X

Lab News

November 1st 2021

Congratulations Isabelle for successfully defending her Master's thesis. Great work!

April 14th, 2021

BonZeb is published today in Scientific Reports! Read it here

March 2nd 2021

The first release of our BonZeb toolkit for zebrafish tracking and stimulation in Bonsai is online! Find our paper on bioRxiv

December 18th 2020

Congratulations Rida on winning the Dr. Jonathan Dostrovsky CPIN award - awesome work! Find the link to the announcement here

December 18th 2020

Michael gave a great presentation today at CPIN day - superb job!

December 17th 2020

Congratulations Nick on winning the CSB Vietnamese-Canadian Community Graduate Award in Zoology! Way to go!

December 14th 2020

Our lab was highlighted in UofT Magazine! Check out the article at this link.

Lab Members

Thiele Lab Members
Tod Thiele
Tod Thiele

Tod Thiele

Principal Investigator

I received my undergraduate degree from Hamilton College where I worked with Herm Lehman & Robert Barlow (SUNY Upstate Medical Center) on diurnal structural changes in the lateral eye of horseshoe crabs. Following graduation, I moved to San Francisco and worked as a technician in Steve McIntire’s lab at UCSF where I helped identify mutations in C. elegans that alter behavioural responses to ethanol. For my PhD research, I investigated the neural circuitry underlying C. elegans chemotaxis behaviour in Shawn Lockery’s lab at the University of Oregon. I was surrounded by zebrafish labs in Oregon (the birthplace of zebrafish research) and became excited about joining the growing number of labs that use this animal to study brain circuits. I next joined Herwig Baier’s group at UCSF for postdoctoral research looking into motor control circuits in zebrafish and later moved with the lab to the Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology in Munich.

Fav Movie
Tie: 2001 / Apocalypse Now
Fav Book
Siddhartha
Fav Artist
Joe Fenton / Wayne Shorter
Fav Scientist
Richard Feynman
Tie: 2001 / Apocalypse Now
Fav Movie
Siddhartha
Fav Book
Joe Fenton / Wayne Shorter
Fav Artist
Richard Feynman
Fav Scientist
Venkatesh Krishna S.
Venkatesh Krishna S.

Venkatesh Krishna S.

Post-Doc

I graduated with a Ph.D in Neurobiology, from the University of Cologne, Germany in the lab of Prof. Dr. Sigrun Korsching. I investigated Olfactory receptor-ligand interactions governing a specific behavior in Zebrafish (Danio rerio). As a post doc in the Thiele Lab I employ a host of different molecular biology techniques, imaging, and behavior studies to study neural circuit function. Currently, I work on a HFSP funded collaborative project that involves using Zebrafish and cichlids (Astatotilapia burtoni) as models for studying visual circuit adaptation to natural scenes. This work involved field research expeditions to Zambia and India, the native habitats of these species.

Fav Movie
LOTR Trilogy
Fav Book
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
Fav Artist
A.R.Rahman, Daft Punk
Fav Scientist
Jacques Monod, Rosalind Franklin
LOTR Trilogy
Fav Movie
A Brief History of Time – Stephen Hawking
Fav Book
A.R.Rahman, Daft Punk
Fav Artist
Jacques Monod, Rosalind Franklin
Fav Scientist
Nicholas Guilbeaut
Nicholas Guilbeaut

Nicholas Guilbeaut

Graduate Student

I am interested in how the brain learns and how the brain controls complex movements in response to sensory stimuli. I use larval zebrafish to study how distinct swimming patterns are topographically organized in a specific region of the zebrafish brain, called the subpallium which is where striatal circuits are thought to reside. My research uses a combination of behavioural analysis, two-photon imaging, and optogenetics to assess the necessity and sufficiency of neural circuits in the subpallium for generating behavioural responses to specific visual stimuli.

Fav Movie
A Beautiful Mind
Fav Book
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Fav Artist
Radiohead
Fav Scientist
Newton
A Beautiful Mind
Fav Movie
The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat
Fav Book
Radiohead
Fav Artist
Newton
Fav Scientist
Michael Martin
Michael Martin

Michael Martin

Graduate Student

My PhD research focuses on the neural circuitry underpinning action selection. I am interested in the larval zebrafish subpallium which is believed to be homologous to the mammalian striatum, the primary input structure of the basal ganglia. To this end I present ethologically relevant stimuli to my fish and image the neuronal activity of their subpallium as well as their behaviour. Once I have determined candidate neurons through calcium imaging of neuronal activity, I will perform ablation and optogenetic studies. My strengths include calcium imaging, two-photon microscopy as well as classification of zebrafish behaviour.

