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CRBS Student Consortium

The CRBS is home to hundreds of talented graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdoctoral trainees.


The executive represents the trainees on the CRBS board, and organizes many events and activities.


Shafqat Rasool: president

Shafqat Rasool is a PhD student in the department of biochemistry and is working on determining the molecular mechanism of action of proteins involved in Parkinson’s disease. He takes keen interest in science and scientific communication. In addition to his work in CRBS student council, he also serves as the VP News for Science & Policy Exchange.

irem ulku: vp-non academic

jia yin (sally) xiao: vp- academic

dushyant jahagirdar: vp communication

tian xiao (peter) yang: vp communication

Shafqat Rasool: president

irem ulku: vp-non academic

tian xiao (peter) yang: vp communication

Meet The Team

avrin ghanaeian miandoab


garvit bhatt


Avrin was born and raised in Iran.  she received a B.Eng. and M.Eng. in Biomedical Engineering with areas of molecular dynamics (MD) of proteins. She is a master's student in Dr. Khanh Huy Bui's lab in the Anatomy and cell biology department. Avrin’s research in Bui Lab is to identify and solve structures of various compounds of cilia and the molecular function of cilia machinery by Cryo-EM.

Garvit, born in Montreal but moved to Vancouver for his undergraduate degree in chemical biology at UBC. He later decided to move back to his hometown to continue his studies at McGill university in the pharmacology department. Co-supervised by Dr. Bhushan Nagar and Dr. Jean-Francois Trempe, he fast tracked into the PhD program to unravel the structural mechanisms involved in bacterial infections. As co-president, he is excited to contribute to the CRBS community by having more undergraduate outreach, setting up inter-departmental events and jump starting CRBS merchandise. Outside of lab, Garvit loves hiking, travelling, soccer and dancing!  

anshu saran

vp academics

halle barber

vp academic

alice delarue

vp- communication

Anshu Pic_edited.jpg

Anshu was born and raised in India. After completing her undergraduate studies in Biotechnology, Chemistry and Zoology, she moved to Montreal to pursue her Masters in Biotechnology from McGill University. She is now a third year PhD student in the Zeytuni lab investigating the structural and functional aspects of the type 9 secretion system regulatory pathway. When not in the lab, she enjoys reading thrillers, karaoke-ing and exploring different cuisines. 

Halle Pic_edited.jpg

Halle is from the United States and completed a dual degree in Chemistry and Molecular and Cell Biology at the University of Connecticut. She is currently a third year PhD student in the Department of Chemistry and works in the Damha lab, where she focuses on RNA modifications for CRISPR and antisense technologies. Outside the lab, she enjoys baking, traveling, and volunteering with cats.

Alice was born in France but moved to Montreal when she was 8. She graduated from the Bioengineering bachelor program at McGill University in Spring 2022. She just started her Master’s degree in Dr. Ehrlicher’s lab, where she will be investigating the effect of cell nuclear forces on mesenchymal stem cell differentiation. Outside of the lab, you can find Alice at the rink, either practicing figure skating or teaching children how to skate.

sabrina romanelli

vp communication

Sabrina was born and raised in Montreal. She recently (spring 2022) obtained her undergraduate degree from McGill University in Honours Pharmacology. During her undergraduate training, she participated in research projects in the domains of reproductive immunology and toxicology. In Fall 2022, she started her master’s degree in Pharmacology in Dr. Trempe’s lab, excited to join the world of structural biology research. Her research will focus on better understanding proteins implicated in Early Onset Parkinson’s disease and will use a wide range of structural biology methods to determine their structure. Sabrina is a self-proclaimed science nerd and loves to hear about different research projects going on in the various departments. When not in the lab, you can find her binge watching Disney+ shows or spending time with her dog (Stella) and her friends!  

emma kelly

vp social

Emma (she/her) was born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario. Having completed her undergraduate degree specializing in biochemistry from Queen’s University, she joined the Berghuis lab at McGill University in the Fall of 2021. She is a second year MSc student working with fungal glycosyltransferases. Emma hopes her structural work will reveal new avenues for anti-fungal drug targeting. In her free time, Emma is an avid soccer player, swimmer, and skier; however, you will most likely find her listening to an audiobook while baking, painting, or knitting that sweater she’s been meaning to get around to.

anirudh mantri

vp external

I am Anirudh Mantri. I was born in India and grew up there only. After completing my undergraduate in Biotechnology and biochemical engineering at Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur, I joined McGill as a master's student in fall 2021. As a master's student in Martin Schmeing's lab, I am focusing on biochemical and structural studies of NRPS-PKS hybrid enzymes. Outside the lab I love camping and cooking.

I will be working as Co-VP External in CRBS council for session 2022-23 where I will be focusing on planning and organizing outreach events specially in undergraduates and CEGEP.

