The Group

Graduate Students

PhD Students

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.

Hailey Tomm

Hailey Tomm is a PhD student in the Ross Lab who graduated from her Bachelor’s of Science in the spring of 2018 from Vancouver Island University. Her undergraduate degree consisted of microbes and biological chemistry making the Ross Lab feel like home where her main goal is to try to find new chemical compounds from microbes. She loves lab work but when she’s not in lab, she can be found wearing dresses with toms and playing with her dog named Tonks and/or husband. Her words to live by: bears, beats, battlestar galactica.

Manasa Ramachandra

Manasa Ramachandra is a PhD student from Bangalore, India. She has completed a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Purdue University and a Master’s degree in Regulatory Science from the University of Southern California in the United States. Her research interests include the identification, isolation, and characterization of useful natural products from bacteria using chemical and molecular biology techniques. When not in the lab, she loves reading, painting, and going to gigs.

Neil Grenade

Neil Grenade was born and raised in Scarborough, Ontario. He studied biological chemistry at Ontario Tech University (UOIT) and, upon graduation, landed a research assistantship studying clinical nutrition in the lab of Dr. Paul Pencharz at the Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto. After a few years working in the healthcare/pharmaceutical industry, in 2020, Neil joined the labs of Dr. Graeme Howe and Dr. Avena Ross to study the mechanisms of bacterial natural product biosynthetic enzymes with the goal of advancing the discovery therapeutics. When he is not thinking about infectious diseases, Neil can be found breaking his guitar strings, losing to 12-year-olds in Halo 3 and giving unsolicited fitness advice.

Aditi Kanwar

Aditi Kanwar is a master’s student from a town, Palampur, known as the Tea capital of North India. She has completed a Master’s degree in Chemistry from Panjab University and has extensive tutoring background. Her research interests include biological chemistry and genetics. She is currently investigating the biosynthesis of lanthipeptides by Pseudoalteromonas to find novel natural products. When not “cooking” in the lab, you will find her cooking delicacies for her friends and family. She also loves reading and exploring nature.

Longyu Li, M.Sc. Student (2020 – current)
Developing microfluidics and surface chemistry techniques for microbial culturing and Natural Product discovery

Amir Bunyat-zada
Amir Bunyat-zara

My name is Amir Bunyat-zada and I am an undergraduate/accelerated master’s student in the Ross Lab. The scope of research and experiments is what brought me here, one day you are doing bioinformatics, the next plating bacteria, and the next using NMR and MS/MS to determine the structure of cool natural products. I am currently working on constitutive promoter insertion in Pseudoalteromonas using CRISPR. Outside the lab you can find me tinkering with my aging PC to run new games, trying to figure out how to use obscure software, reading up on history, and boring people with sentences that start with, “Did you know…?”

Undergraduate Students

Bronwyn Rowland

Bronwyn Rowland is a biochemistry undergraduate student from Ottawa, Ontario. She is doing her 4th year thesis project in the Ross Lab, focusing on genome mining of bacterial alkaloid natural products. Bronwyn is also a big fan of beaches, her housemate’s cat, and those people who do cool 2 AM skateboard tricks in the park.

Ross Group Alumni

Graduate Students

Yagya Paudel, Ph.D. Student (2015 – 2020), NSERC CGS-D Scholar
Thesis: Discovery and investigation of the biosynthesis of a novel lanthipeptide molecule from a marine bacterium Pseudoalteromonas flavipulchra 2ta6
Currently: Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Toronto

Katherine Picott (M.Sc. and B.Sc. Thesis and NSERC USRA Student) 2015 – 2018, NSERC CGS-M Scholar
Thesis: Biosynthesis of prodiginine and tambjamine natural products in Pseudoalteromonas sp.
Currently: Completing Ph.D. at the University of Toronto

Dragos Chiriac, B.Sc./M.Sc. Student (2016 – 2019) NSERC-USRA
Thesis: Genomic and metabolomic guided discovery of bacterial natural products
Currently: Completing MD at Western University

Lorena Ucciferri, M.Sc. Student (2017 – 2019) Ontario Graduate Scholar
Thesis: Investigation of natural products from Pseudoalteromonas luteoviolacea and the expression and purification of a serine protease HtrA protein from Faecalibacterium prausnitzii
Currently: Employed at IMV Inc. in Process Development

Julie Deichert M.Sc. Student (2017 – 2019, joint supervised with Victor Snieckus) NSERC CGS-D Scholar
Thesis: Natural product inspired synthesis of heterocyclic systems: functionalized dibenoxepinones and pyrrolic compounds
Currently: Employed at Genentech, San Francisco, Scientific Researcher in Small Molecule Process Department

Undergraduate Students

Jessica Yearwood, Advanced Diploma in Biotechnology Placement (from St Lawrence College) (2020)

Oren Katz, B.Sc. Thesis Student (2019 – 2020)

Abigail Koopman, B.Sc. Thesis Student (2019 – 2020)

Nayeon Kim, B.Sc. Thesis Student (2018 – 2019)

Jonathan Weir, B.Sc. Thesis Student (2018 – 2019)

Ella DeKemp (SWEP and NSERC- USRA student) 2017 – 2018

Jonathan Babulic, Summer Student (2018)

Madelyn Athanasiou (B.Sc. Thesis student) 2017 – 2018

Polina Novoseltseva (NSERC- USRA Student) 2017

Simran Sharma (B.Sc. Thesis and SWEP Student) 2016-2017

Kasia Donovan, B.Sc. Thesis Student (2016 – 2017)

Madison Veperts, B.Sc. Student volunteer (2016)

Caitlin Armer (B.Sc. Thesis and NSERC USRA Student) 2015-2016

Erika Chadwick (B.Sc. Thesis Student) 2015-2016

Old Group Photos

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

Ross Lab October 2018 (L-R) Nayeon Kim, Dragos Chiriac, Yagya Paudel, Jonathan Weir, Katherine Picott, Avena Ross, Hailey Tomm, Marshall Timmermans (Not Pictured Lorena Ucciferri and Julie Deichert)