Get to Know Us


Dr. 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. 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 something delicious!

Current Lab Members

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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 PhD 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


PhD Candidate

With an interest in virology/immunology, Arvin joined the Lab in 2018 hoping to expand his breadth of knowledge under the supervision of Dr. Guzzo. He has successfully completed an undergraduate research study course, two senior undergraduate theses, and has been awarded two NSERC USRA in Winter 2019 and Summer 2020. After a year working as a research assistant, Arvin continues on as a PhD student in the lab, and plans on remaining in academia. Outside of the lab, Arvin enjoys running, hiking, and catching up on crime TV!



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!


Pritika Thevasingha

Pritika served as a laboratory assistant and co-op student in the 2020-2021 academic year where she was an essential part of lab maintenance and operations. We wish her the best with the remainder of her studies!


Stephen Grabinksy

Stephen completed his undergraduate thesis during the 2020-2021 academic year. We wish him the best as he pursues his career in Nursing!

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Vanessa Norouzi

Vanessa completed her undergraduate thesis in the Guzzo Lab. We wish her the best as she pursues medical school!