About the Organizers

Sameen Ahmed


Sameen is a fifth-year PhD student in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto in Dr. Philipp Maass’ lab. She is currently exploring the role of long non-coding RNAs in gene regulation and genome organization during human chondrogenesis. As a returning member of the TREnD organizing committee, Sameen is excited to continue to be involved in the RNA community.

Pallavi Pilaka

I am a graduate student in the department of Cell and Systems Biology in Dr. John Calarco’s lab at the University of Toronto. I am currently studying the tissue- and species-specific alternative splicing in C. elegans. I joined TREnD to learn more about RNA and to help build and stronger and more diverse RNA community in Toronto.

Giovanni Burke

Giovanni is a fifth year PhD student in the Greenblatt Lab at the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto. He is investigating the role of C2H2-zinc finger proteins in the post-transcriptional nucleotide modification of mRNA (the ‘epitranscriptome’) and their effects on gene expression through interactions with modification-related proteins. Giovanni is excited to be part of the TREnD team in fostering new connections and bringing together people interested in RNA at all stages in their careers.

Yifan (Eva) Wang

Eva is a PhD student in Dr. Alex Palazzo’s lab at the University of Toronto. She is currently studying the role of nucleoporins in mRNP maturation in mammalian cells. She joined TREnd to meet people in the RNA community and learn about cool and exciting RNA research. 

Evelyne Collignon

Evelyne is a post-doctoral fellow in Dr. Miguel Ramalho-Santos’ lab, at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute. She is interested in exploring the role of RNA modifications, such as mRNA methylation, in the biology of pluripotent cells and cancer. She is happy to join the TREnD team this year and connect with other RNA enthusiasts.

Charlotte Martin

Charlotte is a third year PhD student in the Calarco Lab. She studies how tissue-specific alternative splice isoforms affect protein function in the nematode C. elegans. As a past TREnD attendee she is excited to now help organize this great conference.

Volker Nitschko

Volker is a postdoc in Dr. Julie Claycomb’s lab at the University of Toronto, and is studying the role of miRNA-binding Argonautes during spermatogenesis. He joined the TREnD organizing committee to help connect RNA researchers and foster new collaborations.

Sharanja Premachandran

Sharanja is a graduate student in Dr. John Calarco’s lab at the University of Toronto. She is investigating novel genetic interactions between neuronally-enriched RNA-binding proteins in C. elegans and the consequences of these interactions for neurite development. Sharanja is excited about the multitude of research that contributes to our understanding of an mRNA’s fate and how this contributes to development and disease. Having participated in TREnD before, she recognizes the value of celebrating student achievement in all aspects of RNA biology and is thrilled to be helping out!


Giacomo Furlan, Mathias Renaud, Negin Khosraviani, Lamisa Mizan, Janine Truong, Amanda Charlesworth, Lauren Ostrowski, Marat Mufteev, Matthew Hildebrandt, Akashdeep Dhillon, Geraldine Seydoux, Eesha Sharma, Nevraj Kejiou, Amanda Hall, Julia Sobotka, Monica Wu, Miranda Wang, Chris Wedeles, Melissa Wong, Danielle Bilodeau, Ashrut Narula.


Dr. Julie Claycomb


Julie Claycomb is an Associate Professor in the Molecular Genetics Department at the University of Toronto. Work in the Claycomb lab focuses on understanding the mechanisms of germline small RNA pathways using the nematode C. elegans as a model system.

Dr. John Calarco


John Calarco is an Assistant Professor in the Cell and Systems Biology Department at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on understanding mechanisms governing post-transcriptional gene regulation in the nervous system, with a particular focus on alternative splicing. John is excited to be serving as a faculty mentor for TREnD.