Our People and Team
Our People and Team
Justin R. Nodwell is the founder and principal investigator in the lab.
Key people in the group include Dr. Sheila Pimentel-Elardo, Senior Research Associate, and Dr. Jing Li, Senior Technician, who largely run the day-to-day operation of the group in addition to pursuing their own research.
In addition, there are usually 7 – 9 graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in the lab.
Below, current lab members are listed alphabetically.
I got hooked on science when I was 15 years old while watching a stop action film of dividing plant cells on the TV show "The Nature of Things" and David Suzuki's voice announced that people were trying to understand how this process worked. It was an extraordinary moment – how do those irregular yet organized biological shapes work?
I went on to a BSc in genetics and a PhD in molecular biology. I have been fortunate to have outstanding mentors, Jack Greenblatt as a PhD student and Richard Losick when I was a postdoctoral fellow. I started Nodwell Lab at McMaster University in 1998. In 2013 the lab moved to University of Toronto and I took on the additional role of Chair of Biochemistry.
Martin completed his bachelor's degree in Biochemistry & Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University and he joined the Nodwell Lab in September 2013. As a lover of molecules made by nature, Martin's project leverages chemical and genetic strategies to force Streptomyces bacteria to produce natural products not normally made in a laboratory setting. He also tries to determine what these compounds do in the environment.
Outside of the lab Martin is an avid traveler, hiker, and skier.
Ahmed received his BSc and MSc degrees in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Tanta University, Egypt, and a PhD degree also in Pharmaceutical Sciences from the University of Alberta, Canada. Ahmed has diverse experience working on drug development projects in academic and research and development settings.
Currently, he is exploring the potential therapeutic use of a new promising set of antibiotics against multi-drug resistant bacteria, called “tetrodecamycins”.
Jan is originally from Manila, Phillippines, but he grew up in Calgary, Alberta. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Calgary. Jan originally became interested in science due to watching nature shows like "Zoboomafoo" and Steve Irwin's "The Crocodile Hunter". In Nodwell Lab, Jan is researching the cell division processes in Streptomyces venezuelae.
Outside of lab, Jan sleeps and eats.
Louis became interested in science after being amazed at seeing onion cells under the microscope in grade school. He continued his interest in science by completing his B.Sc. in biochemistry at McMaster University where he first joined the lab in 2013. His project focuses on chemical interactions between Streptomyces and insects.
Louis hails from Markham, Ontario. In addition to being in the lab, Louis enjoys traveling, hiking, and cooking.
Simoun completed his BSc at the University of Toronto in 2016 and began his graduate career in September of 2016 in Dr. Roman Melnyk’s lab. He’s currently collaborating with the Nodwell lab to uncover natural products with inhibitory potential against bacterial toxins.
Outside the lab, Simoun likes to eat and likes to workout so he can eat more. When the weather cooperates, he also likes to go on hikes.
Glenna joined the Nodwell Lab after completing a BS from Allegheny College and a PhD in Chemistry from Vanderbilt University, Tennessee. Fascinated by how microbes produce and use secondary metabolites to interact with their environments, her research focuses on secondary metabolites from insect parasitic Cordyceps fungi.
When not at the research bench, she enjoys running, sailing, reading, and spending time with her family.
Jing completed her MD at the West China School of Medicine in Sichuan University. She joined the Nodwell Lab in 2016 after working in the Reithmeier Lab for twenty years. She’s currently working on gene expression and editing in Streptomyces using CRISPR.
On the weekends, Jing enjoys taking walks along the lakeshore and hiking in the woods to explore nature.
Scott completed his B.Sc in Chemistry at McGill University and a M.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Toronto. After launching a company focused on infection control in medical facilities and deciding antibiotic resistance is terrible and fascinating, he dove back into academia and joined the Nodwell Lab in September 2013. His project focuses on understanding the interactions between small molecule antibiotics and microbes.
When not in the lab, Scott can be found on the GO Train to Hamilton (where he lives), enjoying a glass of wine in Beamsville, hurtling down the slopes of Mont. Tremblant, or searching for turtles and shipwrecks 90 ft. underwater.
