Claudiu Gradinaru
Position: Principal Investigator
Claudiu was born in Bacau, “the town of purple twilights", in eastern Romania. He obtained his Bachelor degree in 1995 from University of Bucharest and his PhD in Physics with Prof. Rienk van Grondelle in 2001 from VU University Amsterdam. After postdoctoral fellowships at Leiden University and at Sandia Labs in Livermore, in 2006 Claudiu started his independent biophysics research lab at University of Toronto. His research program is aimed at studying the dynamics of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) and of G protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) using single-molecule approaches. Besides science, Claudiu enjoys football (soccer!), hiking, cinema, history and wine. more >>

Tahyung Chris Lee
Position: Postdoctoral Fellow
Project: Dissecting Fuzzy Interactions between the Intrinsically Disordered Protein Sic1 and its Binding Partners
Background: Chris graduated from University of California Berkeley (B.A.) in Molecular and Cell Biology and from Scripps Research Institute in San Diego (Ph.D.) in Biophysics. Chris joined the lab in early 2017 as a postdoctoral fellow. His research focuses on multiparameter single-molecule fluorescence studies of disordered proteins and on developing chemical biology tools for such studies. In the Gradinaru group, Chris works on determining the physical mechanicsm of interaction between Sic1 protein and its binding partners, CDK and Cdc4, and on developing new chemistries for specific fluorophore labelling at multiple protein sites. Outside the lab, he enjoys photography, movies, and playing video games, especially with his son.
John Castroverde
Position: PhD Student
Project: Physical Consequences of Post-translational Modifications of Disordered Proteins
Background: John completed his undergraduate studies at UTM, specializing in Biomedical Physics, with a minor in Mathematics. Initially joining the Gradinaru group in the summer of 2016 as an undergraduate, John has continued into his graduate studies a year later on a research project built upon his undergraduate research on disordered proteins. His research focus is on understanding the determining factors and the role of local vs. global conformational dynamics of the intrinsically disordered protein Sic1, both before and after post-translational modifications. Outside the lab, he enjoys spending time with his siblings (and newly born niece), watching movies, and playing video games.

Dennis Fernandes
Position: PhD student
Project: The Spatial Organization and Conformational Dynamics of G Protein Coupled Receptors
Background: Dennis completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Toronto, majoring in both Physics and Chemistry, with a minor in Mathematics. Dennis joined the Gradinaru group in the fall of 2013. Dennis's research is focused on a Class A protein superfamily of membrane proteins called G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCRs). His goals are to assess the spatial organization of GPCRs and to obtain insight into the structural role of pharmacological drugs during cellular signaling for both the M2 muscarinic receptor and the A2A adenosine receptor. This are collaborative projects with the Wells group (Pharamcy, UofT) and with the Prosser group (CPS, UTM). Outside of the lab, Dennis enjoys video-editing, playing sports, and watching his favourite ice hockey team, the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Gregory Gomes
Position: PhD Student
Project: The Intrinsically Disordered Sic1 Protein: Size, Shape and Interaction Dynamics at Single-Molecule Level
Background: Greg completed his undergraduate studies at McMaster University in Engineering Physics, specializing in photonics and biophotonics. Greg joined the Gradinaru group in the fall of 2012 for his doctoral research. Since then, he has been working in collaboration with the Forman-Kay group at the Sick Kids Hospital towards understanding the physical properties of intrinsically disordered proteins. Greg combines multiple approaches (single-molecule, computational, polymer physics, etc) to understand the "structure"-function relation for the yeast Sic1 protein. Outside the lab, his interests are musical instruments, reading, cacti, climbing, canoeing and Belgian beer.

