Team

Get to Know Us

 

Christina Guzzo

Principal Investigator

Dr. Guzzo completed her BScH (Life Sciences) at Queen’s University where she first cultivated a passion for HIV/AIDS outreach and education, sparked by her repeated travels to Kenya with a student-led charitable organization. She continued her studies at Queen’s University under the mentorship of Dr. Katrina Gee to receive her PhD  in Microbiology and Immunology, with research focused on identifying novel functions of interleukin-27 (IL-27) in monocyte biology and HIV infection. She trained as a post-doctoral fellow at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, MD, under the mentorship of Drs. Anthony Fauci and Paolo Lusso where her research had two main branches (1) the characterization of a unique anti-HIV chemokine (lymphotactin/XCL1) and (2) the discovery of human integrin alpha4 beta7 being incorporated into the external envelope of the HIV-1 virus. She will be continuing this research in new directions at the University of Toronto Scarborough. When she is not in the lab you’ll likely find her running along Lake Ontario, playing in a park with her family, or baking some delicious treats!

Current Lab Members

 

Jonathan Burnie

PhD Candidate

Jonathan completed his HBSc at UTSC in 2018 specializing in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology. Jonathan developed a strong interest in HIV pathogenesis and infection during his second year evolutionary biology course and is excited to pursue his MSc in the Guzzo Lab. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and spending time with friends and family.

Laxsha Thaya

MSc Candidate

Laxsha  finished her undergraduate degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology and  developed a strong interest in viral immunology. Her current MSc thesis is focused on exploring the association of HIV-1 envelope glycoproteins with host incorporated proteins. In her spare time, she enjoys playing the piano.

Arvin Persaud

RA

Having been cultivating an interest in virology/immunology, Arvin joined the Lab hoping to expand his breadth of knowledge under the supervision of Dr. Guzzo. He has successfully completed an undergraduate research study course with Dr. Guzzo, two senior undergraduate theses, and has been awarded two NSERC USRA in Winter 2019 and Summer 2020. Arvin continues in the lab as a research assistant in the current academic year. He plans on pursuing graduate studies, likely in the area of viral immunology, and ultimately remaining in academia. Outside of the lab, Arvin enjoys running, hiking, and catching up on crime TV!

Vanessa Norouzi

Thesis Student

Vanessa is a 4th year Neuroscience specialist. She found herself drawn to HIV research after visiting Johns Hopkins University, seeing the community impact of HIV, and learning about outreach programs that offer counselling and mobile testing. She came back with a passion for HIV research and raising awareness. Vanessa is interested in cytokine secretion and implications for HIV pathogenesis, and hopes to expand her knowledge under mentorship by Dr. Guzzo. She aspires to one day attend medical school where she can combine her love for science and her desire to give back to the community. In her spare time Vanessa likes playing her guitar, hiking, & traveling as much as she can.

Stephen Grabinsky

Undergraduate Thesis Student

Stephen is finishing the final year of his undergraduate degree in molecular biology and biotechnology. He was drawn to The Guzzo Lab both due to aspirations to work in a field that has implications to human health, and a desire to learn more about HIV infectivity. Stephen completed an undergraduate thesis (D98) and earned an NSERC USRA with the B.U.G.S. lab at UTSC before joining Dr. Guzzo's lab. He is currently contributing to an ongoing project in the lab examining the interactions between HIV and the host. When not working, he is often mourning over the Leaf's losses, cooking/baking or exercising (in his best attempt to undo the benefits of said exercise!).

Alumni

 

Stephen Bennett

Having made some significant contributions to the lab, Steve left to continue his advanced training in paramedicine, and is now pursuing his MD. We wish him nothing but the absolute best!

Homaira Hamidzada

Homaira has spent her time in the lab screening and investigating biologically significant host proteins incorporated into the HIV virion surface. We wish her all the success as she moves on to pursue her career!

Luis Enrique Davila Juarez

Luis spent the summer 2019 in the lab as a Mitacs Globalink intern. He has since returned to complete his 4th year as a Biotechnology student at UAQ in Querétaro, México.

Serene Moussaoui

Serene left to pursue her interests in a nearby lab at UTSC. We wish her the best in her graduate studies!

Natisha Ho

Natisha played an essential role in lab operations and maintenance during her time with us. We thank her and wish her the best!