Dr. Bastien Castagner (Associate Professor)

Bastien Castagner obtained a Ph.D. in Chemistry at Columbia University in New York in 2004. His postdoctoral years were spent at ETH Zürich from 2005 – 2008. From 2009 – 2014 he was a Group Leader in the Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences at ETH Zürich working on drug delivery approaches. He joined the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics at McGill in 2014 and was promoted to the rank of Associate Professor in 2020. He holds the Tier II Canada Research Chair in Therapeutic Chemistry. His lab is interested mainly in drug discovery, notably against C. difficile infection. He is also interested in targeting the human gut microbiota with prebiotic approaches, in particular against cancer. He has published 37 peer-reviewed journal articles with a h-index of 23 (Clavariate Analytics) and is an inventor on 5 patents. He is a co-inventor of the automated oligosaccharide synthesizer now commercialized by GlycoUniverse in Germany. He co-founded Inositec AG and contributed to the development of INS-3001, an inositol phosphate analog now in phase I clinical trial against vascular calcification disorders by the company CSL Vifor.

Dr. Lharbi Dridi (Research Associate)

Lharbi Dridi obtained a Ph.D. in Pharmacology at the University Paris XI in 2005, studying the role of the efflux in C. difficile. During his first postdoctoral fellowship at Laval University in Quebec (2006-2009) his research interests focused on Folate and AdoMet transporters in Leishmania and on the bacteriocin activity on C. difficile. From 2009 to 2014 he worked at Ste-Justine Research Center, in Montreal, first as Postdoctoral Fellow and after as associate researcher. He studied the effect of Neuraminidase 1 on the insulin receptor and worked on the characterization of a mouse model of MPS IIIC. In 2015, he joined the Castagner Lab at McGill University, as an Associate Researcher. He developed a metabolic labeling method to study the gut microbiota glycan metabolism. He is also studying the in vivo mechanism of inositol phosphate analogues in a mouse model of C. difficile infection. 

Dr. Félix Grosjean (Postdoc)

Félix Grosjean obtained a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at the University of Montpellier (France) in 2021. His Ph.D. subject focused on the design and synthesis of nucleosides and heterocycles as nucleotidase inhibitors for cancer chemotherapy. He joined the Castagner lab in the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University in 2022. His current project is on the design and synthesis of inositol phosphate analogues to target C. difficile infection.

Rebecca Cummer (Ph.D. Student)

Rebecca obtained her BSc Hons in Biochemistry at the University of Winnipeg, completing the program at the top of her class. Amidst her undergraduate studies Rebecca worked in the Chemistry department at the University of Winnipeg, investigating an aryl migration reaction affiliated with the Truce-Smiles rearrangement. Rebecca joined the department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics in 2018 as a direct entry PhD student in the Rotation Program. For her thesis project Rebecca is developing a second-generation therapeutic targeting Clostridioides difficile.

Reilly Pidgeon (Ph.D. Student)

Reilly obtained his Honours Bachelor of Science at McGill University in the Department of Pharmacology & Therapeutics. His current graduate research project aims to discover dietary prebiotics (polyphenols or glycans) that modulate the gut microbiota to improve the response to immune checkpoint inhibitors in cancer. Once identified, he will employ chemical biology tools and next-generation sequencing techniques to understand how prebiotics affect microbial communities. He has received numerous scholarships throughout his undergraduate and master’s degrees. Most recently, he was awarded the Frederick Banting and Charles Best Canada Graduate Scholarship – Master’s, as well as an FRQS scholarship.

Justin Meneses (M.Sc. Student)

Justin obtained his Bachelor of Science (Honours) at Toronto’s Ryerson University in the Chemistry Co-operative program. As an undergraduate, Justin was involved in vaccine manufacturing and process improvement efforts at Sanofi Pasteur for over a year, where his project was awarded an NSERC Industrial Experience Award and the Sanofi Global Innovation Award: Gold Medal. Since then, Justin has gone on to work in research roles at the UCL School of Pharmacy and at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. His current graduate research project aims to design and synthesize inositol phosphate analogs to probe their role in viral assembly.

Elaine Xing (M.Sc. student)

Elaine obtained her Honours Bachelor of Science with high distinction in Physiology and Human Biology at the University of Toronto. In the Castagner Lab, she will be exploring the role of glycan prebiotics in cancer.

Catherine Prattico (M.Sc. student)

Catherine obtained her Bachelor of Science, Honours Microbiology and Immunology at McGill University. She is currently obtaining a Masters of Science in Microbiology and Immunology in the lab of Dr. Corinne Maurice under the co-supervision of Dr. Bastien Castagner. Her graduate research project will be to identify glycan consumers in the human gut microbiota via metabolic labeling paired with fluorescent activated cell sorting.

Maryam Moussa (Undergraduate Student)

Maryam is in her final year completing a Bachelor of Science in Honours Pharmacology.

Nikhil Jaiswal (Undergraduate Student)

Nikhil Jaiswal is an Honours Student in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, with previous research experience in several disciplines of molecular biology, clinical psychiatry, and public health.

Liam Keogh (Undergraduate Student)

Liam is in his final year completing an undergraduate research project for his Honours Bachelor of Science in Pharmacology.

Former Member (McGill)


Raphaël Bolteau (2021-2022)

M.Sc. Students

Olivia Lui (2020-2022)

Suraya Yasmine (2019-2021)

Fernando Altamura (2017-2018)

David McCusty (2015-2019)

Adrian Montagut (2015-2017)

International M.Sc. Internship

Sarah Hadouch, Paul Sabatier University, Toulouse, France (2019)

Nadja Fritsche, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences ETH Zurich, Zürich, Switzwerland (2019)

B.Sc. Students

Alina Tan (2022)

Isabella Pecora (2022)

Shiva Jazestani (2021-2022)

Noah Zlotnik (2021-2022)

Layan Suleiman (2021-2022)

Arrani Thambimuthu (2021)

Hannah Billings (2021)

Alexia Piercey (2020-2021)

Kulsum Tai (2020-2021)

Ruohui Tang (2020)

Qi Liu (2020)

Markus Nitka (2019-2020)

Matias Claus (2019-2020)

Christina Guluzian (2019)

Hannah Im (2018-2019)

Ryszard Kubinski (2017-2019)

Reem Kurdieh (2017-2018)

Emmanuelle Leblanc (2016-2017)

Marie-Gabrielle Jacob, AgroParisTech, France ( 2016-2017)

Dorsa Majdpour (2016)

Anne Labarre (2015-2017)

Chrismita Hegde (2015-2016)

Sofia Bisso (2015)

Jillian Friedman (2015)

Alex Yu (2014-2015)

Former Members (ETH Zürich)


Mattias Ivarsson ( 2014-2015)

Tao Sun (2012-2015) *as co-supervisor

Soohyeon Lee (2011-2014) *as co-supervisor

PhD Students

Xiangang Huang (2012-2016)

Estelle Durantie (2012-2015)

Mattias Ivarsson (2011-2014)

Arnaud Felber (2009-2013) *as co-supervisor

Elisabeth Giger (2008-2012) *as co-supervisor

M.Sc. Students

Sarah Salzmann (2014)

Nina Romantini (2014)

Samuel Huwiler (2013- 2014)

Simon Bussmann (2013)

Diana Andina (2012)

Corina Hüberli (2012)

Stefan Feurer (2012)

Anna Pratsinis (2010-2011)

Mattias Ivarsson (2009-2010)