Trick or treat? It’s Halloween!

It is a Li lab tradition to attend thIMG_6239e Halloween costume and pumpkin carving competition hosted by the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences at McMaster University every year. This year, Rachel organized a movie night for The LEGO Movie, which inspired the Li lab to dress as Lego characters for the event. In order to create winning outfits, everyone from the Li lab was eager to show off their artistic side and really demonstrated just how many ways in which cardboard boxes, Bristol board, tin foil and paint could be manipulated. In the end, 12 characters from the movie were made, and the Li lab took home 1st place for best costume and 2nd place for best pumpkin. It was awesome!

– Dora H

Run For Your Bum!

This week in the Li Lab, several members of the lab participated in the Wellwood Walk/Run for Colorectal Cancer on October 19th. Dingran, Kha, Qian, Rachel, and Dr. Li himself all ran an invigorating 10 km race, both beginning and finishing at McMaster’s Student Centre. Several members took home medals for finishing in the top three in their gender and age category; Kha finished first, and Dingran and Dr. Li both received second-place medals. In addition, these lab members supported another friendly face – CMCB’s Fazmin Nizam – who finished an impressive second overall! Congratulations to all involved for a race well run. Next year, they challenge ALL of the lab members to participate!

– Rachel

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week in the Li Lab, Dr. Li and his family (along with their adorable dogs Yoyo and Teddy, and Mimi the cat) hosted a BBQ/potluck at their house to kickstart the Thanksgiving weekend. As the chef of the night, Braedon cooked up some very delicious burgers and hotdogs. Amjad provided a tasty homemade Lebanese dessert and as always, Rachel’s chip dip was a favorite at the party. It was a wonderful night full of fun, delicious food, and some drinks of course! Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Meet Braedon

braedonmThesis work in the Li Lab is a unique experience for a McMaster Life Science Student. The Biochemistry aspect of my work in the Li Lab brings a new dimension to the interdisciplinary curriculum of the Life Sciences program. I am extremely excited to begin my work and look forward this positive learning experience.


Laura’s Project Update

laurachanI am excited to complete my third year thesis in continuing Rachel’s project on the evolution of a deoxribozyme! By decreasing selection incubation time and thus increasing selective pressure in rounds of in vitro selection, we hope to optimize its ribonucleic acid-cleaving catalytic ability.


Congratulations Dingran!

dingrancI’m very happy that I could get the Karl Freeman Prize. I’m quite lucky. Li lab members gave me a lot of help and support. Thanks Guys. Hope next year, some of you can also get it. I know you can do it, Rachel. To speak good English, I still have a long way to go (bacon, beacon, I know how to pronounce them now). Please correct me if I mispronounce something. I will appreciate it.


Meet Kim

KimAfter initially finding out the main objectives of the Li Lab and having a background in learning about nucleic acids, I was intrigued and wanted to be a part of the innovative futuristic idea. I think it’s really interesting how basic tools such has litmus paper has been around for such a long time, yet only now are they being applied to universally detrimental bacteria and pathogens. I’m thrilled and so honoured to be able to be a part of this research team that is looking into unique ways to use urease in order to detect different pathogens via litmus paper. Since this idea is so unique, and in a field of its own, it’s going to be a challenging task to optimize experiments to yield the best results; but that’s science. Being a part of a team that is presenting novel ideas to the world is an indescribable experience. The team that is involved in this project provides such a great environment and encouragement, which makes this project that much more exciting and the goals more attainable. Though it can feel daunting and overwhelming at times, I’m ready for all the challenges to come and I’m ready to tackle them head on.


Shahrzad’s Riboclub Experience

shahrzadjLast week, I attended the Riboclub 15th Annual RNA meeting. As my studies are focused on a small regulatory RNA, this meeting was a valuable experience. It allowed me to learn more about RNA and meet some of the leading experts in the field. It was a nice surprise that Dr. Smolke, whose works I have cited many times, was chosen to give the Student Choice Seminar. Poster sessions provided a nice opportunity to exchange ideas about my research with the other scientists. Not only the scientific program was fantastic but also I am happy that I got to experience a little the Quebec culture (esp. their music for the first time) and nature in this beautiful season!

Meet Amjad

amjadaI’m excited to pursue graduate research, under the supervision of Dr. Yingfu Li, after having completed an undergraduate thesis in his lab. The positive atmosphere combined with meaningful research will allow me to fully apply myself in finding practical solutions to relevant problems. Read more about Amjad here.

Meet Sep

SepAs a direct-entry PhD student into the Li Lab, I am ecstatic to be a part of our efforts aimed at developing colorimetric assays for a wide range of biologically relevant targets. My current focus is the detection of harmful heavy metals such as lead and uranium, while aspiring to apply our model to point-of-care testing of infectious bacteria in the near future.