Lab Personnel

Current lab members:

Nyasha Gondora, PhD Candidate

Nyasha joined the lab in the fall of 2013 after completing her undergraduate degree at Trinity University in San Antionio, TX. During her studies she received several awards for research/poster presentations. Nyasha is co-supervised byJohn Mielkefrom the School of Public Health. She is taking two different approaches to investigate RTK signaling in neurons. First, she is investigating the mechanism(s) of the recently discovered ability of RTK transactivation pathways to be transiently desensitized. Second, she is investigating the expression of key RTKs, NMDA receptor subunits, and 5-HT receptors after chronic early social isolation in rats. Nyasha recently completed the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Cross-Disciplinary Training (DSECT) program. Contact Nyasha,

Morgan Robinson, PhD Candidate

Morgan began with the Beazely lab in the fall of 2017. He holds a BSc in Physics/Biophysics, as well as a MSc in Biology from the University of Waterloo. Morgan’s MSc thesis involved biophysical and neurophysiological study of amyloid-β inhibitor drugs for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease; this interdisciplinary project was supervised by Zoya Leonenko (Physics & Astronomy, Biology) in collaboration with the Beazely lab. For his PhD thesis, Morgan continues to work collaboratively on Alzheimer’s disease (co-supervised by Zoya Leonenko) through an interdisciplinary approach using neurophysiology and biophysics, this time focusing on disease mechanisms pertaining to the neuronal plasma membrane. Morgan will be studying the combined effects of membrane lipid composition and amyloid-β on neuronal receptor signaling through a systems biology approach. In the first part, he will be characterizing the effects of cholesterol and amyloid on neurophysiological signaling pathways (GPCR, RTK and NMDA receptor signaling) and ion channel function using patch clamping. In parallel, he will be characterizing neuronal plasma membrane structure with biophysical techniques to be correlated with neurotransmitter and neurotrophin receptor function in the first part. Morgan recently received the Ontario Graduate Scholarship (OGS) for 2018-2019.Contact Morgan,

Former lab members:

Nawaz Ahmed, Master's

Nawaz completed his Master’s degree in September of 2015 after completing his undergraduate degree at the University of Waterloo and gaining a valuable clinical perspective working at the KW Travel Clinic. Nawaz demonstrated that short term (minutes to hours) activation of 5-HT7 receptors regulated the expression of TrkB andPDGFβ receptor expression in Ht-22 cells andex vivo hippocampal tissue. He has demonstrated significant and rapid (1-6 h) changes in RTK and NMDA receptor subunit expression. In 2014 Nawaz received an Ontario Graduate Fellowship. He is continuing his graduate training in the laboratory of Prof. Paul Spagnuolo. Contact Nawaz,

Anshula Samarajeewa, NSERC Undergraduate Student

Anshula completed a Biology senior honours thesis project in the Beazely Lab, continued her research project as a volunteer, and completed her time in the lab as an NSERC-funded undergraduate researcher. She found that 5-HT7 agonists upregulate TrkB expression in primary cortical neurons, RGC-5 cells as well as SH-SY5Y cells. Her manuscript was recently published in a 5-HT7 receptor special issue of Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience. Anshula went on to workMaxxam Analytics in Mississauga, ON and iscurrently pursuing graduate work in the laboratory

Seyedeh Maryam Vasefi, PhD

Maryam joined the lab in 2009 after completing a Master’s degree in microbiology. She defended her PhD in 2014. She published 3 first-author manuscripts during her studies describing the short- and long-term regulation of PDGF and NMDA receptors by the 5-HT7 receptor. Maryam also made several key contributions to the research of her colleagues within the lab and with collaborators at the School of Pharmacy and the University of Waterloo. In 2012 Maryam won the AFPC Rx & D Pharmacy Student Research Poster Award. Maryam will be continuing her research with Dr. Stephen Ferguson. Contact Maryam,

Jeff Kruk, PhD

Jeff Kruk graduated from the University of Waterloo Science program with an Honours BSc. He joined the lab in September 2009 and completed his thesis on novel signaling interactions between selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin receptors, and growth factor receptors in the central nervous system in 2013. In 2012 and 2013, Jeff was awarded the prestigious Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship in Science and Technology. Jeff is currently a medical student at the University of Sydney, Australia. Contact Jeff,

Azita Kouchmeshky, Master’s

Azita defended her thesis in early 2014. Her background as a pharmacist provided a unique clinical perspective to her research. Azita investigated the similarities and differences between receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) activated directly by their ligand vs. RTKs transactivated by GPCR agonists. In 2013 Azita was accepted into the Drug Safety and Effectiveness Cross-Disciplinary Training (DSECT) program and received a CIHR stipend. Azita is currently looking to further her graduate training at the PhD level. Contact Azita,

Golam Saffi, Master’s

Golam completed his Master's thesis (Identifying the mechanism of AB42 inhibition of PDGF-BB signalling)in Pharmacy in 2013 after finishing his undergraduate BSc-Honors in Science and Business/Biotechnology in 2011. Golam investigated a novel interaction betweenamyloid-β oligomers and the PDGF system and demonstrated thatamyloid-βinhibited PDGF-BB induced activation of PDGF receptors and several downstream signaling molecules. Golam is currently pursueing his PhD at Ryerson University. Contact Golam,

Hui (Lucy) Liu, Master’s

Lucy defended her Master’s thesis in the spring of 2012 and became only the second person to graduate form the University of Waterloo School of Pharmacy graduate program. Lucy identified a novel inhibitory action ofamyloid-β on PDGF receptor signaling and postulated that this inhibition might contribute to Alzheimer's disease pathology. During her Master’s Lucy received both OGS and CIHR support. The School of Pharmacy is excited to have Lucy back once more as Manager, Scientific and Technical Resources. Contact Lucy,

Michael Beazely 2016