Assistant Professor William Pastor

(A.B. Harvard 2005, Ph.D. Harvard 2011)

I earned my Ph.D. at Harvard University, in the lab of Professor Anjana Rao. I was part of the team that discovered that Tet enzymes oxidize the epigenetic mark 5-methylcytosine to 5-hydroxymethylcytosine, and I subsequently invented a method to map 5-hydroxymethylcytosine in the genome. As a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Professor Steven Jacobsen at UCLA, I established a role for the GHKL ATPase Morc1 in directing DNA methylation of transposons in murine germ cell development. I then studied DNA methylation maintenance and gene regulation in naive and primed human pluripotent cells and demonstrated loss of imprint methylation upon culture in naive conditions. I also discovered an unexpected role for the transcription factor TFAP2C in regulating human pluripotency. During my training I received the NDSEG, NSF and Jane Coffin Childs Fellowships, and was an author on 25 peer-reviewed papers that have collectively been cited almost 7000 times.

I started as an Assistant Professor at McGill in January, 2018. The core focus of our lab is to study transcription regulation and DNA methylation patterning during early embryonic and placental development. We also collaborate on bioinformatic projects and assist others in implementing projects that require human stem cells.

Google scholar citations

E-mail: william.pastor [at]

Phone: 514-398-8350

Phone for duration of COVID-19 pandemic: 514-618-3348

Research Assistant Jacinthe Sirois

(B.Sc. UQAM 1997, M.Sc. UQAM 2000)

I did my M.Sc. at UQAM in molecular biology in the lab of Professor Eric Rassart. I studied the role of a lipocaline, apolipoprotein D, in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s. I worked on the development of a knockout mouse model using homologous recombination of a targeting vector inserted by electroporation in embryonic stem cells. Following this degree, I started working as a research assistant at McGill University in the lab of Professor Michel L. Tremblay who studies tyrosine phosphatases, mainly in cancer. I worked on the enzyme PTP-PEST, which has an essential role in embryonic development. At the same time, I worked for McGill Transgenic Core Facility, doing the culture of stem cells, micro-injections of embryos and Crispr-Cas9 genetic modifications. In January 2018, I left the transgenic core and joined the team of Professor William Pastor to manage the lab and study DNA methylation regulation in embryonic and placental stem cells. I split my time between the Pastor and Tremblay labs.

Google Scholar Citations

Ph.D. student Jessica Cinkornpumin

(B.Sc. and B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara 2007, M.S. CSU Northridge 2014)

After receiving my undergraduate degree at the University of California, Santa Barbara in Biology and Fine Arts, I completed a UCLA/CSUN Stem Cell CIRM program and a Master’s in Molecular Biology. My research interests primarily focus on understanding the molecular mechanisms regulating cell fate decisions during development. I am currently in a Biochemistry PhD program to study development and disease modeling of the placenta. During my free time, I had been exploring entrepreneurship with MedTech Innovation and the Business of Science at UCLA, and I am currently volunteering my time with a youth outreach program, iSpeakScience, designing and teaching science modules at grade schools.

Google scholar citations


Ph.D. student Ishtiaque Hossain

(B.Sc. McGill University 2018)

I did my undergraduate studies at McGill University, where I earned a Bachelor of Science with Honours in Biochemistry in the Spring of 2018. During my time as an undergraduate student I have had the opportunity to train and gain research experience in the labs of Dr. Morag Park and Dr. Vahab Soleimani. During my undergraduate research project in the lab of Dr. Soleimani, I studied the role of NEDD4L, an E3 ubiquitin ligase in regulation of muscle stem cells function and lineage progression. For my Honours research project in the lab of Dr. Morag Park, I studied how ubiquitin targets MET for proteolysis through alternative degradative pathways. Now, as a Master’s student in Dr. Pastor’s lab, my project involves studying how DNMT3B is transcriptionally regulated during early embryonic development.

Ph.D. student Deepak Saini

I completed my undergraduate degree at Concordia University in Cell and Molecular Biology, with a minor in Science College. During this time, I was privileged to be able to be work under various scientific researchers such as Drs. Jim Pfaus, Yves Gelinas and Patrick Gulick. Those experiences pushed me to pursue a career in science. I then got my master’s degree in Human Genetics studying the development of the early mouse embryo under Dr. Yamanaka. My project involved identifying the changes in the distribution patterns of the actomyosin network and the E-cadherin-catenin-complex during compaction of the pre-implantation mouse embryo. Currently, I have joined the Pastor laboratory as a PhD student in the Biochemistry Department. I am studying the role genomic imprinting plays on placental development and gestational trophoblastic diseases such as Hydatidiform moles.

Undergraduate researcher Sin Young Kwon

I am an undergraduate student in the Department of Pharmacology as well as minoring in Computer science at Mcgill University. I worked as a pharmacy assistant in Korea in 2016. I joined the Pastor lab in Summer 2018 where I conducted an undergraduate research project on the c-Met/HGF signalling pathway in human trophoblast differentiation. I am currently interested in using bioinformatics as a tool to study gene regulation in the context of development.

Lab members

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