Meet the EDDU Team


LEADERSHIP | SENIOR STAFF | STAFF | TRAINEES | UNDERGRADUATES | PAST MEMBERS


LEADERSHIP

Thomas Durcan, Associate DirectorDr. Thomas Durcan

Director

"Open science goes beyond just being a concept. It means finding ways every day to work with others, to share our work, to hear about the work of others, and to ensure the research we do is of the highest standard to be reproduced anywhere else in the world. By opening ourselves up, it forces us to be better and to do better. For too long, scientists have been afraid to engage with the wider community and open science forces us to move outside of our comfort zone. Open science affords us this chance to get people to tune in and to engage with everyone working at the Neuro, so that by 2030 we will have finally turned the corner and have new therapies for so many of these brain disorders."

Learn more about Dr. Durcan in his blog posts in the Open Lab Notebook.

Read Dr. Durcan's biography

Originally from Dublin, Ireland, I have been at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro) for over 15 years and this place has become like a second home to me. As an Associate Professor at The Neuro and McGill University (Tom Durcan - I Choose The Neuro (Youtube)), my research focus is on applying patient-derived stem cells towards the development of phenotypic discovery assays and 3D mini-brain models (Nguyen-Vi Mohamed - Neuro XXceptional (Youtube)) for both neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. As director of the Early Drug Discovery Unit (EDDU) at The Neuro, I oversee a team of over 45 research staff and students, committed to applying novel stem cell technology, combined with CRISPR genome editing, mini-brain models and new microfluidic technologies towards elucidating the underlying causes of these complex disorders. Combined with new approaches in the group towards building MultiOmics profiles on the patient-derived IPSC cells, the long-term strategy is to identify new personalized precision therapies that can be applied towards building clinical trials on a dish.

Selected publications

  1. Hettige, N. C., Peng, H., Wu, H., Zhang, X., Yerko, V., Zhang, Y., Jefri, M., Soubannier, V., Maussion, G., Alsuwaidi, S., Ni, A., Rocha, C., Krishnan, J., McCarty, V., Antonyan, L., Schuppert, A., Turecki, G., Fon, E. A., Durcan, T. M., & Ernst, C. (2022). Foxg1 dose tunes cell proliferation dynamics in human forebrain progenitor cells. Stem Cell Reports. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2022.01.010
  2. Soubannier V, Chaineau M, Gursu L, Haghi G, Franco Flores AK, Rouleau G, Durcan TM, Stifani S. Rapid Generation of Ventral Spinal Cord-like Astrocytes from Human iPSCs for Modeling Non-Cell Autonomous Mechanisms of Lower Motor Neuron Disease. Cells. 2022; 11(3):399. https://doi.org/10.3390/cells11030399
  3. Cassel de Camps C, Aslani S, Stylianesis N, Nami H, Mohamed NV, Durcan TM, Moraes C. Hydrogel Mechanics Influence the Growth and Development of Embedded Brain Organoids. ACS Appl Bio Mater. 2022 Jan 17;5(1):214-224. doi: 10.1021/acsabm.1c01047. Epub 2021 Dec 22. PMID: 35014820.
  4. Kwan, C., Kang, M. S., Nuara, S. G., Gourdon, J. C., Bédard, D., Tardif, C. L., Hopewell, R., Ross, K., Bdair, H., Hamadjida, A., Massarweh, G., Soucy, J. P., Luo, W., Del Cid Pellitero, E., Shlaifer, I., Durcan, T. M., Fon, E. A., Rosa-Neto, P., Frey, S., & Huot, P. (2022). Co-registration of Imaging Modalities (MRI, CT and PET) to Perform Frameless Stereotaxic Robotic Injections in the Common Marmoset. Neuroscience480, 143–154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.11.009
  5. Vranas, M., Lu, Y., Rasool, S., Croteau, N., Krett, J. D., Sauvé, V., Gehring, K., Fon, E. A., Durcan, T. M., & Trempe, J. F. (2022). Selective localization of Mfn2 near PINK1 enables its preferential ubiquitination by Parkin on mitochondria. Open biology12(1), 210255. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsob.210255
  6. Maussion, G., Thomas, R.A., Demirova, I., Gu, G., Cai, E., Chen, C. X., Abdian, N., Strauss, T., Kelaï, S., Nauleau-Javaudin, A., Beitel, L. K., Ramoz, N., Gorwood, P., Durcan, T. M.  Auto-qPCR; a python-based web app for automated and reproducible analysis of qPCR data. Sci Rep 1121293 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99727-6
  7. Deneault E, Chaineau M, Nicouleau M, Castellanos Montiel MJ, Franco Flores AK, Haghi G, Chen CX, Abdian N, Shlaifer I, Beitel LK, Durcan TM. A streamlined CRISPR workflow to introduce mutations and generate isogenic iPSCs for modeling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. Methods. (2021) doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2021.09.002. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 34500068.
  8. Nguyen-Vi Mohamed, Julien Sirois, Janani Ramamurthy, Meghna Mathur, Paula Lépine, Eric Deneault, Gilles Maussion, Michael Nicouleau, Carol X -Q Chen, Narges Abdian, Vincent Soubannier, Eddie Cai, Harris Nami, Rhalena A Thomas, Dingke Wen, Mahdieh Tabatabaei, Lenore K Beitel, Karamjit Singh Dolt, Jason Karamchandani, Jo Anne Stratton, Tilo Kunath, Edward A Fon, Thomas M Durcan. Midbrain organoids with an SNCA gene triplication model key features of synucleinopathy, Brain Communications. (2021), https://doi.org/10.1093/braincomms/fcab223
  9. Mohamed, N. V., Lépine, P., Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Sirois, J., Mathur, M., Reintsch, W., Beitel, L. K., Fon, E. A., & Durcan, T. M. (2021). Microfabricated disk technology: rapid scale up in midbrain organoid generation. Methods (San Diego, Calif.), S1046-2023(21)00195-X. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2021.07.008
  10. Chen, C. X., Abdian, N., Maussion, G., Thomas, R. A., Demirova, I., Cai, E., Tabatabaei, M., Beitel, L. K., Karamchandani, J., Fon, E. A., & Durcan, T. M. (2021). A Multistep Workflow to Evaluate Newly Generated iPSCs and Their Ability to Generate Different Cell Types. Methods and protocols, 4(3), 50. https://doi.org/10.3390/mps4030050

 

Edward Fon, EDDU DirectorDr. Edward Fon

Executive Advisor/Founder

"I have the good fortune of being able to work both as a clinician and a scientist. I am reminded on a daily basis of the affliction of patients with Parkinson's disease. In my lab, we are striving to find out how the disease develops on a cellular and molecular level."

Learn more about The Fon Lab.

Dr. Fon's research focuses on the molecular events leading to the degeneration of dopamine neurons in Parkinson's disease. He is particularly interested in α-synuclein, parkin, and PINK1, all genes known to cause familial forms of the disease. 

Read Dr. Fon's biography

Dr. Edward Fon, MD, FRCP(C) is a neurologist and scientist at the Montreal Neurological Institute and Hospital (The Neuro). He is a Professor at McGill University, a Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Parkinson’s Disease, and Director of the McGill Parkinson Program, a national Parkinson Foundation Centre of Excellence. His research focuses on the molecular events leading to the neuronal degeneration in Parkinson's disease (PD). In the past decade, a number of genes have been identified that cause familial forms of the disease. He is particularly interested in how these genes come together and interact to cause PD. Dr. Fon’s work in this area could provide important clues about the mechanisms of neuronal death in Parkinson’s disease and potentially lead to innovative new therapeutic strategies. Dr. Fon is currently the Director of the FRQS - Quebec Parkinson’s Network (QPN) and Co-Director of the Parkinson Canada/Brain Canada – Canadian Open Parkinson Network (C-OPN). He has received several awards during the course of his career such as CIHR Clinician-Scientist, FRQS National Scholar and FRSQ Chercheur-Boursier (Senior) awards and the Prix de Jeune Chercheur Blaise Pascal. Dr. Fon’s research is supported by the CIHR (Foundation grant), CQDM, Brain Canada, Parkinson Canada, CCNA and the Michael J. Fox Foundation.

Selected publications

  1. Hettige, N. C., Peng, H., Wu, H., Zhang, X., Yerko, V., Zhang, Y., Jefri, M., Soubannier, V., Maussion, G., Alsuwaidi, S., Ni, A., Rocha, C., Krishnan, J., McCarty, V., Antonyan, L., Schuppert, A., Turecki, G., Fon, E. A., Durcan, T. M., & Ernst, C. (2022). Foxg1 dose tunes cell proliferation dynamics in human forebrain progenitor cells. Stem Cell Reports. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.stemcr.2022.01.010
  2. Rasool, S., Veyron, S., Soya, N., Eldeeb, M. A., Lukacs, G. L., Fon, E. A., & Trempe, J. F. (2022). Mechanism of PINK1 activation by autophosphorylation and insights into assembly on the TOM complex. Molecular cell82(1), 44–59.e6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2021.11.012
  3. Kwan, C., Kang, M. S., Nuara, S. G., Gourdon, J. C., Bédard, D., Tardif, C. L., Hopewell, R., Ross, K., Bdair, H., Hamadjida, A., Massarweh, G., Soucy, J. P., Luo, W., Del Cid Pellitero, E., Shlaifer, I., Durcan, T. M., Fon, E. A., Rosa-Neto, P., Frey, S., & Huot, P. (2022). Co-registration of Imaging Modalities (MRI, CT and PET) to Perform Frameless Stereotaxic Robotic Injections in the Common Marmoset. Neuroscience480, 143–154. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroscience.2021.11.009
  4. Vranas, M., Lu, Y., Rasool, S., Croteau, N., Krett, J. D., Sauvé, V., Gehring, K., Fon, E. A., Durcan, T. M., & Trempe, J. F. (2022). Selective localization of Mfn2 near PINK1 enables its preferential ubiquitination by Parkin on mitochondria. Open biology12(1), 210255. https://doi.org/10.1098/rsob.210255
  5. Tavassoly, O., Del Cid Pellitero, E., Larroquette, F., Cai, E., Thomas, R. A., Soubannier, V., Luo, W., Durcan, T. M., & Fon, E. A. (2021). Pharmacological Inhibition of Brain EGFR Activation By a BBB-penetrating Inhibitor, AZD3759, Attenuates α-synuclein Pathology in a Mouse Model of α-Synuclein Propagation. Neurotherapeutics : the journal of the American Society for Experimental NeuroTherapeutics, 10.1007/s13311-021-01017-6. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13311-021-01017-6
  6. Eldeeb, M. A., Bayne, A. N., Trempe, J. F., & Fon, E. A. (2020). Fine-Tuning TOM-Mitochondrial Import via Ubiquitin. Trends in cell biology, 30(6), 425–427. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tcb.2020.04.007
  7. Roberts, R. F., Bayne, A. N., Goiran, T., Lévesque, D., Boisvert, F. M., Trempe, J. F., & Fon, E. A. (2021). Proteomic Profiling of Mitochondrial-Derived Vesicles in Brain Reveals Enrichment of Respiratory Complex Sub-assemblies and Small TIM Chaperones. Journal of proteome research, 20(1), 506–517. https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.0c00506
  8. Gan-Or, Z., Rao, T., Leveille, E., Degroot, C., Chouinard, S., Cicchetti, F., Dagher, A., Das, S., Desautels, A., Drouin-Ouellet, J., Durcan, T., Gagnon, J. F., Genge, A., Karamchandani, J., Lafontaine, A. L., Sun, S., Langlois, M., Levesque, M., Melmed, C., Panisset, M., … Fon, E. A. (2020). The Quebec Parkinson Network: A Researcher-Patient Matching Platform and Multimodal Biorepository. Journal of Parkinson's disease, 10(1), 301–313. https://doi.org/10.3233/JPD-191775
  9. Mohamed, N. V., Lépine, P., Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Sirois, J., Mathur, M., Reintsch, W., Beitel, L. K., Fon, E. A., & Durcan, T. M. (2021). Microfabricated disk technology: rapid scale up in midbrain organoid generation. Methods (San Diego, Calif.), S1046-2023(21)00195-X. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2021.07.008
  10. Chen, C. X., Abdian, N., Maussion, G., Thomas, R. A., Demirova, I., Cai, E., Tabatabaei, M., Beitel, L. K., Karamchandani, J., Fon, E. A., & Durcan, T. M. (2021). A Multistep Workflow to Evaluate Newly Generated iPSCs and Their Ability to Generate Different Cell Types. Methods and protocols, 4(3), 50. https://doi.org/10.3390/mps4030050

 


SENIOR SUPPORT STAFF

Lenore K. Beitel, Project managerlenore.beitel [at] mcgill.ca (Lenore K. Beitel)

Project Manager

"It’s great working with bright, motivated people who use state-of-the-art scientific techniques and equipment to understand human neurological diseases, with the goal of discovering treatments for these diseases."

Lenore's work with the EDDU benefits patients because by "starting with patients’ blood cells, we can make different types of human brain cells, such as those damaged by Parkinson’s disease (PD) or ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease). We use these cell models to identify compounds (drugs) that could lead to new treatments for these neurological diseases."

View Lenore's PubMed.

