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.
Dr. Claudia Hung – Research Technician
Claudia completed her undergraduate studies in 2013 at McMaster University in the Biochemistry and Biomedical Sciences program and completed her PhD in 2018. She has been serving as the Assistant Technical Director of the McMaster Biophotonics Facility and is interested in using various biophotonic methods to help advance the study of cell biology in HD research for drug discovery including live cell imaging, widefield and confocal microscopy, detecting protein-protein interactions by FLIM-FRET, and super-resolution structured illumination microscopy (SR-SIM).
Siddharth Nath – MD/Ph.D Candidate
Sid the Kid joined the Truant Lab as an undergraduate summer student in 2011 working on investigating the cell stress response in Huntington’s disease. Bitten by the research bug, he stayed in the lab as a thesis student throughout his undergraduate studies and graduated from
the Honours Biochemistry Program at McMaster in 2013. He subsequently enrolled in the combined MD/PhD program, and is currently a graduate student in the Truant Lab. His work is focused on understanding the role of cellular bioenergetics in neurodegeneration and he leads our projects on spinocerebellar ataxia type 7. Sid also has a special interest in evidence-based medicine and he has led large meta-analyses in the clinical neurosciences.
Atraumatic versus conventional lumbar puncture needles: a systematic review and meta-analysis (Lancet 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 – Undergraduate 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.
Tim Wong – Undergraduate Student
Tim is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Honours Biochemistry program and is completing a full-year thesis project. He is currently working with Celeste studying the nuclear interactions and behaviour of ataxin 1 in SCA1.
Christina Peng – Undergraduate 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.
James Li – Undergraduate Student
James is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Honours Biochemistry program and is completing a full-year thesis project. He is currently working with Carlos to establish a line of production of wild-type and mutant Huntingtin protein for use in the lab. He also has a passion for the sport of dragon boating and paddles for the McMaster Dragon Boat Club!