This is my current team - for past members, click here.

Last updated 02/10/2019


Hiba Shareefdeen

RAII (Fall/Winter 2017-18), MSc Student (Medicine)

Hiba started work on phages in Dr. Surette's lab as a project student, and, upon finding out there'd be a dedicated phage lab, applied to join it before I'd even set foot in my lab. She started off as a research assistant to help get the lab up and running, but now that it's doing just that, she's started an MSc through the department of Medicine in May 2018. She's my lifeline for "borrowing" supplies, using equipment and exploiting the expertise of the Surette lab. Her work involves tracking phage populations through fecal microbiota transplants. 


Anisha Nandy

MSc Student (Biochemistry)

Anisha overcame the beginnings of a career in industry to return to academia, following an interest sparked in her during her B.Sc. at Brock University. She also holds a B.A. in Dance and Performing Arts, and is a speaker for first generation imigrants to Canada. While volunteering in our shared labspace, she heard of phages and now she's hooked. She worked as a research assistant until she began an MSc in the department of Biochemistry in May 2018. Her project's objectives are to systematically probe lysogens with compounds from the McMaster HTS lab to find out what, exactly, bacteriophages can sense. I can't help but hope caffeine induces lysogens - the paper would practically write itself. 


Félix Croteau

PhD Candidate (Biochemistry)

A graduate of Université Laval and veteran of the Moineau lab, he followed me to his new home at McMaster, to pursue a PhD. In addition to that solid pedigree, he's a winner of the Canadian Society of Microbiologists Undergraduate Award. He's also a talented musician, baker, and - as evidenced by our own logo proudly displayed on this site, graphic designer. He started his PhD in May 2018 through the department of Biochemistry, establishing the role of existing phages in model bacterial populations.


Amany Al-Anany

PhD Student (Biochemistry)

Amany is a graduate Ainshams University Faculty of Pharamacy. She worked in the pharmaceutical industry, as a patient educator at Sanofi Aventis and a compliance officer for Novartis. Following this, she worked as a teaching assistant then promoted to an assistant lecturer at the British University in Egypt. She received an MSc from The American University in Cairo researching biomarkers for HCV detection. She joined our group in Jan 2019, which probably explains why she chose this picture rather than one with a dreary ‘Hamilton in Winter’ background. Her project is part of a larger effort, alongside Rabia, to investigate a new take on phage-antibiotic synergy. Apart from research, she is fond of cooking, sewing and photography.


Rabia Fatima

RAII (Summer 2019), MSc Biochemistry (Fall 2019-)

Rabia just completed Honours BSc in Biochemistry at McMaster, with a thesis in the MacNeil lab studying the impact of the human microbiome on Alzheimer’s disease using C. elegans. From worms to bacteria to phages, if her interests keep shrinking, we might soon have a physicist in the lab! She joined the lab as a research assistant for the summer before starting her MSc in September 2019. Her project is part of a larger effort, alongside Amany, to investigate a new take on phage-antibiotic synergy. In her time off, she teaches part-time at a weekend school and runs an online book store as a Director of Online Sales at Friends of the Mississauga Library .


Tamina Angel Jose

PhD Biochemistry (Fall 2019-)

She claims to come from the land of coconuts, banana chips and men who wear skirts everyday. I didn’t know any of these things about Kerala, in India. Following a B.Sc. from Mahatma Ghandi University and an M.Sc. from Madras University, Tamina now comes to brave a land with almost no coconuts in order to build on her training and experience in microbiology. While working towards starting here at McMaster, she worked through an online platform called “Unacademy” as an Educator - check her out here! When asked for some facts about her, she said she tries terribly hard (and fails) at being funny - and laughs at her own jokes. I respect that, I think she’ll fit right in. Her project involves investigating the interactions between phages and probiotics.


Gayatri Nair

Research Assistant IV B (Fall 2019-)

Over the last 8 months, she could frequently be found in the Hynes lab, keeping Hiba company. Mascot or Unofficial lab member? Might as well make it official - with her MSc defence marking her departure from the Surette lab, she joins us to work on the IIDR/Farncombe Joint Phage Initiative, picking up where Sara left off.


Dr. Alejandra Chávez-Carbajal

Postdoctoral Fellow (Fall 2019-)

Bravely joining us as the lab’s first postdoc, Alejandra recently completed her PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology at Cinvestav (Mexico). She ambushed me after a talk about bacteriophages I gave while she was on an exchange here in Hamilton, and, having just read “the perfect predator”, I think she was primed to appreciate the subject matter! She’s proven adaptable, with a background in nutrition science and a radically different PhD - so I’ve no doubt she’ll handle the leap to phages with aplomb. What does it say about my lab that everyone with a PhD is a salsa dancer?


Rachelle Szymkiewicz

Research Assistant IV B (Fall 2019-)

Rachelle lends her much-needed bioinformatics expertise to the team, while primarily working on issues at the core of the Joint Phage Initiative. She’s also the third ex-member of the Surette Lab (having completed her MSc in 2018) to join the Hynes lab. People are starting to notice…

McMaster Undergraduate Students


Kevin Zhao

SUMMER (2018,2019), 3BM03 (2019), 3H06

Kevin initially joined us after his first year and worked in the lab with the support of the BHSc Summer Research Scholarship. He rejoined us for a 1-term project, now extending into an NSERC USRA-funded summer studentship, and further extending into a 6 unit project on bacterial “herd immunity” against phages. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys strategy games and books about science fiction and history. As a coffee enthusiast and student of science, he is constantly testing the limits of human caffeination. He’s also the lab pipette-tip filling champion (2018).


Janice Tai

3A03, Summer (2019), Thesis

Janice just wrapped up her 3rd year of the BBS program, and through her project work investigating phage-phage interactions, it was clear to the rest of us that she has absolutely perfect technical skills in the lab. She stuck around for the summer, funded by an NSERC USRA, and continues as a thesis student. She tells me her ultimate goal in life is to grow another inch. I’m not sure I can help with that, but work on phage should at least help her realize she’s much taller than all the really important things. She maaaay also have an obsession with dogs, (unless having a "dog wall" in her room is normal?).


Breanna Landry

Biology Thesis (MolBio 4G12)

She’s jumping straight from an 8 month co-op term with Glysantis in Guelph, to a thesis project on phages & bacterial motility for an exciting fourth year of her Molecular Biology and Genetics Co-op program. This being the first biology student in the lab, I hope she’s aware that I’m juding the entire program based on her. She’s an avid soccer player, reader, and apparently has very weird pipetting technique. I guess I’ll soon find out what that means….


Ikram Qaderi

3R06 (FalL 2019-Winter 2020)

Ikram joins us for a 3R06 project partnered with Anisha to take a deeper dive into some of the unusual compounds that are inducing the ‘uninducible’ bacteriophage Mu.


Brandon Ly

3R06 (FalL 2019-Winter 2020)

Brandon just finished his 2nd year in the Honours Biochemistry program and is joining us for his year-round 3R06 project. He’s working with Hiba on systematically characterizing some very unusual interactions between Bacteroides isolates. In his spare time, he enjoys playing the piano, performing as a part-time piano teacher and concert pianist. I think that brings us up to 3 musicians? Brandon also enjoys playing sports, all things fitness, and is a super hero enthusiast.