Your council members 2016-2017


Laura Jones
Laura Jones 2016
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.

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!

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.
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.

VPs Communication

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.
Amandine Lafitte


Post-Graduate Students’ Society (PGSS) representatives

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.
Dana Pearl
 Dana Pearl
Born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario, I left for the big city to do my BSc at McGill in Anatomy and Cell Biology. I am currently working on my Masters in Dr. Sonenberg’s lab on the sex-dependant effects of Rapamycin on the immune system. When I’m not in the lab, you can generally find me hanging out with friends, watching TV, or cooking vegetarian meals.

Social Life Representatives

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.
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.
Ritchie Truong


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.
Cristiana Spinelli
Cristiana Spinelli
Born and raised in a small town in Italy, I completed my M.Sc degree at the University of Milan. I came to Montreal to pursue a PhD in the lab of Dr. Janusz Rak, where the main subject is focused on extracellular vesicles. I’m aiming to understand the role of exosomes in the equilibrium between glioblastoma stem and non stem cell populations. When I’m not in the lab I spend my time hanging out with friends, playing soccer, trying different restaurants, and dancing (even though I have no idea how to do it, but why not!)
Cynthia Tseng


I grew up in Kaohsiung, Taiwan and moved to Vancouver in grade 10. Later on I moved again to Montreal to pursue my B.Sc in Biochemistry at McGill. Currently I am working on my M.Sc in the lab of Dr. Thomas Duchaine, doing one project on differential PTEN mRNA isoform interactions with miRNAs, and the other new project on bioinformatics analyses in ovarian cancer miRNAs. Outside of lab I enjoy hanging out with friends over homemade dinner and a few drinks, baking, or just chilling on my couch reading books.