JABADO LAB PAST MEMBERS
Carol Chen, PhD
Carol is from Vancouver, where she completed her undergraduate at University of British Columbia (UBC) and fell in love with epigenetics. Working briefly as a data curator for a protein interaction database, she envied those at the bench and decided to pursue a Ph.D in the Department of Medical Genetics at UBC. A self-taught bioinformatican, she utilized both wet- and dry-lab approaches to uncover the role of histone phosphorylation in her Ph.D. work. Carol was a member of the Jabado lab from February, 2018 to January 2023, where she was involved in several highly successful projects. In April 2023 she is starting an independent researcher position at the Terry Fox Laboratory (BC Cancer Research) in Vancouver. Outside of the lab, she loves to cook, run, craft, and settle Catan.
Dennise was a co-op student from the University of British Columbia from May to December 2022. She assisted Carol, Pariya, and Gaya in their respective projects as well as undertaking her own project with the use of CRISPR-Cas9 to study changes in epigenetic marks of gliomas. Outside of the lab, Dennise spent her time exploring the city with her friends, watching movies, and reading books in the park.
Liam joined the Jabado lab in May 2022 for an 8-month co-op after finishing his 3rd year of a combined honours program in Biochemistry and Chemistry at UBC. Previously, he worked in a yeast lab at UBC that studied the epigenetics of diseases such as Rett syndrome. During his co-op, Liam assisted Wajih Jawhar with exciting projects on oncohistones and oncohistone mimics in different disease contexts, which includes functional characterization in new transgenic mouse models. He also took lead on characterizing PDGFRA extracellular domain mutants, their interactome, glycosylation and subcellular trafficking. In his free time, he loves to exercise, hang out with friends and jam to live music.
Brian Krug, PhD
Brian was a PhD candidate in the Dr. Jabado Lab from 2015 to 2022. His interest is in the role of epigenomic remodelling in cancer biology and effects of histone mutations on tumourigenesis, which he investigated using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to model mutations and genetic dependencies in stem cell differentiation and tumour-derived cells. He continues to collaborate with the Jabado lab through his new position as a postdoc in the Chao Lu lab at Columbia University, New York. Outside the lab he enjoys Nordic skiing, hiking and IPA.
Maud Hulswit, MSc
Maud was first introduced to the lab when she did an internship rotation in the spring of 2019 for her MSc Oncology at the Free University of Amsterdam. With a background in Neuroscience and Oncology and a specific interest in epigenetics she decided to pursue her PhD here starting September 2020. Maud’s work focused on trying to identify cell of origin in paediatric tumours bearing histone mutations. Outside of the lab, Maud loves to have coffee or a beer with her friends, read a book or watch movies.
Shakour Mohammadnia, MSc, PhD
Abdulshakour Mohammadnia (Shakour) earned his BSc and MSc in general biology and cell and molecular biology from 2008 to 2015 in Iran. He is experienced and interested in applying network biology in the fields of stem cell and cancer biology. His PhD project focused on the generation of cell models for H3.3, H3.1, and ACVR1 mutations using ZFNs and CRISPR technologies to study the development and behavior of pediatric brain tumors. Generation of these cells provided significant details about molecular aspects of these mutations that lead to the pediatric brain tumors, which could help researchers to propose better treatment strategies. Shakour is interested in reading, biking, and swimming.
Andrea Bajic, BSc, PhD
Andrea completed her BSc in Biological Sciences at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, where her enthusiasm for research was first sparked. She completed her PhD in the Jabado lab, in the Department of Human Genetics. The focus of Andrea’s PhD thesis was initially to elucidate the role of DNMT3B variant 6 in embryonal tumour formation and early brain development, but she was involved in several other projects, including the discovery of oncogenic drivers of giant cell lesions of the jaw and the role of EZHIP in PFA ependymoma. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys reading, traveling, exploring Montreal, and staying active.
