Our Lab Members

Our Principal Investigator

Richard E. Gilbert, MD, PhD, FRCPC, FRACP, FACP, FASN

Dr. Richard Gilbert is Professor of Medicine at the University of Toronto, Canada Research Chair in Diabetes Complications and Head of the Division of Endocrinology at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto. His major interests are in the treatment and prevention of diabetic complications with an emphasis on nephropathy and heart failure.

Dr. Gilbert has published over 220 peer-reviewed manuscripts, has numerous patents and co-founded Fibrotech, a biotechnology company that has brought novel anti-fibrotic therapies from the bench to early phase human trials.


Our Current Lab Members

Yanling Zhang

Senior Research Associate

Yanling completed her MD, specialist training in nephrology and PhD in Pathology before undergoing postdoctoral training in Bejing, China, Okayama, Japan and subsequently, in Edmonton, Canada. Yanling has over 20 years experience in research, mainly focusing on chronic kidney diseases. Yanling has been working in the Gilbert lab since 2009 and brings a wealth of experience in histology, electron microscopy, and animal physiology. In addition, Yanling is responsible for the day-to-day running and coordination of all studies in the laboratory.

Kerri Thai

Research technician IV

Kerri has been working in the research field for 25 years, both in academia and industry. She has experience in high throughput screening, as well as experience working on in-vivo and in-vitro studies. Kerri brings a wealth of knowledge to the lab in areas such as molecular biology, immunohistochemistry, and protein and cell biology. In addition to daily experiments, Kerri is also responsible for the overall maintenance of the lab.

Rebecca West

Research technician I

Rebecca completed her Bachelor of Science at the University of Queensland, majoring in zoology and genetics. For the last 10 years, she has worked at the University of Queensland as a technician in the animal facilities. Rebecca brings her highly technical skills, as well as her extensive experience with her to the Gilbert lab. With this said, Rebecca organizes all aspects of the animal studies, and maintains the lab’s breeding colonies in the research vivarium.

Ashley Bellin

MSc candidate

Ashley completed her Bachelor of Science with Honours in Health Science at Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo in June 2015. The same year, she began her Master’s in Medical Science at the University of Toronto and joined Dr. Gilbert’s lab. Ashley is interested in conducting translational research, and her project focuses on understanding the pathogenesis of chronic kidney disease using animal models.

Hongyan Hou

Research volunteer

In 2015, Hongyan graduated from Centennial College, received an International Educated Practice Nursing Diploma, and is now registered as a RPN from CNO. She also completed a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in China. In 2016, Hongyan joined Dr. Gilbert’s lab as a research volunteer. Hongyan assists the lab technicians with diabetes and cardiovascular disease studies.

Ellen Wu

Volunteer student/Summer student

Ellen is a B.Sc. Life Sciences undergraduate entering her second year at the University of Toronto. In 2015, Ellen joined Dr. Gilbert’s lab as a research volunteer. Ellen currently assists the lab technicians and graduate students with diabetes and cardiovascular disease studies, including both in-vitro and in-vivo work.

Lei Cai

Research volunteer

Lei completed her MD with a specialization in pathology in Beijing, China. Lei has more than 15 years experience in diagnostic pathology, histology and histotechniques. Lei assists with sectioning, special staining, and histological analysis in the laboratory.

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