Fav Movie
What we do in the shadows
Fav Book
The Wise Man’s Fear
Fav Artist
Michaelangelo
Fav Scientist
Galileo Galilei
What we do in the shadows
Fav Movie
The Wise Man’s Fear
Fav Book
Michaelangelo
Fav Artist
Galileo Galilei
Fav Scientist
Rida Ansari
Rida Ansari

Rida Ansari

Graduate Student

Why do we forget? My research is a collaborative project with Dr. Paul Frankland at SickKids Hospital and focuses on understanding how new neurons regulate memories and cause forgetting. I am developing behavioural paradigms for adult zebrafish in addition to characterizing how increased neurogenesis effects various cell populations across the whole brain and in regions related to memory processing using tissue clearing and whole brain imaging. Outside the lab, I enjoy aquascaping and watching documentaries.

Fav Movie
My Octopus Teacher
Fav Book
Harry Potter series
Fav Artist
Hilary Hahn
Fav Scientist
Marie Curie
My Octopus Teacher
Fav Movie
Harry Potter series
Fav Book
Hilary Hahn
Fav Artist
Marie Curie
Fav Scientist
Isabelle Tate
Isabelle Tate

Isabelle Tate

Graduate Student

My M.Sc. research focused on testing a novel behavioral-based drug screening platform for the discovery of neuroactive compounds using the larval zebrafish as my model system. By coupling high-resolution behavioral tracking with optogenetics, we can optically activate genetically defined circuits in the brain thus allowing for a targeted screening approach.

Fav Movie
Freedom writers
Fav Book
Strange glow by Timothy J. Jorgensen
Fav Artist
Kevin Garrett
Fav Scientist
Marie Curie
Freedom writers
Fav Movie
Strange glow by Timothy J. Jorgensen
Fav Book
Kevin Garrett
Fav Artist
Marie Curie
Fav Scientist
Christopher Mark
Christopher Mark

Christopher Mark

Undergraduate Student

I am a third year undergraduate student at UTSC, where I am currently majoring in Human Biology and Neuroscience. I am undergoing a work study program at the lab as a zebrafish technician. My roles include taking care of the zebrafish and performing upkeep on the aquatic system to ensure the fish live in a healthy environment.

Fav Movie
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Fav Book
The Hunger Games
Fav Artist
Joji
Fav Scientist
Alexander Fleming
Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Fav Movie
The Hunger Games
Fav Book
Joji
Fav Artist
Alexander Fleming
Fav Scientist
Ennie Olajide
Ennie Olajide

Ennie Olajide

Undergraduate Student

As an undergraduate student at UTSC, I am studying Human Biology and Neuroscience. As a work-study student at the lab, I’m a zebrafish technician that’s tasked with nursing the fish and ensuring an optimal environment for their upkeep. In my spare time, I enjoy playing the guitar and working out.

Fav Movie
Bolt
Fav Book
Gifted Hands
Fav Artist
Giveon
Fav Scientist
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Bolt
Fav Movie
Gifted Hands
Fav Book
Giveon
Fav Artist
Neil deGrasse Tyson
Fav Scientist
Sinan Shariff
Sinan Shariff

Sinan Shariff

Undergraduate Student

I'm a fourth-year undergraduate co-op student currently doing a Neuroscience specialist. Right now I'm volunteering in the lab, helping take care of the zebrafish.

Fav Movie
The Silence of the Lambs
Fav Book
Little Women
Fav Artist
David Lynch
Fav Scientist
Banting
The Silence of the Lambs
Fav Movie
Little Women
Fav Book
David Lynch
Fav Artist
Banting
Fav Scientist

Former Team Members

Helen Chasiotis
Helen Chasiotis

Helen Chasiotis

Research Associate

Helen completed her PhD in Fish Physiology at York University and was a post-doc and research technician at various labs across Toronto that ranged in foci from lung development, cardiovascular disease to osmoregulation in mosquito larvae. In the Thiele lab, Helen developed and established molecular, immunohistochemical and in situ protocols for detecting various neuromarkers.

Fav Movie
Hamlet (1996) - Directed by Kenneth Branagh. I have it on VHS!
Fav Book
Too difficult to pick just one; let's say Archie Comics
Fav Artist
Beck
Fav Scientist
Helen Battle
Hamlet (1996) - Directed by Kenneth Branagh. I have it on VHS!
Fav Movie
Too difficult to pick just one; let's say Archie Comics
Fav Book
Beck
Fav Artist
Helen Battle
Fav Scientist
Indira Riadi
Indira Riadi

Indira Riadi

Research Associate

Indira started working in the Thiele lab in 2015 and completed an undergraduate thesis under the supervision of Tod Thiele. Indira characterized the dopamine receptor D1 in larval zebrafish forebrain using various methods such as immunohistochemistry and fluorescent in-situ hybridization in both whole-mount and brain sections. Indira is also an amateur artist and in her free time sketched sometimes, as well as haphazardly danced (by herself).