Sima Khazaei, MSc, PhD
Sima is from Iran. After obtaining a BSc in Biology from the University of Isfahan, she deepened her knowledge of cell and molecular biology through an MSc at Shiraz University. She Joined the Jabado lab to pursue a PhD in Human Genetics at McGill University (2014-2020). During her PhD she focused on in vivo and in vitro modeling and functional characterization of histone H3.3-G34 mutations in development & cancer. After graduating, she temprarily transitioned to the position of research associate to decipher reasons of the differential effects of G34 mutations on the epigenome, transcriptome, and developmental phenotypes.
Michèle Zeinieh, MSc, PhD
Michele obtained a Master’s degree in Biology from the American University of Beirut, where her work consisted of determining the effect of neonatal hypoxia-induced seizures on gap junction intercellular communication in the brain. She then pursued a PhD in neuroscience at McGill University and obtained her degree in November 2014. During her PhD, Michele worked on the role of neurotrophin receptors in glioma invasion. She joined the Jabado lab as a postdoctoral fellow in April 2015 and stayed on as a research associate until April 2021. Her work focused on studying the role of K27M histone mutation in gliomagenesis and the screening of epigenetic probes for the treatment of pediatric glioma.
Ashot Harutyunyan, MD, PhD
Ashot studied medicine in Armenia and afterwards completed his doctoral studies in Vienna, Austria, at the Research Center for Molecular Medicine (CeMM), working on genetics of myeloproliferative neoplasms. He worked in the Jabado lab as a postdoctoral fellow until November 2018 and then as research associate. Ashot’s work in the lab was focused on the characterization of epigenomic changes in pediatric glioblastoma. Utilizing modern genome editing techniques and high throughput sequencing technologies, he tried to understand how the driver mutations in glioblastoma change epigenomic landscape in tumor cells and lead to the development of cancer.
Outside of work, Ashot likes to read science fiction, and is a fan of watching and playing various sports (soccer, basketball, tennis, etc.). He is also a competitive bridge player.
Shriya Deshmukh, BSc, PhD
Shriya is a student in the MD-PhD program at McGill who completed the PhD component of her program in our lab. She completed her Honours BSc in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. Her projects were focused on studying oncohistone and histone-methyltransferase mutations affecting Histone 3 Lysine 36 methylation, and their role in the development of associated cancers (pediatric glioblastoma, giant cell tumour of bone) and overgrowth syndromes (Sotos). Outside of the lab, Shriya enjoys playing badminton, dancing Bharatanatyam (Indian classical dance) and re-reading Wodehouse novels.
Djihad Hadjadj, PhD
Djihad joined the Jabado lab in April 2019 as a postdoc. He completed his PhD at the University of Paris where he worked on the role and the regulation of DNA replication in various types of cancer. In the lab he worked on deciphering the epigenome signatures of pediatric high-grade gliomas. Outside the lab, Djihad enjoys science fiction books and sports like running and football.
Nicolas De Jay, PhD
Nicolas was born and raised in Montreal. After completing a BSc in Bioinformatics at the Université de Montréal, he enrolled first as an MSc then as a PhD candidate in the program of Human Genetics under the joint supervision of Drs. Nada Jabado and Claudia L. Kleinman, graduating in November 2020. Nicolas’ research projects consisted in elucidating the transcriptome-epigenome interplay in paediatric brain tumourigenesis by means of computational methods (i.e., NGS pipeline development, integrative analyses). His hobbies outside of academia include reading, programming, writing, playing the guitar, songwriting and sound engineering.
Leonie Mikael, MSc, PhD
Leonie was a Research Associate and Biobank Manager in the Jabado lab from 2014 to 2020. She has a background in immunology and a fellowship in genetics. While pursuing her PhD, she figured out the science behind spinning records working as a musical producer in FM radio. On any given day, you could find her close to a source of music working at her bench or desk, humming tunes to the likes of Radiohead and Pink Floyd. Working with little children is her lifelong passion and volunteering on pediatric wards for 20 years has earned her the name Baby Whisperer. In September 2020 she moved to Ohio to work as a Project Manager for Clinical Trials.
