National Undergraduate Genetics Symposium

2021 Presentation Awards

Oral Presentations Poster Presentations

First place: Alex Wyatt First place: Brittany Wiseman

Second place: Taylor Reilly Second place: Maanasa Koripalli

Third place: Riya Philip Third place: Cameron Leong

The National Undergraduate Genetics Symposium is an event that allows undergraduate students to showcase their research achievements in genetics and molecular biology and gain valuable experience in research presentation and communication. Students will have the opportunity to present powerpoint presentations or research posters of their research done during the undergraduate degrees.

This is an event that was coordinated for students, by students, with the effort of students from the University of British Columbias AMS Medical Genetics Club, Queens Universitys Global Society for Genetics and Genome Biology, Western Universitys Western Undergraduate Genetics Association and University of Torontos Global Society for Genetics and Genome Biology.

Keynote Speakers


Dr. Julie Claycomb

University of Toronto

Dr. Julie Claycomb holds a longstanding interest in gene regulatory mechanisms involved in germline development, and started her lab in the Dept. of Molecular Genetics in 2023. She performed her PhD at the Whitehead Institute/MIT with Dr. Terry Orr-Weaver on DNA replication in Drosophila, and her postdoctoral training with 2023 Nobel Prize winner, Dr. Craig Mello at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The Claycomb labs innovative research focuses on understanding how small RNA pathways regulate gene expression throughout development, small RNA mediated epigenetic inheritance, and small RNA-based intercellular communication. Dr. Claycombs trainees have won numerous awards, published high impact papers, and gone on to successful careers in

various scientific sectors. Dr. Claycomb has served as the Assistant Graduate Coordinator (2014-2016) and Graduate Coordinator (2016-2020) in her Department. In these roles she enjoyed mentoring and facilitating the progress of over 400 graduate students. She also developed novel graduate student recruitment approaches, implemented new courses and curricula, spearheaded new graduate professional development initiatives, and promoted community building and scientific outreach. Dr. Claycomb also currently serves as an Associate Editor of the journal Genetics.

Dr. James McLellan

Queen's University

Dr. James McLellan is the Academic Director and co-founder of the Dunin-Deshpande Queens Innovation Centre, and a Professor of Chemical Engineering, with cross-appointments to the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and the Dan School of Drama and Music. He was the Head of Chemical Engineering at Queens for 11 years, and was President of the Canadian Society for Chemical Engineering. Jims research program focuses on mathematical, statistical and machine learning techniques for developing and improving products and manufacturing processes, with applications ranging from point-of-care medical diagnostic sensors to bioprocesses for transportation fuels and destroying pollutants, and most recently for developing enzymatic and microbial processes for degrading plastics. Jim has a strong interest in university-anchored innovation ecosystems, and teaches innovation and entrepreneurship, along with systems and design thinking, in courses and programs in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, the Faculty of Arts and Science, and the Smith School of Business. Jim has consulted and collaborated with a wide range of companies, including biotechnology, biomedical diagnostics and medical devices, ranging from start-ups to global companies. He is actively involved in championing innovation and entrepreneurship in higher education at the regional, national and international levels.

Dr. Louis Lefebvre

University of British Columbia

Dr. Louis Lefebvre obtained his BSc in Biochemistry from the Universit Laval, Qubec City (1987), before moving to the University of British Columbia for a PhD in Biochemistry (1994) under the supervision of the Nobel Laureate Dr. Michael Smith, studying transcription regulation in yeast. He then completed two post-doctoral fellowships studying genomic imprinting in the mouse, first with Dr. Azim Surani at the Gurdon Institute, Cambridge, then with Dr. Andras Nagy at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute in Toronto. He was recruited back at UBC in Vancouver in 2023 as a Canada Research Chair in Genomic Imprinting (2023-2013), where he is an Associate Professor in the Department of Medical Genetics. His research program mainly focuses on understanding the mechanism and function of genomic imprinting in mammals, a fascinating epigenetic phenomenon guiding the monoallelic expression of specific genes based on their parental origin. He is the Group Leader for the Molecular Epigenetics Group at the Life Sciences Institute at UBC and is currently Associate Editor at Frontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology.

Dr. Amanda Moehring

Western University

Dr. Amanda Moehring works on the genetic and neural basis of complex traits. Most of her research has explored the basis of female mate receptivity and female aggression, but her research group works on a wide range of topics, including male sterility and the impact of mistranslation on fitness. She completed her PhD at North Carolina State University with Dr. Trudy Mackay on the quantitative genetic basis of behaviours underlying species isolation, followed by a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University with Dr. Mohamed Noor on the molecular basis of male sterility. She joined Western as a Canada Research Chair in Functional Genomics in 2023. Dr. Moehring has been a strong proponent of improving equity and diversity, and has participated in and spearheaded multiple initiatives to this effect. Recently, she has also been active in the interface between science and policy, engaging with policymakers at Science Meets Parliament, and acting as the lead organizer for London's March for Science.


May 1

11:45am EST

Log on


Opening remarks, schedule and expectations


Speaker 1: Dr. Louis Lefebvre


Oral presentations




Poster presentations


Speaker: Dr. Julie Claycomb


Closing remarks


May 2

11:45am EST

Log on


Welcome back!


Speaker: Dr. James McLellan


Oral presentations




Interactive Poster Session


Speaker 4: Dr. Amanda Moehring


Awards & Closing remarks

Organizing Committee

University of British Columbia

AMS Medical Genetics Club

Lauren Caswell

Raja Choudhary

Roy Hung

Madina Kagieva

Edward Li

Livia Lopes

Olamide Olabiyi

Taylor Reilly

Team Leaders:

Aaryan Dwivedi

Payton Mackwood

Event Coordinator:

Hanna Thobani

Queen's University

Global Society for Genetics and Genome Biology

Mahmoud Abdelaziz

Hannah Beddow

Kirsten Benidickson

Matthew Faris

Carissa Graham

Mahdi Kabir

Samantha Lebarron

Caroline Liang

Grace Milley

Rashi Ramchandani

Lauren Rogers

Wendy Wu

Sarah Zhu

Team Leaders:

Adam Ptack

Catherine Liu

Sydney Brownlee

University of Toronto

Global Society for Genetics and Genome Biology

Pamela Alamilla

Sasha Bourdine

Samantha Chan

Justin Cheung

Aisha Faruqui

Ada Huang

Jenny Huang

Yiyue Jiang

Farbod Khorrami

Decaran Li

Lina Li

Jenny Liu

Setareh Malekian

Irisjade Ong

Lucie Perillat

Advait Sridhar

Ronesh Sukhdeo

Emma Sullivan

Jocelyn Tan

Western University

Western Undergraduate Genetic association

Eileen Barac

Beverly Gu

Brigitte Hidalgo

Sreen Jaganathan

Grace Suh

Shauna Morrell

Aranya Nagar

Kanav Sabharwal


Thanks for submitting!

Program Pamphlet