Crystal is not at work, she can be found driving around her 3 energetic children to swimming, ballet, hockey, soccer…. The list is endless!
Almira Siew (Research Technologist)
Almira is a graduate of the Biotechnology Technologist program at St. Lawrence College with three years of working experience in research laboratories. She previously worked at the Royal Military College of Canada, where she observed the effect of endocrine disrupting chemicals in the environment on aquatic organisms using frogs (Silurana tropicalis) as model organisms. Almira has also worked at Queen's University, where she examined life history responses to environmental stressors and how they may affect the evolution of genotypes using water fleas (Daphnia) as model organisms. When Almira is not in the lab, she is in the kitchen or at a restaurant.
Danai Topouza (BSc. Thesis Student)
Danai is a third year biology and computer science student at Queen's. She is interested in computational biology and its applications, hoping to expand on that in her graduate studies. In her free time she enjoys reading, swimming, and movies with friends.
Mike Vermeulen (Volunteer)
Mike is currently completing the final year of his Bachelor of Science degree majoring in biology at Queen's. He plans to continue towards graduate studies in the field of genetics. In his spare time he enjoys coffee, playing and watching soccer, and reading.
Justin Wong (MSc Candidate)
In addition to taking courses at Queen's University, Justin has had the opportunity to conduct research at several institutions, including the Banting and Best Diabetes Centre, the University of Toronto, Queen's Genetically Engineered Machine Team, and the Hospital for Sick Children. His research interests focus primarily on understanding the biochemistry of human cells and how it relates to disease. In the Babak lab, Justin is researching the SNPs associated with microRNA binding sites as a potential mechanism for cancer. Between classes and lab work, you'll find Justin playing guitar, learning to fence, or out swing dancing with his friends.
Osbert Zalay (Research Associate)
Osbert is a resident physician in radiation oncology at the Kingston General Hospital and the Cancer Centre of Southeastern Ontario. He graduated with an MD from Queen's University in 2015, and prior to that, earned a PhD in biomedical engineering from the University of Toronto. He has multidisciplinary interests in translational oncology, image processing and machine learning as applied to biomedical research. Having recently joined the Babak lab, he is initiating work on elucidating driver mutations responsible for cancer metastasis and intends to become involved in immunotherapy research.
Yulei Zhao (Postdoctoral Fellow in X. Yang lab)
Yulei is working with us to establish global genetic interaction screening in human cells.