As part of our day of science and celebrations, we will be holding a Career Development Networking Session over the lunch period. This event is organized by MoGen students, and a wonderful networking opportunity for members of the department.

The goal of this session is to connect current trainees with alumni that have gone on to pursue exciting careers in a wide variety of fields. We hope this casual setting will facilitate discussion including personal anecdotes about career choices, struggles, and successes. 


We invite all engaging alumni to participate as mentors for current trainees. To manage the event, alumni will be categorized into six distinct career fields including:

- Policy, Government, and Law
- Science Communication and Writing
- Academic Research
- Science Education
- Biotechnology and Industry
- Medical Professional Programs

Teaching online courses in medical genetics and microbiology allows me to share my passion for science with students and hopefully inspires them to continue learning about cutting-edge research in these fields.
— Jessica Hill, mentor at the Career Development Lunch in the category "Science Education"

If you are an alumnus/alumna eager to participate, please register and join us on May 31!

We will contact all alumni who have registered to request participation in the workshop and for more details about your career path, starting later in March. You may also indicate your interest in the comment box of the registration form, or reach out to the MoGen department by email.


Quotes from our mentors

“I work for a healthcare investment banking firm called Bloom Burton & Co. I am currently in the equity research team where I research publicly-traded Canadian healthcare companies to determine the value stocks and make investment recommendations to investors.”
— Antonia Borovina (Category: Policy, Government, and Law)
Scott investigates how small molecules can be used to discover and characterize new cell death pathways in mammalian cells. This work may lead to new treatments for diseases such as cancer or neurodegeneration
— Scott Dixon Category (Category: Academic Research)
Dr. Helen Dimaras is a Scientist at The Hospital for Sick Children and Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto. She completed a PhD in Molecular & Medical Genetics (2007) and post-doctoral training in clinical trials and global health (2011). Her work has contributed to the understanding of the molecular genetic development of the childhood eye cancer, retinoblastoma. She leads a research program that lies at intersection of global health, cancer genetics and clinical research. Much of her global work is focused on how to deliver optimal retinoblastoma care worldwide and improve patient outcomes.
— Helen Dimaras (Category: Academic Research)
As a PhD student in Dr. Barbara Funnell’s lab I was trained in biochemistry and bacterial genetics. As a postdoc at the NIH, I developed a biophysical approach that allows us to visualize the biochemistry driving the spatial organization of a bacterial cell. After three long years on the job market, I started my own lab at the University of Michigan. My lab studies subcellular organization in bacteria using interdisciplinary approaches, but with an emphasis on cell-free reconstitution and imaging.
— Anthony Vecchiarelli (Category: Academic Research)
After a PhD with Brenda Gallie in retinoblastoma genetics, Tim did a postdoc in chemical biology at Yale University before setting up his own lab applying these chemical biology approaches to translational eye disease research at Indiana University School of Medicine. He is now the Merrill Grayson Senior Chair in Ophthalmology, an Associate Professor, and Director of Basic and Translational Research for the Glick Eye Institute. Along the way, he has experienced moving to the US, the faculty job search process, working as a PhD researcher in a clinical department, and taking on administrative roles.
— Tim Corson (Category: Academic Research)
Dr. Wei Zhang is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the University of Guelph. He received training with two MolGen faculties: Daniel Durocher (PhD) and Sachdev Sidhu (Postdoc) on two disparate fields: DNA repair and protein engineering. He has received numerous awards, including the 2016 Mitacs Award for Outstanding Innovation, 2017 Cancer Research Society Scholarship for the Next Generation of Scientists, and the inaugural 2018 Donnelly Centre Research Excellence Award. He has 3 pending patents and published 20 papers in high-impact journals. His lab is currently funded by Cancer Research Society, Rare Disease Foundation, NSERC, and CIHR.
— Wei Zhang (Category: Academic Research)
After completing my PhD in the Department of Molecular Genetics and a post-doctoral fellowship at SickKids, I re-joined the department first on contract to create a new online course for undergraduates, “Introduction to Medical Genetics”, then as the first teaching stream faculty member in the department. Teaching online courses in medical genetics and microbiology allows me to share my passion for science with students and hopefully inspires them to continue learning about cutting-edge research in these fields.
— Jessica Hill (Category: Science Education)
I am an assistant professor at UCSF, where I have been running a research lab for four years. We study co-evolutionary arms races between bacteria and the viruses that infect them, trying to understand nature’s battles at the microbial level. The most exciting aspect of this work (to me) is the long and challenging chase that we embark on every day in the lab in the pursuit of the discovery of new biology.
— Joe Bondy-Denomy (Category: Academic Research)