Read Lenore's biography

Originally from Calgary, Alberta, I came to McGill to study science . . . and made Montréal my home. With both a B.Sc. (Honours) and Ph.D. in Biochemistry from McGill, I learned molecular biology and cell culture techniques along the way. As a Post-doctoral Fellow and Research Scientist at the Lady Davis Institute (Jewish General Hospital), I carried out research on the structure, function and genetics of the androgen receptor. Interestingly, mutations in the androgen receptor protein can lead to a neurodegenerative disease called spinal bulbar muscular atrophy (SBMA or Kennedy’s disease), cause androgen insensitivity syndrome (AIS), and are associated with prostate cancer. I believe science has a life cycle: we do the research, then write the papers, to get the funding, to do the research . . . Since joining the NeuroEDDU in 2017, my main job is to help my colleagues write and edit applications for funding and articles for publication. The Open Science policy at The Neuro means that the methods and research results published by the Neuro EDDU will be available for all. Fun facts: I enjoy decorating cakes, photographing flowers and travelling.

Selected publications

  1. Chen, C. X., Abdian, N., Maussion, G., Thomas, R. A., Demirova, I., Cai, E., Tabatabaei, M., Beitel, L. K., Karamchandani, J., Fon, E. A., & Durcan, T. M. (2021). A Multistep Workflow to Evaluate Newly Generated iPSCs and Their Ability to Generate Different Cell Types. Methods and protocols, 4(3), 50. https://doi.org/10.3390/mps4030050
  2. Mohamed, N. V., Larroquette, F., Beitel, L. K., Fon, E. A., & Durcan, T. M. (2019). One Step Into the Future: New iPSC Tools to Advance Research in Parkinson's Disease and Neurological Disorders. Journal of Parkinson's disease, 9(2), 265–281. https://doi.org/10.3233/JPD-181515
  3. Beitel, L. K., Alvarado, C., Mokhtar, S., Paliouras, M., & Trifiro, M. (2013). Mechanisms mediating spinal and bulbar muscular atrophy: investigations into polyglutamine-expanded androgen receptor function and dysfunction. Frontiers in neurology, 4, 53. https://doi.org/10.3389/fneur.2013.00053
  4. Gottlieb, B., Beitel, L. K., Nadarajah, A., Paliouras, M., & Trifiro, M. (2012). The androgen receptor gene mutations database: 2012 update. Human mutation, 33(5), 887–894. https://doi.org/10.1002/humu.22046
  5. Beitel, L. K., Elhaji, Y. A., Lumbroso, R., Wing, S. S., Panet-Raymond, V., Gottlieb, B., Pinsky, L., & Trifiro, M. A. (2002). Cloning and characterization of an androgen receptor N-terminal-interacting protein with ubiquitin-protein ligase activity. Journal of molecular endocrinology, 29(1), 41–60. https://doi.org/10.1677/jme.0.0290041

 

Xiuqing (Carol) Chen, iPSC Colony Managerxiuqing.chen [at] mcgill.ca (Xiuqing (Carol) Chen)

iPSC Colony Manager

"iPSC-derived neurons and brain organoids have given us new opportunities to model and investigate neurodegenerative diseases, as well as to develop new tools for drug discovery."

"蒙特利尔神经科学研究所是世界顶尖的神经科学中心, 我为能成为Neuro的一员感到非常自豪。"

Read Carol's biography

I am a research assistant at the Neuro EDDU. I received my Ph.D in Neurobiology in 1999. During my post-doc training at the University of Pittsburg and University of McGill, I focused on identifying molecular mechanisms underlying synaptic transmission and their implication in Parkinson’s disease (PD). In 2006, I joined Dr. Edward Fon’s lab at The Neuro, where I identified various functions of ubiquitin in the nervous system and how defects in parkin, an E3 ubiquitin ligase, could lead to PD. In 2015, I joined the EDDU platform as an iPSC cell manager, where I was responsible for laboratory establishment, protocol development, and cell line management. Subsequently, I participated more in the development of client projects, providing high-quality services to academic users with iPSC-derived neurons. In 2017, I became a training coordinator, providing iPSC and neuronal induction training and technical support on the platform. In 2019, I became group coordinator of iPSC phenotyping and CRISPR editing, responsible for iPSC reprogramming, iPSC banking, and quality control.

Selected publications

  1. Chen CX, Abdian N, Maussion G, Thomas RA, Demirova I, Cai E, Tabatabaei M, Beitel LK, Karamchandani J, Fon EA, Durcan TM. A Multistep Workflow to Evaluate Newly Generated iPSCs and Their Ability to Generate Different Cell Types. (2021) Methods Protocols.
  2. Thomas, R. A., Gibon, J., Chen, C., Chierzi, S., Soubannier, V. G., Baulac, S., Séguéla, P., Murai, K., & Barker, P. A. (2018). The Nogo Receptor Ligand LGI1 Regulates Synapse Number and Synaptic Activity in Hippocampal and Cortical Neurons. eNeuro, doi: https://doi.org/10.1523/ENEURO.0185-18.2018
  3. McLelland, G. L., Goiran, T., Yi, W., Dorval, G., Chen, C. X., Lauinger, N. D., Krahn, A. I., Valimehr, S., Rakovic, A., Rouiller, I., Durcan, T. M., Trempe, J. F., & Fon, E. A. (2018). Mfn2 ubiquitination by PINK1/parkin gates the p97-dependent release of ER from mitochondria to drive mitophagy. eLife, doi: https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.32866
  4. McLelland, G. L., Soubannier, V., Chen, C. X., McBride, H. M., & Fon, E. A. (2014). Parkin and PINK1 function in a vesicular trafficking pathway regulating mitochondrial quality control. The EMBO journal, doi: https://doi.org/10.1002/embj.201385902
  5. Trempe, J. F., Chen, C. X., Grenier, K., Camacho, E. M., Kozlov, G., McPherson, P. S., Gehring, K., & Fon, E. A. (2009). SH3 domains from a subset of BAR proteins define a Ubl-binding domain and implicate parkin in synaptic ubiquitination. Molecular cell, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.molcel.2009.11.021

 

Genevieve Dorval, Operations Managergenevieve.dorval [at] mcgill.ca (Genevieve Dorval)

Operations Manager

"The Neuro offers a challenging and exciting environment where smart, positive and open-minded people all work together for the advancement of science."

"Le Neuro est un institut connu des Montréalais pour son prestige. En tant qu’employée, j’y trouve également un endroit où les gens partagent des valeurs d’entraide et d’intégrité. L’avancement de la science s’y fait dans un environnent positif et ouvert d’esprit."

Read Genevieve's biography

I started working at the Neuro in April 2000 after finishing my Masters degree in Montreal. I worked as a research assistant in a cell signalling lab directed by Dr. Phil Barker. My duties included molecular biology work like cloning and virus purification but also lab management. In early 2016, I joined Dr. Durcan’s team where I had the opportunity to become familiar with iPSC culture and CRISPR genome editing. I am now operations manager making sure all scientists in our group can run their experiments efficiently.

Selected publications

  1. Unsain N, Dorval G, Sheen JH, Barker PA. Generation and characterization of mice bearing null alleles of nradd/Nrh2. Genesis. 2016 Dec;54(12):605-612. doi: 10.1002/dvg.22989. Epub 2016 Nov 12.
  2. McLelland GL, Goiran T, Yi W, Dorval G, Chen CX, Lauinger ND, Krahn AI, Valimehr S, Rakovic A, Rouiller I, Durcan TM, Trempe JF, Fon EA. Mfn2 ubiquitination by PINK1/parkin gates the p97-dependent release of ER from mitochondria to drive mitophagy. Elife. 2018 Apr 20;7. pii: e32866. doi: 10.7554/eLife.32866.

 

Lusa Pimentel, research assistantluisa.pimentel [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Luisa Pimentel)

Project Coordinator: Outreach and training programs

"I believe that the democratization of knowledge is an essential factor in accelerating the discovery of new treatments for neurological diseases in order to benefit the largest number of patients and contribute to international scientific progress."

"Eu acredito na democratização do conhecimento como um fator essencial para acelerar a descoberta de novos tratamentos para doenças neurológicas, a fim de beneficiar o maior número possível de pacientes e contribuir para o avanço científico internacional."

View Luisa's Linkedin

Read Luisa's biography

I am originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where I discovered the fascinating field of Neuroscience. I moved to Canada to continue my studies in Alzheimer's Disease and in my 10th year in Montréal, I joined the EDDU as a Research Assistant to work in the exciting fields of iPSCs and CRISPR gene editing. In April 2021, I took a new challenge: I became EDDU's Project Coordinator for Training and Outreach Programs. In my current role, I am responsible for creating content for training and outreach initiatives at the EDDU as well as organizing training and outreach events. We offer both open-science activities that are aimed towards iPSC researchers and also ones that are designed for the general public. Working at the EDDU means having access to cutting-edge technology while being part of a collaborative team that works to further the progress on Drug Discovery. As I am a firm believer in "giving back", it is a pleasure to be part of the Open Science initiative and to be building partnerships to benefit patients worldwide. I am also very happy to be collaborating with researchers in Brazil. I am excited to be part of the future advances in Neuroscience. In order to keep on track with my goals at the EDDU, I practice Yoga daily and I meditate almost every day.

Selected publications

  1. Maussion Gilles, Rocha Cecilia, Pimentel Luisa, Beitel Lenore and Durcan Thomas (2021) Human induced pluripotent stem cell-based studies; a new route toward modeling autism spectrum disorders. In book: iPSCs for Modeling Central Nervous System Disorders (pp.37-81), doi: 10.1016/B978-0-323-85764-2.00007-7
  2. Pimentel LS; Allard S; Weinreb O; Danik M; Hanzel CE; Youdim M and Cuello AC. (2015) The Multi-target Drug M30 Shows Pro-cognitive and Anti-inflammatory Effects in a Rat Model of Alzheimer's Disease. Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.
  3. Hanzel CE; Pichet-Binette A; Pimentel LS; Iulita MF; Allard S; Ducantenzeiler A; Do Carmo S and Cuello AC (2014) Neuronal driven pre-plaque inflammation in a transgenic rat model of Alzheimer’s disease. Neurobiol Aging. doi:: 10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.03.026.
  4. Castro NG; Costa RS; Pimentel LS; Danuello, A; Romeiro NC; Viegas-Junior C; Barreiro EJ; Fraga CAM; Bolzani VS; Rocha MS. (2008) CNS-selective noncompetitive cholinesterase inhibitors derived from the naturalpiperidine alkaloid (-)-spectaline. Eur J Pharmacol.
  5. Viegas-Junior C; Bolzani VS; Pimentel LS; Castro NG; Cabral RF; Costa RS; Rocha MS; Young MCM; Barreiro EJ; Fraga CAM. (2005) New Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitors Designed from Natural Piperidine Alkaloids. Bioorg Med Chem.

 

Wolfgang Reinstch, Automation managerwolfgang.reintsch [at] mcgill.ca (Wolfgang Reintsch)

Automation Manager

"I am inspired to work at the Neuro because it is an opportunity to work together with a large and diverse team of bright people to discover new means to battle neurodegenerative diseases."

"Die Gelegenheit zusammen mit einem multidisziplinaeren Team von Wissenschaftlern neue Wege zu finden um neurodegenerative Krankheiten zu bekaempfen."

Read Wolfgang's biography

I have been part of the EDDU since 2017, where I manage the assay automation and High Content Screening platform, and oversee the discovery assays and screening group. Before joining the platform, over the course of 10 years I worked in several industrial laboratories in Montreal with a focus on automation, high content microscopy, and image analysis. I managed a light microscopy and molecular biology platform in the department of pharmacology at McGill University. I was born in Germany and received my PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology in Tübingen, Germany. My work there and later as a Post-Doc at McGill University circled around the cellular mechanisms that shape the developing embryo. During that time, I already started to develop microscopy tools and automated approaches for my research, and I have maintained a strong interest in this area ever since.

 

Julien Sirois, research assistantjulien.sirois [at] mcgill.ca (Julien Sirois)

Flow Cytometry Core Manager

"Initially, I was inspired to work at The Neuro to help the advancement of knowledge of neurological diseases. A couple of years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with MS here at The Neuro. This gave me a boost to find a cure for this disease."

"Initialement, j'ai été inspiré pour travailler au Neuro pour aider à l'avancement des connaissances sur les maladies neurologiques. Il y a quelques années, ma tante a reçu un diagnostic de SP ici au Neuro. Cela m'a donné un surplus de motivation pour trouver un traitement pour cette maladie."

View Julien's ResearchGate

Read Julien's biography

From a very young age, I always knew I wanted to be a scientist, mainly because of fictional characters such as Egon Spengler, Donatello, Gandalf, Obi-Wan and Dr. Beakmann. In 2006, I got a chance when I became an immunology and microbiology undergraduate. After, I continued my studies in the field of immunology in the laboratory of Dr. Nathalie Labrecque at Université de Montréal. I learned many techniques during this time, but mainly focused on flow cytometry. My passion was born. While I was writing my thesis, I worked for a Contract Research Organization but missed the academic side of science. After months of searching, an opportunity opened up at Experimental Therapeutics Program at the Montreal Neuro, led by Dr. Amit Bar-Or. I brought a lot of my flow cytometry expertise to my newfound new team. Unknown to me at the time, my growing curiosity of the neurology world help me create new ways to approach flow cytometry in general. In the beginning of 2019, I was promoted as the first Neuro Flow Cytometry Facility manager, which will help to make flow cytometry more accessible. Flow Cytometry is not common equipment to be used in a Neurological Institute. My ultimate goal would be to teach the fundamentals of Flow Cytometry to other researchers to use this underutilized equipment. Just by implementing flow cytometry would open the floodgates on the amount of new information we can get. Ultimately, this will definitely help patients because we are able to use their specific cells. We are very lucky to have access to patient samples, not just myself but The Neuro as a whole.

