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. 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. He is an expert in drug delivery and drug discovery. He has notably developed a drug candidate against C. difficile infection. He has published 33 peer-reviewed journal articles with a h-index of 21 (Clavariate Analytics). He is a co-inventor of the automated oligosaccharide synthesizer now commercialized by GlycoUniverse in Germany. He has 3 patents currently licensed by Inositec AG, a Startup company he co-founded to develop inositol phosphate-based therapeutics. 

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. Raphaël Bolteau (Postdoc)

Raphaël Bolteau obtained his Ph.D in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Lille in 2020. He worked on the design, synthesis and pharmacological evaluation of A2A receptor antagonists either selective or with an additional action on the mGlu5 receptor for the potential treatment of neurodegenerative diseases. In 2021, he joined the Castagner Lab at McGill University, as a Postdoctoral Researcher. He is working on the design and synthesis of promising second-generation inositol phosphate analogues against Clostridioides 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.

Olivia Lui (M.Sc. Student)

Olivia obtained her Bachelor of Science, First Class Honours in Pharmacology with Distinction and Dean’s Multidisciplinary Undergraduate Research List at McGill University. Her graduate research project investigates the effects of amylase inhibitors, acarbose and montbretin A, on human gut microbiota glycan metabolism. She has recently received a Canada Graduate Scholarships – Masters Awards from CIHR.

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.

Mary Omole (M.Sc. student)

Mary Omole received her Honours Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry with a specialization in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Ottawa. During her time there, she completed her Honours thesis under the supervision of Dr. Emilio Alarcon at the Ottawa Heart Institute Bioengineering Lab. She looks forward to uncovering more truths about the human gut microbiota in the laboratory of Dr. Corinne Maurice in Microbiology & Immunology and the Castagner Lab.

Shiva Jazestani (Undergraduate Student)

Shiva is a final year Honours student and the recipient of a Science Undergraduate Research Award.

Noah Zlotnik (Undergraduate Student)

Noah is in his final year of his Bachelor of Science in Honours Pharmacology at McGill University. He previously completed a research project identifying differentially transcribed genes in fission yeast H2Bub1 knockouts. His project in Dr. Castagner’s lab will involve developing an assay to quantify intact versus cleaved C. difficile toxin.

Layan Suleiman (Undergraduate Student)

Layan is a final year Honours student in Pharmacology & Therapeutics.

Former Member (McGill)

M.Sc. Students

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

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)