Damien Faury, MSc

Lab manager

Damien obtained a Protein Engineer degree in a former life and then he decided to cross the Atlantic Ocean to see what life looked like in the New World.  Once here, he completed an MSc in Applied Microbiology and then joined the Jabado lab as its very 1st member… in 2003. Since then, his role has evolved but his passion remains the same. He makes sure conditions are there for everyone to work in a good and safe research environment. The thematic of his research project is liquid biopsy. He plays soccer and is a big fan of that sport. With 3 boys at home, he has almost his own team.

Leonie Mikael, MSc, PhD

Research associate and biobank manager

Leonie is a Research Associate with 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 can 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 the pediatric wards for 20 years has earned her the name Baby Whisperer.

On why she chose science: “That’s one of the great things about music. You can sing a song to 85,000 people and they’ll sing it back for 85,000 different reasons” -Dave Grohl

Ashot Harutyunyan, MD, PhD

Research associate

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. After obtaining his PhD degree, he moved to the Jabado lab as a postdoctoral fellow until November 2018, after which he transitioned to the position of research associate.  Ashot’s work in the lab is focused on the characterization of epigenomic changes in pediatric glioblastoma. Utilizing modern genome editing techniques and high throughput sequencing technologies, he is trying 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 he is a fan of watching and playing various sports (soccer, basketball, tennis, etc.). He is also a competitive bridge player.

Caterina Russo, MSc

Research Assistant

Caterina is a native Montrealer. She obtained her BSc in Biochemistry at McGill University and an MSc at Concordia University-CO-OP. Her focus was on characterizing the structure and function of the mouse oxytocin receptor gene. She has been working for Mcgill University as a Research Assistant for nearly thirty years. She has worked in several labs at the RVH, Goodman Cancer Centre, MNI and is now at the Glen under the supervision of Dr. Nada Jabado. Over the years, she has learned to adapt to the new cutting edge, state of the art technologies required to advance in the research and medical fields. The list of techniques she acquired over the years is quite extensive. She is now mainly involved in elucidating the role of histone H3 mutations and their involvement in the oncogenesis of pediatric tumors. In her spare time, Cathy enjoys gardening, working out at the gym, watching movies, ancient history, reading and long walks with her dog.

Amira Ouanouki, MSc, PhD

Research assistant

Amira joined the Jabado lab in September 2017 as a research assistant. She completed her PhD at University of Quebec at Montreal where she worked on cancer prevention and treatment. She’s now part of the Terry Fox PROFYLE project (PRecision Oncology For Young PeopLE) team. Outside the lab, Amira enjoys reading, shopping and cooking.

Gayathri Yogarajah, BSc

Research assistant

Gaya completed her BSc at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (CNAM-Paris) in Industrial Sciences in 2012. During the last 6 years, she worked in several research centers such as the Institut Pasteur, Institut Gustave Roussy and Institut Marie Curie, where she acquired a strong expertise in molecular and cell biology. Her passion for neuroscience led her to study cerebral development while developing her expertise in stem cells and cerebral organoids. Gaya joined Dr. Jabado’s lab in June 2019 as a research assistant. She will study the role of chromatin modifiers in developmental syndromes. Outside of the lab, Gaya enjoys playing badminton with her co-workers, Jiving, going to music concerts, eating and spending time with her friends.

Nikoleta Juretic, MSc, PhD

Project manager

Nikoleta joined the Jabado lab in 2015 after an eventful youth spanning Croatia, Canada, Japan and the Philippines and research subjects ranging from plants to insects and monkeys. Following a PhD at McGill University on the role of transposable elements in plant genome evolution, she started working as a project manager on large-scale genomics research projects and has been involved in a number of projects funded by Genome Canada, Genome Quebec and the NIH. In her free time, Nikoleta enjoys traveling, reading novels, jogging, dancing, yoga and experiencing the joys and challenges of parenting.

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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 is working on deciphering the epigenome signatures of pediatric high-grade gliomas. Outside the lab, Djihad enjoys science fiction books and sports like running and football.

