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Past Members

MSc Student
Description:

Alan was born and raised in Toronto where he completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto, with a focus in Chemistry and Human Biology. He worked on the development of tellurium-based probes in monitoring rates of protein synthesis. In his spare time, he enjoys travelling, reading and dining. He is also an avid Drake listener with a special love for sad Drake songs.

Undergraduate
Description:

Amanda was a co-op student, majoring in biochemistry, from the University of Waterloo. Her aim in the Nitz lab was to synthesize a carbohydrate-protein conjugate for the development of a vaccine against an infectious fungus. In her free time, she enjoys watching comedies, going for walks and annoying her twin sister.

PhD Student
Description:

Ben completed his undergraduate degree in Chemical Biology at McMaster University, working with Dr. Jim McNulty during his final year on the development of CYP19A1 (aromatase) inhibitors as hormone-dependant breast cancer therapeutics. Sparking his love for research at the interface of chemistry and biology, he joined Dr. Mark Nitz’s lab in 2011. Since that time, he has worked on diverse projects related to the biosynthesis of the PNAG polysaccharide, encompassing structure-based drug design, virtual screening, traditional and protecting-group free carbohydrate synthesis, and assay design. Outside the lab, Ben enjoys craft beer, board games, listening to new music, and exploring Toronto’s restaurant scene. His favourite things are Björk, the Food & Drink magazine, and hiking.

MSc Student
Description:

Ethan was born and raised in Vancouver BC and did his undergraduate degree in chemistry at the University of British Columbia. While there, he completed an undergraduate thesis with the Straus Group, focusing on the characterization of aurein 2.2 peptide derivatives. He joined the Nitz Group at the University of Toronto in September 2018 as a Master’s student, and is currently working on producing bisubstrate GlmU inhibitors. Ethan spends most of his time playing basketball, crocheting, and arguing with others about how Taylor Swift’s country albums are way better than her pop albums.

PhD Student
Description:

Hanuel completed his BSc at the University of Western Ontario in 2012, with an Honors Specialization in Chemistry. For his undergraduate thesis, he worked with Prof. Leonard Luyt on developing a F18 PET imaging agent to investigate orexin receptor expressions in colorectal carcinomas. As a Ph.D student in the Nitz lab, his project is focused on the development of novel organotellurium scaffolds for mass cytometry reagent development. In his free time, he enjoys watching football and basketball with a rather large pint of beer.

PhD Student
Description:

Being curious about Tim Horton’s, maple syrup, and poutine, Jay came to Toronto from the UK. He finished his undergraduate studies and MChem with Stuart Conway at the University of Oxford, researching phosphate bioisosteres in the context of AMP analogues. In the Nitz group, he works on the synthesis and evaluation of organotellurium probes for hypoxia in cancer. When not in the lab, he enjoys wine, the TSO, and snapchat filters.

MSc Student
Description:

Jobette is from Edmonton, Alberta. She completed her undergraduate degree in Chemistry and Biological Sciences at University of Alberta working on Human Milk Oligosaccharides. Escaping the cold winters, she moved to Toronto to pursue her MSc degree in Biological Chemistry. She worked on developing a new metal-free bioorthogonal reaction with N-hydroxylamines. When not doing science, she loves going out for brunch, staying active, listening to music (house, deep house, electro house, progressive house and more house music) and eating chocolates. She is also obviously a Disney Princess (just look at that photo!).

PhD Student
Description:

José’s hometown can be found amongst the misty mountains on Vancouver Island. In between watching Netflix, playing soccer and squash, and avoiding the west coast winter rains, José somehow managed to finish his BSc in Biochemistry at the University of Victoria. Thinking it was time to experience a real Canadian winter, José ended up at the Nitz lab at the University of Toronto working on the biofilm project. He worked on synthesizing monosaccharide substrates for the deacetylase enzymes IcaB and PgaB.

Undergraduate
Description:

Julia is a third year undergraduate student at the University of Toronto, specializing in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. She is working on designing a novel molecular probe that labels proteins using azide-alkyne click chemistry. When she’s not in the lab or drowning in lots and lots of homework, she enjoys baking, biking, painting, and reading Homer’s epics.

Undergraduate
Description:

Lexi is a fourth-year undergraduate student, majoring in chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Toronto. She is currently working on the development of molecular probes for protein labeling using alkyne-azide click chemistry. In her spare time, Lexi enjoys cooking using exclusively Chef Ricardo’s recipes.

Postdoc
Description:

Lisa has lived all over Canada and her favorite city is Toronto. She received her BSc from the University of Victoria in BC, spent four years working at the National Research Council Canada in Ottawa, and then obtained her PhD from the University of Guelph under the supervision of Dr. Chris Whitfield. Her field of expertise is glycobiology, and she is working on several glyco-related projects in the Nitz lab, where she was the recipient of a Banting postdoctoral fellowship. As she is trying to be competitive for faculty positions, she doesn’t really have spare time. However, she loves trying interesting food, new wines, and expensive scotch.

PhD Student
Description:

Nesrin completed her BSc in chemical biology at McMaster University, where she worked in the group of Dr. Jim McNulty on Amaryllidaceae alkaloids as well as medicinal chemistry of aromatase (P450 19A1) inhibitors. For her PhD work, she has been developing methodologies to enable the selective functionalization of polycationic beta-cyclodextrins for applications in drug delivery and molecular recognition. In her free time, she enjoys working on various art projects, attending TSO concerts and collecting cute trinkets. Her desk in the lab can be easily identified by the over-abundance of Hello Kitty merchandise, Kurt Vonnegut books and a mountain of packing slips from Sigma Aldrich orders.

PhD Student
Description:

Rahul completed his undergraduate degree in Biological Chemistry at University of Toronto. Deciding to pursue a graduate degree, he joined the Nitz group as a PhD student in 2016. Rahul is currently working on synthesis of organotellurium scaffolds and evaluating their use as enzymatic activity probes in cellular biochemistry. Outside of lab, he enjoys football, swimming and basketball, random political science documentaries and keeping up with rap/hip hop music.

PhD Student
Description:

Rodolfo earned his Ph.D. under the tutelage of Prof. Nitz. He then went to Oxford to work under Prof. Bayley and Davis to work with nanopores. Afterwards he developed chemical methodology for the development of a polysomal extraction device at a start-up in Italy. Then, eager to continue research joined the laboratory of Prof. Gunning developing anti-cancer compounds. He worked with Prof. Nitz in developing new metal-based probes for protein bio-marker detection.