Who we are

Yale Michaels

Yale Michaels is a principal investigator at the Paul Albrechtsen Research Institute CancerCare Manitoba and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Medical Genetics in the Rady Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Manitoba.

Yale obtained a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology from Harvard University where he conducted origins-of-life research in Professor Jack Szostak’s lab. He completed a PhD (DPhil) in Medical Science at Oxford University’s Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine under the supervision of Professor Tudor Fulga and Professor Tom Milne. The subject of his doctoral thesis was developing a new tool for precisely controlling gene expression levels in mammalian cells.

From 2019 to 2022, Yale was a Banting and Michael Smith Health Research BC postdoctoral fellow in Professor Peter Zandstra’s lab at the University of British Columbia’s School of Biomedical Engineering. While in the Zandstra lab, he developed a clinically translatable method for differentiating pluripotent stem cells into T cells.

Paul Layug

Paul joined the lab as a technician in 2023. Paul recently obtained a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Genetics from the University of Manitoba, where he investigated alternative splicing in medulloblastoma under the supervision of Dr. Tamra Werbowetski-Ogilvie. Throughout undergrad, he was awarded with various summer research studentships which allowed him to conduct studies in immunology, internal medicine, and nanomedicine. In the Michaels lab, he hopes to contribute in advancing safe and accessible cancer immunotherapies. Outside of the lab, he enjoys reading, doing calligraphy, and is a space enthusiast.

Huda Alfarekh

Huda joined the lab as a co-op student in 2023. As a fourth-year undergraduate Microbiology student, Huda’s passion lies within the areas of immunology and stem cell research. She is determined to apply her knowledge and skills to making an impactful contribution to these fields. 

Olivia Lee

Olivia joined the lab as a Research Associate in 2024. Before joining the Michaels lab, Olivia was a postdoctoral fellow at the University Health Network, her research focused on the development and characterization of iPSC-derived CAR-engineered natural killer cells for cancer immunotherapy. Olivia completed her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Guelph in 2020. During this time, she also worked as a Visiting Scientist at Erasmus Medical Center in the Netherlands and QuoData GmbH in Germany. At the Michaels lab, Olivia is excited to contribute to developing potential cancer immunotherapies that are both efficacious and accessible. Outside the lab, Olivia enjoys spending time with her family, taking long walks, and meeting new people.

Hubert Sidarta

Hubert joined the Michaels Lab as a co-op student in the summer of 2024. He is a fourth-year undergraduate student in the Genetics Honours program and has strong passion for immunology, HIV, and cancer research. He has always been interested in science and is excited to learn, hone, and apply new skills and techniques. He is currently working on engineering differential expression in cancer cell lines via the use of RNA interference to create a model target for fine-tuning CAR T immunotherapy. In his free time, Hubert likes to read comics, go to the gym, play video games, and cook delicious meals.

Dana Segal

Dana joined the lab as a technician in 2023. Dana is recent graduate from the University of Manitoba with a major in microbiology and a minor in chemistry. She has always been interested in research and is excited to investigate novel and affordable cancer immunotherapies in the Michaels Lab. In her free time, Dana enjoys dancing and reading and is part of a dance group and a book club.

Matthew Major

Matthew joined the lab as a Medical Student Researcher in 2023 and is currently a medical student at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Prior to medicine, Matthew studied pharmacology as an undergraduate at UBC. During this time, he was part of Professor Peter Zandstra’s lab at UBC’s School of Biomedical Engineering. With the Zandstra lab, he used computational tools to study blood development and translated these findings to aid in differentiating T cells from pluripotent stem cells. He is excited to build upon this work with the Michaels lab. Outside of the lab, Matthew enjoys skiing and exploring the oceans through scuba diving.

Cassidy Vu

Cassidy joined the lab as a summer student in 2024. She is currently a third-year Health Sciences student in the Interdisciplinary Health Program at the University of Manitoba and she has always been interested in stem cell and cancer research. She is excited to be a part of the Michaels Lab and contribute to the lab’s goal of developing safe and accessible cancer immunotherapies. In her free time, she enjoys reading, going to the gym, and rock climbing.

Geneviève Bistodeau-Gagnon

Geneviève joined the lab as a Master’s student in 2023 and is currently a graduate student at Université de Montréal as well as a member of The Quantitative and Translational Medicine Laboratory at the CHUSJ Research Center, directed by Morgan Craig. Geneviève graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Pure and Applied Mathematics from Université de Montréal. During this time, she completed three research internships, which led her to develop a great interest in using mathematical and computational tools for gaining a better understanding of biological mechanisms. Geneviève is currently working on a mathematical model to optimize the in vitro generation of T cells from induced pluripotent stem cells. She is very happy to be a part of the Michaels lab and to have the opportunity to apply her knowledge to further research in these fields. In her spare time, she is fond of reading, running and painting.

Lukas Lam

Lukas is an undergraduate student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Genetics through the University of Manitoba. He received an undergraduate research award from the University of Manitoba and is spearheading a joint project with Dr. Kirk McManus’ lab. This project seeks to take advantage of the multiplexing ability of Cas13 to improve cell therapy, disease modeling, and genetic screening. Outside of the lab, Lukas enjoys playing board games with his friends and is an avid hockey fan and ardent supporter of the Winnipeg Jets

Past lab members

  • Liat Stitz, research assistant, 2023. Current role: Policy analyst, Government of Manitoba