Gaelen completed his BSc in biochemistry at Queen's University and joined Nodwell Lab in January 2018. His project involves screening marine bacteria for novel natural products with antimicrobial activity.
When he’s not talking to bacteria, Gaelen enjoys reading, running, and exploring Toronto.
Ali earned his Ph.D. in the area of bioprocess engineering and systems biology from the University of Waterloo in 2018 and immediately joined the lab as an industrial postdoc. His projects involve using synthetic biology tools to produce chemical products in yeast.
Outside the lab, Ali enjoys outdoor activities.
After obtaining her PhD from the University of Wuerzburg in Germany, Sheila joined the Nodwell Lab in 2010 as a Postdoctoral Fellow. She eventually took on a Senior Research Associate position since 2014. Her research interests include marine natural products and the microbiome of marine invertebrates.
Outside the lab, Sheila loves spending time with her family, relaxing by the beach and watching sunsets!
After surviving the Biochemistry program at University of British Columbia, Emilie now attempts to discover novel natural products that are bioactive against parasitic worms that cause disease. Using the tiny roundworm C. elegans as a model under co-supervision with Dr. Peter Roy in the Donnelly Centre, she now spends her days pleading her worms to grow (or not, depending on the assay).
Emilie also appreciates the occasional Simon Pegg flick, burgers, and buses that come on time.
Stephanie completed her B.Sc. in Biochemistry at McMaster University, then joined the Nodwellians in September 2016 and has been working towards elucidating antibacterial mechanisms of action and resistance in natural products.
Steph hails from the tiny town of Stoney Creek, Ontario, which is known for nothing, really. Outside of science, she likes to go leaf peeping in the fall, taking outdoor adventures and road trips where she gets to drive extensive long hours.
Vanessa completed her MSc in Biology at Western University and joined Nodwell Lab in September 2012. Her project involves chemically perturbing the regulation of secondary metabolism in Streptomyces coelicolor.
Vanessa also likes to spend time outside of the lab as well.
Nodwell Lab Alumni
We are so proud of all our alumni! We try to keep up and note what all our lab members get up to after a rotation in Nodwell Lab.
Emilie Song MSc, 2018
PhD program, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry
Ahmed El-Sherbeni PDF, 2018
PDF, University of Toronto
Stephanie Mak PhD, 2017
University of British Columbia
Tomas Gverzdys PhD, 2017
PDF, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Charul Jani PhD, 2015
Margot Smith MSc, 2013
PhD, McMaster University
Nabeela Hameed MSc, 2013
Leslie Cuthbertson PDF, 2013
Huntsville High School
Arryn Craney PhD, 2012
Nebraska Medical Center
Salman Ahmed MSc, 2012
Steven Ahn PhD, 2012
PDF, University of Toronto
Ye Xu PhD, 2012
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Maira Medellin-Pena PDF, 2010
Catherine Au-Yeung MSc, 2010
Michael Kamin Hart Msc 2008-2011
Michael was a member of the Nodwell Lab when the lab was still at McMaster University. Michael was diagnosed with lymphoma and passed away in 2011at the age of 25. His family created the Michael Kamin Hart Award for Excellence in Adolescent and Young Adult Oncology Care in his honour.
Stephanie Au-Young PhD, 2010
Research Associate, SickKids Research Institute
Kapil Tahlan PDF, 2009
Assistant Professor, Memorial University
Guanhua Yu Research Associate, 2007-2009
Nancy Mckenzie PhD, 2008
Elizabeth Marton MSc, 2008
Jill Regoeczi Technician, 1998-2003
Khoa Nguyen MSc, 2008
Andrew Willems PDF, 2007
Lecturer, McMaster University
Susan MacMillan Technician, 2003-2007
Marcus Eccleston PhD, 2006
Tamara O'Connor PhD, 2005
John Hopkins School of Medicine
Michael Hudson PhD, 2004
Dachuan Zhang MSc, 2002
Reem Samir Ahmed Ali MSc, 2002