Dr. Ray Truant, Ph.D – Principal Investigator
Ray Truant completed his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Toronto and continued on to his graduate studies in the Department of Medical Genetics in the lab of Jack F. Greenblatt at the C.H. Best Institute.
For his graduate work, his studies focused on protein-protein interactions of the p53 tumor-suppressor protein and its mechanism of activation of transcription. After receiving his doctorate in 1996, Ray studied as a post-doctoral Research Associate at the Howard Hughes Medical Research Institute at Duke University in the department of Genetics with Dr. Bryan R. Cullen. While at the HHMI, his research centered on protein-protein interactions of HIV-1 proteins and into mechanisms of protein transport to and from the nucleus using biochemical and cell biological techniques.
In 1999, Ray was appointed Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry at McMaster University, where he started new projects on polyglutamine diseases, focusing on Huntington’s Disease. In 2001, Ray won the CIHR “New Scientist” award and his group is supported by ongoing operating grants from the CIHR and the Krembil Foundation, as well as the Huntington Society of Canada, The Huntington’s Disease Society of America and the Hereditary Disease Foundation. In 2012 he was awarded the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for public service and in 2014 the Michael Wright Community Leadership Award.
Dr. Truant is currently Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences and Chair of the Scientific Advisory board, and Board Officer of the Huntington Society of Canada. Dr. Truant is also on the Scientific Advisory Board of Mitokinin LLC, Stanford, CA.
Dr. Tamara Maiuri – Research Associate
After obtaining her PhD in the Medical Biophysics Department at University of Toronto, Tam joined the Truant lab in 2010. She is carrying out the HDSA Berman/Topper HD Career Development Fellowship project on DNA repair-specific huntingtin interactions. Tam is also an active member of the HD community, acting as editor for HDBuzz.net and a regular speaker for Huntington Society of Canada events. She is a member of the indie band, Eli & the Straw Man, who has partnered with the HSC to raise awareness about HD and funds exceeding $70 000 through benefit concerts in 2016-2018.
Celeste Suart – Ph.D Candidate
Celeste joined the lab in 2016 as an undergraduate student from the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization (BDC) program at McMaster. She then graduated with her BHSc in 2017. Her work now focuses on the DNA damage response of the ataxin-1 protein in Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 1 (SCA1). In September 2018, Celeste co-founded scasource.net, a knowledge translation website for ataxia research.
Carlos Barba- Ph.D Student
Carlos is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Honours Biochemistry program with a Biomedical Research Specialization. He is now working on his fourth-year thesis on the involvement of poly ADP-ribose in Huntington’s Disease.
Nola Begeja – Masters Student
Natasha Savic -Masters Student
Natasha is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Honors Biochemistry program. She completed her third-year research project in the lab, and is now working on her thesis to uncover the impact of kinetin derivatives in multiple HD and SCA1 cell lines.
Christina Peng – Masters Student
Christina is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Honours Biochemistry program with a Biomedical Research Specialization. She is currently working with Tamara on the role of alpha-synuclein in DNA damage repair.
Kaitlyn Neuman – Masters Student
Kaitlyn joined the Truant lab in 2020 after completing her BHSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology with a Specialization in the Health Sciences at Trent University. Kaitlyn was recently featured in the Huntington Society of Canada’s Newsletter “Horizon” (Issue 162 – Fall). Her current work focuses on mitochondrial imaging using a newly developed stain called PKMR. Her intention is to use this information as a baseline to explore the relationship between circadian rhythm, the DNA damage repair protein PARP1, and Huntington Disease.