Spencer Smyth
Position: PhD Student
Project: Insights into the dynamic behaviour of the 4E-BP2 protein from single-molecule experiments
Background:Spencer obtained his Bachelor degree at UTM, majoring in Physics and Chemistry. After completing his Master in the Gradinaru group in the Fall of 2018, he continues as a PhD working on intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs). His research is focused primarily on IDP interactions, e.g., the phospho-regualted binding of the 4E-BP2 protein to the translation initiation factor eIF4E. The main goal is to obtain a fundamental understanding of IDP "structure" and function by interpreting single-molecule data through the lens of simulations and models that incorporate several experimental modalities. Outside the lab, Spencer enjoys playing musical instruments, weightlifting, powersports and being outdoors.
Yuchong Li
Position: Researcher
Project: Single-particle Tracking of GPCRS in Live Cells
Background: Yuchong obtained his Bachelor degree at Nanjing University. For his Master degree he implemented the Photon Counting Histogram method in the Gradinaru lab for analyzing protein oligomerization behaviour. During his PhD, he built a dual-color FCS microscope and used it to quantify ligand-dependent oligomerization and coupling of the muscarinic receptors and G proteins in live cells. He defended his PhD thesis in Nov. 2017 and is currently working on finalizing a few projects aimed at tracking the diffusion of individual receptors in the membrane. Besides having fun with single-molecule gizmos, Yuchong enjoys teaching, running marathons and playing harmonica and flute.

Undergraduate Research Students
Tim Henley
PHY489 - Single-molecule studies of GPCR binding interactions
Rahith Kaiyum
CHM399 - The effect of amino-acid composition and charge on the structure and function IDPs
Maksym Sharma
PHY399 - The action of different phosphorylation kinases on the disordered Sic1 protein

Former Group Members
Baoxu Liu, PhD 2012
Single Proteins under the Microscope: Conformations, Dynamics and Medicinal Therapies
Amir Mazouchi, PhD 2013
Visualizing Invisibles with Single-Molecule Techniques: From Protein Folding to Clinical Applications
Zhenfu Zhang, PhD 2016
Single-Molecule Spectroscopy of Disordered States and Dynamics in Proteins

Masood Samim
Master student, 2008-2009
Sergei Musikhin
Research Associate, 2007-2008
Denys Marushchak
Postdoctoral Fellow 2009-2010

Abdullah Bahram
Lab technician, 2012-2013
Fei Huang
Research Associate, 2017
Douglas Goh
Undegraduate research student, 2006-2007

Daniel Badali
Undegraduate research student, 2008-2010
Maxim Prigozhin
Undegraduate research student, 2008-2009
Sangkyu Lee
Undegraduate research student, 2007

Susanne Scharf
Exchange student, University of Konstantz (Germany), 2008-2009
Sarah Mausle
Exchange student, Univerity of Lubbeck (Germany), 2014
Florent Mercier
Exchange student, University Paris-Sud (France), 2015-2016

Jinkyue Ree
Undergraduate research student, 2009-2010
Soobin Yoo
Undergraduate research student, 2009-2010
Daniel Jacobs
Undergraduate research student, 2011

Darius Chia
Undergraduate research student, 2011
Jordan Rebelo
Undergraduate research student, 2011-2012
Jessica Kun
Undegraduate research student, McMaster, 2013

Amanda Leung
Undergraduate research student, 2012
Matthew Mazzuca
Undergraduate research student, 2012
Ho Fung Siu
Undegraduate research student, 2013-2014

Christopher Huynh
Undergraduate research student, 2014-2015
Dan Yomo
Undergraduate research student, 2015
Juan Castaneda
Undegraduate research student, 2016-2017

Jasbir Bahram
Undergraduate research student, 2016
Mehik Rizvi
Undergraduate research student, 2016
Charles Huston
Undegraduate research student, 2016-2017

Tom Smart
Exchange student, Univ. of St. Andrews (UK) 2017
Mohammed Salama
Undergraduate research student, 2017
Antony Singarayer
Undegraduate research student, 2017

Rohith Kaiyum
Undergraduate research student, 2018
Stefan Sookbir
Undergraduate research student, 2018
Denys Pushenko
Undegraduate research student, 2018

Kaitlyn Liang
Undergraduate research student, 2018
Aqsa Alam
Undergraduate research student, 2018
Harmsimran Garcha
Undegraduate research student, 2018