Savannah Colameco (M.Sc. candidate)
Savannah completed her B.Sc. at McMaster, in the Molecular Biology and Genetics co-op program. It was during this time that she first began work in the lab, initially as an NSERC USRA-supported co-op student, and thesis student.
And we have been truly delighted that she decided to return to us to explore new and exciting avenues of Streptomyces
biology, supported in her first year by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship, and in her second by an NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship! Savannah is investigating novel aspects of gene regulation in Streptomyces venezuelae
at the level of RNA, DNA and protein. Like many others in the lab,
Savannah is multi-talented: not only is she a gifted scientist, but she's also a decorated figure skater (and OUA all-star for McMaster's Mauraders) and an unexpected olive aficionado! Strangely enough, she is also distantly related to David! (something they only discovered after both having started in the lab!)
David Crisante (M.Sc. candidate)
David embarked on his research endeavours in the Elliot lab during the summer of 2015, conducted his 4th year thesis with us, and has now joined us for a more in-depth graduate school experience!
He is exploring the role and regulation of amyloid proteins on Streptomyces
He has endeared himself to the lab through his extreme honesty (and great quote-board contributions), his love of 'lab do's', and his enthusiasm for science. In addition to his scientific skills, he is a talented artist, and
has proven to be a near unbeatable squash opponent for both Matt and Steph (much to Matt's disgust).
Stephanie Jones (Ph.D. candidate)
Stephanie started her M.Sc. in September 2012, before transferring to the Ph.D. program in June of 2014. Her work in the lab has been supported both by an NSERC scholarship, and subsequently by a Vanier Scholarship. Steph comes to us from the University of Syracuse, where she not only developed a love of biology and bioinformatics, but
she was also a star goaltender for the university hockey team! She is working to help further our understanding of non-coding RNAs in Streptomyces
, from the perspective of RNA metabolism and RNase activity. Not content to just excel
at winter sports, Steph makes the most of the long Ontario summers by embracing the joys of ultimate frisbee, where she plays both recreationally, and for McMaster. She tempers this active lifestyle with a love of Pizza Hut (which worryingly she shares with Matt) and The Pancake House.
Sara Neumann (Visiting Ph.D. student)
Sara is a Ph.D. student with Dr. Natalia Tschowri, from the Humbolt University of Berlin, in Germany, and she is visiting our lab for three months to gain experience in working with cell surface proteins in Streptomyces
. Sara has been experiencing all the outdoor wonders
that Canada has to offer (canoeing in Algonquin, waterfalls in Hamilton, etc.). She has, however, been left a bit perplexed by some of our foods: pumpkin spice has failed to wow her, and apparently Germans make far more exotic grilled cheese sandwiches than we do (adding in ham, and bacon-wrapped pineapple...).
Danielle Sexton (Ph.D. candidate)
Danielle, together with Steph, started her M.Sc. in the lab in September 2012, moving down the road from the University of Toronto where she completed her B.Sc. She has opted to extend her academic exploration, and in June 2014 transferred to the Ph.D. program. In recognition of the excellent work she is doing, she has been awarded an OGS, and more recently, an NSERC doctoral scholarship. Danielle's work is focussed on investigating protein-protein interactions
on the Streptomyces
cell surface, and is working on setting up new techniques and screens in the lab to understand how these proteins function, and how their activity is controlled. Unlike Matt, Danielle has successfully overcome her strange tomato issues since joining the lab,
and outside of the lab, she can be found in the water, on her bike, or working to entertain the world's (or at least the lab's) largest/fluffiest cats.
Matt Zambri (M.Sc. candidate)
Matt is our newest recruit, having started his M.Sc. with us in September 2017. Matt graduated with his B.Sc. from the University of Ottawa, where he gained extensive molecular biology experience courtesy of his co-op placements in microbiology labs associated with Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.
Matt is working with Steph to expand our understanding of Streptomyces
exploration. Matt carries on a long-standing lab tradition of being an opponent of cherry tomatoes (I think they are all insane - these are great things), as well as a staunch supporter of both the Blue Jays (Matt also plays high-level baseball), and the Maple Leafs (who are finally looking like a team worth supporting!). His prowess with a bat-and-ball apparently extends to include paddle-and-ball, as he is rumoured to play a mean game of ping-pong.
Xiafei Zhang (M.Sc. candidate)
Xiafei started her M.Sc. in the lab in September 2016, having completed her undergraduate degree at Sichuan Normal University in China. 'Fei' is off to a roaring start, having been awarded an 'International Excellence Award', based on her research productivity and promise displayed over the last year. Fei is focusing her attention on understanding the function of a key regulator of antibiotic production in Streptomyces
Fei has actively embraced all the natural wonders of the Hamilton area, and is rapidly becoming the 'waterfall expert' in the lab! Under the expert guidance of Savannah, she has even learned to skate! Xiafei shares a love of swimming with Danielle, and like others in the lab, she adores food; although she is (unfairly) anti-broccoli, solely due to its 'little tree' appearance...