Dr. Alan Lazarus’ Lab Members

Alan Lazarus

Dr. Alan Lazaurs
Scientist, Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Sciences

My work involves learning the intricacies of the immune system in order to better understand autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, systemic lupus erythematosus, juvenile diabetes and multiple sclerosis. I am particularly focused on immune thrombocytopenia (ITP), a condition characterized by low platelets, which are particles in the blood that are important in the process of blood clotting. Disorders affecting platelets can lower the number of platelets in the blood and put patients at risk of bleeding.

I am examining IVIg, a therapeutic product that suppresses various autoimmune conditions such as ITP. IVIg is the current treatment for ITP but is very expensive, not well understood, and available only in limited supply and carries a risk of transmitting viral diseases. It also does not work well in some autoimmune diseases (e.g. SLE).


Click here to view his research profile

Ajay Amit

Ajay Amit
Post-doctoral Fellow

Ajay Amit was a university grant commission (UGC-CSIR) fellow from India and has completed his PhD at Calcutta University, India, under the supervision of Dr. Sanjiva Bimal (Scientist, Indian council of medical research). The main objective of his research was to evaluate the potential of protein disulfide isomerase as a vaccine candidate against visceral leishmaniasis (Kala-azar) and exploring the host-parasite interaction during various stages of infection. He has published his finding in well respected international research journals.

Yoelys Cruz

Dr. Yoelys Cruz Leal
Post-doctoral Fellow

Dr. Yoelys Cruz Leal received her PhD in Biological Sciences in 2014 at the University of Havana (UofH). Her PhD project was focused on exploring the contribution of B1 cells to the adjuvant properties of phophatidylcholine-containing liposomes. This research project was developed in collaboration with the Center of Molecular Immunology, Havana, Cuba and the Federal University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. Afterwards, she worked as a postdoctoral fellow at UofH elucidating the antigen cross-presentation mechanism induced by a pore-forming protein co-encapsulated with antigen within liposomes. This project was developed in collaboration with Prof. Darren Higgins from Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA, USA). Dr. Cruz-Leal has won multiple national and international awards such as the Annual Natural Science Award from Havana University, the Annual Biomedical Science Award from the Cuban Academy of Sciences and the Young Scientists Program (YSP) Award given by the International Union Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB). Additionally, she has published 13 papers in peer-reviewed journals within the Immunology field.
Currently, within the Lazarus laboratory her research focuses on elucidating the mechanisms through which different antibodies can induce antibody-mediated immune suppression (AMIS) to erythrocyte alloimmunization. Enhancing the knowledge of AMIS is a crucial step in designing a replacement for polyclonal antibodies against the RhD antigen a.k.a. anti-D, which is currently the only available therapeutic intervention for hemolytic disease of the fetus and newborn (HDFN).

Yuexin Shan

Dr. Yuexin Shan
Lab Manager

Dr. Yuexin Shan received her PhD in 1998 from Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Sun Yat-Sen University of Medical Sciences, China. She undertook postdoctoral training in Molecular Biology and Cell Biology at the Neurobiotechnology Center, the Ohio State University (Columbus, Ohio, USA); Department of Medicine, Center for Cardiovascular Hormone Research, University of California (Irvine, California, USA) and Department of Physiology, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Canada. Previously Dr. Shan’s research focused on investigating the role of siRNA, microRNA inhibitors & mimics, recombinant protein in diabetes; ischemic neuron injury and sepsis; and studying the mechanisms of protection and informed target discovery for gene and cell therapy in disease model. In our lab, Dr. Shan is working on producing new recombinant antibodies for in vivo study in mice.

Gurleen Kaur

Gurleen Kaur
MSc Candidate

Gurleen is a Masters student in the Lazarus lab, currently enrolled in the Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology graduate program at the University of Toronto. She completed her undergraduate degree at McMaster University, in the Honours Biology & Psychology program. Her undergraduate thesis examined the therapeutic effects of a complex dietary supplement in a transgenic Alzheimer’s mouse model. Gurleen’s current project involves understanding the mechanism of action of antibodies targeting the transmembrane glycoprotein, CD44, in the amelioration of immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) using a passive murine model of ITP

Ramsha Khan

Ramsha Khan
PhD Candidate

Ramsha Khan graduated with an Honours Bachelors of Science (HBSc) in Biotechnology and Chemistry from the University of Toronto in 2016. Post-graduation, she started her graduate studies in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Toronto. She is currently working towards her PhD degree in the Lazarus Lab. Her project deals with the mechanism(s) of anti-D like therapeutic anti-erythrocyte antibodies in autoimmune diseases such as Immune Thrombocytopenia (ITP).

Peter Norris

Peter Norris
PhD Candidate

Peter completed his Honors Bachelor of Science in Immunology and Infection at the University of Alberta, where his undergraduate research investigated how viruses may capture and incorporate genes from the host using the smallpox-related vaccinia virus as a model. Peter’s PhD research focuses on the role of FcγRs in the autoimmune disease Immune Thrombocytopenia and the potential for monoclonal antibody-mediated blockade of FcγRs as a therapeutic strategy.

Hanna Wabnitz

Hanna Wabnitz
PhD Candidate

Hanna is a PhD candidate in Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She holds a BSc with first class honours in Cancer Biology and Immunology from the University of Bristol, UK, with her thesis focusing on the applicability of 3D bioprinted tumours for personalised medicine. During her Undergraduate studies, Hanna received the Amgen Scholarship, allowing her to complete a summer research project under Professor Tadatsugu Taniguchi at the University of Tokyo studying the effects of DNA-binding proteins on cancer development.
Her research within the Lazarus laboratory focuses on elucidating the mechanism behind antibody-mediated immune suppression in haemolytic disease of the foetus and newborn using a murine model.


Joan Legarda

Joan Legarda
Research Support Specialist

Joan Legarda is a research support specialist in Dr. Lazarus´s Laboratory and an employee of the Canadian Blood Services. Her work is essential in supporting the research and administrative activities of the laboratory. Her responsibilities include laboratory quality and safety, radiation safety, scientific instrument calibration and maintenance, research compliance and orchestrates administrative processes for the laboratories of both Dr. Lazarus and Dr. Ni.

X