Post Doctoral Fellows

Dr. Hindra

Hindra completed his B.Sc. in Food Technology at the University of Pelita Harapan (Indonesia), before coming to Canada, where he completed his M.Sc. in Applied Microbiology and Food Science at the University of Saskatchewan, and his Ph.D. in Molecular Microbiology at McMaster University. Hindra than undertook post-doctoral studies at The Scripps Research Institute (Florida), in the lab of Prof. Ben Shen, where he added a strong foundation in 'chemical biology' to his extensive skill repertoire! Hindra returned to McMaster in 2017, and he is working to combine his chemical biology expertise with his microbial genetic skills, to identify new natural products. Hindra epitomizes 'cool, calm and collected' in the lab, and is proving to be a strong mentor. Outside of the lab, Hindra is known for his love of soup, his impressive volleyball capabilities, and his amazing daughters.

Dr. Danielle Sexton

Danielle completed her Ph.D. in the lab in August, 2018, after having completed her B.Sc. at the University of Toronto. In recognition of the excellent work she did during her graduate studies, she was awarded an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS), along with an NSERC doctoral scholarship. Danielle's work is focussed on understanding the cell surface proteins and other components that play important roles at different stages in Streptomyces development (germination, aerial hyphae formation/sporulation, and exploration). 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.

Graduate Students

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 opted to carry on as a Masters student, for a more in-depth graduate school experience! He is exploring the role and regulation of amyloid proteins on Streptomyces development. 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 Yordan and Evan (so far...).

Emma Mulholland (M.Sc. candidate)

Emma started in the lab in May of 2017 as an undergraduate student, and after having completed a beautiful thesis, has opted to continue to expand her scientific horizons as an M.Sc. student, starting her graduate work in September 2018. Emma is working in association with Alexandria, to advance our understanding of RNA metabolism in Streptomyces, and is further probing the roles of novel DNA architectures in these bacteria. As befits a student from the interdisciplinary Arts & Sci undergraduate program, Emma's skills are broad and varied. She has worked as a reporter for The Silhouette (McMaster's newspaper), enjoys travelling and the outdoors, and has immersed herself in karate training (carrying on a lab tradition started by Marie during her grad student days). In addition to being an excellent experimentalist (and NSERC scholarship awardee), Emma has also proven to be a talented networker, effectively working the room at the annual Canadian Society of Microbiologists conference in Waterloo!

Evan Shepherdson (M.Sc. candidate)

Evan is our most recent graduate student recruit, starting his NSERC scholarship-supported M.Sc. in the lab in September 2018, after having completed his BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Waterloo (following in the footsteps of Dave, Henry and Matt M., who were all Waterloo graduates). Evan is working with Matt and Yordan to further our understanding of the genetic basis and biochemical requirements for Streptomyces exploration. Evan is proving to be a trivia master, and together with Meghan, has launched the lab trivia team into prize winning territory for the first time in ages. Like many others in the lab, he has his food quirks, which include a worrying taste in cereals (who doesn't like Shreddies?!?!), and is a sports enthusiast, cheering for the Panthers and playing squash (while he has yet to beat David, it is only a matter of time...).

Matt Zambri (M.Sc. candidate)

Matt started his M.Sc. with us in September 2017, and is making impressive progress on understanding the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to Streptomyces exploration. 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 carries on a long-standing lab tradition of being an opponent of cherry tomatoes (not sure what the problem is - these are tasty little 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!). In addition to his athletic and academic skills, Matt is proving to be a serious culinary innovator, creating saga-worthy dishes for multiple lab dinners (he may well never buy an eggplant again...).

Xiafei Zhang (Ph.D candidate)

Xiafei started her M.Sc. in the lab in September 2016, having completed her undergraduate degree at Sichuan Normal University in China, and recently transferred to the Ph.D. program, in what was a glorious transfer defense. Fei has made outstanding progress so far, and in recognition of her research productivity and promise, she has been awarded an 'International Excellence Award'. Fei is focusing her attention on understanding the function of a key regulator of antibiotic production in Streptomyces. Fei has actively embraced the natural wonders of the Hamilton area and has rapidly become the 'waterfall expert' in the lab. In true Canadian fashion, Fei arrived in the country and promptly learned to skate (under the expert guidance of Savannah, a former graduate student and provincial skating champion)! 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...

Undergraduate Students

Alexandria Amadasun (Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op)

Alexandria started in the lab as part of her first co-op term in January 2018, with her position supported in part by a prestigious NSERC USRA scholarship. She stayed on in the lab and is now working on her 4th year undergraduate thesis. Together with Emma, Alexandria is working to better understand RNA-based control of antibiotic production/specialized metabolism in Streptomyces bacteria. Alexandria is at the cultural heart of the lab, enjoying exhibitions at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and Oscar-nominated movies, although there is agreement that it would be worth rounding out her TV knowledge to include 'old' shows like Friends and Seinfeld...

Meghan Pepler (Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op)

Meghan joined us in September for her 4th year thesis, after having completed her first co-op position at the Ontario Institute for Cancer Research. She is working with Hindra to identify new anti-microbial compounds produced by Streptomyces, and is further developing new tools to facilitate the purification of interesting molecules. Meghan is a hot yoga aficionado (which Marie appreciates but doesn't understand) and an avid cyclist, an enthusiastic chef, and a keeper of bees (and consequently an outstanding source of fresh honey in the fall!). Meghan and Evan have been very positive additions to the lab's 'trivia team', giving them their first 'top three' finish in years!