Selected publications

  1. Mohamed, N. V., Lépine, P., Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Sirois, J., Mathur, M., Reintsch, W., Beitel, L. K., Fon, E. A., & Durcan, T. M. (2021). Microfabricated disk technology: rapid scale up in midbrain organoid generation. Methods (San Diego, Calif.) Preprint available : https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2021.07.008
  2. Mohamed NV, Sirois J, Ramamurthy J, Mathur M, Lepine P, Deneault E, Maussion G, Nicouleau M, Chen CX, Abdian N, Soubannier V, Cai, E, Nami, H., Thomas, RA, Beitel, LK, Dolt, K.S., Karamchandani, J, Kunath, K., Fon, EA, Durcan, TM. (2021) Midbrain organoids with an SNCA gene triplication model key features of synucleinopathy. BrainCommPreprint available: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.12.439480v1
  3. Rostami, J., Fotaki, G., Sirois, J., Mzezewa, R., Bergström, J., Essand, M., Healy, L., & Erlandsson, A. (2020). Astrocytes have the capacity to act as antigen-presenting cells in the Parkinson's disease brain. Journal of neuroinflammation, doi: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12974-020-01776-7
  4. Sirois J, Daudelin J-F, Boulet S, Marquis M, Meloche S, Labrecque N. 2015. The atypical MAPK ERK3 controls positive selection of thymocytes. Immunology doi: https://doi.org/10.1111/imm.12433.
  5. Marquis M, Daudelin JF, Boulet S, Sirois J, Crain K, Mathien S, Turgeon B, Rousseau J, Meloche S, Labrecque N. 2014. The catalytic activity of the mitogen-activated protein kinase extracellular signal-regulated kinase 3 is required to sustain CD4+CD8+ thymocyte survival. Mol Cell Bioldoi: https://doi.org/10.1128/MCB.01701-13.

 


STAFF

Narges Abdian, research assistantnarges.abdian [at] mcgill.ca (Narges Abdian)

Research Assistant

"Parkinson's disease is the reason that I lost my father. I will make all my efforts so that nobody will lose their father to this disease."

"پارکینسون پدرم را از من گرفت من تلاش می کنم تا روزی که هیچ دختری پدرش رو به خاطر هیچ بیماری از دست نده"

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I am research assistant at EDDU since 2018. I received my PhD in molecular medicine in 2015. Currently, I am working in iPS generation group and I am responsible for iPSC generation and differentiation into different neuronal types. I am also involved in characterization, quality control, and managing data sheets of iPSC lines. In addition, I coordinate iPSC and neural induction training. It is the greatest joy and motivation for me to wake up every day with the hope to know something new in science and find a way to help people suffering from any neurodegenerative disease. I am really happy to have the opportunity to do research in neuroscience; one of the most complicated and unique systems that I have ever seen.

Selected publications

  1. Carol X-Q. Chen, Narges Abdian, Gilles Maussion, Rhalena A. Thomas, Iveta Demirova, Eddie Cai, Edward A. Fon, Thomas M. Durcan. Standardized QC workflow foranalyzing the quality and differentiation potential of human iPSCs. ISSCR Annual Meeting 26-29 June 2019, Los Angeles, USA.
  2. Abdian, N., Ghasemi-Dehkordi, P., Hashemzadeh-Chaleshtori, M., Ganji-Arjenaki, M., Doosti, A., & Amiri, B. (2015). Comparison of human dermal fibroblasts (HDFs) growth rate in culture media supplemented with or without basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF). Cell and tissue banking, 16(4), 487–495. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10561-015-9494-9
  3. Narges Abdian, Mehdi Allahbakhshian-Farsani, Somayeh Khosravi-Farsani, Payam Ghasemi-Dehkordi, Sedigheh Kazemi-Sheykhshabani , Mahboubeh Ganji-Arjenaki, Morteza Hashemzadeh-Chaleshtori. Generation of HSC-like Cells from Human Embryonic Stem Cells by Inhibition of TGF-βR2 Signaling. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci., India, 2015, Sect. B Biol. Sci. DOI 10.1007/s40011-015-0504-2.
  4. Ghasemi-Dehkordi P, Allahbakhshian-Farsani M, Abdian N, et al. Comparison between the cultures of human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) on feeder-and serum-free system (Matrigel matrix), MEF and HDF feeder cell lines. J Cell Commun Signal. 2015;9(3):233-246. doi:10.1007/s12079-015-0289-3
  5. Abdian, N., Gholami, E., Zahedifard, F., Safaee, N., & Rafati, S. (2011). Evaluation of DNA/DNA and prime-boost vaccination using LPG3 against Leishmania major infection in susceptible BALB/c mice and its antigenic properties in human leishmaniasis. Experimental parasitology, 127(3), 627–636. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.exppara.2010.12.007

 

Aeshah AlluliAeshah Alluli

Research Assistant

"Understanding mindsets is a window into exploring novel paths of neurodegenerative disorders, which might help us discover therapeutic reliefs for patients."

"يعد فهم العقليات نافذة لاستكشاف مسارات جديدة للاضطرابات التنكسية العصبية، والتي قد تساعدنا في اكتشاف وسائل الراحة العلاجية للمرضى."

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I obtained my undergraduate degree in Medical Laboratory Technology from Jazan University back home in Saudi Arabia in 2015. Following my bachelor’s degree, I got a scholarship from the Ministry of Education to study abroad and complete my graduate degree. I came to Canada in 2016 to first study English courses that would assist me in my adventure in graduate studies. I am superMom for a lovely son (Rakan). He is nine years old and has accompanied me during my adventure in Canada. I recently obtained my master’s degree from the Department of Pathology. I am so glad to be a member of McGill University, especially in the Neuro. My goal is to learn more about the most recent research areas since this will help me a lot in my future career.

 

Faïza Benaliouad, research assistant faiza.benaliouad [at] mcgill.ca (Faïza Benaliouad)

Research Assistant

"At the Neuro, everything seems possible. There is a plethora of scientists, postdoctoral fellows, and students working together to develop new assays and neurological disease models. Within the platform, challenges scare no one and there are many collaborations with internal and external partners."

"Au Neuro, tout semble possible. Il y a pléthore de scientifiques, de stagiaires postdoctoraux et d’étudiants qui travaillent en équipe afin de développer de nouveaux essais ou modèles de maladies neurologiques. Au sein de la plateforme, les défis ne font peur à personne et il y a plusieurs collaborations avec des partenaires internes, mais également externes au Neuro."

View Faïza'a PubMed

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Faïza Benaliouad has completed her PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Montreal and then continued her research on the neural circuit of reward as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Baltimore. Following her fellowship, Faïza joined the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics of McGill University to develop in vivo assays with FRET biosensors to study bias signaling of G-protein coupled receptors and to implement primary neural culture. Currently, Faïza is working within the High-Content Screening (HCS) group to develop assays with iPSCs-derived neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and NPC-derived neurons. She is also doing HCS of compound librairies.

 

Dulce Carrillo Valenzueladulce.carrillovalenzuela [at] mcgill.ca (Dulce Carrillo Valenzuela)

Research Assistant

"Being here gives me the opportunity not only of learning and getting professional development, but also the possibility that the work that I do has a positive impact in the lives of patients and in the advancement of science. "

"El cerebro siempre me ha parecido impresionante. Decidí venir al Neuro ya que quería aprender más sobre los procesos que ocurren en el cerebro y las enfermedades que lo afectan. Estar aquí me da la oportunidad no solo de aprender y desarrollarme como profesional, sino también la posibilidad de que el trabajo que haga tenga un impacto positivo en la vida de los pacientes y en el avance de la ciencia. Además, aquí estoy rodeada de personas con mucho talento que me inspiran a dar lo mejor de mí."

View Dulce's Linkedin

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I am from Mexico and arrived in Canada a few years ago to do my bachelor´s degree at McGill, majoring in Biochemistry. My journey at the EDDU started during my last summer as an undergraduate. I was in the ALS team helping with the projects being developed using motor neurons. This was my first real life research experience, and I enjoyed it so much that I decided to stay once the new semester started and work on my own project. Now I just graduated and was given the opportunity to continue here at the EDDU, this time as part of the Neurodevelopment team. I am excited to continue learning from this amazing team and look forward to what the future will bring.

 

Mathilde Chaineau, research associatemathilde.chaineau [at] mcgill.ca (Mathilde Chaineau)

Research Associate

"Working at the Neuro means the chance to work in a dynamic, collaborative, and innovative environment that benefits not only patients’ treatments and care, but also the quality of the scientific research conducted here."

"Travailler au Neuro, c’est avoir la chance de travailler dans un environnement dynamique, collaboratif et innovant, favorisant non seulement la qualité des soins et traitements offerts aux patients, mais également celle de la recherche scientifique qui y est menée."

Read Mathilde's biography

I obtained my PhD in Cell Biology from Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris, where I specialized in studying vesicular trafficking and more specifically SNARE mediated exocytosis. After completing my PhD, I moved to Montréal in 2009 to join the Neuro with the desire to focus my research on neurological disorders. My decision to move across the Atlantic Ocean was not a surprise for anyone as I fell in love with Canada quite early. Indeed, at the age of 6 or 7, I tried to convince my parents to move the entire family here! During my post-doctoral training in Dr. Peter McPherson's laboratory, I studied rab-mediated trafficking in glioblastoma and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). I then joined the Neuro-EDDU platform and the Structural Genomic Consortium (SGC) as a Research Associate in 2017. My current research is focused on developing assays using induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) -derived cells (motor neurons, astrocytes and skeletal muscle) from ALS patients to identify effective molecules and compounds to help the development of new treatments for the disease. My research also consists in modelling the disease with human cells in 2D and 3D, in order to understand how some specific pathways are affected in ALS.

Selected publications

  1. Deneault, E., Chaineau, M., Castellanos-Montiel, M. J., Flores, A. K. F., Haghi, G., Chen, C. X. Q., ... & Durcan, T. M. (2021). A streamlined CRISPR workflow to introduce mutations and generate isogenic iPSCs for modeling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. bioRxiv.
  2. Castellanos-Montiel MJ, Chaineau M, Durcan TM. (2020) The Neglected Genes of ALS: Cytoskeletal Dynamics Impact Synaptic Degeneration in ALS. Front Cell Neurosci.
  3. Soubannier V, Maussion G, Chaineau M, Sigutova V, Rouleau G, Durcan TM, Stifani (2020) Characterization of human iPSC-derived astrocytes with potential for disease modeling and drug discovery. Neurosci Lett.
  4. Semmler S, Gagné M, Garg P, Pickles SR, Baudouin C, Hamon-Keromen E, Destroismaisons L, Khalfallah Y, Chaineau M, Caron E, Bayne AN, Trempe JF, Cashman NR, Star AT, Haqqani AS, Durcan TM, Meiering EM, Robertson J, Grandvaux N, Plotkin SS, McBride HM, Vande Velde C. (2020) TNF receptor-associated factor 6 interacts with ALS-linked misfolded superoxide dismutase 1 and promotes aggregation. J Biol Chem
  5. Han C*, Chaineau M*, Chen CX, Beitel LK, Durcan TM. (2018) Open Science Meets Stem Cells: A New Drug Discovery Approach for Neurodegenerative Disorders. Front Neurosci.

* Equal contribution from authors

 

Anna Franco Flores, research assistantanna.francoflores [at] mcgill.ca (Anna Kristyna Franco Flores)

Research Assistant

"Working at The Neuro is an opportunity to learn and work with the best neuroscientists in the world in a multicultural environment."

"Una de mis mayores motivaciones para trabajar en The Neuro fue el hecho de poder trabajar a lado de los mejores neurocientíficos en el mundo y así poder entender y desarrollar tratamientos efectivos para disminuir los padecimientos de personas con enfermedades neurodegenerativas. La segunda razón es que The Neuro es una institución multicultural que te brinda una experiencia enriquecedora en todos los aspectos."

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Anna Franco is a Research Assistant at the Neuro's EDDU. She obtained her BSc. in Bioengineering in Baja California, Mexico. During her undergraduate studies, she was awarded a research internship scholarship (MITACS) at the Centre de recherche du Centre hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM) in the neuro-metabolic group. This experience enhanced her research skills and passion for understanding the inner workings of the brain. Following her dream, Anna moved to Montréal to later obtain her MSc degree in Neuroscience from the University of Montréal in 2018, while working as a trainee at CRCHUM. Her outstanding work in cellular and molecular neuroscience brought her to The Neuro in 2019, joining the team of high-content screening and automation. She currently works on ALS-specific projects along with the generation, characterization and maintenance of iPSC cells derived from ALS-patients or healthy individuals.