Elias Jabbour, MSc
Elias was in the Jabado lab from September 2018 to August 2020 as an M.Sc. student in Experimental Medicine at McGill. After having completed his Bachelor of Science in General Biology at the American University of Beirut and Boston University, Elias decided to delve deeper into the bio-medical research world before pursuing a career in Medicine. His project was focused on understanding the role of PRC1 complexes in the context of histone-mutated glioblastomas. Outside of the lab, Elias spends his time reading, exploring Canada and volunteering.
Véronique Lisi, PhD
A native Montrealer, Véronique joined the lab in 2018 after a post doc in Santa Barbara, California. Trained as a computer scientist and a molecular biologist she enjoys using the possibility brought forth by technological advances to uncover new biology. Her research interests are RNA-centered and span its function, modification and expression and how those are affected in human diseases. Since May 2020, she is working as a bioinformatician at the Sainte Justine Hospital.
Amira Ouanouki, MSc, PhD
Amira was a research assistant in the Jabado lab from September 2017 to May 2020. She completed her PhD at University of Quebec at Montreal where she worked on cancer prevention and treatment. In the Jabado lab, she worked on the Terry Fox PROFYLE project (PRecision Oncology For Young PeopLE) team. Outside the lab, Amira enjoys reading, shopping and cooking.
Kateryna Rossokhata, MSc
Katya was a Master's student in the Jabado Lab from 2017 to 2019. She completed a BSc in Biochemistry in June 2017, during which she did two years of undergraduate research in the Jabado lab. The aim of her project was to understand the role of 3D chromatin architecture in the nucleus in K27M mutant tumors. Outside of the lab, she loves to read, draw and enjoy her most favorite activity - dancing.
Bethany was a Co-op student from McMaster University where she was completing her Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Biology. She worked in the Jabado lab in 2019, assisting Sima and Michele with their respective projects while learning and developing many biological and biochemical techniques. Outside of the lab she enjoys spending time with friends and family, exploring the city and being in nature.
Yuhsin was a co-op student from the University of British Columbia where she studied Microbiology and Immunology. She worked in the lab in 2019, assisting Shakour and Andrea with their projects while learning how to perform various laboratory techniques. In her spare time, she loves swimming, sketching and enjoys exploring museums.
Josiane Alves França, MSc
Josiane was an internship student in the Jabado Lab from December 2018 to October 2019. She is a PhD student in Molecular Medicine at Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), Brazil, focusing in the molecular biology and pathology field. She completed her Master's degree in the same area at UFMG in 2016 and her BSc in Biomedicine at FUMEC, Brazil.
Tiffany was a Co-op student from University of British Columbia where she is completing her Bachelor's Degree in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She assisted Melissa and Michele with their experiments, such as Western Blots, qPCR and drug assays. Outside the lab, she loves traveling, but she also loves to stay at home and watch movies. Most importantly, she is a foodie. =)
Tianna was a Co-op placement student from the University of British Columbia, where she is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. Under the supervision of Carol and Sima she assisted with various projects, developing her understanding of techniques in molecular biology and genetics. When not in the lab, she enjoys reading, listening to music and traveling.
Brice Poreau, MD
Graduated from the military academy of Saint-Cyr (France), Brice Poreau then moved to medicine and science. He obtained his MD (medical genetics) in 2014 and completed his PhD in cell biology in 2017 on the role of huntingtin in muscle. He obtained a fellowship at Jabado's lab on multiple applications of single cell RNA sequencing.
He is also the co-founder of an NGO - Moyen Chari - working in Africa. He enjoys theater, jazz and flying.
