HGSS Exec Team 2021-2022


Anjie Ni | anjie.ni@mail.mcgill.ca

Hi everyone!

I’m a second-year master’s student in Dr. Carl Ernst’s lab at the Douglas. I study brain development using iPSC-derived models. When I’m not at the lab, I’m either working in cafes, spending time with my friends and family, or reading thriller novels and cool biographies (send me your book suggestions!).

As the HGSS President this year, my goals are to ensure that the exec team’s decisions always reflect the needs and wants of the student body and to guide and support the exec team in delivering social and academic projects that will add value to our student life. The other execs and I will also work very hard to ensure a safe “back-to-normal” environment for our activities. Lastly, I’d like to promote inclusion and diversity through the exec’s initiatives and events.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, you can always email me or reach out to the other execs!

VP Financial Affairs

Lilit Antonyan | lilit.antonyan@mail.mcgill.ca

Hi y’all, my name is Lilit and I’m a PhD5 student at Dr. Carl Ernst’s lab at the Douglas Institute! For my PhD, I’m studying rare neurodevelopmental diseases using stem cell models.

I’m originally from Armenia and I grew up in Mexico. I did my undergrad for 1 year at UBC and then transferred to UofT to finish. I moved to Montreal for grad school and fell in love with the city’s chill, artsy vibe. My favourite part of town is the pier because I find the river very soothing, and you can also get a very beautiful view of the city line. When I’m not in lab, I love spending time outdoors skating, dancing, playing sports, learning circus acrobatics and gardening (I have a gazillion plants). 

As your VP Financial this year, I will make sure that we plan and have enough money to organize meaningful academic and social events to foster a greater sense of community post-pandemic so you can all experience the perks that being an HGSSer has to offer. I will also be representing us at the PGSS council meetings along with Yiheng. I look forward to meeting you all!

VP Communications

Will Bauer | william.bauer2@mail.mcgill.ca

Hey Geneticists! I’m a 2nd-year Master’s student in Dr. David Rosenblatt’s lab, at the Glen. I’m studying the methionine dependence of melanoma and glioma cell cultures with low expression of the MMACHC gene. Last year I was the Glen Site Rep.

I’m relatively new to McGill. I did my undergrad at Acadia University in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, where I graduated with a BSc with Honour’s in Biology in May 2020. My Honour’s thesis was on the phylogenetics of freshwater mussels (clams) in Costa Rica — very different from human cancer epigenetics! I’ve never lived anywhere but the Maritimes until now, so please give me your recommendations on cool things to go do in Montreal!

As your VP Comm this year, my main goal is to increase student presence and engagement at our events. Follow us on Instagram (@hgss_mcgill) and Twitter (@hgssmcgill)!

VP Academic Affairs

Ansley Gnanapragasam | ansley.gnanapragasam@mail.mcgill.ca

I am a 2nd year PhD student investigating the molecular mediators of gastric cancer under the supervision of Dr. Bailey and Dr. Garzia. I use a bioinformatics approach to identify candidate genes and validate their effects in vivo and in vitro.

I am a Montreal native and completed and BSc in Honors Biology at Concordia University. I enjoy playing rugby both at the varsity level and at the club level. I love travelling and exploring new countries and try to maintain and extremely active lifestyle.

As VP Academics, I want to identify the academic needs of the HGSS student body and work to present interesting workshops and enriching events.

VP Internal Affairs (2)

Zac Sentell | zachary.sentell@mail.mcgill.ca

I’m a second year Master’s student in the Kitzler Lab at the RI-MUHC. I use cell and zebrafish models to characterize novel monogenic causes of kidney disease. I plan on fast-tracking into the PhD program for Winter 2022. 

Coming from British Columbia, I love hiking, running, and winter sports (especially hockey). My favourite things to do in Montreal is running up Mount Royal (it’s a hill though).

As VP Internal, my goal is to bring everyone together for social events. I hope to plan outdoor activities, intramurals, holiday parties, and games nights. 

I really look forward to getting to know you all this year!

Reinnier Padilla | reinnier.padilla@mail.mcgill.ca

I’m a second-year Ph.D. student in Dr. Majewski’s lab at the Genome Centre. I use bioinformatic tools to study biological mechanisms in the context of normal development and epigenetically-dysregulated diseases.

I’m from Windsor, ON. On my free time, I enjoy being physically active and playing sports. These include distance running (5-10km), weightlifting (the big 3), tennis, boxing and aqua sports. When I’m too sore to do any of these things, I enjoy mastering and learning new programming languages (currently C++).

As a VP internal this year, I would like to organize as many in-person events as possible and foster a sense of community among the HG department once again. Feel free to reach out if you have any good ideas!

VP External Affairs

Yiheng Chen| yiheng.chen@mail.mcgill.ca

Hello everyone! I’m a Ph.D. 3 student in Dr. Brent Richard’s lab at the Lady Davis Institute at Jewish General Hospital. My research focuses on identifying genetic determinants for circulating metabolites and applying these associations to prioritize biomarkers and drug targets for complex diseases. In my free time, I enjoy hiking and hanging out with friends.

As your VP External this year, my work will focus on the liaison between HGSS and PGSS as well as with other Graduate Student Associations. My main goals are to make sure our students are aware of the information and opportunities from PGSS.