 

Taylor Goldsmithgoldsmith.taylor [at] gmail.com (Taylor Goldsmith)

Research Assistant

"Equal to the important and groundbreaking work that The Neuro achieves in regards to Parkinson’s, ALS, and other neurological diseases is it’s drive for Open Science. I am thrilled to work at a place that shares knowledge, collaborates, and takes the time to teach and inform others. Science should be made accessible to everyone and The Neuro really champions this principle."

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I received my Bachelor of Science from the University of Calgary in cellular and molecular biology. After an exciting internship in Spain working with 3D bioprinting, I knew that I wanted to stay in science. I went on to do my Master of Science at the University of Calgary studying cells of the male reproductive tract and learning the principles of genetic editing using CRISPR-Cas9. CRISPR has so much potential in therapeutics and personalized medicine and I wanted to apply my skills in this field. I moved to Minnesota to work at a biotech start-up that focused on gene editing. While there I developed genetically engineered human and porcine iPSCs to generate transplantable human organs in pigs, with the goal of helping to address the shortage faced by those requiring an organ transplant. I am looking forward to now bringing my knowledge and skills of gene editing and stem cells to The Neuro!

Selected publications

  1. Ruiz-Estevez M, Crane AT, Rodriguez-Villamil P, Ongaratto FL, You Y, Steevens AR, Hill C, Goldsmith T, Webster DA, Sherry L, Lim S, Denman N, Low WC, Carlson DF, Dutton JR, Steer CJ, Gafni O. Liver development is restored by blastocyst complementation of HHEX knockout in mice and pigs. Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021 May 19;12(1):292
  2. Goldsmith T, Bondareva A, Webster D, Voigt LA, Su L, Carlson DF, Dobrinski I. Targeted gene editing in porcine germ cells. In: Verna PJ, Liu J & Sumer H (eds). Springer Nature, Methods in Molecular Biology, Applications of Genome Modulation and Editing. Humana Press, NY. 2022.
  3. Shin W, Alpaugh W, Hallihan LJ, Sinha S, Crowther E, Martin GR, Scheidl-Yee T, Yang X, Yoon G, Goldsmith T, Berger ND, de Almeida LG, Dufour A, Dobrinski I, Weinfeld M, Jirik FR, Biernaskie J. PNKP is required for maintaining the integrity of progenitor cell populations in adult mice. Life Sci Alliance. 2021 Jul 5;4(9):e202000790
  4. Goldsmith TM, Sakib S, Webster D, Carlson DF, Van der Hoorn F, Dobrinski I. A reduction of primary cilia but not hedgehog signaling disrupts morphogenesis in testicular organoids. Cell Tissue Res. 2020 Apr;380(1):191-200
  5. Webster D, Bondareva A, Solin S, Goldsmith T, Su L, Lara NLEM, Carlson DF, Dobrinski I. Targeted Gene Editing in Porcine Spermatogonia. Front Genet. 2021 Jan 28;11:627673

 

Ghazal Haghi, research assistantghazal.haghi [at] mcgill.ca (Ghazal Haghi)

Research Assistant

"I believe that stem cell research is one of the best ways to find treatments for neuro-degenerative diseases. By working in this field at The Neuro I hope to take a step, even though small, towards finding a treatment for patients."

"من باور دارم که کار در زمینه سلول های بنیادی یکی از بهترین راه های پیدا کردن درمان برای بیماریهای عصبی است. با کار کردن در این زمینه و در این مرکز، امیدوارم که قدم حتی کوچکی برای کمک به بیماران برداشته شو"

Read Ghazal's biography

I started my journey as a scientist with a bachelor degree in Genetics in Iran. To continue my studies I moved to the UK. After completing a master's degree in reproductive biology and focusing mainly on human stem cells, I joined the Centre for Neurodegeneration diseases in Edinburgh as a research assistant for a few years. Moving to Canada and finding my path again was a new challenge. After working in a few companies and expanding my expertise into reproductive genetics, I have returned to academia and am excited to be working with human iPSCs again.

Selected publications

  1. Qiu J, McQueen J, Bilican B, Dando O, Magnani D, Punovuori K, Selvaraj BT, Livesey M, Haghi G, Heron S, Burr K, Patani R, Rajan R, Sheppard O, Kind PC, Simpson TI, Tybulewicz VL, Wyllie DJ, Fisher EM, Lowell S, Chandran S, Hardingham GE. (2016) Evidence for evolutionary divergence of activity-dependent gene expression in developing neurons. Elife doi: 10.7554/eLife.20337.
  2. Bilican B, Livesey MR, Haghi G, Qiu J, Burr K, Siller R, Hardingham GE, Wyllie DJ, Chandran S. PLoS One. (2014) Physiological normoxia and absence of EGF is required for the long-term propagation of anterior neural precursors from human pluripotent cells. PLOS ONE doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0085932.
  3. James OT, Livesey MR, Qiu J, Dando O, Bilican B, Haghi G, Rajan R, Burr K, Hardingham GE, Chandran S, Kind PC, Wyllie DJ. (2014) Ionotropic GABA and glycine receptor subunit composition in human pluripotent stem cell-derived excitatory cortical neurones. J Physiol. doi: 10.1113/jphysiol.2014.278994.
  4. Livesey MR, Bilican B, Qiu J, Rzechorzek NM, Haghi G, Burr K, Hardingham GE, Chandran S, Wyllie DJ. (2014) Maturation of AMPAR composition and the GABAAR reversal potential in hPSC-derived cortical neurons. J Neurosci.. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5410-13.2014.
  5. Serio A, Bilican B, Barmada SJ, Ando DM, Zhao C, Siller R, Burr K, Haghi G, Story D, Nishimura AL, Carrasco MA, Phatnani HP, Shum C, Wilmut I, Maniatis T, Shaw CE, Finkbeiner S, Chandran S. (2013) Astrocyte pathology and the absence of non-cell autonomy in an induced pluripotent stem cell model of TDP-43 proteinopathy. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1300398110.

 

Chanshuai Han, research associatechanshuai.han [at] mcgill.ca (Chanshuai Han)

Research Associate

"The Neuro gives me a sense of belonging and purpose. Working at The Neuro is not just a job, it is a joy."

"在Neuro,我找到了归属感和使命感;在这里,工作是一种快乐。"

Read Chanshuai's biography

Since the beginning of my doctoral research, my long-term goal has been to elucidate the mechanisms of neurological diseases and to seek possible cures. After completing PhD at the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, I joined The Neuro as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Peter McPherson’s lab in 2012, where my research focused on membrane trafficking and neurodevelopmental disorders. I have been working with stem cells since 2016. I joined the Neuro's EDDU as a research associate in 2017. I work in the group of Discovery Assays and Screens, and I serve as the leader of Parkinson’s disease/synucleinopathies team. I am specialized in using iPSC-derived neurons to develop assays for Parkinson’s disease-related drug discovery and using cerebral organoid cultures to model neurodevelopmental disorders.

Selected publications

  1. Han, C., Chaineau, M., Chen, C. X., Beitel, L. K., & Durcan, T. M. (2018). Open Science Meets Stem Cells: A New Drug Discovery Approach for Neurodegenerative Disorders. Frontiers in neuroscience, 12, 47. https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2018.00047
  2. Han C, Alkhater R, Froukh T, et al. Epileptic Encephalopathy Caused by Mutations in the Guanine Nucleotide Exchange Factor DENND5A. Am J Hum Genet. 2016;99(6):1359-1367. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.10.006
  3. Han C, Lu Y, Wei Y, Wu B, Liu Y, He R. D-ribosylation induces cognitive impairment through RAGE-dependent astrocytic inflammation. Cell Death Dis. 2014;5(3):e1117. Published 2014 Mar 13. doi:10.1038/cddis.2014.89
  4. Tong Z*, Han C*, Qiang M, et al. Age-related formaldehyde interferes with DNA methyltransferase function, causing memory loss in Alzheimer's disease. Neurobiol Aging. 2015;36(1):100-110. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2014.07.018. (*Equal contribution)

 

Andrea Krahn, research assistant andrea.krahnroldan [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Andrea Krahn)

Research Assistant

"Working at the first Open Science Institute in the world, where scientists like Wilder Penfield, Donald Hebb, and Brenda Milner made their most famous discoveries is truly an honour."

"Ser parte de un instituto en el cual científicos como Wilder Penfield, Donald Hebb y Brenda Milner hicieron sus descubrimientos más famosos, es realmente un honor."

Read Andrea's biography

Andrea was born in Mexico City and later raised in the small town of Niagara on the Lake. She attended Brock University, where she received her BSc in Neuroscience. She then worked as a chemical analyst at the Canada Centre for Inland Waters before moving to Montréal to pursue a master’s in Neuroscience at McGill. She is now a research assistant at the Neuro’s EDDU, working on automation of assays in iPSC-derived neurons for high content screening.

Selected publications

  1. Tang, M.Y., M. Vranas, A.I. Krahn, S. Pundlik, J.F. Trempe, and E.A. Fon. 2017. Structure-guided mutagenesis reveals a hierarchical mechanism of Parkin activation. Nat Commun. 8:14697.
  2. McLelland, G.L., T. Goiran, W. Yi, G. Dorval, C.X. Chen, N.D. Lauinger, A.I. Krahn, S. Valimehr, A. Rakovic, I. Rouiller, T.M. Durcan, J.F. Trempe, and E.A. Fon. 2018. Mfn2 ubiquitination by PINK1/parkin gates the p97-dependent release of ER from mitochondria to drive mitophagy. eLife. 7. DOI: 10.7554/eLife.32866
  3. Yi, W., E.J. MacDougall, M.Y. Tang, A.I. Krahn, Z. Gan-Or, J.F. Trempe, E.A. Fon. 2019. The landscape of Parkin variants reveals pathogenic mechanisms and therapeutic targets in Parkinson’s disease. Hum Mol Genet. DOI: 10.1093/hmg/ddz080

 

Paula Lepine, research assistant paula.lepine [at] mcgill.ca (Paula Lépine)

Research Assistant

"I feel lucky to be part of a great team of researchers coming from different backgrounds and who all work towards the same goal: finding new solutions to improve patients’ quality of life."

"J’apprécie beaucoup faire partie d’une communauté scientifique exceptionnellement riche formée par des chercheurs et chercheuses venant du monde entier."

Read Paula's biography

I received my master’s degree from Université de Montréal in Neuroscience with the focus on Neuro-Immunology. Upon graduation, I started working at CRCHUM where I expanded my knowledge of histology, cell culture, and flow cytometry. Later on, I joined the Neuro’s EDDU where I help other researchers analyze their organoids through cryosectioning. I am also a part of the organoid generation team where alongside other team members I oversee the production of numerous brain organoids.

Selected publications

  1. Mohamed NV, Sirois J, Ramamurthy J, Mathur M, Lépine P, Deneault E, Maussion G, Nicouleau M, Chen CXQ, Abdian N, Soubannier V, Cai E, Nami H, Thomas RA, Tabatabaei M, Beitel LK, Singh Dolt K, Karamchandani J, Kunath T, Fon EA, Durcan TM (2021) Midbrain organoids with an SNCA gene triplication model key features of synucleinopathy. In press in Brain Communications. Preprint available: https://doi.org/10.1101/2021.04.12.439480
  2. Imanbekova M, Suarasan S, Rojalin T, Mizenko R, Hilt S, Mathur M, Lépine P, Nicouleau M, Mohamed NV, Durcan TM, Carney RP, Voss JC, and Wachsmann-Hogiu S. (2021) Identification of amyloid beta in small extracellular vesicles via Raman spectroscopy. Nanoscale Advances, doi: http://doi.org/10.1039/D1NA00330E.
  3. Mohamed NV, Lépine P, Lacalle-Aurioles M, Sirois J, Mathur M, Reintsch W, Beitel LK, Fon EA, Durcan TM.( 2021) Microfabricated disk technology: rapid scale up in midbrain organoid generation. Methods, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2021.07.008
  4. Zhang I, Lépine P, Han C, Lacalle-Aurioles M, Chen CX, Haag R, Durcan TM, Maysinger D. (2020) Nanotherapeutic Modulation of Human Neural Cells and Glioblastoma in Organoids and Monocultures. Cells, doi: https://doi.org/10.3390/cells9112434
  5. Masaki K, Sonobe Y, Ghadge G, Pytel P, Lépine P, Pernin F, Cui QL, Antel JP, Zandee S, Prat A, Roos RP. (2020) RNA-binding protein altered expression and mislocalization in MS. Neurol Neuroimmunol Neuroinflamm. doi: https://doi.org/10.1212/NXI.0000000000000704

 

Wen Luo, research assistantwen.luo2 [at] mcgill.ca (Wen Luo)

Research Assistant

"Finding new drugs for treating neural degeneration still remains a challenge even after four decades. I am proud of working at The Neuro with my expertise to support the PD research, and to facilitate drug discovery through providing high quality proteins to our research team and collaborative partners in Canada and abroad."

"过去四十年没能找到治疗神经退行性疾病的新药,是人类的一大挑战。在这个开放平台,通过我提供的纯化蛋白,促进基础研究和加快药物开发,我就倍感荣幸。"

Read Wen's biography

Before joining The Neuro in February 2017, I had more than two decades of bench work experience in purification and characterization of proteins/enzymes of various origins (for bioconversion of lignocelluloses, indoor airborne allergen monitoring, antibody generation, and cancer treatment drug discovery), as well as in development and Taguchi-based optimization of immunoassays (for quantitation of indoor fungal allergens or cancer biomarkers using sandwich ELISA, high-throughput microarrays, etc.). Over the past twenty years, though the misfolded alpha-synuclein has been implied to play a role in Parkinson disease (PD), there are still some gaps in our knowledge and challenges in finding pharmaceuticals to treat neurodegenerative diseases. Providing high quality purified proteins of interest is my essential task and effective support for our research team and collaboration partners in fighting against PD and other diseases.

