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Current Members

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Dr. Ryan Russell

Principal Investigator



Dr. Russell obtained his PhD from the University of Toronto in the field of molecular oncology, focusing on oxygen sensing and renal clear cell carcinoma.  He performed his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California San Diego in the laboratory of Kun-Liang Guan.  There he focused on uncovering the relationship between stress and nutrient sensitive kinases and the autophagy pathway.  Dr. Russell joined the University of Ottawa in May 2015 as an assistant professor with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine. Recent work from Dr. Russell has shown novel regulatory mechanisms between nutrient sensitive kinases mTORC1, ULK1, and AMPK and the autophagy machinery.  Future endeavours include expanding our knowledge of the regulatory mechanisms of mammalian autophagy and determining the clinical significance of recently identified pathways.


View Dr. Russell's CV here


Education and Past Experience

2010-2015: Postdoctoral fellow, Dept. of Pharmacology, University of California San Diego.

2004-2009: Ph.D Molecular Oncology, University of Toronto

2000-2004: B.Sc Biochemistry, University of British Columbia

Dr. Damian Gatica Mizala

Postdoctoral Fellow


Dr. Gatica obtained his PhD from the University of Michigan in the field of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, focusing on the post-transcriptional and structural regulation of autophagy in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Dr. Gatica joined the Russell Lab at University of Ottawa in February 2021 as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.  

Education and Past Experience 

2013-2019: PhD. Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, University of Michigan, USA
2010-2012: M.Sc Biochemistry, University of Chile, Chile
2006-2010: B.Sc Biochemistry, University of Chile, Chile 

Zhihao Guo

Research Technician



A recent graduate from the Master's program at the University of Windsor, Zhihao's joined the Russell lab as a full time research technician.  He is currently working on disease related autophagy signalling pathways and development of new live-cell imaging techniques.  Zhihao is interested in the areas of cellular/molecular biology and biotechnology.


Education and Past Experience

2012-2014: Graduate Assistant, University of Windsor

2010-2011: Research Assistant, University of Windsor

2012-2014: M.Sc. Molecular Biology, University of Windsor

2006-2010: B.Sc. Biology and Biotechnology, University of Windsor

Cloe To

PhD Candidate


Cloe is a graduate student currently pursuing her degree in Cellular and Molecular Medicine at University of Ottawa. She recently completed her undergraduate degree in Medicinal Chemistry where she wrote her Honours thesis, using computational chemistry to study the Diels-Alder reaction mechanism.

Education and Past Experience
2012-2016: B.Sc. Medicinal Chemistry, University of New Brunswick

Reham Alsaadi

PhD Candidate


Mercy Akuma

PhD Candidate


Wensheng Tian

PhD Candidate



Karyn King

PhD Candidate

The Russell Lab

Russell lab ottawa autophagy Ryan


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