HGSS Exec Team 2022-2023


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

I’m a second-year Ph.D. student in the Kitzler Lab at the MUHC. I use patient-derived cell and zebrafish models to characterize novel monogenic causes of chronic kidney disease identified through exome sequencing.

I love running, hiking, cycling, and skiing. I also love to bake and eat desserts.

I’m excited and honoured to be the HGSS President this year. I had a great experience as VP of Internal Affairs last year, and I want to continue building a strong sense of community and inclusion within our department. As President, my goal is to lead the executive in organizing social and academic events that cater to your needs. I want us to provide both resources and opportunities that will enrich your graduate student experience.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, concerns, or feedback!

VP Financial Affairs

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

Hi y’all, my name is Lilit and I’m a PhD6 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 Dylan. I look forward to meeting you all!

VP Communications

Peyton McClelland | peyton.mcclelland@mail.mcgill.ca

Hi! I’m a second-year Master’s student in the CERC Genomic Medicine group at the Genome Centre, supervised by Daniel Taliun and Claude Bhérer. My research focuses on the genetic variation of the HLA system in the French Canadian population and its effects on disease phenotypes. Outside of the lab, I’m usually watching old movies and TV, trying new hobbies, or checking out Montréal cafes and restaurants with friends. As VP Communications, I’m excited to keep you updated about all of our fun and interesting programming coming up this year, as well as make sure everyone feels heard and connected in the HGEN community. Looking forward to hearing from you, feel free to reach out!

VP Academic Affairs (2)

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

Hello everyone! I’m a PhD3 student in Dr. Brent Richard’s lab at the Lady Davis Institute – 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 Academic this year, my work will focus on identifying needs of HGSS members and organizing useful workshops and inspiring academic events.

Sayaka Hansen | sayaka.hansen@mail.mcgill.ca

Hey everybody!! My name is Sayaka and I am starting my Master’s under Dr. Makoto Nagano and Dr. Aimee Ryan at the RI-MUHC this year! I study tight junction proteins in the Blood-Testis-Barrier in order to improve spermatogonial stem cell (SSC) delivery.

I’m originally from Calgary, Alberta and I am half Japanese, half Hungarian! I did my undergrad at McGill in Anatomy and Cell Biology and I’m happy to be continuing my studies in Montreal. I’m extremely involved in my community and I currently work with the Montreal Police Cadets! 

My goal as Co-VP Academic is to concentrate my efforts on the mentorship program and bring a diverse set of speakers to our Career Symposium. I will do my best to listen to your needs and bring forward the voice of our students on academic affairs to the council! 

VP Internal Affairs (2)

Amrita Gosaine | amrita.gosaine@mail.mcgill.ca

Hey everyone! I am a first-year Master’s student in the Braverman Lab at the RI-MUCH.  

I am from Montreal and have completed my Bachelors at McGill in Anatomy and Cell Biology. When I am not in the lab, I am usually watching a movie or catching up on a TV show. I like to play various games such as badminton, swimming, puzzles and board games with my friends and family.  

My goal as one of your VP Internal this year is to make sure and include a variety of events to suit different tastes (ex: sporty events vs less intensive events) so that there is something for everyone!  

Looking forward to seeing you at our events!  

Justine Desrochers |  justine.desrochers@mail.mcgill.ca

I’m a second year master’s student in the Engert-Thanassoulis lab at the RI-MUHC. I use computational analysis to study the effects of a coronary artery disease genetic risk score in various databases.

I’m from the North shore of Montréal. In my spare time, you can find me napping, at boxing and kickboxing classes, watching a good murder mystery and trying out new restaurants.

As VP internal this year, I plan on organizing a wide variety of events for everyone; from games night and dancing classes to rock climbing and holiday parties. Feel free to reach out with suggestions!

VP External Affairs

Dylan Pelletier | dylan.pelletier2@mail.mcgill.ca

Hi everyone!! My name is Dylan and I’m a 2nd year MSc student in the lab of Dr. Foulkes, co-supervised by Dr. Fabian. I am also a medical student at the University of Montreal, taking a two-year gap for this research project!  

My research mainly focuses on DICER1 syndrome and determining the pathogenicity of certain germline variants in the DICER1 gene. 

I’m a born and raised Montrealer. In my free time, I like to play soccer and go for runs. On the off chance that I am relaxing, I like to watch true crime documentaries or horror films on Netflix (I swear I’m no trying to learn anything from these). 

As VP internal I am very excited to represent HGSS during Post Graduate Student Society (PGSS) meetings and play a role in bettering everyone’s graduate experience. I also would like to establish relationships with other graduate student societies.  

I am looking forward to meeting you all this year! 

VP Health & Wellness

Hanshi Liu | hanshi.liu@mail.mcgill.ca

Hi all!

 I am a second-year master’s student supervised under Professor Yann Joly at the Centre of Genomics and Policy (CGP) in the Genome building. My research focuses on the topic of Data Governance in genomics. When I am not working on my research, I like to keep active and read. My favourite books this year are a Man called Ove, and Pachinko.

As your VP Health and Wellness, my priority is to establish and promote a wide variety of initiatives related to health. Some of these will include intramural sports, exploring the needs of our students through health-specific surveys, and working with other members of our execs to create more low-stakes opportunities to hangout. One of my personal goals will be to make health resources more visible and well-known to our students.

If you have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please always feel free to reach out.