The Group

The Ross Group April 2017 (L-R Avena Ross, Yagya Paudel, Katherine Picott, Marshall Timmermans, Simran Sharma, Dragos Chiriac and Kasia Donovan)

Graduate Students

PhD Students
Yagya Paudel
My name is Yagya Paudel. I am from a beautiful country of the Himalayas, Nepal and completed my Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. After immigrating to Canada in 2011, I joined Lakehead University for another Master’s degree to make my research background strong in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology. While working in the group of Professor Wensheng Qin at Lakehead, I was familiar with the mechanism by which the microorganisms produce different enzymes and worked on the isolation and characterization of novel cellulase and pectinase producing bacteria. I was looking for an opportunity to pursue further study in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology and found the interesting research area of Professor Avena Ross.  I joined the Ross group in the fall of 2015. I am currently working on the biosynthetic investigation of a unique peptide gene cluster from Pseudoalteromonas using Transformation-Associated Recombination capture and heterologous expression.
Marshall small
Marshall Timmermans
Marshall Timmermans is a PhD student originating from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. He has studied Biology and Biotechnology at the undergraduate level at the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, SK), and Molecular and Synthetic Biology at the Master’s level at Concordia University (Montreal, PQ). His research interests include using molecular biology and metabolic engineering techniques to facilitate natural product discovery and characterization.  Outside of the lab, he is most likely found exploring nature on foot or bicycle, playing guitar with friends, or telling intensely boring stories at parties.


Katherine Picott
Katherine Picott is a current Master’s student in the Ross lab. She started off in the Ross lab as an undergraduate summer student; after completing her degree in Biochemistry she refused to leave the lab and began her graduate degree. Her research is focused around enzymes involved in the biosynthesis of the colourful tambjamine and prodiginine alkaloid families. Outside of the lab she can be found going for long runs until her legs fall apart, buying a new plant after her last one was eaten by a squirrel or planning her next big hypothetical vacation!




Dragos Chiriac
Dragos Chiriac
Dragos Chiriac is a Master’s student in the Ross lab. He finished his undergraduate degree in Life Science at Queen’s University but found his love for chemistry in 3rd year. His main interest is developing new tools for bottom up natural product discovery; ranging from bioinformatics to molecular biology. When he isn’t in the lab he can be found capsizing sail boats, crawling between bars, and hitting the gym so he doesn’t have to ask Marshall for help with removing glass adapters.



Undergraduate Students

Ella DeKemp
Ella deKemp
Hi! My name is Ella deKemp, and I’m entering my third year of biochemistry at Queen’s. I’m from Ottawa, Ontario, and I’m working in the Ross lab as a summer student within the SWEP program. Dr. Ross’ research caught my eye, as it offered an opportunity to practice biochemistry techniques, while also gaining experience in chemistry that I might not have seen in my program. I’m currently working with Katherine on expressing and characterizing enzymes involved in the prodiginine and tambjamine biosynthetic gene clusters from Pseudoalteromonas rubra and citrea, as well as identifying possible new prodiginine and tambjamine analogues. In my spare time, I love spinning, cycling, hiking, and making cringey science puns! 



Polina Novoseltseva
Hi there! My name is Polina Novoseltseva, and I am currently working with the Ross Group as a summer research assistant. I am lucky to be majoring in my passion-Chemistry. I love a good challenge, and was drawn to the task of isolation of compounds created by gene clusters in Pseudoalteromonas bacteria. Outside of all the craziness of a typical work/school day my hobbies include reading Russian and English books, playing piano, singing, painting, dancing Zumba, rowing, and most importantly, sleeping. One day I hope to be as awesome as some of the people here, but so far, I’m thinking on settling on surviving university and seeing where my journey takes me. If everything goes smoothly, I hope to pursue a career in Dentistry.



Ross Group Alumni

Kasia Donovan (BSc Hons Student) 2016-2017

Simran Sharma (BSc Hons and SWEP Student) 2016-2017

Caitlin Armer (BSc Hons and NSERC USRA Student) 2015-2016

Erika Chadwick (BSc Hons Student) 2015-2016

Old Group Photos

Ross Group 2016 cropped
The Ross Group June 2016 (L-R Marshall Timmermans, Yagya Paudel, Caitlin Armer, Simran Sharma, Dragos Chiriac. Avena Ross in the front. Missing- Katherine Picott is off exploring science in Germany for the summer!)
Group Photo
The Ross Group November 2015 (L-R, Yagya Paudel, Avena Ross, Katherine Picott, Caitlin Armer, Erika Chadwick, Marshall Timmermans)