Current Members


Igor Cestari, Ph.D.

Principal Investigator

Assistant Professor,

Institute of Parasitology, McGill University (website)
Associate Member, Department of Medicine, Division of Experimental Medicine, McGill University (website)

Igor has a BSc. in biology with a specialty in genetics and MSc. and Ph.D. in cellular and molecular biology.


Tamara Sternlieb, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Tamara obtained Ph.D. in biological sciences in Argentina working on trypanosomes and signal transduction. She now works on the mechanisms controlling transcription of telomeric expression sites in T. brucei. Her project focuses on signalling and regulatory proteins involved in VSG expression and switching. 


Oksana Kutova, Ph.D.

Postdoctoral Researcher

Oksana obtained her Ph.D. in Physical and Biomedical Electronics in Kiev working on the development of biosensors. She studies the three-dimensional organization of telomeric expression site chromatin and nuclear compartmentalization in T. brucei.


Tony Isebe

Graduate Student

Tony investigates the composition and topology of the telomeric expression site complex using genetics, mass spectrometry, and microscopy approaches. He also investigates the role of nuclear lamina proteins in telomeric expression sites compartmentalization and VSG expression.


Mengjin Gao

Graduate Student

Jin investigates phosphoinositide signalling in trypanosomes with a focus on PI3Ks and nuclear signalling. He uses yeast surface display to identify phosphoinositide binding proteins, and genetic and biochemical approaches in trypanosomes to dissect the role of phosphoinositide in VSG expression and switching.


Abdoulie Touray

Graduate Student

Abdoulie is interested in genetics, mass spectrometry, and single-cell sequencing to study phosphoinositide signalling and the regulatory mechanisms underlying the control of VSG expression and switching in T. brucei.

Image by Mufid Majnun

Mira Loock

Graduate Student

Mira works on the discovery of new epitopes for Chagas disease vaccines. She uses yeast surface display to express T. cruzi genome-wide libraries and combines flow cytometry and nanopore sequencing to screen for epitopes recognized by antibodies from patients with Chagas disease. Mira uses experimental approaches to validate new antigens as candidates for a Chagas disease vaccine.


Luiza Berenguer Antunes

Undergraduate student

Luiza has worked on the optimization of yeast surface display library transfection and is performing a surface display screen with a T. cruzi genome-wide library to identify targets for the drug Benzinidazole, the first line of treatment for Chagas disease. 

Image by Clément Hélardot

Lionel Dignowity

Undergraduate student

Lionel works on computational analysis re-assembling the genome of the parasite T. cruzi using new long-read sequencing data.