From Micro to Macro:

An Event Incorporating Multiple Fields of Biology

Keynote Speakers

Dr. Brigitte Lavoie

University of Toronto
Department of Molecular Genetics

Sister chromatids–better together yet driven apart

The progression of many cancers is enhanced by genetic instability and the unequal segregation of chromosomes.  In eukaryotic cells, multiple mechanisms are required to orchestrate the fidelity of chromosome transmission through higher order chromosome dynamics, including sister chromatid cohesion and mitotic chromosome condensation.  My group exploits genetic, cell biological and biochemical approaches in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, to dissect the molecular mechanisms that underlie sister chromatid cohesion, condensation and segregation and thus prevent aneuploidy.

Dr. Le Paliulis

Bucknell University
Department of Biology

The strange behavior of sex chromosomes in insects and spiders

We know that, in the case of chromosomes, connections between partner chromosomes help to guarantee that they will move to opposite spindle poles. I will talk about interesting cases of sex chromosomes, where connected partners lose connection but do not separate from one another, or when partners never separate, and how their weird behaviors can inform our knowledge of chromosome segregation in general.

Dr. Julie Lefebvre

University of Toronto
Department of Molecular Genetics
Canada Research Chair

It’s not you, it’s me: neuronal self/non-self discrimination in circuit formation

In the developing brain, billons of nerve cells are precisely wired to drive complex functions such as sensations and locomotion.  My lab seeks to identify the cellular and molecular mechanisms that specify neuronal connectivity and neural circuit formation. I will present our work on a large family of neural recognition molecules that provide enormous cell-surface diversity and recognition specificity for organizing neurons into complex circuits. By regulating proper patterning and numbers of inhibitory nerve cells, these molecules are important for the development of inhibitory circuits in many regions of the brain.

Dr. Marc Johnson

University of Toronto
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

Evolution in the Urban Jungle: Understanding how Cities Affect Evolution in your Backyard

Prof. Marc Johnson’s research examines the evolutionary ecology of species interactions. His approach to research bridges the diverse questions and techniques from genetics, evolution, ecology and chemistry. In his talk he will examine how urbanization affects adaptive and non-adaptive evolution of plants, and how rapid adaptive evolution can feedback to influence the persistence of populations and maintenance of ecosystem processes.

Dr. Megan Frederickson

University of Toronto
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

How Cooperation Evolves Between Species

Research in my lab focuses on the ecology and evolution of mutualism, or cooperation between species. Mutualisms are extremely common in nature—so common, in fact, that every plant and animal on Earth may be involved in at least one mutualism. My lab uses a variety of approaches to study mutualisms involving insects (especially ants), plants, and microbes in both temperate and tropical ecosystems, with the goal of understanding how and why species cooperate.

Invited Hosts

Opening Remarks: Associate Dean – Dr. Sylvie Morin

Dr. Sylvie Morin is a biological chemist, having completed her Ph.D. in Chemistry at University of Ottawa. She has since had a productive career conducting international research in France, Germany, and Spain. She has been a professor at York University for 18 years and was appointed as the Associate Dean in 2013. Her research focuses on surface science, thin film research, and the preparation and characterization of novel nanomaterials and devices.

Closing Remarks: Dr. Art Forer – Professor Emeritus

Dr. Forer is a Professor Emeritus and Senior Scholar at York University. His research examines mitosis and meiosis in living cells, investigating what causes chromosome movements to the poles in anaphase, and how different chromosomes in the spindle communicate with each other to coordinate their movements. When’s he’s not working in the lab he’s playing oboe in the orchestra pit.

Venues / Program

10am-12pm | An Introduction to R and Generalized Linear Models (GLM)

Dahdaleh Building (formerly known as TEL) Room 2114

1pm-2pm | Student Poster Session

The Underground (Student Centre)

2pm-9pm | Keynote Speakers and Business Casual Dinner

The Underground (Student Centre)

Graduate Student Poster Presentations

This year’s poster presenters are:

Molecular and Cell Biology

Characterization of a yeast strain that is deficient in nuclear sumoylation

John Babu and Emanuel Rosonina

Chromosome movement to one pole in the absence of kinetochore microtubules in Mesostoma ehrenbergii spermatocytes

Eleni Fegaras and Arthur Forer

The role of Neuropeptide Y in human placental development and disease

Heyam Hayder, Jacob O’Brien, Jelena Brkic, Mohamed Salem, and Chun Peng

Characterizing functional roles of endogenous H2A core histone variant isoforms, H2A.Z2 and H2A.Z2, via insertion of epitope tag using CRISPR-Cas9

Myat Ma and Peter Cheung

Nodal induces syncytiotrophoblast differentiation

Uzma Nadeem and Chun Peng

Multiple RNA Structures Regulate Translational Readthrough in Tobacco Necrosis Virus-D