Melissa McConechy, PhD
Melissa was a postdoctoral fellow in the Jabado lab from September 2015 to August 2018. She completed her Ph.D. in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of British Columbia, where she identified subtype- specific mutations of endometrial and ovarian cancers. She was also involved in projects that aimed to improve diagnosis and inform prognosis for women with these gynecological cancers. In the Jabado lab, Melissa was involved in deciphering the three-dimensional chromatin conformation of pediatric high-grade gliomas using Hi-C (High Throughput Chromatin Conformation Capture). Melissa’s other research interests involve using next generation sequencing technology, and novel methodology developments to further improve our understanding of these pediatric brain cancers. To undergo this research, she was awarded the prestigious CIHR Banting postdoctoral fellowship.
Outside of research Melissa enjoys being in the outdoors with her family. She loves hiking, biking, playing beach volleyball, snowboarding and traveling. She is currently a senior scientist at the company Contextual Genomics in Vancouver.
Carolina Cavalieri Gomes, DDS, MSc, PhD
Carolina is an Associate Professor at the Department of Basic Pathology at Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG) in Brazil. She was a visiting professor in Dr. Jabado’s lab from July 2017 to June 2018. She obtained a degree in Dentistry (DDS), a MSc in Oral Pathology and a PhD in Molecular Medicine at UFMG, Brazil. She is a Molecular Pathologist and her research focus is the molecular pathogenesis of benign and malignant oral tumors and the malignant transformation of potentially malignant oral lesions (oral leukoplakia). Her joint project with Dr. Jabado involved the identification and functional characterization of molecular drivers of bone lesions. Science is her passion.
Ricardo Santiago Gomez, DDS, MSc, PhD
Ricardo was a visiting Professor in the Jabado lab from July 2017 to June 2018. He obtained his DDS and MSc degrees in Pathology at the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and completed his Ph.D. in Oral Pathology at the University of São Paulo (USP), Brazil. He is a Full Professor at the Department of Oral Pathology in UFMG, Brazil. He held positions of the Dean of Graduate Studies of the UFMG (2009-2014) and Dean of the School of Dentistry (2004-2008). He is Associate Editor of the Journal of Oral Pathology & Medicine and his main research interest is the molecular pathogenesis of tumors. He loves playing the trumpet and saxophone.
Jad Belle, BSc, MSc
Jad obtained his BSc in Biochemistry (2011) and MSc in Physiology (2014) from McGill University. He joined the Jabado Lab in 2016 as a Research Assistant. During his brief tenure, he optimized chromatin immunoprecipitation protocols and used them to profile transcription factor binding in several patient-derived tumor cell lines. He is currently pursuing MD/PhD training at Washington University School of Medicine and remains interested in cancer genetics and biology.
Erin (Xiaodan) Yang
Erin spent 2017 in the Jabado lab as a Co-op placement student as part of her Bachelor’s Degree in the Department of Cell Biology and Genetics at the University of British Columbia. While here, she assisted with multiple projects to varying degrees. She was also the resident graphic designer, helping to produce figures for the lab. She is an avid visual artist, plant-keeper, and badminton player.
Jonathan Pratt, PhD
Jonathan is from Montreal and he completed all his graduate studies at UQAM. After his BSc, Jonathan obtained a PhD in biochemistry. He studied the molecular mechanisms involved in the survival of glioblastoma. During his Ph.D, Jonathan won many prizes and distinctions like the Lieutenant Governor’s Youth Medal, the FRQNT Étudiants-chercheurs étoiles Award and the 2016 Best student research Award (UQAM-Faculty of sciences). In his 1-year of postdoctoral fellowship, Dr Pratt worked on identifying checkpoint mutations in genes involved in autoimmune diseases and brain cancers and investigating their effects on the protein phenotype. Jonathan has done a lot of volunteering, working on projects for the Canadian Red Cross, the Lifesaving society and the UQAM graduate students committee. Jonathan is temporarily working as a lifeguard/water safety instructor and is looking to pursue a MBA in sciences and engineering.