Selected publications

  1. Omid Tavassoly, Esther del Cid Pellitero, Frederique Larroquette, Eddie Cai, Rhalena A. Thomas, Vincent Soubannier, Wen Luo, Thomas M. Durcan, Edward A. Fon (2021) Pharmacological Inhibition of Brain EGFR Activation By a BBB-penetrating Inhibitor, AZD3759, Attenuates α-synuclein Pathology in a Mouse Model of α-Synuclein Propagation. Neurotherapeutics  (IF7.62), DOI: 10.1007/s13311-021-01017-6
  2. Berard, Morgan; Sheta, Razan; Malvaut, Sarah; Rodriguez-Aller, Raquel; Teixeira, Maxime; Idi, Walid; Turmel, Roxanne; Alpaugh, Melanie; Dubois, Marilyn; Dahmene, Manel; Salesse, Charleen; Lamontagne-Proulx, Jérôme; St-Pierre, Marie-Kim; Tavassoly, Omid; Luo, Wen; Del Cid-Pellitero, Esther; Qazi, Raza; Jeong, Jae-Woong; Durcan, Thomas M.; Vallières, Luc; Tremblay, Marie-Eve; Soulet, Denis; Lévesque, Martin; Cicchetti, Francesca; Fon, Edward A.; Saghatelyan, Armen; Oueslati, Abid. (2021) Optogenetic-Mediated Spatiotemporal Control of α-Synuclein Aggregation Mimics Lewy Body Formation and Triggers Neurodegeneration. Cell Reports http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3854707
  3. Wen Luo, Mateu Pla-Roca and David Juncker. (2011) Taguchi design-based optimization of sandwich immunoassay microarrays for detecting breast cancer biomarkers. Analytical Chemistry. 83:5767-5774.
  4. Wen Luo, Aaron M. Wilson and J. David Miller (2010) Characterization of a 52 kDa exoantigen of Penicillium chrysogenum and monoclonal antibodies suitable for its detection. Mycopathologia 169:15-26.
  5. Aaron M. Wilson, Wen Luo and J. David Miller (2009) Using human sera to identify a 52-kDa exoantigen of Penicillium chrysogenum and implications of polyphasic taxonomy of anamorphic Ascomycetes in the study of antigenic proteins. Mycopathologia 168:213-226.

 

Gilles Maussion, research associategilles.maussion [at] mcgill.ca (Gilles Maussion)

Research Associate

"I am convinced that combining clinical and fundamental research as we do at The Neuro will allow researchers to improve our current understanding of neurological and psychiatric diseases toward better healthcare and treatments for patients."

"Travaillant dans un lieu qui combinent des services de soins et laboratoires de recherche, j’espère faire avancer notre compréhension des maladies du neurodéveloppement afin que l’on puisse proposer aux patients et à leur proches un traitement et une meilleure qualité de vie."

View Gilles's PubMed

Read Gilles's biography

Over the past fifteen years, I have been working on understanding the cellular and molecular causes of neurological and psychiatric diseases. In 2008, at the University René Descartes, Paris, France, I completed a PhD focused on (i) the molecular deregulation observed in post-mortem brain tissue from patients diagnosed with Autistic Spectrum Disorders and (ii) the subcellular mechanisms that are potentially affected by this deregulation. In 2009, I joined the McGill Group for Suicide Studies as a postdoctoral fellow, where I analyzed epigenetic modifications, microRNA and non-coding RNA expression potentially related to suicidal behaviours using post-mortem brain samples. Since January 2012, through my research activity in the McGill Psychiatric Genetics Group, I became interested in the field of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) as a tool to elucidate the molecular causes of developmental disorders. Using embryonically derived stem cells, I studied events occurring early in life that are required for proper differentiation into neurons. Since January 2017, as a research associate at the Neuro's Early Drug Discovery Unit, I have managed projects related to intellectual disabilities, while specializing in generating and characterizing iPSC-derived neurons and astrocytes to further investigate neurodevelopmental disease.

Selected publications

  1. Maussion, G*., Thomas, RA.*, Demirova, I., Gu, G., Cai, E., Chen, C. X., Abdian, N., Strauss, T., Kelaï, S., Nauleau-Javaudin, A., Beitel, L. K., Ramoz, N., Gorwood, P., Durcan, T. M. Auto-qPCR; a python-based web app for automated and reproducible analysis of qPCR data. Sci Rep 11, 21293 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99727-6
  2. Bell S*, Maussion G*, Jefri M, Peng H, Theroux JF, Silveira H, Soubannier V, Wu H, Hu P, Galat E, Torres-Platas SG, Boudreau-Pinsonneault C, O'Leary LA, Galat V, Turecki G, Durcan TM, Fon EA, Mechawar N, Ernst C (2018) Disruption of GRIN2B Impairs Differentiation in Human Neurons. Stem Cell Reports 11:183-196.
  3. Maussion G*, Diallo AB*, Gigek CO, Chen ES, Crapper L, Theroux JF, Chen GG, Vasuta C, Ernst C (2015) Investigation of genes important in neurodevelopment disorders in adult human brain. Hum Genet 134:1037-1053.
  4. Maussion G, Yang J, Suderman M, Diallo A, Nagy C, Arnovitz M, Mechawar N, Turecki G (2014) Functional DNA methylation in a transcript specific 3'UTR region of TrkB associates with suicide. Epigenetics 9:1061-1070.
  5. Labonte B, Suderman M, Maussion G, Navaro L, Yerko V, Mahar I, Bureau A, Mechawar N, Szyf M, Meaney MJ, Turecki G (2012) Genome-wide epigenetic regulation by early-life trauma. Arch Gen Psychiatry 69:722-731.

*These authors contributed equally.

 

Barbara Morquette, research associatebarbara.morquette [at] mcgill.ca (Barbara Morquette)

Research Associate

"As far as I can remember, I have always been fascinated by the intricate beauty of the nervous system. The Neuro is an institution involving researchers and physicians working toward finding solutions to neurological diseases, and it aims to rapidly make new fundamental discoveries available to those who need them the most: patients. The Neuro is a place where I can continue doing what I love most: being part of an interdisciplinary team of experts, working with cutting-edge technologies, and contributing to translational research that will help shed light on neurological disease mechanisms, and ultimately, improve the health of patients."

Read Barbara's biography

Growing up in a medical environment, I became aware of health issues and of the necessity of new discoveries to continually improve our living conditions and those of our loved ones facing diseases. From this, the desire to pursue a career in basic research made its way. Originally from Haiti, I started my biomedical studies at the Université de Montréal. After my master’s degree in the field of osteoarthritis (OA), I pursued my PhD in Neuroscience at the CR-CHUM under the supervision of Dr. Adriana Di Polo. There, I studied the molecular mechanisms underlying morphological changes of acutely injured adult retinal neurons. Subsequently, I continued my research as a post-doctoral fellow at The Neuro in the lab of Dr. Alyson Fournier where I sought to understand the influence of the inflammation on neurodegeneration and axonal repair in Multiple Sclerosis. I am currently continuing my journey in neuroscience as a Research Associate at the EDDU. Here, I hope to contribute in deciphering the mechanisms underlying neurodevelopmental disorders by using cutting edge human-derived organoids (mini-brains).

Selected publications

  1. Morquette B*, Juźwik CA*, Drake SS, Charabati M, Zhang Y, Lécuyer MA, Galloway DA, Dumas A, de Faria Junior O, Paradis-Isler N, Bueno M, Rambaldi I, Zandee S, Moore C, Bar-Or A, Vallières L, Prat A, Fournier AE. MicroRNA-223 protects neurons from degeneration in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. Brain. 2019 Oct 1;142(10):2979-2995. * co-first authors
  2. Girouard MP, Simas T, Hua L, Morquette B, Khazaei MR, Unsain N, Johnstone AD, Rambaldi I, Sanz RL, Di Raddo ME, Gamage KK, Yong Y, Willis DE, Verge VMK, Barker PA, Deppmann C, Fournier AE. Collapsing Response Mediator Protein 4 (CRMP4) Facilitates Wallerian Degeneration and Axon Regeneration following Sciatic Nerve Injury. eNeuro. 2020 Mar 2;7(2):ENEURO.0479-19.2020.
  3. Juźwik CA, Drake S, Lécuyer MA, Johnson RM, Morquette B, Zhang Y, Charabati M, Sagan SM4, Bar-Or A, Prat A, Fournier AE. Neuronal microRNA regulation in Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis. Sci Rep. 2018 Sep 7;8(1):13437
  4. Andrew Kaplan, Barbara Morquette, Antje Kroner, SooYuen Leong, Carolin Madwar, Sara L. Banerjee, Jack Antel, Nicolas Bisson, Samuel David, Alyson E. Fournier. Small molecule stabilization of 14-3-3 protein-protein interactions stimulate axon regeneration. Neuron. 2017 Mar 8;93(5):1082-1093
  5. Morquette B, Morquette P, Agostinone J, Feinstein E, McKinney AR, Kolta A, Di Polo A, (2015). REDD2-Mediated Inhibition of mTORC1 Promotes Dendrite Retraction Induced by Axonal Injury in Vivo. Cell death and differentiation (Nature publishing group) Apr;22 (4):612-25

 

Emmanuelle Nguyen-Renou, research assistant​​​​​emmanuelle.nguyen-renou [at] mcgill.ca (Emmanuelle Nguyen-Renou)

Research Assistant

"Working at The Neuro is a privilege because we work directly with biological material coming from healthy or sick patients."

"Travailler au Neuro est un privilege car nous travaillons directement avec du materiel biologique provenant des patients sains ou malades."

Read Emmanuelle's biography

I have a master’s degree of Cellular Biology (Immnuology) and a postgraduate degree of Biology and Pharmacology of Aging. I start to work in Paris in pharmaceutical industry (SANOFI) for 10 years in the neurodegenerative disease service where I studied ischemia and trauma in rat models, then in the Oncology service working on telomerase and cell senescence. I moved to Marseille (France) for public institute (Inserm) where I worked for 1 year on Huntington's disease and RNA interference. I left France for Singapore where I worked for 5 years in MBI (Mechanobiology institute) in the regenerative nanomedicine service first, and then in cell adhesion and mechanics service to study dynamics of epithelial cell-cell junctions. I joined The Neuro in Montreal (Canada) in March 2017 in the neurodegenerative disorders service to work on Parkinson’s disease.

Selected publications

  1. Yian Yang, Emmanuelle Nguyen, Gautham Hari Narayana Sankara Narayana, Melina Heuzé, René-Marc Mège, Benoit Ladoux, Michael P. Sheetz (2021) Local Contractions Regulate E-Cadherin Adhesions, Rigidity Sensing and Epithelial Cell Sorting BioRxiv. Preprint available: https://doi.org/10.1101/318642
  2. Plestant C, Strale PO, Seddiki R, Nguyen E, Ladoux B, Mège RM. (2014) Adhesive interactions of N-cadherin limit the recruitment of microtubules to cell-cell contacts through organization of actomyosin. J Cell Sci.
  3. Riou J.F., Guittat L., Mailliet P., Laoui A., Renou E., Petitgenet O., Megrin-Chanet F., Helene C. and Mergny J.L. (2002) Cell senescence and telomere shortening induced by a new series of G-quadruplex DNA ligands. PNAS.
  4. Wahl F., Renou E., Mary V., and Stutzmann J-M. (1997) Riluzole reduces brain lesions and improves neurological function in rats after a traumatic brain injury. Brain Res.

 

Michael Nicouleau, Research assistantmichael.nicouleau [at] mcgill.ca (Michael Nicouleau)

Technician

"The Neuro is an exceptional place allowing interaction between patients, physicians, and researchers. Such synergy between research and clinical practice help to better understand diseases and lead to the emergence of new treatments."

"The Neuro est un lieu exceptionnel qui permet une interaction entre patients, médecins et chercheurs. Cette synergie entre recherche et clinique favorise la compréhension des maladies et l’émergence de nouveau traitements."

Read Michael's biography

I am a Research Assistant whose main activity is to help on the genetic side such as creating, validating ,and characterizing new cell lines; this is the first step for the generation of new models to study neurodegenerative disorders. Before starting at The Neuro, I spent 9 years in several research groups in France and in the US where I studied distinct human diseases, from nephrology to ophthalmology and cerebellar malformations. Using a recent high-throughput sequencing approach, I participated in the identification and characterization of novel genes and mutations associated with rare genetic diseases. Over the past 5 years, I have focused on brain pathologies using multiple models such as mouse, human stem cells, and iPSC-derived 3D-organoids. When not travelling, I enjoy going on hikes, riding motorcycles, and dreaming of my next adventure.

