Current Research Group

May 2022, in front of the Rideau Canal
Front row (left to right): Rojo Rakotoharisoa, Roberto Chica, Niayesh Zarifi
Back row (left to right): Serena Hunt, Jean Roch Kouassi, Dennis Poorang

Graduate Students


Ilya Dementyev
M.Sc. candidate (2022/09-present)
B.Sc. Bio-Organic Chemistry, McGill University (2018-2022)
Home town: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

NSERC CREATE Scholarship (2022-2024)

Research Project: Development and experimental validation of next-generation enzyme design algorithms



Serena Hunt
M.Sc. candidate (2021/09-present)
B.Sc. Biochemistry, University of Ottawa (2016-2021)

B.A.Sc. Chemical Engineering, University of Ottawa (2016-2021)
Home town: Kingsville, Ontario
, Canada

NSERC CREATE Scholarship (2021-2023)
Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2021-2023)

Research Project: Role of Active Site Mutations in a Highly Evolved Artificial Retro-Aldolase



Rojo Rakotoharisoa
Ph.D. candidate (2018/09-present)
M.Sc. Chemistry, Université Paris Diderot (2018)
B.Sc. Biology, Biomolecules, Bioinformatics, Université Paris Diderot (2015)
Home town: Antananarivo, Madagascar

NSERC CREATE Scholarship (2019-2021)

Research Project: Ensemble-based computational enzyme design



Niayesh Zarifi
Ph.D. candidate (2019/09-present)
B.Sc. Biotechnology, University of Tehran (2019)
Home town: Kish Island, Iran

NSERC CREATE Scholarship (2019-2021)
Dr. Yu Scholarship for International Students (2019-2020)

Research Project: De novo enzyme design


Gabriel Zavala
M.Sc. candidate (2022/09-present)
B.Sc. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of British Columbia (2019)
Home town: Monterrey, Mexico

NSERC APRENTICE Scholarship (2022-2024)

Research Project: Computational design of ligand-gated ion channel specificity


Postdoctoral Fellows


Hang Pham
Postdoctoral Fellow (2022/07-present)
Ph.D. Biochemistry, Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (2022)
M.Sc. Biochemical Engineering, Institut National des Sciences Appliquées de Toulouse (2014)
Home town: Nha Trang, Vietnam

Research Project: Computational design of structural dynamics in artificial enzymes



Jean Roch Kouassi
B.Sc. Biochemistry, University of Ottawa (2020-present)
Home town: Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire

Research project: Engineering agonist specificity in a bacterial ligand-gated ion channel


Dennis Poorang
B.Sc. Biomedical Science, University of Ottawa (2019-Present)
Home town: Gatineau, Quebec, Canada

Research Project: Engineering activity-enhancing distal mutations in a designed retro-aldolase



For a list of past members, click here.