Laura R. Newburn and K. Andrew White

The impact of selected gene mutations to the activation and DNA binding activity of the transcription factor VraR

Ghazal Tajbakhsh and Dasantila Golemi-Kotra

Physiology and Neuroscience

Effects of Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAID) Dichlofenac and Ibuprofen on the Physiology of Cultured Rainbow Trout Gill Epithelium

Sheralyn Au, Connie Hong, Chun Chih Chen, and Scott P. Kelly

Tubulin-mediated transport of Connexin 36 (Cx36) potentiates electrical plasticity in neuronal cells

Cherie Brown, Ryan Siu, Anna Kotova, Christiane Zoidl, David Spray, and Georg Zoidl

Revealing the localization and physiological function of ion transport peptide in Aedes aegypti

Andreea Matei and Jean-Paul Paluzzi

Characterization of Inward Rectifying Potassium Channels in Medulloblastoma Propagating Cells

Rochelle McAdam, Peter Dirks, and Xi Huang

Characterizing the role of tissues in the regulation of ion and fluid transport in Ixodes scapularis

Melanie Paez and Jean-Paul Paluzzi

Unifying the Molecular Models of Electrical and Chemical Synapses

Ryan C.F. Siu, Cherie A. Brown, Christiane Zoidl, David C. Spray, Logan W. Donaldson, and Georg Zoidl

The impact of object-based grouping on perceived depth magnitude: Virtual vs. physical targets

Aishwarya Sudhama, Lesley M. Deas, Brittney Hartle, Matthew D. Cutone, and Laurie M. Wilcox

Distribution and Functionality of CAPA-like Peptides in the Black-legged Tick; Ixodes scapularis

Ali Uyuklu and Jean-Paul Paluzzi

Identification and characterization of the adipokinetic hormone/corazonin-related peptide signalling system in Aedes aegypti

Azizia Wahedi and Jean-Paul Paluzzi

Panx3 compensates for loss of Panx1 in the VNO of a knock out mouse model

Paige Whyte-Fagundes, Stefan Kurtenbach, Cristiane Zoidl, Peter Carlen and Georg Zoidl

Ecology and Evolution

The effect of consumer pressure and abiotic stress on positive plant interactions are mediated by extreme climatic events

Alessandro Filazzola, Amanda R. Liczner, Michael F. Westphal, and Christopher J. Lortie.

Are diet composition and body condition of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) affected by sea ice loss?

Katie Florko and Gregory Thiemann

Invasive European fire ants in southern Ontario: A survey

Junaid Khan, Laura Timms, and Gail Fraser

Assessing at-risk bumble bee habitat in Ontario for the conservation of declining species

Amanda R. Liczner and Sheila R. Colla

The long-term history of hypolimnetic dissolved oxygen trends in the central basin of Lake Erie according to chironomids

Dmitri A. Perlov, Euan D Reavie, and Roberto Quinlan

The response of benthic invertebrate communities to altered flooding regimes in lakes of the Mackenzie Delta, NWT

Ryan Scott and Roberto Quinlan

Dinner Menu


Mixed Salad

Herb Mixed Greens with Grilled Asparagus, Shaved Parmegianno, Sundried Tomato, Basil pesto Vinnaigrette, & Balsamic reduction

Main Course


Herb Roasted Chicken Supreme, Mashed potatoes, & Celery Root Puree

Spinach & Ricotta Cheese Ravioli with Cream Sauce, Sage, & Baby Spianch



Caramel Daquoise Tower with Hazelnut Praline

Fresh Cut Fruit Plate

Faculty Sponsors

Dr. Mark Bayfield
Dr. Logan Donaldson
Dr. Dasantila Golemi-Kotra
Dr. Scott Kelly
Dr. Suzanne MacDonald
Dr. Jan Sapp
Dr. Bridget Stutchbury
Dr. Andrew White

Dr. Dawn Bazely
Dr. Andrew Donini
Dr. Arthur Hilliker
Dr. Patricia Lakin-Thomas
Dr. Chun Peng
Dr. Michael Scheid
Dr. Gary Sweeney
Dr. Amro Zayed

Dr. Carol Bucking
Dr. Arthur Forer
Dr. Kathi Hudak
Dr. Christopher Lortie
Dr. Roberto Quinlan
Dr. Sapna Sharma
Dr. Robert Tsushima
Dr. Georg Zoidl

Student Sponsors

Dayana D’Amora

Hossein Davarinejad

York University Sponsors

Office of the Vice-President Academic and Provost
Department of Biology
Faculty of Science
Faculty of Graduate Studies

Corporate Sponsors

Previous Symposia and Conferences

Other Biology Student Hosted Conferences