The Organizers

The Toronto RNA Club is primarily organized by a group trainees (graduate students and post-docs) who are highly motivated in establishing a more tight-knit RNA community. If you are interested in participating or would like to share your ideas, feel free to email us with your suggestions.


20161205NanaLee_22PortraitsEliza Lee

Eliza is a PhD student in Alex Palazzo’s lab at the University of Toronto. Her work focuses on how gene expression is regulated at the level of mRNA nuclear export using splicing independent mechanisms. She hopes to build a place for experts to meet, discuss ideas and share thoughts. The Toronto RNA Club is a place where the best of Toronto’s RNA research coalesces and inspire a collaborative environment that will benefit the community.

matthew-headshot.jpgMatthew Hildebrandt

Matthew is a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. James Ellis’s lab at Sickkids. His graduate work revolved around the RNA binding protein DEAD box 1 and its role in early mouse development with Dr. Roseline Godbout at the University of Alberta. Now he studies post-transcriptional regulation in induced pluripotent stem cells as they are differentiated into neurons. Matthew joined the Toronto RNA Club to continue connecting with RNA focused researchers and assist with building a strong RNA research community.

eesha-sharma-mgn.jpgEesha Sharma

Eesha is a Ph.D. student in Dr. Ben Blencowe’s Lab in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Her work focuses on advancing technologies to identify inter- and intra-molecular RNA-RNA interactions in the cell and understanding their roles in mRNA gene regulation. Science is never done in isolation and as part of the RNA club, Eesha would like to contribute to a forum where fellow RNA researchers can get together to think critically, build upon and improve each other’s work.

Nev's TREnD HeatshotNevraj Kejiou

Nevraj is a Master’s student in Dr. Alex Palazzo’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. His graduate research focuses on elucidating the role of the metabolic enzyme Pyruvate Kinase as a non-canonical RNA-binding protein. Nevraj is of the opinion that RNA is the most remarkable of biological macromolecules – it is the link between the modern and the ancient, a humble molecule which has defined the earliest forms of life. Naturally, he enjoys his role as an organizer in the Toronto RNA Club – and is especially keen on meeting members of the RNA community and getting to know their research.

32156564_10156088484725667_8163962239548653568_nAshley Campbell

Ashley is a M.Sc. student in Dr. Lori Frappier’s lab at the University of Toronto. She is investigating the role of Epstein-Barr virus proteins and their role in miRNA/mRNA regulation. She hopes to be able to engage with other people from the RNA field and highlight the importance in RNA in not just living things but also non-living things (like viruses!). She hopes that by joining the Toronto RNA Club she can help bring together the great ideas, people, and energy from the RNA field.

Cigdem SahinCAM00136

Cigdem is a PhD student in Dr. Carolyn L. Cummins lab at University of Toronto. Her graduate work focuses on molecular mechanisms governing the pharmacology and toxicology of novel PPAR agonists for the treatment of metabolic disease. As a part of the Toronto RNA club, Cigdem is excited to be involved in engaging RNA-focused researchers, discussing ideas, and  sharing thoughts. She believes that this is the best way to facilitate the sharing of knowledge and to create bridges between labs for learning from one to another.

Tony Junjie Hua

Tony is a PhD student in Dr. Housheng He’s lab at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His graduate work focuses on investigating the functional mechanisms and clinical significances of long noncoding RNAs in prostate cancer. He joined the Toronto RNA Club to connect with fellow RNA researchers and to promote the importance of RNA research.

Sujun Chen

Sujun is a PhD student from University of Toronto. She works with Dr. Housheng Hansen He’s lab at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Her current research is focused on the investigation of circRNAs in cancer. Sujun joined the Club to be connected to and help connecting the RNA community.

We would also like to thank our amazing faculty advisors for their mentorship and guidance.

      Palazzo lab | Claycomb lab