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Our Lab

We are located within the Claudine D’Amours Pavilion at the

Maisonnueuve-Rosemont Hospital Research Center (CR-HMR),

which is affiliated with the University of Montreal. 

Our Team


Benjamin Haley

Principal Investigator

Ben earned his PhD in Biomedical Sciences from UMass Medical School, during which time he established several key biochemical steps in the RNA interference pathway. Afterwards, he received a fellowship from the American Cancer Society to perform postdoctoral research at UC Berkeley, where he identified unique small RNAs and transcriptional processes and developed enhanced gene silencing technologies in a variety of model organisms. Prior to joining the Université de Montréal as a Full Professor (Professeur titulaire) within the Department of Ophthalmology and as the Fonds de recherche du Québec (FRQ) Chair in Genomic Engineering, Ben spent >13 years as a group leader (Distinguished Scientist) at Genentech, Inc., where his teams created and applied a range of molecular genetic technologies for basic and clinical research programs across the field of Oncology, Immunology, Neurobiology, Cancer Immunology, Infectious Disease, and Biologics Manufacturing.

See this link for Ben’s full CV.

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Sebastian Merker

Research Associate

Sebastian holds a PhD in stem cell and cancer biology. He is an expert in organoids, specializing in high-throughput drug screens and automation. His research interests include gastrointestinal tumors and the development and commercialization of organoid-related technologies.

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Yassine El Fazaa

MSc Intern

Yassine graduated in genetics and molecular biology from Université Côte d’Azur. He is currently pursuing a Master at Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon in France. With a keen interest in immunology and auto-immune diseases, he has delved into the study of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and IPEX syndrome. He is now interning in Haley Lab where he aims to further develop his competences in genome engineering and functional genomics.


Gabriela Flores-Vargas

Research Assistant

Gaby earned her PhD degree in Summer 2023 at the University of Saskatchewan. She specializes in bioinformatics, data analysis, microbiology, and molecular biology. She is now interested in working in next-generation sequencing and machine learning tools to pinpoint potential targets for gene editing therapeutics.   

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Bahareh Rasouli

MSc Student 

Bahareh completed her Master's in Medical Biotechnology at Iran University of Medical Sciences in 2016. Fascinated by cancer genetics and microbiology, she explored how probiotics affect cancer cell gene expression. With experience as a clinical research associate, she has chosen to deepen her education and research in genetic engineering and molecular biology. Currently, she is pursuing a Master’s degree in the Haley Lab, focusing on honing her skills in genome engineering and functional genomics

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Olivia Marlyse Daynou Chemo

BSc Summer Intern

Olivia is a Microbiology and Immunology student at the Université de Montréal. Her main interests are immunology and cancer biology. For her summer internship, she is using advanced CRISPR base editing tools to discover genetic variants that promote resistance to clinically-relevant EGFR inhibitors. She received the Undergraduate Student Research Award (USRA) for this project.


Alexane Valence 

BSc Summer Intern

Alexane is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at the Université de Montréal. She is particularly interested in molecular biology and genomics. For her summer project, she is applying CRISPRa technologies to identify new genetic drivers of tumor cell growth and differentiation. 

Département d'ophtalmologie, Université de Montréal Centre de recherche de l'Hôpital Maisonneuve-Rosemont
Pavillon Claudine D'Amours
5415 Boul. de l'Assomption
Montréal, QC, Canada H1T 2M4

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