Please let me know if you require any other information

isabel sarty

vp communication

Isabel is from Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is a second year MSc student in the Integrated Program of Neuroscience (IPN). She is working in Dr. Multhaup’s lab, investigating a therapeutic candidate for Alzheimer’s Disease intervention. Isabel graduated from Dalhousie University in 2021 with a BSc Honours in Neuroscience, with an interest in cellular and molecular neuroscience. Outside of the lab, she is on McGill’s varsity swim team and loves spending time with friends.

lauralicia sacre

vp finance

I was born and raised in Cordoba, México. After finishing high school, I decided to come to Montreal to do my undergraduate. I got my BSc. in Biochemistry and my MSc. in Chemistry from Concordia University. During my MSc., I got passionate about DNA repair, so I decided to pursue a PhD in Biochemistry in the Guarné lab at McGill University. My research focuses on the structural study of DNA repair complexes involved in Translesion DNA synthesis.

Outside the lab I love to play soccer, go to the gym, and sing occasionally. I also enjoy watching movies and eating popcorn.

mark hemmings

vp external


Mark is from Conception Bay South, Newfoundland. He completed his undergraduate degree at Memorial University of Newfoundland. His honours research was on stem cell communication through channel proteins. He is currently a PhD student in Dr. Albert Berghuis’ lab, he is working on the structure-guided design of inhibitors for antibiotic resistance proteins. Outside of the lab he enjoys swimming, cycling, and running.

corbin black

vp social

I am Corbin Black (, a PhD student in Khanh Huy Bui’s lab in the department of Anatomy and Cell Biology at McGill University. My PhD thesis is focused on the molecular assembly of cilia/flagella using cryogenic electron microscopy complemented by mass spectrometry. Before I joined Dr. Bui’s lab in 2019, I studied Biochemistry & Molecular Biology (BSc and MSc) at the University of Northern British Columbia in Stephen Rader’s lab. During my Master’s, I studied pre-mRNA splicing in the thermophilic alga C. merolae using Xray crystallography and biochemistry. The incredible spliceosomal structurespublished by groups such as the Lührmann, Nagai, and Shi labs inspired me to do a PhD in structural biology.

ali behvarmanesh

vp external

Ali is a third-year Ph.D. student at Dr. Gehring’s lab. He is studying the interactions of proteins using Deep Mutational Scanning (DMS) and next-generation sequencing. Ali graduated from the University of Birmingham, UK, with an M.Sc. degree in molecular biotechnology, where he did fragment-based drug discovery using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR). Ali is the VP-external in the CRBS council, in which he works alongside other members to expand CRBS research to the broader scientific community. If you are an undergraduate student reading this interested in structural biology, do not hesitate to contact me at

tianxiao peter yang

advisor emeritus

Peter was born in China, lived for a bit in Montreal, but grew up mostly in Seattle. After obtaining his undergraduate degree in biochemistry at UCLA, Peter returned to Montreal to continue studying biochemistry at McGill University. As a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Alba Guarné, he is focused on harnessing the therapeutic potential of defects in DNA repair pathways and DNA nanostructures. Outside of research, Peter loves basketball, art, comedy, and life in general.

The CRBS has several ongoing initiatives to help members, trainees and the broader scientific community potentiate their research with the power of structural biology and biophysics.

CRBS Studentship Awards

CRBS Studentship Awards provide stipend support for M.Sc. and Ph.D. students who are currently conducting research in the lab of a regular CRBS member. There is a separate category for students who are co-supervised between two CRBS members.


Awards are for 1 academic year (September 1 – August 31) in the amount of $10,000 and are non-renewable. The next competition will have a deadline in May 2023.   


Congratulation to the 2022-2023 awardees, and to Andrew Bayne, the winner of the second annual Maximilian Eivaskhani In Memoriam Graduate Scholarship.

CRBS Travel Awards

CRBS trainees will be supported for excellent international training & dissemination opportunities. CRBS Travel Awards will help defray the costs of attending specialized external training courses, conferences and workshops. Applications for awards will be evaluated by the Awards and Training Committee for the trainees’ potential to obtain maximal benefit from the course or conference, and to transfer benefit back to the local community. For conferences, trainees must present original research in the form of a talk or poster. CRBS will provide 15 travel awards of between $500 and $1000 each, annually. At an end-of-summer “conference / course debriefing” session, trainees will report on the most exciting aspects of research presented at the conference or some of the latest methodological developments discussed at the course. Thus the CRBS training community can all benefit from the trainee’s experience.


The next competition will have a deadline in May 2023.

Congratulation to the 2022-2023 awardees.

CRBS – GPS Graduate Mobility Awards

The CRBS – GPS Graduate Mobility Award encourages graduate students to study and conduct research abroad as part of their McGill degree program by defraying part of the cost of the international experience. The award, funded by the Government of Quebec, is available to all full-time thesis students enrolled in a graduate degree program at McGill, and several awards have been designated to allow CRBS students to take part in a mobility opportunity. The mobility award is meant to contribute towards the completion of the student’s thesis.


CRBS students can apply to the Graduate Mobility Awards following the procedure found on the GPS website.

Students should write CRBS in the Program section of the application. When seeking signatures for their Application Form, the Director or Associate Director from the CRBS will sign in lieu of a GPD and Associate Dean (and the Associate Dean signature space left blank).


It may take up to 4 weeks for awards to be processed and payments can be disbursed one month before the travel start date.

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