Chris is a Principal Scientist and Director of Structural Biology at Genentech in San Francisco. His work spans
small and large molecule drug discovery, as well as basic research on the structure, function and regulation of proteins of therapeutic interest.
— Christopher Koth (Category: Biotechnology and Industry)
I now know that scientific research is the pursuit that I love more than any other. But I had to leave academia for 10 years to gain this awareness. From science, to writing, to teaching and back again, value is truly in the journey rather than in the results.
— Stuart Matan-Lithwick (Category: Academic Research)
I currently work for Amazon as a Sr. Program Manager, and used to be a sales manager of Amazon Prime working with top 3P ecommerce sellers in the US and globally. Prior to Amazon, I was in R&D and sales with Sigma-Aldrich, Amgen and Thermo Fisher.
— Bonan Zhong (Category: Biotechnology and Industry)
Shawna completed both her PhD and Post-Doc in MoGen labs (Rick Collins and Tim Hughes, respectively). She worked as a professor at Centennial College and sessional lecturer at UTSC before an international move led her to start a freelance writing and editing business in 2011. She joined Life Science Editors in 2018.
— Shawna Hiley (Category: Science Communication and Writing and Science Education)
My main interest is to understand how genetic variants interact with one another and with the environment to determine phenotypes. At Calico, my group and I study aging as a universal and highly pleiotropic phenotypic trait whose genetic determinants and molecular mechanisms are fundamentally unknown. Our focus is on genotype-phenotype relationships in human populations as well as model systems, such as yeast. Before joining Calico, I was a Principal Investigator and Lewis-Sigler Fellow at Princeton University.
— Anastasia Baryshnikova (Category: Biotechnology and Industry and Academic Research )
After my PhD at U of T, I was a Centennial Fellow post doc at MIT and then an Assistant and Associate Prof at The Johns Hopkins University. I am now a Prof at Hunter College, City University of NY. I worked on gene regulation showing that the lambda repressor maintains a differentiated state (lysogeny) by promoting its own synthesis. Later I showed that extracellular molecules activate gene expression via cell surface receptors in Dictyostelium. 
— Robert Dottin (Category: Academic Research and Science Education)
Andrew Shaker is an Analyst at Shift Health and is responsible for conducting, analyzing and synthesizing primary and secondary research to ensure successful development of strategic solutions to stakeholders across the healthcare and life sciences sector. Andrew has supported the development of value narratives for engaging policymakers to orient market access plans and prepare future reimbursement models, assessing the total economic impact for a top-10 pharmaceutical company and establishing a research strategy for a leading academic institution. Prior to Shift Health, Andrew completed his MSc in Molecular Genetics at University of Toronto where he worked on identifying genetic and bacterial factors associated with the cell-to-cell spread Listeria monocytogenes.
— Andrew Shaker (Category: Policy, Government and Law, Science Communication and Writing, Academic Research, Biotechnology and Industry)
Phil Goldbach (MoGen PhD class of 2010) has taken several turns along the road to his current role where he gets to leverage his science, law and business training on a daily basis. After MoGen graduation, Phil received a law degree and trained with the life science patent practice group at an IP boutique law firm, before taking on an IP management role at a biotech startup. At MaRS Innovation, he works with Toronto-based academic researchers on commercialization, both as an IP manager and as a project manager for therapeutic development opportunities.
— Phil Goldbach (Category: Biotechnology and Industry)
Dr. Hope is a Principal Investigator running a research lab which focuses on the study of normal and malignant blood stem cells. She followed her MoGen doctoral work in leukemia with a post-doc focused on mouse stem cell biology before starting her independent group at McMaster University.
— Kristin Hope (Category: Academic Research )
Dr Neil Macpherson is Research Communications Officer in Cell & Systems Biology at the University of Toronto. Neil has a passion for engaging the general public with scientific discoveries that has led him to work in open access science publishing, to host science booths at street festivals and most recently to promote the exciting research of his department.
— Neil Macpherson (Category: Science Communication and Writing)
I currently work at Sanofi Pasteur in the Research and Development department. Sanofi Pasteur is a global company that makes vaccines, and the department I work in at the Toronto campus produces and tests new vaccines for use in human clinical trials. I have moved through a variety of positions at Sanofi Pasteur, including a virology scientist, microbiology lab head and now leader of transversal teams to produce and test quality research vaccine products for delivery to clinical trial sites.
— Cheryl Birmingham (Category: Biotechnology and Industry)
My research deals with the identification of novel antibiotics and elucidating their mode of action. I am also Chair of Biochemistry and, in that role I direct the recruitment of faculty and the educational mission of the department. I was a profession at McMaster University for 15 years before moving to U of T in 2013.
— Justin Nodwell (Category: Science Communication and Writing, Academic Research, Science Education)