Yordan Stoyanov (Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op)

Like Alexandria, Yordan started in the lab in January 2018 for his first co-op term, and is also in it for the long haul, opting to do his 4th year thesis with us as well. He is working with David, Matt and Evan on different aspects of Streptomyces development, and is pioneering new directions in understanding the genetic control of 'exploration'. Outside of the lab/classroom, Yordan is an accomplished athlete - he is a forward on McMaster's varsity soccer team, and is proving to be a willing squash opponent for David (the wins so far are falling in David's favour, but David himself has indicated some concern that this will likely change soon...). Like Matt, Yordan is also an excellent cook, and it appears that squash defeats are paid for with spinach & feta pastry treats...

Lab Alumni - where are they now?

Postdoctoral Fellows

  • Dr. Matt Moody (2017) - Scientific Analyst, Business Development, Appili Therapeutics
  • Dr. Renée St-Onge (2016-2017) - Research Scientist with Rna Diagnostics
  • Dr. Emma Sherwood (2013-2016) - Consultant for Cello Health Consulting
  • Dr. Julia Swiercz (2013-2013) - Medical writer for Synapse Medical Communication
  • Dr. David Capstick (2011-2013) - Operations Manager, Adapsyn Bioscience
  • Dr. Mary Yousef (2007-2010) - Clinical position at Juravinski Cancer Centre, Hamilton, ON
  • Dr. Jan Bobek (2008) - Assistant Professor at Charles University, Czech Republic

Graduate Students

  • Stephanie Jones, Ph.D. (2018) - Post-doctoral fellow (MIT)
  • Danielle Sexton, Ph.D. (2018) - Sessional lecturer and post-doctoral fellow (McMaster University)
  • Savannah Colameco, M.Sc. (2018) - Scientist, DNA Genotek (Ottawa)
  • David Crisante, M.Sc. (2018) - Research Assistant (McMaster)
  • Matt Moody, Ph.D. (2017) - Scientific Analyst, Business Development, Appili Therapeutics
  • Chris Firby, M.Sc. (2017) - Pursuing a post-graduate certificate in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs (Seneca College)
  • Renée St-Onge, Ph.D. (2016) - Research Scientist with Rna Diagnostics
  • Rachel Young, M.Sc. (2015) - Strain Engineer, Ginkgo Biologics Inc.
  • Andrew Duong, M.Sc. (2014) - Research program coordinator with Hamilton Health Sciences, and the Director of Operations for
  • Julia Swiercz, Ph.D. (2013) - Medical Writer, Synapse Medical Communication
  • Hindra, Ph.D. (2012) - Post-doctoral fellow (Scripps Research Institute); now PDF, McMaster
  • Chan (Daphne) Gao, Ph.D. (2012) - Medical science liason for Xi'an Janssen Inc (pharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson)
  • David Capstick, Ph.D. (2011) - Operations manager, Adapsyn Bioscience
  • Henry Haiser, Ph.D. (2011)- CIHR-funded post-doctoral fellow (Harvard University); now Investigator III at Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Reseach
  • Patricia Pak, M.Sc. (2010) - Physiotherapist

Undergraduate Thesis Students

  • Christine Pham (2017-2018 Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op) - Co-op student, Sanofi Pasteur (Toronto)
  • Sonya Turvey (2017-2018 Biochemistry Co-op) - Co-op student, Ferrero-Rocher
  • Loryn Byres (2016-2017 iSci) - M.Sc. candidate (U of T)
  • David Crisante (2015-2016 Biology/Molecular Biology and Genetics) - M.Sc. candidate (McMaster); now - Research Assistant (McMaster)
  • Nicole Revie (2015-2016 Biology) - Ph.D. candidate (U of T)
  • Savannah Colameco (2015 Biology/Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op) - M.Sc. (McMaster); now Scientist, DNA Genotek, Ottawa
  • Dan Seale (2014 Biology) - M.Sc. candidate (UBC)
  • Chris Firby (2013-2014 Biochemistry) - M.Sc. (McMaster); now pursuing a post-graduate certificate in Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs (Seneca College)
  • Rachel Young (2012-2013 iSci) - M.Sc. (McMaster), now Strain Engineer, Ginkgo Biologics Inc.
  • Alison Berzins (2012-2013 Biology/Arts & Science) - M.A. (U of T); now a Medical student
  • Jackie Leonard (2011-2012 Biology/Molecular Biology and Genetics) - M.Sc. (Queens); M.Sc. (Brandeis University); now a Genetic counsellor
  • Talha Qureshi (2011-2012 Biochemistry Co-op) - now a Pharmacy student
  • Michael Hewak (2010-2011 Biology/Molecular Biology and Genetics) - now a Physician
  • Kristy Shulist (2010 Biology/Genetics Co-op) - now a Ph.D. candidate (McGill)
  • Lauren Brady (2009-2010 Biology/Genetics) - now a Genetic counsellor
  • Andrew Duong (2008-2009 Biology/Genetics) - M.Sc. (McMaster); currently a Research program coordinator (Hamilton Health Sciences)
  • Chris Hanke (2008-2009 Biology/Microbiology) - now an Air Canada flight attendant
  • Nolan D'Souza (2008 Biology/Genetics Co-op) - now a Genetic counsellor
  • Marin Franchetto (2007-2008 Biology/Genetics) - now a Physician
  • Patricia Pak (2007-2008 Biology) - now a Physiotherapist
  • Chris Dowding (2006-2007 Biology/Arts & Science) - now a Physician
  • Sandy Shamon (2006-2007 Health Science) - now a Physician
  • Julia Swiercz (2006-2007 Biology/Genetics) - Ph.D. (McMaster); now a Medical writer
  • Amanda Cocca (2005-2006 Biology/Genetics) - now a Genetics Technologist (Hamilton Health Sciences)