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Dr. Sali Farhan, PhD

BSc, Genetics, Western University
PhD, Biochemistry, Western University
Postdoctoral Research Fellowship, Population and Statistical Genetics, Massachusetts General Hospital and the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard
CCMG Molecular Genetics Fellowship, University of Ottawa

Sali Farhan is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Neurology and Neurosurgery and in Human Genetics at McGill University. She is also a Clinical Molecular Geneticist at the McGill University Health Centre. Her primary research focus is on the genetics of neurodegeneration, with a central focus on amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. She has contributed to the identification of several disease genes using exome sequencing including DNAJC7 in ALS, TMTC3 in intellectual disability and epilepsy, NFS1 in a novel mitochondrial disorder, and several others. She leverages the use of next-generation sequencing technology to identify genomic signatures in ALS and neurodegeneration, and has helped create the ALS Knowledge Portal (, an open-source genomics database of ~4000 ALS patients and ~8000 ethnically matched controls. Sali also collaborates closely with neurobiologists to model mutations observed in human diseases. Working with local and international clinicians and scientists, her research vision is to bridge clinical genomics with the research lab to translate research findings back into the clinical lab to best serve patients.

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Allison Dilliott, PhD

Allison is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery at McGill University, working in the labs of Dr. Sali Farhan and Dr. Guy Rouleau. She completed her Ph.D. in Biochemistry at Western University in London, Ontario under the supervision of Dr. Rob Hegele. Her doctoral work contributed to a province-wide, multi-discipline, consortium-based study, namely the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI). Allison led the efforts of ONDRI’s genomics platform, investigating the genetic landscape of neurodegenerative diseases and cerebrovascular disease and genetic contributions to overlapping features of disease using a custom-designed, next-generation sequencing panel. She has also contributed to projects identifying the genetic determinants of rare diseases and lipid disorders. At McGill, Allison is leveraging large-scale sequencing datasets and rigorous statistical approaches to identify and validate novel genetic signatures of ALS and other neurological conditions, such as essential tremor.


Kate Kim

Kate Kim is an undergraduate student interested in bioinformatics and neurodegenerative diseases such as ALS. Currently, she is studying Honours Neuroscience with a minor in Computer Science at McGill University and hopes to pursue further research in neuroinformatics in the future. Her project at the Farhan lab includes investigating the potential link between mitochondrial and tRNA genes in neurodegernation as well as analyzing domain-based genetic burden.

Michael Fiorini

My name is Michael Fiorini and I am currently completing my B.Sc in Wildlife Biology at McGill University. I have a deep-rooted interest in traumatic brain injury which stems from my extensive history of concussions from playing hockey in the US. Despite my current academic endeavors, I intend to pursue a career devoted to concussions and traumatic brain injury. In Dr. Farhan’s lab, I will employ a multi-omics approach towards resolving the changes in gene expression following traumatic brain injury. In my spare time, I enjoy fly fishing and archery hunting, I also continue to entertain my passion for hockey, albeit, without contact.

Julia Zimmer

Julia is an undergraduate student in Biology and Economics at McGill University. In the Farhan lab, her project involves utilizing data from the Ontario Neurodegenerative Disease Research Initiative (ONDRI) to examine how rare genetic variation contributes to neurovascular markers across neurodegenerative diseases. She is interested in bioinformatics and population genetics and hopes to pursue a master's in Human Genetics or Biology.

Ahmad Al Nasser

I am an undergraduate student at Western University in the medical sciences program. I have had the opportunity to be part of the ALS ClinGen project, where I examined and gathered data from clinical tests on ALS. My focus was to organize the genes studied in these tests and identify which genes were closely associated with the ALS conditions. I am interested in pursuing a career in medicine and expanding my knowledge in the field of research.

Lab Alumni

Karina Kwan - now MSc student at McGill Biostatistics

Apostolos Paul Mandelos - now BSc student at McGill Computer Science

Anthony Strina - now MSc student at IPN program at McGill

Lauren Drummond - now BSc student at McGill Biochemistry

I’d love to work with you! I am currently looking for excellent research staff, M.Sc, students, Ph.D. students, and Post-Docs to join my lab, please see ‘JOB OPPORTUNITTIES’ to apply.




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