Selected publications

  1. Chemin J, Siquier-Pernet K, Nicouleau M, et al. De novo mutation screening in childhood-onset cerebellar atrophy identifies gain-of-function mutations in the CACNA1G calcium channel gene. Brain. 2018;141(7):1998-2013. doi:10.1093/brain/awy145
  2. Medina-Cano, D., Ucuncu, E., Nguyen, L. S., Nicouleau, M., Lipecka, J., Bizot, J. C., Thiel, C., Foulquier, F., Lefort, N., Faivre-Sarrailh, C., Colleaux, L., Guerrera, I. C., & Cantagrel, V. (2018). High N-glycan multiplicity is critical for neuronal adhesion and sensitizes the developing cerebellum to N-glycosylation defect. eLife, 7, e38309. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.38309
  3. Stessman, Holly A F et al. “Disruption of POGZ Is Associated with Intellectual Disability and Autism Spectrum Disorders.” American journal of human genetics vol. 98,3 (2016): 541-552. doi:10.1016/j.ajhg.2016.02.004
  4. Megahed H, Nicouleau M, Barcia G, et al. Utility of whole exome sequencing for the early diagnosis of pediatric-onset cerebellar atrophy associated with developmental delay in an inbred population. Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2016;11(1):57. Published 2016 May 4. doi:10.1186/s13023-016-0436-9
  5. Perrault, I., Hanein, S., Zanlonghi, X., Serre, V., Nicouleau, M., Defoort-Delhemmes, S., Delphin, N., Fares-Taie, L., Gerber, S., Xerri, O., Edelson, C., Goldenberg, A., Duncombe, A., Le Meur, G., Hamel, C., Silva, E., Nitschke, P., Calvas, P., Munnich, A., Roche, O., … Rozet, J. M. (2012). Mutations in NMNAT1 cause Leber congenital amaurosis with early-onset severe macular and optic atrophy. Nature genetics, 44(9), 975–977. https://doi.org/10.1038/ng.2357

 

Vanessa Omana, research assistantvanessa.omana [at] mcgill.ca (Vanessa Omana)

Research Assistant

"What I love about research is the process of working towards solving a problem and learning unexpected things along the way."

"Lo que me encanta de la investigacion es trabajar para resolver un problema y en el camino aprender cosas inesperadas."

View Vanessa's Linkedin and PubMed

Read Vanessa's biography

My scientific journey started with studying spinal cord injuries and antibody treatments for system inflammation. I worked as a Research Technician at the Krembil Research Institute, University Health Network, in Toronto for 8 years, focusing on the assessment of novel therapeutics and diagnostics for Parkinson’s disease in rodents and non-human primate models. I have an M.Sc. in Immunology from Queen's University, where I studied predictive markers of atopic status in umbilical cord blood. I joined the EDDU organoids team in May 2021.

Selected publications

  1. Koprich JB, Johnston TH, Reyes G, Omana V, Brotchie JM. (2016). Towards a Non-Human Primate Model of Alpha-Synucleinopathy for Development of Therapeutics for Parkinson's Disease: Optimization of AAV1/2 Delivery Parameters to Drive Sustained Expression of Alpha Synuclein and Dopaminergic Degeneration in Macaque. PLoS One. 2016 Nov 30;11(11).
  2. Bao, F, Shultz, SR, Hepburn, JD, Omana, V, Weaver, LC, Cain, DP, Brown, A. (2012). A CD11d monoclonal antibody treatment reduces tissue injury and improves neurological outcome after fluid percussion brain injury in rats. J. Neurotrauma. 2012 Sep 20;29(14):2375-92.
  3. Bao, F, Omana, V, Brown, A, Weaver, LC. (2012). The systemic inflammatory response after spinal cord injury in the rat is decreased by alpha4beta1 integrin blockade. J. Neurotrauma. 2012 May 20;29(8):1626-37.
  4. Shultz, SR, Bao, F, Omana, V, Chiu, C, Brown, A, Cain, DP. (2012). Repeated mild lateral fluid percussion brain injury in the rat causes cumulative long-term behavioral impairments, neuroinflammation, and cortical loss in an animal model of repeated concussion. J. Neurotrauma. 2012 Jan 20;29(2):281-94.
  5. Bao, F, Brown, A, Dekaban, GA, Omana, V, Weaver, LC. (2011). CD11d integrin blockade reduces the systemic inflammatory response syndrome after spinal cord injury. Exp. Neurol. 2011 Oct;231(2):272-83.

 

Valerio Piscopo, research associatevalerio.piscopo [at] mcgill.ca (Valerio Piscopo)

Research Associate

"I am proud of being a part of one of the world’s leading centres in Neuroscience. This institute is a stimulating environment and the people working here are a big family."

"Il cervello umano è una macchina affascinante e comprendere il suo funzionamento è di vitale importanza per l’avanzamento della Scienza. Il Neuro è senza dubbio uno dei principali centri a livello mondiale di Neuroscienze e per questo motivo sono fiero di esserne parte."

View Valerio's ResearchGate

Read Valerio's biography

I graduated in Naples, Italy in Medical Biotechnology and immediately after I joined the Physiology program of the PhD course in Applied Biology, working at the National Research Council where I became interested in Developmental Neurobiology that remains my main focus. After my PhD, I moved to Montreal, and started work at the MNI where I have been working on Glioblastoma stem cell biology with Dr. Stefano Stifani. Finally, I joined the Neuro's EDDU where I am mainly focusing on the differentiation of oligodendrocytes from human iPSCs.

Selected publications

  1. Kulasekaran G., Chaineau M., Piscopo V., Verginelli F., Fotouhi M., Girard M., Tang Y., Dali R., Lo R., Stifani S. and McPherson P.(2021) An Arf/Rab cascade controls the growth and invasiveness of glioblastoma J Cell Biol. doi: 10.1083/jcb.202004229.
  2. Rosmaninho P., Mükusch S., Piscopo V., Teixeira V., Raposo A.A., Warta R., Bennewitz R., Tang Y., Herold-Mende C., Stifani S., Momma S., Castro D.S. (2018) Zeb1 potentiates genome-wide gene transcription with Lef1 to promote glioblastoma cell invasion. EMBO Journal 10.15252/embj.201797115
  3. Bellenchi G., Volpicelli F., Piscopo V., Perrone-Capano C. and di Porzio U. (2012) Adult neural stem cells: an endogenous tool to repair brain injury? Journal of Neurochemistry (2012) 10.1111/jnc. 1208

 

Cecilia Rocha, research associatececilia.rocha [at] mcgill.ca (Cecilia Rocha)

Research Associate

"I am fascinated by the Nervous System, so it is great to be able to work at the Neuro where I have the opportunity to collaborate with neuroscientists from all over the globe offering expertise and learning new techniques to produce groundbreaking work."

"Estudar o Sistema Nervoso sempre me fascinou, entao é uma enorme satisfacao poder trabalhar no Neuro com pesquisadores de todas as partes do mundo onde eu posso contribuir com a minha experiencia e continuar aprendendo novas tecnicas produzindo ciencia de alta qualidade."

View Cecilia's Linkedin

Read Cecilia's biography

I am Brazilian born in Rio de Janeiro and raised just across the bridge in the most beautiful city in the world, Niteroi. I always loved science and travelling so I naturally moved to the second most pretty city in the world, Paris, to do my PhD studying cellular cytoskeleton alterations in cancer cells. But I was always very intrigued by neuronal morphology and freezing temperatures, so I came to Montréal to work on brain development research and enjoy the real winter wonderland.

Selected publications

  1. Maussion et al., 2019. Patient-Derived Stem Cells, Another in vitro Model, or the Missing Link Toward Novel Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders? Front. Pediatri: 6;7:225.
  2. Bosch Grau M et al., 2017. Alterations in the balance of tubulin glycylation and glutamylation in photoreceptors leads to retinal degeneration. J Cell Sci: 30: 938-949.
  3. Wieczorek M et al., 2016. The synthetic diazonamide DZ-2384 has distinct effects on microtubule curvature and dynamics without neurotoxicity. Sci Transl Med: 365ra159
  4. Rocha C et al., 2014. Tubulin glycylases are required for primary cilia, control of cellular proliferation and tumor development in colon. EMBO: 33: 2247-2250.
  5. Tort et al., 2014. The cytosolic carboxypeptidase family is dedicated to posttranslational removal of acidic amino acids. Mol Cell Biol: 25(19):3017-27.

 

Irina Shlaifer, Research assistantirina.shlaifer [at] mcgill.ca (Irina Shlaifer)

Technician

"I am very pleased and proud to be part of The Neuro research team that provides an excellent opportunity to explore brain’s mysterious nature and helps accelerate the discovery of therapies to treat patients suffering from devastating neurological diseases."

"אני מאוד שמחה וגאה להיות חלק מהצוות מדעי של הנוירו אשר מביא הזדמנות מצוינת לחקור את הטבע המסתורי של המוח ועוזר לקדם את גילוי התרפיות כדי לטפל בחולים אשר סובלים ממחלות נוירולוגיות קשות"

Read Irina's biography

Born in Ukraine and raised in a family of a physician and a science teacher, I always had a passion for biomedical science. Following the Chernobyl nuclear accident that occurred near my hometown, I moved to Israel where I completed my Bachelor in Medical Laboratory Sciences and MSc in Biotechnology at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, focusing on delineating the structure and function of brain glutamate transporters. After working for several years in medical genetics and biotechnology research and development laboratories, I decided to realize my dream and immigrate to Canada together with my spouse and my two children. After completing my PhD in Biochemistry at Concordia University, I joined The Neuro in 2018. At the EDDU I oversee the generation of CRISPR knockout cell lines and the antibody validation for the Amyloid Lateral Sclerosis reproducible antibody platform (ALS-RAP). This exciting work will allow us to combat neurodegenerative diseases and may bring a positive change to our world. Besides science, I love mother nature and love to garden colourful flowers and berries and to explore beautiful places around the globe. I also like music and am singing with the Neuro Cosgrove choir.

Selected publications

  1. E. Deneault, M. Chaineau, M. Nicouleau, M. José Castellanos Montiel, A. Kristyna Franco Flores, G. Haghi, C. X-Q Chen, N. Abdian, I. Shlaifer, L.K. Beitel, T.M. Durcan. A streamlined CRISPR workflow to introduce mutations and generate isogenic iPSCs for modeling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Methods (2021), doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2021.09.002
  2. I. Shlaifer, P. K. Quashie, H. Y. Kim and J. L. Turnbull Biochemical Characterization of TyrA Enzymes From Ignicoccus hospitalis and Haemophilus influenzae: A comparative study of the bifunctional and monofunctional dehydrogenase forms. Biochim. Biophys. Acta (2017) 1856:312-320.
  3. I. Shlaifer and J. L. Turnbull Characterization of Two Key Enzymes for Aromatic Amino Acid Biosynthesis in Symbiotic Archaea. Extremophiles (2016) 20:503-514.
  4. I. Shlaifer and B. I. Kanner Conformationally Sensitive Reactivity to Permeant Sulfhydryl Reagents of Cysteine Residues Engineered into Helical Hairpin 1 of the Glutamate Transporter GLT-1. Mol. Pharmacol. (2007) 71:1341-1348.

 

Vincent Soubanner, research associatevincent.soubannier [at] mcgill.ca (Vincent Soubannier)

Research Associate

"Working at The Neuro gives me the chance to work in an environment of excellence and to use cutting-edge technology to study human diseases. The institute is a perfect place for providing a multitude of learning opportunities, as well as mentoring and coaching others."

"Travailler au Neuro me donne la chance de travailler dans un environnement d'excellence et d'utiliser une technologie de pointe afin d’étudier des maladies humaines. L'institut est un lieu idéal pour offrir une multitude de possibilités d'apprentissage, ainsi que pour enseigner et encadrer les autres."

View Vincent's Linkedin

Read Vincent's biography

I studied biochemistry at University of Bordeaux and obtained a Ph.D. in biological and Medical sciences in 2002, studying the structure of the mitochondrial ATP synthase where we demonstrated the oligomerization of the enzyme drives the tubulation of inner membranes. I then worked as a post-doc in Munich, at the Butenandt Institute, where I identified the first molecular component of cristae junctions: structures present at the opening of the tubular shape of mitochondrial inner membrane. In 2006, I emigrated in Canada, in Ottawa, working as a post-doc on the newly discovered mitochondrial derived vesicles: a new cell pathway that we showed to be possibly implicated in Parkinson’s disease. This study raised my interest for the field of neuroscience and in 2011, I moved to Montreal and started to work as a research associate at the Montreal Neurological Institute. I notably contributed in clarifying the mechanisms that control normal mammalian nervous system development and today, I am involved in a large effort that aim to model Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) using neural cells derived from human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs).

Selected publications

  1. Methot L, Soubannier V, Hermann R, Campos E, Li S, Stifani S. Nuclear factor-kappaB regulates multiple steps of gliogenesis in the developing murine cerebral cortex. Glia. 2018 Dec;66(12):2659-2672.
  2. Soubannier V, Stifani S. Biomedicines. NF-κB Signalling in Glioblastoma. 2017 Jun 9;5(2). pii: E29. doi: 10.3390/biomedicines5020029. Review.
  3. McLelland GL, Soubannier V, Chen CX, McBride HM, Fon EA. Parkin and PINK1 function in a vesicular trafficking pathway regulating mitochondrial quality control. EMBO J. 2014 Feb 18;33(4):282-95.
  4. Soubannier V, McLelland GL, Zunino R, Braschi E, Rippstein P, Fon EA, McBride HM. A vesicular transport pathway shuttles cargo from mitochondria to lysosomes. Curr Biol. 2012 Jan 24;22(2):135-41. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2011.11.057. Epub 2012 Jan 5
  5. Soubannier V, Rippstein P, Kaufman BA, Shoubridge EA, McBride HM. Reconstitution of mitochondria derived vesicle formation demonstrates selective enrichment of oxidized cargo. PLoS One. 2012;7(12):e52830

 

Zhipeng You, research assistantzhipeng.you [at] mcgill.ca (Zhipeng You)

Research Associate

"The Neuro is one of the world’s best institutions for research. The inclusion, diversity, fairness, respect, and teamwork make me happy to work here."