Elvis Valera, MD
Elvis Valera is a Pediatric Oncologist from Brazil who completed postdoctoral training in the Jabado lab, focusing mainly on biomarkers (cell-free DNA and tumor-free DNA) of brain tumors in plasma, CSF and urine. His main areas of interest are new genetic syndromes predisposing to brain cancer in children and the radiosensitizing effect of new drugs for treating brain cancer.
Elvis enjoys riding the bike with his family and barbecues on the weekends with friends.
Yelu Zhang, PhD
Yelu started at the Jabado lab in 2013 as an undergraduate student working on the detection of Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) biomarkers in biofluids and microvesicles. She then completed a research project from 2015-2016 focused on generating cell line models of Giant Cell Tumor of the Bone using CRISPR-Cas9. Doing research at the Jabado lab was one of Yelu's favourite undergrad experiences (and she thinks it's the best lab ever). Yelu graduated from McGIll in 2016 with a B.Sc. in honours anatomy and cell biology and is currently a medical student at Boston University. She likes yoga, coffee, bollywood dancing, singing with her school's a capella group, and playing with furry animals.
Tenzin Gayden, PhD
Tenzin obtained his PhD in population genetics from Florida International University in Miami and decided to move to a slightly different climate and brace himself for Canadian Winters. He was a postdoctoral fellow in the Jabado Lab between 2012 and 2016 working on the genetics of pediatric brain tumors and analyzing Next Generation Sequencing data for every single project in the group. He was recently appointed as project manager for the Montreal subdivision of the Terry Fox PROFYLE project (PRecision Oncology For Young PeopLE).
Eef Harmsen, PhD
Eef was project manager for the Genome Canada ICHANGE project from 2014 to 2016. As a native of the Netherlands, he obtained a MSc in biochemical engineering (Delft) and a PhD in cardiac biochemistry (Rotterdam). Via Oxford (UK), he landed in Calgary in 1987 and spent a few years in Ottawa before settling in Montreal. From 2001 he was project manager of large scale projects funded by Genome Canada and Genome Quebec. He enjoyed working with Nada and her team while learning quite a bit about epigenetics and brains. ICHANGE was his last project and since retirement spends his time at the BBQ, gym and reading.
Noha Gerges, PhD
After completing her degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Guelph, Noha joined the Jabado lab to pursue a PhD in cancer genetics in 2008. She studied the genetics and proteomics of several pediatric brain tumors and received her PhD in 2014. For the three years following that, Noha was the Program Manager for the Child Health and Human Development Program at the Research Institute of the MUHC. She is now a Mitacs Business Development Specialist for the Healthy Brains for Healthy Lives initiative at McGill. In her free time, Noha runs a side bakery where she spends time trying to come up with new and exciting recipes, travels as much as she can, designs websites, and is always on the hunt for new and exciting things to do in Montreal.
Adam Fontebasso, MDCM, PhD
Originally from Montreal, QC, Adam completed his PhD studies in the Jabado lab while enrolled in the MD-PhD program at McGill University. During his four years in the lab between January 2011 to December 2014, he worked with genomic and epigenomic data of childhood brain tumors, with a specific focus on pediatric high- and low-grade gliomas. He was able to contribute to the characterization of histone mutations in pediatric glioblastoma as well as mutations in ACVR1 in deadly pediatric diffuse intrinsic pontine gliomas (DIPGs). Adam also maintained an interest in pilocytic astrocytomas, the most common CNS tumor of childhood, and was able to contribute to projects characterizing age-related aneuploidy as an important mechanism in these tumors.
Following his PhD studies, Adam went on to complete his medical degree in 2017 at McGill and is currently completing his residency training in General Surgery at the University of Ottawa and maintains his clinical and research interests in childhood cancer and congenital diseases.
