“We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut
Current Roy Lab Members
Peter J. Roy
Derek M. van Pel
Graduate Student Alumni >
Undergraduate student, Roy Lab member since June, 2015
Diana received her B.Sc. from University of Western Ontario in 2015, and will be a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto.
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Diana is investigating how drugs are absorbed in C. elegans and is collaborating with two post-doctoral fellows in the lab on two related projects.
Undergraduate student, Roy Lab member since May, 2015
Lindsay received her B.Sc. from Queen's University in 2015, and will be a graduate student in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto.
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Lindsay has pioneered a new approach to identify the target of molecules that are bioactive in C. elegans, and has been amazingly productive over the summer of 2015. We expect big things from Lindsay!
Undergraduate student, Roy Lab member from September, 2012-August 2015
Luckshi received her B.Sc. from the University of Toronto in 2015, and will be off to UBC medical school in September of 2015.
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Luckshi has been one of our most productive undergraduate students. Over the course of three summers, Luckshi has made several very important contributions to our group. She completed screens for mutants that resist the lethal effects of wact-11, leading to the discovery of the wact-11 target being complex II of the electron transport chain and is a co-author on the resulting paper (PMID 26108372). She performed screens for genetic suppressors of the LAMMER kinase MADD-3 and isolated over 40 mutants. This, together with several key follow-up experiments, has led to fundamental insight into the role of MADD-3. She will be second author on the forthcoming paper on MADD-3.
Rotation Student, September-October 2014
Huan received her B.Sc. from Peking University (2014) where she worked towards better understanding PhoP’s role in Mycobacterium tuberculosis and its impact on the immune response. One of the driving forces behind Huan’s passion for science is the thrill that she gets from seeing her results for the first time. Huan was attracted to the Roy lab because of the elegance of C. elegans as a model system, its power to address difficult questions, and the Roy lab’s unique approach to the questions that they pose.
Career Ambition: To be an excellent scientist in either the public or private sector.
‘Fantasy’ Dream Job: World-class food critic
Serena D'Souza, Ph.D.
Roy lab Ph.D. student from January 2008 to March of 2015
Serena received her B.Sc. in Developmental Biology from the University of Toronto (2007). She joined the Roy lab to study cell migration using a unique model system in an organism that had a far more comprehensive genetic toolkit compared to her undergraduate thesis subject (a vertebrate that shall not be named).
Career Ambition: Industry
‘Fantasy’ Dream Job: CEO of Facebook
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Serena is putting the final touches on her thesis work that focuses on the LAMMER kinase MADD-3 and its role in guided membrane extension. She is a middle author on our MADD-2 and MADD-4 papers, both published in Developmental Cell (PMIDs: 20627078, 22014523).
Ph.D. student, Roy Lab member from January 2009 to November 2014
Ashwin received his B.Sc. from the Madurai Kamaraj University (India-2005) followed by an M.Sc. from McMaster University (2008) where he began investigating C. elegans development. He joined the Roy lab because of the lab’s unique approach to search for novel components required for guided cell migration and extension.
Career Ambition: Principal Investigator
‘Fantasy’ Dream Job: Astronaut
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Over the course of his Ph.D., Ashwin made several important contributions towards the characterization of key components required for guided migration, including MADD-2, MADD-4, EVA-1 and UNC-40. He is the first author that describes the novel MADD-4 guidance cue in Developmental Cell (PMID: 22014523), is co-first author on the EVA-1 co-receptor in PLoS Genetics (PMID: 25122090), and is a middle author on the UNC-40 adaptor protein MADD-2 that was published in Developmental Cell (PMID: 20627078).
Ph.D. student, Molecular Genetics, 2008-2014
Thesis title “Identification and Characterization of Novel Small Molecules using Caenorhabditis elegansi as a model system”
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Genna was an industrious small molecule screener while in the Roy lab and screened well over 50,000 different structures in different biological systems. She identified several molecules of interest, one of which we called Dafadine. Genna’s investigation of dafadine and its target resulted in her first author paper in Nature Chemial Biology (PMID: 22057127), and will be an author on several other molecules on which we continue to work.