"Neuro是世界上最好的研究机构之一,他的包容,多样性,公平,尊重和团队合作让我在这里工作愉快."

Read Zhipeng's biography

I have worked as a research associate since 2016 at the Neuro's EDDU and participated in setting up the cellular biobank here. My main responsibility is to provide various immortal cell lines (iPSC cell lines and cancer cell lines), in which disease relevant genes have been edited with the CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing tool. Meanwhile, I also generate iPSC cell lines from patients and healthy individuals for the cellular biobank using iPSC reprogramming methods.

Selected publications

  1. You Z, Al Kindi H, Abdul-Karim A, Barrette PO, Schwertani A. Blocking the urotensin II receptor pathway ameliorates the metabolic syndrome and improves cardiac function in obese mice. FASEB J. 2014 Mar;28(3):1210-20
  2. You Z, Liao M, Zhang H, Yang H, Pan X, Houghton JE, Sui SF, Tai PC. Phospholipids induce conformational changes of SecA to form membrane-specific domains: AFM structures and implication on protein-conducting channels. PLoS One. 2013 Aug 16;8
  3. You Z, Genest J Jr, Barrette PO, Hafiane A, Behm DJ, D'Orleans-Juste P, Schwertani AG. Genetic and pharmacological manipulation of urotensin II ameliorate the metabolic and atherosclerosis sequalae in mice. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2012 Aug;32(8)
  4. Armstrong GA, Liao M, You Z, Lissouba A, Chen BE, Drapeau P. Homology Directed Knockin of Point Mutations in the Zebrafish tardbp and fus Genes in ALS Using the CRISPR/Cas9 System. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 1;11(3)

 


TRAINEES

Rhalena Thomas, Postdoctoral fellowrhalena.thomas [at] mcgill.ca (Rhalena Thomas)

Post-Doctoral Fellow

"To make progress in a world of ever-increasing scientific specialization, we need to increase our efforts towards open collaboration and the Neuro provides a stage for those collaborations to take place."

View Rhalena's Github

Read Rhalena's biography

I earned my BSc in Molecular Biology and Genetics from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 2004. I studied regulation of gene expression in yeast for my honours project at the University of Guelph with Dr. Joseph Yankulov. After travelling to Asia and working as an English teacher, I moved to Montreal and started to pursue an MSc. in Neuroscience at McGill University, working under the supervision of Dr. Philip Barker. I transferred to the PhD program and completed my PhD in Neuroscience in 2016. My thesis focused on two proteins, LGI1 and NgR1 and their functions in neuronal development and degeneration and their genetic links to epilepsy and schizophrenia. I joined Dr. Maurice Chacron in the McGill Department of Physiology as a postdoctoral researcher to work on systems neuroscience in 2017, gaining expertise in computational analysis. I joined Dr. Edward Fon’s group at the Neuro in 2018 to use a combination of computational analysis of biological systems, genetics and cell signalling to study Parkinson’s Disease. I am currently working on analyzing gene expression profiles of individual cells from human 3D tissue models (“mini-brains”) of Parkinson’s disease.

Selected publications

  1. Thomas, RA.*, Maussion, G.*, Demirova, I., Gu, G., Cai, E., Chen, C. X., Abdian, N., Strauss, T., Kelaï, S., Nauleau-Javaudin, A., Beitel, L. K., Ramoz, N., Gorwood, P., Durcan, T. M. Auto-qPCR; a python-based web app for automated and reproducible analysis of qPCR data. Sci Rep 11, 21293 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-99727-6
  2. Mohamed NV, Sirois J, Ramamurthy J, Mathur M, Lepine P, Deneault E, Maussion G, Nicouleau M, Chen CX, Abdian N, Soubannier V, Cai, E, Nami, H., Thomas, RA, Beitel, LK, Dolt, K.S., Karamchandani, J, Kunath, K., Fon, EA, Durcan, TM. (2021) Midbrain organoids with an SNCA gene triplication model key features of synucleinopathy. BrainComm. Preprint available: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.12.439480v1
  3. Chen CX, Abdian N, Maussion G, Thomas RA, Demirova I, Cai E, Tabatabaei M, Beitel LK, Karamchandani J, Fon EA, Durcan TM.A Multistep Workflow to Evaluate Newly Generated iPSCs and Their Ability to Generate Different Cell Types. (2021) Methods Protocols.
  4. Thomas RA, Metzen MG, Chacron MJ. Weakly electric fish distinguish between envelope stimuli arising from different behavioral contexts. (2018) Journal of Experimental Biology.
  5. Thomas RA, Gibon J, Chen CX, Chierzi S, Soubannier VG, Baulac S, Séguéla P, Murai K, Barker PA. (2018) The Nogo receptor ligand LGI1 regulates synapse number and synaptic activity in hippocampal and cortical neurons. Eneuro.

 

Marie-France Dorion, Graduate studentmarie-france.dorion [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Marie-France Dorion)

Graduate Student

"The Neuro promotes interlaboratory collaborations and is an excellent place for graduate students like myself to grow."

"Le Neuro est un lieu qui promeut la collaboration scientifique et qui offre un excellent soutien à l’apprentissage. Je me vois progresser à chaque jour."

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I joined the Early Drug Discovery Unit and the Neuroimmunology Unit as a PhD student in September 2019. I completed my MSc studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences at Université de Montréal. Now under the supervision of Dr. Durcan and Dr. Healy, my PhD project focuses on the role of microglia in Parkinson’s disease. Using iPSC-derived microglia, I hope that I can contribute to better understanding the role of neuroinflammation in Parkinson’s disease and to finding promising therapeutic targets.

 

Anelya Gandy, research assistantAnelya.gandy [at] mcgill.ca (Anelya Gandy)

Graduate Student

"It’s a unique learning opportunity to work in a research-driven environment, use state-of-the-art techniques, and develop valuable skills to collaboratively investigate disease mechanisms and drug discovery tools for neurodegenerative diseases. I am inspired to grow professionally and contribute to the EDDU team, which I thank for the training and support."

"Это уникальная возможность учиться и работать в среде научного исследования, использовать современные технологии, и развить ценные навыки для совместного исследования механизмов болезни и поиска новых методов лечения нейродегенеративных заболеваний. Я вдохновлена возможностью расти профессионально и внести свой вклад в нашу научную команду, которую я благодарю за обучение и поддержку."

View Aneyla's Linkedin

Read Anelya's biography

As a graduate from McMaster University with B.Sc. in Biology and Psychology, Neuroscience & Behavior, I decided to pursue my interest in the application of stem cell technologies in modelling and drug discovery for neurodegenerative diseases at the Neuro. I am very excited to join the EDDU team as a research assistant at Dr. Durcan’s lab and hope to continue my professional journey as an M.Sc. IPN student in January 2022.

 

David Kalaydjian, Graduate studentdavid.kalaydjian [at] mail.mcgill.ca (David Kalaydjian)

Graduate Student

"The Neuro is a world-renowned research institute with countless people taking part in a common pursuit. Science, in general, is all about the search to know the unknown and I feel as if neuroscience research is the last frontier, and we know so little about it. I want to be a part of a future where we know more, and I hope to have the privilege of being able to continue my journey far past a Graduate Degree and pursue a PhD in order to one day possibly have a lab to myself to inspire and teach other students like me or take my skills and experience into the private sector to continue the amazing work they provide."

Read David's biography

I was born and raised right here in Montréal. My undergraduate studies were done at McGill in Pharmacology & Therapeutics during which time I had a research project at The Neuro with the main goal of developing a method to use suicide gene therapy for chordoma, a rare type of tumour that forms along the spinal cord. Currently, I am a graduate student in the IPN program at McGill. My project focuses on the role of inflammation in Parkinson’s Disease and its link with the gut-brain axis through the use of iPSC-derived midbrain organoids and probiotic-derived secretomes. I’ve loved the sciences for as long as I could remember. For this, I have my parents to thank – who are in the medical field – and the innate nature of science itself, as its purpose is to understand how the world works whether we can see it or not. The building blocks to advance research and science will be the cooperation between different colleagues and teams and this is what Open Science is all about. In my spare time, I enjoy watching and/or playing any and all sports, studying chess strategy, and reading.

 

Sarah Lepine, Graduate studentsarah.lepine2 [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Sarah Lépine)

Graduate Student

"Important questions remain unresolved in the field of neuroscience, and filling these knowledge gaps could significantly improve medical practice and patient care. At The Neuro, I feel my work could make a real difference in the lives of patients."

"De grandes questions demeurent non résolues dans le domaine des neurosciences et combler ces lacunes pourra significativement améliorer la pratique médicale. Au Neuro, je sens que mon travail pourrait faire une réelle différence dans la vie des patients."

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Having a career in research has been a dream for me ever since high school. I started my training in the Laboratory Technology program of the CEGEP of Saint-Hyacinthe. I then completed an undergraduate degree in cellular and molecular biology at the University of Sherbrooke and had to opportunity to complete multiple paid internships in various research fields. I am currently studying medicine and neuroscience in McGill’s MDCM & PhD joint program to become a clinician scientist. I first joined the Neuro's EDDU as a summer student and I am now pursuing the PhD portion of my program with the group. My project involves using cellular models and biofluidic devices to study neurodegenerative diseases.

Selected publications

  1. Michell-Robinson, M.A., Lépine, S. (2021, January 14). Reader Response: Association of Age at Onset and First Symptoms with Disease Progression in Patients with Metachromatic Leukodystrophy [Letter to the Editor]. Neurology, 96(2):e255-e266. Comment URL: https://n.neurology.org/content/96/2/e255
  2. Hintermayer, M.*, Lépine, S.*, Chen, O.* (2021) Chapter 5 : Standardized Testing – The CASPer. In M.J. Eisenberg & A.L. Cox (Eds.), The Essential MD-PhD Guide (1st Edition, pp.33-39). McGraw Hill.
  3. M'Callum, M., Raggi, C., Lépine, S., Legault, L., McGraw, S., & Paganelli, M. (2018). Improving the quality of stem cell-derived hepatocytes for cell therapy: Role of pluripotency state in determining lineage commitment of human induced pluripotent stem cells. Cytotherapy, 20(5), S112. Doi: 10.1016/j.jcyt.2018.02.333
  4. Shrednick, M., Usongo, V., Lépine, S., Janvier, X., Archambault, M., & Gentilini, E. (2018). Characterization of Staphylococcus aureus strains isolated from mastitis bovine milk in Argentina, J Dairy Res, 85(1):57-63. Doi:10.1017/S0022029917000851
  5. Raggi, C., Mangahas, C., M’Callum, M., Raad, S., Lépine, S., Pham, T.Q., & Paganelli, M. (2017). Induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSC) from small volume peripheral blood samples for in vitro modeling and cell therapy of pediatric liver diseases. Dig Liver Dis, 49(4):e251-e252. doi:10.1016/j.dld.2017.09.026

 

María José Castellanos, graduate studentmajocamo96 [at] gmail.com (María José Castellanos Montiel)

Graduate Student

"My fascination for the human brain is what inspires me to work at The Neuro. At The Neuro, great minds come together to do research."

"Mi fascinación por el cerebro es lo que me inspira a trabajar en el Neuro. En el Instituto Neurologico de Montreal, se juntan grandes mentes para hacer investigación."

Read María's biography

I was born and raised in Mexico City where I finished a Biology Major at National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). During my undergraduate studies, I got the opportunity to do an internship (exciting enough to make me stay for two years) in a lab specialized on stem cells. The project that I was working on required the use of stem cells to model the junction of muscle and motor neurons, the key players involved in the movement of our body. Since I can remember, I have always loved sports. Because of this, I was always fascinated by the processes that allow us to run, swim, or hit a ball. I came to Montréal to start my graduate studies and I currently have the great pleasure of studying motor neurons and muscle. I am happy to know that I can generate knowledge to help people whose mobility has been impaired.

Selected publications

  1. Castellanos‐Montiel, M. J., Velasco, I., & Escobedo‐Avila, I. (2021). Modeling the neuromuscular junction in vitro: an approach to study neuromuscular junction disorders. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1488(1), 3-15.
  2. Deneault, E., Chaineau, M., Castellanos-Montiel, M. J., Flores, A. K. F., Haghi, G., Chen, C. X. Q., ... & Durcan, T. M. (2021). A streamlined CRISPR workflow to introduce mutations and generate isogenic iPSCs for modeling amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. bioRxiv.
  3. Castellanos-Montiel, M. J., Chaineau, M., & Durcan, T. M. (2020). The neglected genes of ALS: cytoskeletal dynamics impact synaptic degeneration in ALS. Frontiers in cellular neuroscience, 14, 380.
  4. Cortés, D., Carballo-Molina, O. A., Castellanos-Montiel, M. J., & Velasco, I. (2017). The non-survival effects of glial cell line-derived neurotrophic factor on neural cells. Frontiers in molecular neuroscience, 10, 258.

