Alyssa Apilan

Alyssa Apilan is a 1st year MASc student within the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Toronto and is interested in pursuing a career in health research. She is currently working on a co-supervised project with Dr. Gang Zheng and Dr. Mamatha Bhat focused on examining the role of porphysomes in the context of image-guided treatment for hepatocellular carcinoma using animal models.

connor charton

After graduating with a BMSc from Western University, I began researching glioblastoma under the supervision of Dr. Dirks at SickKids. This is when I realized I had a passion for research and am now beginning my graduate studies in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. 

biren dave

I am a PhD candidate in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto, where I study a pediatric brain tumour called medulloblastoma. In my previous two years with RIOT, I enjoyed introducing high school students to cancer research and helping out with Let’s Talk Cancer. I’m excited to continue with RIOT this year. Outside of my research I enjoy running and watching sports.

roshane francis

A 2nd year postdoctoral fellow passionate about science communication and studying gut diseases using synthetic biology approaches 🙂 For fun, I like to try new ice cream spots, check out amateur comedy shows and bike around the city on a bright, summer day! 

cindy ha

Cindy (she/her) is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto. She studies how radiation therapy can be used with immune checkpoint blockade to induce systemic anti-tumour immunity in those with late-stage solid cancers. Prior to her time at U of T, Cindy completed her undergraduate studies at the University of Guelph with Drs. Alicia Viloria-Petit and Lorraine Jadeski. In her free time, Cindy enjoys trying new recipes, weightlifting, longboarding and marathoning reality TV.

bryn livingston

I am a third-year PhD student at the University of Toronto, and I work in a lab studying pediatric brain tumours at the Hospital for Sick Children. Previously I completed a Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience at McGill University. I have a strong interest in science communication and the intersection of science and society. When working on basic research it can be easy to forget the impacts of science on the community at large, but being involved in science outreach organizations helps to bridge that gap, and keep the big picture in mind.

cornelia redel

connyCornelia obtained a BSc and MSc from the University of Würzburg, Germany, where she studied Biochemistry with a focus on molecular and structural biology. During this time, she first worked on the oncogene MYC, a protein that has functions in tumour development, progression, and severity across many human cancer types. Her fascination with this protein continues in her PhD research at the University of Toronto, where she works on ways to inhibit MYC in breast cancer. Cornelia has always been interested in communicating research and inspiring others with the fascinating world of molecular biology. Joining Toronto RIOT in January 2020 helped her to fulfill this passion. When she is not in the lab, she plays volleyball, goes hiking, bakes and travels the world.

Dane Sacdalan

I am a second year International PhD student at the Institute of Medical Science of University of Toronto. My project is focused on small cell lung cancer. In addition to my current occupation, I am a board-certified Medical Oncologist from the Philippines. From 2019-2021 I served as part of the faculty of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology. Concurrent with this, I served as the training officer of the Medical Oncology program of the Jose R. Reyes Medical Center in Manila.

patty sachamitr

Patty received her Doctorate in Stem Cell Biology and Immunology from the University of Oxford in 2016, where she investigated the differentiation of immune cells from stem cells for Immunotherapy.  She then moved from the UK to Toronto to pursue a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Dr Peter Dirks’ laboratory at the Hospital for Sick Children, where she was engaged in the discovery and validation of drugs for the treatment of  Glioblastoma, the most common and aggressive brain cancer in adults. She currently works as a Scientist in the Translation Immunology group at Bluerock Therapeutics, a Toronto-based cell therapy company. During her Masters and PhD, Patty was actively involved in organizing conferences, networking events and communicating research. She believes that scientific outreach is key to increasing public awareness of the importance of scientific research and is essential to inspire young students to pursue STEM careers. Patty is currently one of the two coordinators of RIOT Toronto. Outside the lab, Patty is passionate about yoga, scuba diving, travelling and cooking.

léa sharifi

Léa recently joined RIOT and completed her master’s degree at the University of Toronto in the Department of Medical Biophysics (MBP). She has been studying colorectal cancer cells resistant to chemotherapy and trying to find new ways to target them therapeutically. She has also been involved in her school community by being the MBP Social Committee Co-Lead and being involved in the MBP Community Outreach Program. She is excited to be starting in the MD program at the University of Toronto in the fall. Léa is looking forward to educating high school students and members of the community on current cancer research and opening up meaningful conversations about this disease that affects millions of people every year.

Christopher zhang

Chris is a MSc Candidate in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, supervised by Dr. Kelsie Thu. Chris received his Honours Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree in Physiology and Pharmacology at Western University. His current research focuses on investigating the role and therapeutic potential of protein targets involved in centrosome amplification in non-small cell lung cancer.