Kevin Ka Ming Chan
Ph.D. student, Molecular Genetics, 2009-2014
M.Sc. student, Molecular Genetics, 2007-2009
Ph.D. Thesis title: “Investigations into UNC-40-Mediated Guidance of Cell Migrations and Cell Extensions”
M.Sc. Thesis title: “The Transmembrane Receptor UNC-40 Directs Muscle Arm Extension in Caenorhabditis elegans”.
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Kevin was/is a master bench scientist. He was the first to show that the UNC-40/DCC receptor plays a key role in directing muscle arm extension towards the nerve cord and was a co-first author on the resulting publication in Development (PMID: 19211675). He then demonstrated that EVA-1 functions as an UNC-40 co-receptor to mediate attraction towards the MADD-4 guidance cue, which was published in PLoS Genetics with Kevin as first author (PMID: 25122090). Kevin is also a middle author on a Developmental Biology paper (PMID: 18436204) that focuses on the role of the insulin-like pathway in guidance ’s role, as well as our MADD-2 paper in Developmental Cell (PMID: 20627078).
Ph.D. student, Molecular Genetics, 2006-2013
Thesis title: “Mapping Worm-Bioavailable Chemical Space for Improved Probe Discovery and Characterization with Caenorhabditis elegans”
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.
Current Occupation: Post-doctoral fellow in the Roy lab
Ph.D. student, Molecular Genetics, 2005-2011
Thesis title: “The Characterization of Nemadipine and Migrazole as Small Molecule Tools for Use in the Nematode Caenorhabditis elegans”
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Trevor was the first in the Roy lab to characterize a small molecule hit in any detail. We later named the hit nemadipine, which we showed to be a novel inhibitor of a voltage-gated calcium channel and a really useful tool for the field. We published this work, with Trevor as first author, in Nature (PMID: 16672971). Trevor had two co-first author follow-up papers to his nemadipine work, published in PLoS Genetics (PMID: 18464914) and the European Journal of Pharmacology (PMID: 19068212).
Current Occupation: Physician in training at UBC.
Ph.D. student, Molecular Genetics, 2005-2011
Thesis title: “MADD-2, a Homologue of the Opitz Syndrome Protein MID1, Regulates Guidance to the Midline through UNC-40 in Caenorhabditis elegans”
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Mariam pioneered the genetic screens for mutants that disrupt muscle arm extension, and ultimately lead to our current understanding of the genetic regulation of this guidance event. In the process, she was co-first author on the paper that included her characterization of the mutants that came from her screen that was published in Development (PMID: 19211675). Her crowning achievement, however, was the discovery of the novel netrin signaling component that we called MADD-2 that was published in Developmental Cell (PMID: 20627078) and on which Mariam is the first author.
Current Occupation: Medical Resident
Ph.D. student, Molecular Genetics, 2004-2009
Thesis title: “A Global Analysis of Synthetic Genetic Interactions & A Genetic Analysis of Muscle Arm Development in Caenorhabditis elegans”
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Alex took on our one and only attempt to systematically investigate genetic interactions akin to yeast synthetic genetic array analyses (SGA) on a global scale. In doing so, she demonstrated that it was unlikely that synthetic genetic interactions are by-and-large evolutionarily conserved; a conclusion that still holds up today. She is the first author on the Journal of Biology paper describing this work (PMID: 17897480). Alex also made important contributions to other projects in the lab, which resulted in middle authorship on papers that we published in Developmental Cell (PMID: 20627078) and Development (PMID: 19211675).
Current Occupation: Post-Doctoral fellow at Yale University.