 

Indra Roy, graduate studentindra.roy [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Indra Roy)

Graduate Student

"The Neuro is a multidisciplinary team with collaborations throughout Quebec and internationally. The EDDU has a world-class research infrastructure and consistently puts out high-quality research output, and I am proud to belong to the Neuro as an institution. I am inspired by my colleagues who come from a wide variety of backgrounds, both cultural and professional and provide many valuable perspectives according to their expertise."

"আমার Neuro-তে কাজ করতে ভাল লাগে, কারণ এখানে বিভিন্ন দক্ষতার মানুষের থেকে বিভিন্ন দৃষ্টিভঙ্গি পাওয়া যায়।."

View Indra's Linkedin and Research Gate

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I have a joint Masters in Translational Neuroscience from Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Previously, I also worked as a Research Assistant at the Center for Prion and Protein Misfolding Diseases in Edmonton, Alberta. Earlier in my career, my interest was primarily in proteopathies in neurodegenerative disorders. During my Masters, my interest expanded to look at neuroimmunology as another potential piece of the neurodegenerative puzzle. During my thesis year, I learned about induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and organoids, and their potential as disease models. This brought me to The Neuro, where I hope to use iPSCs and organoids as tools to develop models of neurodegenerative disorders to study pathological mechanisms and identify potential therapeutic targets. I am invested in Open science because open communication with researchers across the globe can lead to streamlined progress in research. Hopefully, this will eventually lead to better treatment outcomes and increase the quality of life of patients, their loved ones, and caretakers.

 


UNDERGRADUATE TRAINEES

Sophia Penner

Julien Turk

Lale Gursu

Dimitri Yang

Shuming Li

Gabriela Blaszczyk

Sneha Shinde

Tsering Sherpa-Ngima

Irem Katitas


PAST MEMBERS

Maria La Calle Aurioles, research associatemaria.lacalleaurioles [at] mcgill.ca (Maria La Calle Aurioles)

Research Associate

"The Neuro is a benchmark institution in the field of neuroimaging and neurodegenerative diseases. I wanted to discover the environment that has inspired so much creativity and high-quality science."

"The Neuro es una institución de referencia en el campo de la neuroimagen y enfermedades neurodegenerativas. Quería descubrir el ambiente que ha inspirado tanta creatividad y ciencia de alta calidad."

View Maria's Google Scholar

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I am a research associate in the Neurodegenerative Disorders Group (Neural Survival) at the Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University. I received my BSc from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and my PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Universidad Complutense de Madrid, in collaboration with the Biomedical Imaging and Instrumentation Group (BiiG), Madrid, Spain. In 2014, I joined the Neuro as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Hamel’s Laboratory of Cerebrovascular Research and, in 2019, I became part of Dr. Durcan’s lab and member of the Neuro's EDDU. During my early career, I focused my work on the vascular and disconnection hypotheses in Alzheimer’s disease trying to comprehend the role of vascular dysfunction and white matter inflammation in this multifaceted disease, working on clinical and preclinical research projects. Now I am involved in the fascinating field of iPSCs and “mini brains”, hoping to find some targetable mechanisms for therapies in Parkinson’s disease.

Selected publications

  1. Lecrux, C., Sandoe, C. H., Neupane, S., Kropf, P., Toussay, X., Tong, X. K., Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Shmuel, A., & Hamel, E. (2017). Impact of Altered Cholinergic Tones on the Neurovascular Coupling Response to Whisker Stimulation. The Journal of neuroscience: the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience, 37(6), 1518–1531. https://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1784-16.2016
  2. Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Navas-Sánchez, F. J., Alemán-Gómez, Y., Olazarán, J., Guzmán-De-Villoria, J. A., Cruz-Orduña, I., Mateos-Pérez, J. M., & Desco, M. (2016). The Disconnection Hypothesis in Alzheimer's Disease Studied Through Multimodal Magnetic Resonance Imaging: Structural, Perfusion, and Diffusion Tensor Imaging. Journal of Alzheimer's disease : JAD, 50(4), 1051–1064. https://doi.org/10.3233/JAD-150288
  3. Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Mateos-Pérez, J. M., Guzmán-De-Villoria, J. A., Olazarán, J., Cruz-Orduña, I., Alemán-Gómez, Y., Martino, M. E., & Desco, M. (2014). Cerebral blood flow is an earlier indicator of perfusion abnormalities than cerebral blood volume in Alzheimer's disease. Journal of cerebral blood flow and metabolism: official journal of the International Society of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, 34(4), 654–659. https://doi.org/10.1038/jcbfm.2013.241
  4. Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Alemán-Gómez, Y., Guzmán-De-Villoria, J. A., Cruz-Orduña, I., Olazarán, J., Mateos-Pérez, J. M., Martino, M. E., & Desco, M. (2013). Is the cerebellum the optimal reference region for intensity normalization of perfusion MR studies in early Alzheimer's disease?. PloS one8(12), e81548. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0081548
  5. Martino, M. E., de Villoria, J. G., Lacalle-Aurioles, M., Olazarán, J., Cruz, I., Navarro, E., García-Vázquez, V., Carreras, J. L., & Desco, M. (2013). Comparison of different methods of spatial normalization of FDG-PET brain images in the voxel-wise analysis of MCI patients and controls. Annals of nuclear medicine27(7), 600–609. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12149-013-0723-7

 

Meghna Mathur, research assistantmeghna.mathur [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Meghna Mathur)

Research Assistant

"My grandmother, who I have always been really close to, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease when I was in undergrad. Since I saw her in that state, I really wanted to work towards finding a cure for such neurodegenerative diseases. That is why when I had the opportunity to work at one of the world’s leading research institutes, I chose to work in this field. This motivates and inspires me to work at The Neuro everyday."

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I am a Research Assistant in the Organoids and Tissue-Engineering group and currently leading the node of Organoids Maintenance and Quality Control. In 2015, I obtained my Biotechnology Engineering degree from India. I gained research experience at the Defence Research and Development Organisation, India and Panacea Biotech Ltd. In 2017, I obtained my MSc Biotechnology from McGill University. During my master’s, I interned with Dr. Nguyen-Vi Mohamed to set up and develop the organoids platform with the support of Dr. Thomas Durcan at the EDDU. Fascinated by my internship project, I joined the EDDU in 2018 to focus on generating different types of organoids from human induced pluripotent stem cells to study neurodegenerative and neurodevelopmental disorders. Part of my work involves optimization and troubleshooting different protocols to generate a more uniform model. During this time, I published in the MNI open research journal, discussing the method to generate human midbrain organoids from iPSC. In addition, I coordinate organoid generation training and oversee maintaining, tracking and managing resources for organoids. Apart from research, I love theatre. I used to perform street plays in India so if I use my street play voice, you'll be able to hear me clearly, even at a two-block distance.

Selected publications

  1. Mohamed NV, Mathur M, da Silva RV et al (2021) Generation of human midbrain organoids from induced pluripotent stem cells. MNI Open Res.
  2. Mohamed NV, Lépine P, Lacalle-Aurioles M, Sirois J, Mathur M, Reintsch W, Beitel LK, Fon EA, Durcan TM.( 2021) Microfabricated disk technology: rapid scale up in midbrain organoid generation. Methods, doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ymeth.2021.07.008
  3. Mohamed N.V, Julien Sirois, Janani Ramamurthy, Meghna Mathur, Paula Lepine, Eric Deneault, Gilles Maussion, Michael Nicouleau, Carol X.-Q. Chen, Narges Abdian, Vincent Soubannier, Eddie Cai, Harris Nami, Rhalena Thomas, Mahdieh Tabatabaei, Lenore K. Beitel, Jason Karamchandani, Tilo Kunath, Edward A. Fon, Thomas M. Durcan. (2021) Midbrain organoids with an SNCA gene triplication model key features of synucleinopathy. Brain Comm. Preprint available: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.12.439480v1
  4. Imanbekova, Meruyert; Suarasan, Sorina; Rojalin, Tatu; Mizenko, Rachel; Hilt, Silvia; Mathur, Meghna; Lepine, Paula; Nicouleau, Michael; Mohamed, Nguyen-Vi; Durcan, Thomas; Carney, Randy; Voss, John; Wachsmann-Hogiu, Sebastian, “Identification of amyloid beta in small extracellular vesicles via Raman spectroscopy”, Nanoscale Advances journal. Doi : 10.1039/D1NA00330E

 

Nguyen-Vi Mohammed, Post-Doctoral Fellowvi.m [at] me.com (Nguyen-Vi Mohamed)

Post-Doctoral Fellow

"The iPSC unit at the Neuro is unique. I really wanted to work with human material coming from patients. That is the reason why I joined the platform."

"Le Neuro possède une unité unique de cellules souches pluripotentes induites. C'est cela qui m'a attirée à rejoindre le Neuro. Je souhaitais vraiment travailler avec du matériel de recherche directement issu des patients."

Read Nguyen-Vi's biography

Dr. Nguyen-Vi Mohamed did her Ph.D at University of Montreal, on tau pathology spreading in Alzheimer’s disease. Interested by the similarities that shared misfolded proteins in Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease (PD), she joined Dr. Fon’s laboratory for her postdoc. She implemented the brain organoids technology at the Montreal Neurological Institute (The Neuro) in order to investigate the pathological mechanisms leading to the spreading of Parkinson’s disease within the brain.

Selected publications

  1. Mohamed N.V, Paula Lépine, Maria la Calle, Julien Sirois, Meghna Mathur, Wolfgang Reintsch, Lenore K. Beitel, Edward A. Fon, Thomas M. Durcan. (2021) Microfabricated disk technology: rapid scale up in midbrain organoid generation. In press in Methods. Preprint available: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.05.31.446446v1
  2. Imanbekova, Meruyert; Suarasan, Sorina; Rojalin, Tatu; Mizenko, Rachel; Hilt, Silvia; Mathur, Meghna; Lepine, Paula; Nicouleau, Michael; Mohamed, Nguyen-Vi; Durcan, Thomas; Carney, Randy; Voss, John; Wachsmann-Hogiu, Sebastian. (2021) Identification of amyloid beta in small extracellular vesicles via Raman spectroscopy. Nanoscale Advances journal. Doi : 10.1039/D1NA00330E
  3. Mohamed N.V, Julien Sirois, Janani Ramamurthy, Meghna Mathur, Paula Lepine, Eric Deneault, Gilles Maussion, Michael Nicouleau, Carol X.-Q. Chen, Narges Abdian, Vincent Soubannier, Eddie Cai, Harris Nami, Rhalena Thomas, Mahdieh Tabatabaei, Lenore K. Beitel, Jason Karamchandani, Tilo Kunath, Edward A. Fon, Thomas M. Durcan. (2021) Midbrain organoids with an SNCA gene triplication model key features of synucleinopathy. Brain Comm. Preprint available: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2021.04.12.439480v1
  4. Mohamed N.V, Meghna Mathur, Ronan V. Da Silva, Lenore K. Beitel, Edward A. Fon, Thomas M. Durcan.(2019) Generation of human midbrain organoids from induced pluripotent stem cells. MNI Open Science Journal. https://doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/GF39H
  5. Mohamed N.V, Larroquette F., et al. (2019) One step into the future: new iPSC tools to advance research in Parkinson’s disease and neurological disorders. Journal of Parkinson’s disease.

 

Lorenza Villegas, research assistantlorenza.villegas [at] mail.mcgill.ca (Lorenza Villegas)

Research Assistant

"Diversity, knowledge, and modern methods of science are the things that make us grow as humans. I respect the individuality of human beings, and at The Neuro we apply these concepts to be able to progress with medicine in the constant search for a cure for neurological diseases, and to make the world a better place. That is what keeps me going."

"La diversidad, el conocimiento, y los métodos modernos de la ciencia son las cosas que nos hacen crecer como humanos. Yo respeto a la individualidad de los seres humanos, y en el Neuro aplicamos estos conceptos para poder progresar con la medicina en la búsqueda constante para una cura para las enfermedades neurológicas, y poder hacer el mundo un lugar mejor. Eso es lo que me hace seguir todos los días."

View Lorenza's Linkedin

Read Lorenza's biography

Originally from Bogota, Colombia, I am a U.S citizen with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Behavioral Neuroscience. I arrived in 2017 to McGill University’s Integrated Program of Neuroscience to obtain my master’s degree in neuroscience. I did my research thesis at the EDDU which involved using CRISPR/Cas9 technology on cell lines to understand the protein interaction of Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3 and its parkinsonian phenotype. Throughout my academic career, I’ve matured intellectually and learned more specific and complex biological concepts of the brain. I have now evolved into a research assistant carrying out the oversight of the laboratory’s reagents and contributing as a helping hand with labmate’s projects. I am proud to say I ma contributing to scientific progress and making an impact in the scientific community and the world.

 

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The Neuro (Montreal Neurological Institute-Hospital) is a bilingual academic healthcare institution. We are a McGill research and teaching institute; delivering high-quality patient care, as part of the Neuroscience Mission of the McGill University Health Centre. We are proud to be a Killam Institution, supported by the Killam Trusts.

 

 

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