Augusto Faria Andrade, MSc, PhD

Augusto completed his BSc in Biology and his Master’s degree in Genetics. During his PhD (Science, Genetics) at University of São Paulo (Brazil), he studied the effects of DNA methylation inhibition in pediatric medulloblastoma. Next, he was a postdoctoral fellow at INSERM U1194 (France), where he worked aiming to unravel mechanisms of cancer resistance and immune response to chemotherapy.

Augusto joined Dr. Jabado lab in March 2019 as a postdoctoral fellow. Currently, he is working on studying the role of K27M histone mutation in gliomagenesis using mouse models and screening for effective drug combinations. Outside of the lab, he spends his time swimming, listening to music and exploring Montreal for the best beers/food.

Michele Zeinieh, MSc, PhD

Michele obtained a Master’s degree in Biology from the American University of Beirut. 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 determined a pathway linking the p75 neurotrophin receptor to Rho GTPases and that could have potential effect on cell migration and on other processes such as axonal growth.  Michele joined the Jabado lab as a postdoctoral fellow in April 2015. Her work focuses on studying the role of K27M histone mutation in gliomagenesis and the screening of epigenetic probes for the treatment of pediatric glioma.

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 joins the Jabado lab in February, 2018. Currently, she is working on identification of chromatin modifiers that suppresses the pathogenic effect of H3K27M in paediatric glioblastoma.
In the lab, she enjoys data analysis and beautiful graphs. Outside of the lab, she loves to cook, run, craft, and settle Catan.

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. In her free time, you will find her scuba diving.

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Shakour Mohammadnia, MSc

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. Currently, he is 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 will provide significant details about molecular aspects of these mutations that lead to the pediatric brain tumors and help researchers to propose better treatment strategies. Shakour is interested in reading, biking, and swimming.

Brian Krug, BSc

Brian is a PhD candidate working in the Dr. Jabado Lab since 2015. His interest is in the role of epigenomic remodelling in cancer biology and effects of histone mutations on tumourigenesis. This is under study using CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing to model mutations and genetic dependencies in stem cell differentiation and tumour-derived cells. Outside the lab he enjoys Nordic skiing, hiking and IPA.

Andrea Bajic, BSc

Andrea completed her BSc in Biological Sciences at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alberta, where her enthusiasm for research was first sparked. To pursue graduate studies, she enrolled in the MSc program in Human Genetics at McGill University, under the supervision of Dr. Nada Jabado, and has since transferred into the PhD program. The focus of Andrea’s PhD thesis has been elucidating the role of DNMT3B variant 6 in embryonal tumor formation and early brain development. She has also been involved in other projects in the lab at various stages. In her spare time, Andrea enjoys reading, traveling, exploring Montreal, and staying active.

Nicolas DeJay, BSc

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. Nicolas’ research projects consist 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.

Shriya Deshmukh, BSc

Shriya is a student in the MD-PhD program at McGill. She completed her Honours BSc in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto. Her projects are 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.

Sima Khazaei, MSc

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. Since she wanted to become more familiar with the molecular mechanisms of genetic events, she was motivated to pursue a PhD degree in this field. During her PhD training to date she has focused on in vitro modeling of histone mutations in cancer, while gaining further knowledge on the experimental aspects of genomics and functional genomics in parallel with cell culture, cloning, immunostaining and fluorescent microscopy. She always starts her presentations with this introduction: “We are working on a super-fast spaceship”.

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Kateryna Rossokhata, BSc

Katya is a Master's student in the Jabado Lab. 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 is 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.

Elias Jabbour, BSc

Elias joined the Jabado lab in September of 2018 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 is 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.

Pariya Azarafshar, BSc

Pariya obtained her BSc in Animal Science from University of Tehran in 2018. She started an MSc in Human Genetics at McGill in September 2019 and chose to work in the Jabado lab because of her passion for understanding more about the role of genes and epigenetics in cancer development.

She paints and especially loves watercolor painting. She also enjoys working out at the gym and going out with friends in her free time.

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Bethany Tong

Bethany is a Co-op student from McMaster University where she is completing her Honours Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Biology. She has developed an interest in pediatric research and is hoping to later pursue a career in research. Currently, she is assisting both 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 Chu

Yuhsin is a co-op student from the University of British Columbia where she studies Microbiology and Immunology. At the lab, she assists 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. 

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