I run a dynamic and motivated research group consisting of research technicians, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, visiting scientists and undergraduate students. We continue to innovate with DNA by making various DNA-based enzymes (DNAzymes) and receptors (DNA aptamers) and putting them in use in diverse applications.

Our research has been funded by multiple public and private sources.  Currently we are supported by three grants from NSERC (the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) – a grant from Discovery Grants Program and two grants from Strategic Partnership Grants for Projects Program. We have also received two operating grants from CIHR (the Canadian Institute of Health Research) – a grant from Collaborative Health Research Projects Program (NSERC Partnered) and a grant from Antimicrobial Resistance: Point of Care Diagnostics in Human Health Program. We are also funded by an Innovation Grant from the Canadian Cancer Society and a Rapid Response Grant from Weston Brain Institute. These grants allow our team to conduct both basic and applied research projects on the topics of DNAzymes and DNA aptamers.     

We have also been collaborating with several Canadian biotech companies to develop point-of-care diagnostic assays and devices using DNA aptamers and DNAzymes. Recently, I have set up a biotech company, InnovoGENE, to commercialize the technologies developed in our group. You can find more information about InnovoGENE here http://www.innovogene.com.

Personnel Updates

Quite a few people have recently joined the lab while several researchers have recently moved on successfully to their next career stage.

Postdoctoral fellows Drs. Meng Liu and Fan Li have landed faculty positions in China. Dr. Meng Liu is now a full professor at Dalian University of Science and Technology, China, and Dr. Fan Li is now an associate professor at Shenzhen University, China.

Since the last update, several graduate students have completed their stdies. Dr. Kha Tram was graduated in 2015 and is now an NSERC funded Postdoctoral Fellow at Brock University.

Graduate students Qian Feng and Amjad Arrabi have successfully defended their Master of Science thesis. Qian is now working as a scientific writer in Metrix Group (Toronto), and Amjad has started his new position as a research scientist in my own group.

Visiting students Aozhe Zhang and Mao Yu have returned to China, and have successfully defended their doctoral thesis. Aozhe is now working as a researcher in Tobacco Medicine and Tobacco Cessation Center at China-Japan Friendship Hospital in Beijing. Dr. Mao Yu is now working as a research scientist in a Chinese medical school. Dr. Zhongping Li has completed his study in my group as a visiting professor, and returned to his regular position in Shanxin University, China.

Several undergraduate students have completed their senior thesis projects in our group since our last update, and they are: Braedon Morrison (2014/15; now an RCMP officer), Laura Chan (2014/2015; now an optometry student at University of Waterloo); Omar Musleh (2014/15; now a biotech Analyst at SGS), Kim Nguyen (2014/15; now a business student at McMaster University), Ben Li (2015/2016; now a medical student at University of Toronto), Nicklaus Allen (2015/2016; now a graduate student at Stanford University), Areeba Athar (2015/2016), Maria Nguyen (2015/2016), Nils Muthmann (2015/2016, a visiting student from Westfaslische Wilhelms-Universitat in Germany; now a graduate student in Germany), Savar Kaul (2016/2017; now a medical student at University of Toronto), Suraj Gopinathbirla (2016/2017; now working as a research assistant in my lab), Elysia Grose (2016/2017; now a medical student in the University of Ottawa), and Mimi Deng (2016/2017; now a medical student in University of Ottawa).

I am excited to have the following people as new members of our team my group since our last update:

Drs. Zhixue Zhou, Erin McConnell, and Snober Ahmed as postdoctoral fellows;

Prof. Huimin Zhao from Dalian University of Technology and Prof. Dan Zhang from Central China Normal University as visiting professors;

Sandy Zakaria, Alejandra Rey Rincon, Meghan Rothenbroker, Devon Morrison and Sahar Esmaeili Samani as graduate students;

Thomas Chang, Richard Wang, Mohammad Ahmed, Carolina Yan, and Michael Kim as undergraduate thesis students;

Justine Juana and Mathhew Salena as part-time research assistants while completing their undergraduate studies at McMaster University.

Personal achievements

Graduate students Rachel Gysbers and Dingran Chang are the latest recipients of graduate scholarships. Dingran also received a departmental recognition as one of the best presenters in our graduate seminars in the past year. Kha received a poster prize at the Canadian Society of Chemistry conference in Vancouver in June. Wenqing received her second poster award in the FIBRE conference in May, also in Vancouver.

I have recently been profiled in Angewandte Chemie International Edition – one of my favored chemistry journals – after I have published more than 10 articles there over the last 10 years. It is a great honor for me. Thanks to my students who did all the work. You can read the profile here http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/anie.201403018/abstract.

Thank you for visiting our website. Happy Browsing!

Yingfu Li
Professor of Biochemistry and Chemical Biology
McMaster University