Your council members 2015-2016


Shawn McGuirk
Shawn McGuirk

I completed my B.Sc. (Honours) in Biochemistry at McGill, and I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. (via fast-track) in the laboratory of Dr. Julie St-Pierre. My research is focused on determining the importance of metabolism in tumor growth and progression, and in collaboration with the Metabolomics Core Facility of the Goodman Cancer Research Centre I am developing software tools to facilitate analysis of big data. I joined a newly formed BGSS as VP Finance in 2013, and then as Co-President in 2014 and 2015. Outside of the lab I spend most of my time working on my startup or organizing events – although I am easily tempted to procrastinate by friends, hockey games, new recipes, whiskey, and beer.

Laura Jones
Laura Jones

Raised in Oshawa, ON, I completed my BSc with Specialization in Biochemistry and a Minor in FLS (Co-op) at the University of Ottawa. From there I re-located to McGill to pursue a PhD in the lab of Dr. William Muller. My research focuses on the Jak/Stat pathway and its involvement in breast cancer, metastasis and immune surveillance using novel mouse models. Outside the lab, I spend my time volunteering as a Girl Guide leader or with my nose in a book.

VPs Finance

Juliana Munoz Escobar

Juliana Munos Escobar

Proudly born in Medellin, Colombia, I finished my undergraduate studies at Universidad Nacional de Colombia in Biological Engineering. During that time, I became more interested in understanding how biological processes work, specifically enzymes, and I decided to start my PhD in Biochemistry under Dr. Kalle Gehring’s supervision. I use structural biology to understand the functions and mechanisms of a family of ubiquitin ligases called UBRs, most of them implicated in cancer development.
Richa Sharma

I am currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Biochemistry at McGill University. My research is focused on understanding the induction and regulation of lineage specification during embryonic kidney development. Originally from Mumbai, India, I moved to Montreal after receiving a B.Tech in Biotechnology from Dr. DY Patil University to pursue a Masters in Biotechnology at McGill. Having a diverse background, I am specifically interested in the intersection of science, commercialization and business strategies in developing countries. Besides research, I spend my time biking around the city, running along the canal and honing my culinary skills.

VPs Communication

Valerie Vinette
Raised in the Montreal area, I completed my B.Sc. in Microbiology and Immunology at McGill and then moved to Sherbrooke to do my M.Sc. Missing my family and friends as well as the vibrant city life, I came back to Montreal to do my Ph.D at McGill in the lab of Dr. Michel Tremblay. My research investigates the role of protein tyrosine phosphatases in regulating colorectal and lung cancer bioenergetics. When not in the lab, I’ll likely be baking or playing squash!
Raieda Sadeq

Raieda Sadeq

I was born and brought up in a small city called Dhaka, Bangladesh. Nevertheless, I had big dreams. I completed my B.Sc. in Biochemistry from King’s College London and moved on to do my M.Sc. in Biochemistry at McGill University. I am currently working at the lab of Dr Roderick R. McInnes on finding the interacting partners of the Echinoderm Microtubule Associated Protein Like 3 (EML 3). My hobbies entail singing, listening to music and doing voluntary work. I am a people’s person and I love getting to know new people, new cultures and learning new things from them.

Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) representatives

Jaclyn Hearnden
Originally from a small Ontario town with a big apple, I received my B.Sc. Biochemistry from McGill in 2013. I am currently completing my Master’s degree in Dr. Nahum Sonenberg’s Lab, studying mTORC1 signalling and RNA binding proteins in translational regulation.
Brenda Sanchez
 Brenda Janice

Originally from Mexico, I completed my M.Sc. degree at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) after which I moved to Montreal to pursue a Ph.D. in the laboratory of Dr. Imed Gallouzi. My research is focused on understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the regulation of mRNA half-life and how they affect the process of muscle fiber formation (Myogenesis). Outside of the lab I enjoy all kind of activities but the combination of a picnic and a good book is one of my favorites.

Social Life Representatives

Erin Coyne
Erin Shier Coyne
Originally from small town Ontario, I completed my BSc. with a specialization in Biochemistry at the University of Ottawa in 2012. Currently, I am working on my PhD under the supervision of Dr. Simon Wing at the RI-MUHC. Our research focuses on understanding the role of the ubiquitin proteasome system in metabolic disorders. My project focuses on the role of the deubiquitinating enzyme USP19 in fat development and diabetes. When I’m not in the lab you can find me running along the canal, baking delicious treats or volunteering with at-risk groups.
Ariel Donayo
Ariel Donato
Born and raised in Buenos Aires, Argentina, I immigrated to Montreal with my family right after completing high school. I finished my undergraduate degree across-town at Concordia University where I obtained an Honours in Cell and Molecular Biology. For the last few years I have been working on my PhD in the lab of Dr. Thomas Duchaine. My main research goal is to understand how polycistronic microRNAs are processed into individual miRNAs, how is the process regulated, and how it could be altered in lymphomas and leukemias. When not in the lab, I enjoy outdoor activities such as running (particularly if followed by beer), hiking swimming, canoeing, and skiing.
Shane Caldwell
Shane Caldwell
Originally from outside Barrie, ON, I’ve come to McGill via the University of Guelph. I use structural biology to study the mechanism of antibiotic resistance enzymes. This may help us inhibit the enzyme and revitalize old drugs, or to design new, more effective antibiotics. Past work experiences have involved PCR, chemical titration instrumentation, and rescuing lost families out of corn mazes.
Katie Stewart
Katherine Stewart
 I completed my B.Sc.(Honours) at Queen’s University in Kingston, ON. From there I moved to McGill University for my PhD, which I am currently finishing under the supervision of Dr. Maxime Bouchard. My research interests have ranged from regulation of BMP and Wnt pathway activity in jaw morphogenesis, to regulation of apoptosis initiation during urogenital system development, with a brief stop on the regulation of ciliogenesis during kidney function. When not balancing my diverse research projects, I can be found reading, cooking or hanging out with friends.
Jennifer Ma
Jennifer Ma

I completed my B.Sc. in Honours Biochemistry Co-op at University of Waterloo. Afterwards, I moved to McGill University for graduate studies under the supervision of Dr. Gallouzi. I am studying how inflammation drives muscle wasting during late-stages of cancer as well as ageing (sarcopenia). Outside of the lab, you can find me baking some tasty treats and hanging out with friends.

Deepak Jain

Born in one of the most diverse countries in the world known as India, did my undergrad as an engineer (B.Tech) at IIT Guwahati. Currently doing my Master’s in Dr. Jacques Drouin’s lab and trying to unravel the mysteries of limb development.



My name is Tai Vinh Truong, but I usually go by Ritchie. I was born and raised in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I completed my B.Sc. program in Biochemistry at McMaster University. I’m currently pursuing a Masters degree in the lab of Dr. Nahum Sonenberg. I am aiming to delineate the mechanisms of tissue-selective deamidation of 4E-BP2 and understand translational control of neuronal mRNAs in autism. I seem like a shy person but I become very friendly once you get to know me. In my free time, I enjoy romantic novels and long walks on the beach. However, we don’t have any beaches in Montreal, so I like to long-board to Old Port instead. If you see me around, say hi! I promise I won’t bite.

Si Han Li

Si Han Li


Born and raised in the province of Sichuan, China, I completed my B.Sc. in Biochemistry at McGill, and I am currently working on my M.Sc. degree under the supervision of Dr. Simon Wing. My research project aims to identify drugs that accelerate the process of myogenesis, which could be important in the prevention and treatment of muscle wasting arising from cancer. Outside the lab, I usually spend my time reading books, playing video games or hanging out with friends.