Team

Alanna Watt

Associate Professor and PI

Email me: alanna.watt@mcgill.ca

Alanna completed her PhD at Brandeis University, MA, USA in the Turrigiano lab studying homeostatic synaptic plasticity. She then moved to UCL in London, UK where she studied cerebellar development in the Häusser lab. Alanna started her own lab at McGill in 2011, focusing on cerebellar development and plasticity in both healthy brains and in animal models of disease. 

Postdoctoral Fellows

Brenda Toscano-Márquez

Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: brenda.toscanomarquez@mail.mcgill.ca

Brenda completed her PhD in Biology from McGill University, studying the action of neuromodulators in the electrosensory system in weakly electric fish. For her postdoctoral research, she joined the Watt lab, where she is using her training in electrophysiology and molecular techniques to study the pathophysiology that underlies the onset of ARSACS in the hope of gaining better insights into developing treatments for this disease.

Amy Smith-Dijak

Postdoctoral Fellow

Email: amy.smith-dijak@mcgill.ca

After completing a BSc in Neuroscience at McGill in 2013, Amy moved to Vancouver to do a PhD at the University of British Columbia. There she studied impairment of cortical homeostatic plasticity in Huntington disease. She handed in her thesis in 2019 and returned to Montreal to continue studying homeostatic plasticity in neurodegenerative diseases, now focusing on Purkinje cells. She hopes that studying these processes will give us a better understanding of how neural circuits can be resilient in the face of degeneration.

Graduate Students

Anna Cook

PhD Student

Email: anna.cook3@mail.mcgill.ca

For Anna, an undergraduate research project on cerebellar granule cells developed into an enduring fascination with the mysteries of cerebellar function. Since completing her BSc in Biology at Imperial College London, she has followed that fascination around the world and has worked in cerebellar research labs in three continents. Anna has now settled down in Montreal where in 2017 she joined the Watt lab as a PhD student. Anna is interested in understanding how information processing occurs in the cerebellum and how this goes wrong in disease.

Eviatar Fields

PhD Student

Email: eviatar.fields@mail.mcgill.ca

After working with aging subjects during his undergraduate project at York University, Eviatar became fascinated with the aging brain. He joined the Watt lab in 2017, initially as an MSc uncovering the little-known role of the cerebellum in aging, before fast-tracking to a PhD. His PhD thesis is focused on the role of Purkinje cells in age-related motor decline in the hopes of devising new treatments to improve mobility in the elderly. Outside of the lab, Eviatar can be found running, working on his podcast or making YouTube videos!

Kim Gruver

PhD Student

Email: kim.gruver@mail.mcgill.ca

Kim moved to Montreal in 2016 to join the Watt Lab after graduating with honours from Cornell University with a B.A. in Psychology. As an undergraduate, Kim got her start in the lab working in learning and memory neuroscience research, though she quickly discovered a deep curiosity for how the cerebellum works. She is now fortunate to pursue this fascinating question as a Ph.D. candidate in the lab of Alanna Watt at McGill University. Outside of the lab, Kim can be found bouldering, weaving, or baking bread.

Daneck Lang-Ouellette

PhD Student

Email: daneck.lang-ouellette@mail.mcgill.ca

During his BSc in Biology, Daneck was initiated to research by working at Agriculture and Agri-food Canada. He then undertook his MSc in Biochemistry at Université de Moncton, studying gene regulation in small mammals during hibernation. Given his curiosity towards Neuroscience, Daneck moved to Montreal to join the Watt Lab at McGill University in 2015. His PhD thesis focuses on understanding how axonal plasticity is altering healthy cerebellar processing.

Sophia Leung

PhD Student

Email: sophia.leung@mail.mcgill.ca

Sophia moved to Montreal in 2018 to start her PhD in the Watt Lab. She conducted research on histone variants after earning her BSc in Biochemistry and Cell Biology from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Currently, she is interested in studying the pathology of ataxias.

Louis-Charles Masson

Co-supervised PhD Student

(primary supervisor: Dr. Anne McKinney)

Email: louis-charles.masson@mail.mcgill.ca

Louis moved to Montreal in 2014, where he completed his BSc in pharmacology at McGill. During his undergrad, Louis gained experience in various labs during his summers, including work on TDP-43 in ALS at Laval University in Quebec city, as well as electrophysiology experience at Tufts University in Boston. These internships sparked his interest for scientific research. In 2019, he fast-tracked from Master’s to PhD in the McKinney lab. Currently, he is interested in understanding the pathology of ataxia in Christianson syndrome. Outside of the lab, you can find Louis outdoors, most likely playing hockey or fishing!

Chloe Stewart

MSc Student

Email: chloe.stewart@mail.mcgill.ca

Chloe completed her undergraduate in biomedical sciences at the University of Ottawa. Chloe first dipped her toes in neuroscience in her first year and has been entranced ever since. She then joined the Watt lab in 2018 as a Masters student. Chloe is keen on investigating the functional properties of axonal swellings in the cerebellum. In her spare time, Chloe enjoys playing video games and dungeons and dragons, and keeping up with pen-pals across the globe.

Undergraduate Students

Andy Huang

Undergraduate student

Email: andy.huang3@mail.mcgill.ca

Andy is currently an undergraduate at McGill University working to complete an Honours in Neuroscience. After joining the Watt lab at McGill in 2019, Andy is currently interested in understanding Purkinje cell axonal swellings and their role in the function of the cerebellum. In his free time, Andy enjoys exploring Montreal while listening to his favourite podcasts!

Lois Lau

Undergraduate work-study student

Email: lois.lau@mail.mcgill.ca

Lois is currently an undergraduate student at McGill University studying Microbiology and Immunology. With an interest in Neuroscience, she joined the Watt Lab in 2019. She is currently working on understanding the pathophysiology of SCA6 to identify potential treatments. Outside the lab, Lois can be found exploring Montreal, dragon-boating, or being a Girl Guide leader.

Genavieve Maloney

Undergraduate work-study student

Email: genavieve.maloney@mail.mcgill.ca

Genavieve is currently an undergrad in Cognitive Science at McGill. Her passion for Neuroscience led her to join the Watt lab in 2020, where she has been working on identifying cellular changes in SCA6 in order to find treatments for ataxia. When not in the lab, she can be found skiing the Northeast or capturing Montreal on film.

Max Rice

Undergraduate student

Email: max.rice@mail.mcgill.ca

Max is currently an undergraduate student studying Neuroscience at McGill University. Since he joined the Watt Lab in 2019, he has been working to characterize the intracellular changes in Purkinje cells that may occur in spinocerebellar ataxias. Outside the lab, Max enjoys biking around Montreal and cooking.

Jacky Sheng

Undergraduate student

Email: jacky.sheng@mail.mcgill.ca

Jacky is currently an undergraduate student at McGill studying neuroscience. He joined the Watt Lab in early 2019 and is working to characterize the pathology underlying SCA6. In his spare time, Jacky can be found playing badminton with his friends and eating copious amounts of banana bread.