"None of us is as smart as all of us."

~ Ken Blanchard

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Current Roy Lab Members

Peter J. Roy
Principal Investigator

Roy lab member since October, 2002
Peter, who was born and raised a Maritimer, earned his B.Sc. from Dalhousie University (1993).  It was at the beginning of his Ph.D. at University of Toronto (1999) that Peter first learned of the power of C. elegans genetics and he has been exploiting it ever since.  From 1999 to 2002 Peter learned high-throughput genomic skills as a Beckman Post-Doctoral Fellow at Stanford University.  Since staring his lab, Peter and his group has made pioneering discoveries about how cells and cell-extensions are guided to their target destination during animal development.  He was also one of the first to exploit the nematode C. elegans as a high-throughput platform for the discovery of novel small molecule tools and potential drug-leads.  Peter received tenure in 2007 and became a Full Professor in 2012.      

Career Ambition:  To inspire his group to do good science, make impactful biological discoveries, and make significant contributions to the improvement of human health.

‘Fantasy’ Dream Job:  Manage the Blue Jays


Andrew Burns
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Roy lab member since November, 2004
Andrew earned his B.Sc. degree in Biochemistry from Queen’s University (2004), did some technical work, and then obtained his Ph.D. in Molecular Genetics from the University of Toronto (2013) in the Roy lab.  Since graduating, Andrew has continued his work as a post-doc in the Roy lab and is focused on understanding the mode-of-action of a new nematicidal molecule obtained from a chemical screen conducted in the lab.  This molecule shows great promise as a potential therapy to treat parasitic nematode infections of people and livestock.

Career Ambition:  Principle Investigator

‘Fantasy’ Dream Job:  Falconer

Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab:  Andrew’s Ph.D. work elucidated the types of chemical structures that are bioavailable to worms, allowing for the construction of worm-bioavailable chemical libraries for screening.  He has one first author publication in Nature Chemial Biology (PMID: 20512140) from this work, another first author publication in Nature Protocols (PMID: 17487175), and a middle author on one Nature (PMID: 16672971) and one Neuropharmacology  (PMID: 22652059) paper.  

Houtan Moshiri
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Roy lab member since November, 2013
Houtan received B.Sc. degrees from Azad University (Iran-2002), and Saint Mary’s University (Nova Scotia -2005).  At McGill University he obtained both his M.Sc. (Molecular Parasitology-2006) and his Ph.D. (Biochemistry-2013), where he developed small molecule tools to modulate the activity of the editosome. His inspiration for joining the Roy Lab was their “remarkable advances on the identification of novel drugs and their targets through high-throughput screening (HTS) of small molecules.”  Houtan is currently working towards the development of novel small molecules that might help rid the world of nematode parasites that infect over 2 billion people worldwide.  

Career Ambition:  Houtan aspires to become a Principal Investigator.  

‘Fantasy’ Dream Job:  To replace Yuri Sharapov as a star tennis coach.

Derek M. van Pel
Post-Doctoral Fellow

Roy lab member since May 2014
Derek did his B.Sc. and Ph.D. (UBC) in beautiful Vancouver, BC at Vancouver Island University (2006) and UBC (2012), respectively.  As a Ph.D. student, Derek studied chemical-genetic synthetic lethality.  He identified small molecules that selectively kill only those cells that have certain mutations and applied this idea to specifically kill cancer cells.  The ability to pursue a wide variety of biology as it relates to human disease was something that attracted Derek to the Roy lab.  Now, Derek is developing new models of neural degeneration and malfunction with the hope of identifying novel drug leads to treat related human diseases.  

Career Ambition:  Professor

Fantasy’ Dream Job: Professional Student

Sean Harrington
Ph.D. Student

Roy lab member since September 2014
Sean received his B.Sc. degree from the University of Guelph with a major in biochemistry (2014).  At Guelph Sean gained research experience with environmental and food biochemistry fields, but was always interested in pharmacological research and small molecule discovery.  The potential of C. elegans as a platform for small molecule discovery is what solidified Sean’s interest in the Roy lab.  Sean is currently searching for novel small molecule neuromodulators.

Career Ambition:  Principal Investigator  

‘Fantasy’ Dream Job: Own a free-range puppy ranch while playing for the Montreal Canadiens.


May Yeo
Lab Manager

Roy lab member since July, 2014
May earned her BSc (2012) and MSc (2014) from McMaster University.  Her first experience working with C. elegans was as a co-op student before she switched gears to study plant-pathogen interactions for her M.Sc. work.  May is a very talented scientist with exceptional organizational skills and the Roy lab is lucky to have her as their lab manager.

‘Fantasy’ Dream Job:  Writer of terrible misfortunes for a Chinese fortune cookie company

Muntasir Kamal
Research Student

Roy Lab member since September, 2014. 

Muntasir Kamal obtained his B.Sc. degree in Genetics and Biotechnology from the University of Toronto in 2010, and obtained an M.Sc. degree from York University in 2013 studying signal-responses to stress in C. elegans.  Muntasir is thrilled to be performing  high-throughput chemical genetic screens in the hopes of identifying novel bioactive structures and their targets.

Career Ambition: Accomplished Industrial Scientist 

‘Fantasy’ Dream Job:  Tending sheep in the Swiss Alps

Yan Jiang
Undergraduate student (Fourth Year University of Toronto Student, 2015/2016)

Roy Lab member since May, 2015

Yan will be doing her fourth year of her B.Sc. over 2015/2016 at the University of Toronto. We are very happy that she will be doing her MGY480 thesis project in the Roy Lab!

Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Yan is burning through genetics screens looking for mutants that resist many of our nematicides that may have potential as anthelmintics. She will continue to characterize her most exciting hits over the course of her fourth year thesis project.

Graduate Student Alumni >

Lab Managers, Technicians and Research Associate Alumni >

Undergrad Student Alumni >