The Michnick Lab

Research Assistant | Postdoctoral Fellows | Graduate Students | Lab Alumni

Director of the Lab

Prof. Stephen Michnick
Stephen did his bachelors and doctoral studies at the University of Toronto under the direction of Jeremy Carver and did postdoctoral training at Harvard University with Profs. Martin Karplus (Nobel Prize, chemistry, 2013) and Stuart Schreiber. He trained principally as a biophysical chemist, studying structures of carbohydrate-protein and protein-protein complexes, mechanisms of protein folding and protein chemistry in general. At the heart of all of his present work, protein chemistry remains central, but he has developed an eclectic and diverse research program aimed at studying the organization and dynamics of biochemical networks in living cells and how these networks compute cell-fate decisions.

Research Assistant

Jacqueline Kowarzyk
Jacqueline is responsible to perform PCA large-scale robotized screenings and to monitor yeast, bacterial and plasmid collections. She trains new students and post-doctoral fellows and is actively involved in several projects of the lab. She joined the lab in 2010 after completing a Master of Science in Biology at Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada. Jacqueline also holds a Bachelor Degree in Microbiology and Immulogy from the same university and has more than 6 years of experience in research laboratories.
Philippe Garneau
Holding the fort while Jacqueline is away on maternity leave, Philippe Garneau is responsible to perform PCA large-scale robotized screenings and to monitor yeast, bacterial and plasmid collections. He is also involved in setting up large-scale screens involving mammalian cells. Philippe joined the lab in 2017 and previously had 18 years of lab experience in, among other topics, molecular microbiology, cancer research and bioinformatics. He holds a Master’s degree in Microbiology from Université Laval.

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Postdoctoral Fellows

Bram Stynen
Bram's research project focuses on the mechanism of action of metformin, an antidiabetic drug with potential applications in cancer prevention. He uses custom-made protein-protein interaction tools in Saccharomyces cerevisiae to discover candidate targets of metformin. He also studies cellular processes that keep track of prior carbon source exposure, specifically during transitions between maltose and glucose. Bram joined the lab in 2012 after obtaining a Master Degree in Bio-engineering and a Ph.D. in Biology at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Leuven, Belgium.
Shelly DeForte
Shelly's research is focused on the relationship of the amino acid sequences in proteins to their functional and physical behavior. In particular, she focuses on intrinsically disordered and low complexity regions. She uses a variety of computational techniques including disorder and complexity prediction, amino acid composition analysis, motif analysis and machine learning. Shelly came to the lab in 2016, after receiving her Ph.D in Molecular Medicine from the University of South Florida, Florida, USA.

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Graduate Students

Diala Abd Rabbo (PhD)
Diala's current research interest is to identify substrates of the cyclin-dependent kinase 1 (Cdk1 also called Cdc28), the cell cycle controller in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae and to determine proteins interacting with the 9 cyclins, the 9 partners of Cdc28, in order to elucidate cyclins specificity. She joined the lab in 2009 after completing her Master of Science in Bioinformatics in the Université de Montréal, Montréal, Canada. Diala also holds a Master Degree in Applied Mathematics - Computer Science Option from the Lebanese University, Beirut, Lebanon and has 6 years of experience as System Analyst.
Louis-Philippe Bergeron Sandoval (PhD)
LP currently works on revealing the ultrafast dynamics of phosphorylation events involved in the hyperosmolar glycerol response in budding yeast. His main research interest is to further comprehend how the functional and nonfunctional phosphorylation events in this response can be separated based on biophysical and evolutionary concepts. He also works on understanding the dynamic behaviour and quaternary structure of proteins Sla1 and Sla2, two major players involved in clathrin mediated endocytosis, a cellular morphological process highly regulated by the yeast osmotic response. LP joined the Michnick lab in 2010 after he completed a Master of Science in Biology at the Université du Québec à Montréal, Montréal, Canada.
Seckin Sinan Isik (PhD)
Sinan's research interest embodies how memory functions through PolyQ/N proteins domain. He would like to characterize this dynamic nature of interactions through the usage of custom made image processing algorithm, imaging acquisition techniques such as Stochastic Optical Reconstruction Microscopy (STORM), Fluorescence In Situ Hybridization (FISH), Protein-Fragment Complementation assay (PCA), mutagenesis and other complementing assays. He has joined the lab in 2012 after completing his Master of Science in Optical Technologies from the University of Nurnberg-Erlangen, Erlangen, Germany. He also holds a bachelor degree in Physics from the University of Bath, Bath, England
Lidice Gonzalez (PhD)
Lidice is studying the molecular mechanisms implicated in the localization of the INO1 locus at the nuclear periphery upon activation. Several inducible genes in yeast, including INO1, relocalize from the nucleoplasm to the nuclear envelope when activated in a process suggested to be important for the efficiency of gene expression. However, the mechanism by which relocalization occurs and how this affects INO1 gene transcription remains unknown. Lidice joined the lab in May 2015 after completing her Master of Science in Biochemistry at the University of Havana, Cuba. She also holds a Bachelor degree in Microbiology from the same university..

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Intern Students

Konstantin Mestnikov
Konstantin’s research goal is to apply infrared protein protein-fragment complementation assay (IFP PCA) to investigate dynamic cellular processes in membraneless organelles, with P-bodies being the control system under study. He joined the lab in the summer 2016 for a one year co-operative education program (internship). The research experience at Michnick lab is an integral part of his Bachelor degree in Biochemistry at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.

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Lab Alumni

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