Fav Movie
Anything directed by Christopher Nolan
Fav Book
The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom
Fav Artist
Jon Bon Jovi
Fav Scientist
Carl Sagan
Anything directed by Christopher Nolan
Fav Movie
The Timekeeper by Mitch Albom
Fav Book
Jon Bon Jovi
Fav Artist
Carl Sagan
Fav Scientist
Vernie Aguda
Vernie Aguda

Vernie Aguda

Graduate Student

Vernie is a firm believer in hard work, good karma, and balance. Vernie completed her undergraduate degree at U of T St. George before switching over to U of T Scarborough for graduate school. In the lab, Vernia utilized cutting edge molecular techniques to determine whether the striatum (an important brain region that helps control voluntary movement) in zebrafish is similar to humans. Outside of the lab , Vernie loves to read books recommended to me, lift heavy weights at the gym, and listen to true crime podcasts. Never doubt what a barbell and a pipette can teach you about humility.

Fav Movie
Pan’s Labyrinth
Fav Book
From the classics, Jane Eyre; More modern, anything by Haruki Murakami
Fav Artist
Salvador Dali (The Elephants, 1948)
Fav Scientist
Santiago Ramon y Cajal
Pan’s Labyrinth
Fav Movie
From the classics, Jane Eyre; More modern, anything by Haruki Murakami
Fav Book
Salvador Dali (The Elephants, 1948)
Fav Artist
Santiago Ramon y Cajal
Fav Scientist
Laura Koek
Laura Koek

Laura Koek

Undergraduate

During her time in the lab, Laura was interested in looking at the neuronal activity in the optic tectum of larval zebrafish across 3 different behaviors, namely prey capture, predator avoidance and optomotor response. To do so, she correlated tail kinematics with 2 photon calcium imaging. In her free time, Laura enjoys running, swimming and hiking! Also, in order to live up to her (last) name, she likes to "koek" (cook) a lot. What beats waking up to the smell of fresh cinnamon rolls?

Fav Movie
The Notebook
Fav Book
On Food And Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen -Harold McGee
Fav Artist
Five For Fighting
Fav Scientist
Marian Diamond
The Notebook
Fav Movie
On Food And Cooking: The Science And Lore Of The Kitchen -Harold McGee
Fav Book
Five For Fighting
Fav Artist
Marian Diamond
Fav Scientist
Nisma Khan
Nisma Khan

Nisma Khan

Undergraduate

Nisma was a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Human Biology and Neuroscience at UTSC. Nisma was a Work-Study student; her position was the Fish Facility Technician. Her duties included monitoring and taking care of the zebrafish to ensure they are healthy and in optimal living conditions.

Fav Movie
Shutter Island
Fav Book
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Fav Artist
J. Cole
Fav Scientist
Galileo Galilei
Shutter Island
Fav Movie
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Fav Book
J. Cole
Fav Artist
Galileo Galilei
Fav Scientist
Malak Abuzgaya
Malak Abuzgaya

Malak Abuzgaya

Undergraduate

Malak was a third year undergraduate student, specializing in neuroscience at the University of Toronto. Her research interests lie within neurobiology and understanding sensorimotor circuits at a cellular level. She hopes to further explore zebrafish midbrain motor circuits and the overall process of research along the way.

Fav Movie
Pulp Fiction
Fav Book
one hundred years of solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Fav Artist
Claude Monet and Kendrick Lamar
Fav Scientist
Marie Curie
Pulp Fiction
Fav Movie
one hundred years of solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
Fav Book
Claude Monet and Kendrick Lamar
Fav Artist
Marie Curie
Fav Scientist
Sara Faour
Sara Faour

Sara Faour

Undergraduate

Sara completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Toronto. Her research aimed to quantify the effects of exercise on neurogenesis levels in the zebrafish adult brain. Sara enjoyed listening to lifestyle podcasts, shopping and talking about science.

Fav Movie
Good Will Hunting
Fav Book
The Molecule of More by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long
Fav Artist
Elie Saab
Fav Scientist
Jennifer Doudna
Good Will Hunting
Fav Movie
The Molecule of More by Daniel Z. Lieberman and Michael E. Long
Fav Book
Elie Saab
Fav Artist
Jennifer Doudna
Fav Scientist