Ph.D. student, Molecular Genetics, 2003-2006
Thesis title: “Muscle Arm Development in Caenorhabditis elegans”
Major Accomplishments in the Roy Lab: Scott was the Roy lab’s first student and was the first person ever to study the guidance of muscle arms in detail. His seminal work on the characterization of muscle arm extension resulted in a rare two author publication, simply called “Muscle Arm Development in Caenorhabditis elegans” in Development (PMID: 15930100). He followed up this work by investigating the role of FGF and insulin signaling in muscle arm development, resulting in first author publications in Development (PMID: 16495308) and Developmental Biology (PMID: 18436204). He also made important contributions to two other stories in the lab, published in Development (PMID: 19211675) and the Journal of Biology (PMID: 17897480).
Current Occupation: Assistant Professor, Stanford University
Lab Managers, Technicians and Research Associate Alumni >
Rachel Bagg (nee Puckrin), M.Sc.
Roy lab member 2007-2014
Guillermo Selman, Ph.D.
Roy lab member 2006-2012
Nicole Ricker, M.Sc.
Roy lab member 2004-2006
Roy lab member from August, 2014 to April, 2015
Victoria Wong, B.Sc.
Roy lab member 2004-2006
Raynah Fernandes, B.Sc.
Roy lab member 2003-2004
Zhibin Liu, M.Sc.
Roy lab member 2002-2003
Roy lab member since September 2013
Jenny Zhang, M.Sc.
Roy lab member 2012-2013
Undergrad Student Alumni >
* indicates that the student’s work contributed to a publication
Ryder Whittaker Hawkins
Roy lab undergrad student in 2014/2015
Ryder is currently completing his B. Sc. at the University of Toronto where he is a Biological Chemistry Specialist. Ryder writes, “When the opportunity came up to work with Peter, in the Donnelly Centre no less, I knew it was right for me. I knew that Peter was intense and focused and I wanted that kind of experience. I get to combine developmental genetics, biochemistry, enzymology and microscopy with worms! I think it's approaching my ideal research experience.” The subject of 4th year project work is to characterize the role of an extracellular matrix modifying enzyme in muscle arm development in C. elegans.
‘Fantasy’ Dream Job:A Wealthy stock broker.
Shanna Stanley-Hasnain: BCH375 project student 2014; summer student 2014
Daniel Li: summer student 2014
Zhao Yanyan: Tsinghua University summer student- 2013
Amit Tah: Guelph Co-op Student 2013
Robert Hunter: Guelph Co-op Student 2013
*Luckshika Rajendran: NEW390Y project student 2012-2013; summer student- 2013; HMB498 thesis student 2014; summer student 2014
Dorart Piro: summer student-2012; HMB395Y project student 2013-2014; summer student-2013; BCH473 thesis student 2013-2014
Adam Kramer: summer student 2012
*John Glavin: Guelph Co-op Student 2012; Guelph Co-op Student 2013
Jingtao Guo: PKU summer student 2012
Natasha Pascoe: HMB499Y project student 2011-2012; summer student 2011
Tam Le: summer student 2010; project student 2010-2011
*Joowan (James) Kim: summer student 2010; summer student 2011
Salwa Hasan: summer student 2010
Kevin Yau: summer student 2009; summer student 2010
Gayaanan Jeyanathan: BGYD03H3 project student 2009
Darren Gao: summer student 2009
*Louis Barbier: BCH473 project student 2008-2009; summer student 2008
*Eric Wong, UNI495 project student 2008-2009; UNI393Y project student 2007-2008; summer student 2008; summer student 2007
*Jasmine Ono: MGY480 project student 2007-2008; summer student 2008
Oisin Casey: summer student 2007
Ciaran Moloney: summer student 2007
*Teresa Lee: summer student 2006
Kelvin Law: MGY480 project student 2005-2006
Robert A. Rose: MGY480 project student 2005-2006
Thanashan Rajakulendran: HMB499Y project student 2004-2005
Zobia Jawed: summer student 2005
Mariam Alexander: MGY480 project student 2003-2004
Alexandra Byrne: year summer student 2003
Shu Ito: New College 3rd year project student 2003-2004