Nisreen Samir Ibrahim, GrDip
Nisreen obtained her BSc degree in Biochemistry from Ain Shams University in Egypt and completed her graduate diploma in biotechnology and genomics at Concordia University. She subsequently joined The Jabado lab for a Master’s degree between 2012 and 2015. The aim of her project was to generate novel experimental models using the sleeping beauty (SB) transposon system to understand the role of histone H3.3 mutations in the genesis of brain tumors. This system allows integrating mutations in histone H3.3 (K27M and G34R) with concomitant down-regulation of TP53 and Atrx to dissect the mechanisms underlying the development of brain tumors.
She is presently doing her PhD in the lab of Dr. Peter Metrakos in the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University.
Dong-Anh Khuong Quang, MD, PhD
Dong Anh was in the lab from 2008 to 2013 where she completed a Master’s degree in Oncology (University Paris-Sud 11) and a PhD in Human Genetics (McGill University). During her five years in the lab, she was involved in several projects on high grade astrocytomas and ATRTs, where she developed expertise in DNA next-generation sequencing and DNA methylation array analysis, but also in molecular cell biology (RTK trafficking). She is now in Melbourne, Australia where she combines work as a Clinical Fellow in pediatric oncology at the Royal Children's Hospital and as a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute.
Jeremy Schwartzentruber, PhD
Jeremy was in the Jabado lab from 2011 to 2013. Coming from a computer science background, he got an exciting start in genetics when he worked on data from some of the first glioblastoma exomes. His work was key in the discovery of recurrent mutations in the histone H3 gene (H3F3A) at two positions: lysine 27 and glycine 34, which was published in Nature at the start of 2012. That led to a continued trajectory of interesting work discovering alterations of epigenetic modifier genes in different pediatric brain cancers. During the period 2010-2013 he also worked as a bioinformatician for the Canada-wide project FORGE - Finding Of Rare disease GEnes, which has now become Care4Rare. Jeremy left these projects in 2013 to begin a PhD at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Cambridge, UK, completed in 2017. He is now a postdoc at the European Bioinformatics Institute in Cambridge, UK, working on fine-mapping causal variants for Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, although he does his computational work remotely from Falmouth, Cornwall.
Margret Shirinian, PhD
Margret began her post-doctoral fellowship in Jabado lab in 2009 where she studied Pilocytic Astrocytoma (PA) which is a common brain tumor in children, but poorly studied in the adult setting due to its rare incidence. By combining whole chromosomal copy number analysis and gene expression profiling, she identified non-random aneuploidy occurring in adult PA tumors which had distinct gene expression profiles. She is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Experimental Pathology, Immunology and Microbiology at the American University of Beirut. The research group she leads uses a fly model to study genes and molecular pathways implicated in development of brain tumors particularly focusing on epigenetic regulators and their role in central nervous system development.
Xiaoyang Liu, MD, PhD
Xiaoyang’s tenure in Jabado lab spanned between 2009 and 2012 where she completed her PhD studies as part of the combined MD-PhD program at McGill University. Her doctoral thesis aimed at unraveling the genetic and molecular pathogenesis of pediatric and young adult glioma. She is currently completing her residency in the Department of Radiology at the University of Toronto.
Karine Jacob, PhD
Karine carried out her PhD studies in the Jabado Lab between 2006 and 2011. She has the great distinction of being the first PhD graduate from the lab. During her graduate studies, she worked on elucidating the genetic landscape of pediatric low-grade and high grade astrocytomas using SNPs arrays. She subsequently did her training in Molecular Genetics under the auspices of the Canadian College of Medical Geneticists at McGill University. She presently works as a certified Molecular Geneticist. Outside work, she enjoys running and cross-country skiing.
Takrima Haque, PhD
Takrima was fortunate to be the first PhD student ever to join the Jabado Lab and witnessed first hand how the lab evolved over the years. She admits that it took her a while to complete her graduate studies, owing in part to two maternity leaves she took for the birth of her two children. She is presently working as a research assistant at the Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montreal.