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.

Justin Nodwell

Principal Investigator

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.

Dr Justin R Nodwell portrait

Justin Nodwell

Principal Investigator

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 Daniel-Ivad

PhD Candidate

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.

Martin Daniel-Ivad portrait

Martin Daniel-Ivad

PhD Candidate

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.

Dr. Ahmed El-Sherbeni

Post-Doctoral Fellow

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 Falguera

MSc Candidate

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 Ho

PhD Candidate

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.

:ouis Ho, PhD candidate scientist at Nodwell Lab, MaRS, University of Toronto, Canada

Louis Ho

PhD Candidate

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 Icho

MSc Candidate

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.

Simoun Icho portrait Nodwell Lab

Simoun Icho

MSc Candidate

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.

Dr. Glenna Kramer

Post-Doctoral Fellow

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.

Dr Vanessa Kramer portrait

Dr. Glenna Kramer

Post-Doctoral Fellow

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 Li

Technologist

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.

Jing Li portrait Nodwell Lab

Jing Li

Technologist

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 McAuley

PhD Candidate

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.

Scott McCauley portrait Nodwell Lab

Scott McAuley

PhD Candidate

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 Moore

MSc Candidate

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 Nikdel

Post Doctoral Fellow

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.

Dr. Sheila Pimentel-Elardo

Research Associate

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!

Dr. Sheila Pimentel portrait

Dr. Sheila Pimentel-Elardo

Research Associate

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!

Emilie Song

MSc Candidate

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.

Emilie Song portrait

Emilie Song

MSc Candidate

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 Tan

PhD Candidate

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.

Stephanie Tan portrait

Stephanie Tan

PhD Candidate

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 Yoon

PhD Candidate

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.

Vanessa Yoon portrait

Vanessa Yoon

PhD Candidate

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 group photo 2018
Nodwell Lab group photo 2018

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
Ragon Institute

Nodwell Lab group photo
Nodwell Lab group photo

Margot Smith MSc, 2013
PhD, McMaster University

Nabeela Hameed MSc, 2013
VideoComm Technologies

Leslie Cuthbertson PDF, 2013
Huntsville High School

Arryn Craney PhD, 2012
Nebraska Medical Center

Salman Ahmed MSc, 2012
Sunlife Financial

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
Graphic Designer

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
McMaster University

Elizabeth Marton MSc, 2008
ApoPharma

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

Nodwell Lab group trip to Toronto Island
Nodwell Lab group trip to Toronto Island

Tamara O'Connor PhD, 2005
John Hopkins School of Medicine

Michael Hudson PhD, 2004
GreenLight Biosciences

Dachuan Zhang MSc, 2002

Reem Samir Ahmed Ali MSc, 2002

Nodwell Lab group photo
Nodwell Lab group photo

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