Past Lab Members


From Left to Right - Top Row: Harrison Wright, Chris LeFort, Kyle Creamer, Gaolathe Rantong, Joel Slade. Bottom Row: Sama Subeh, Christina Lord, Dr. Arunika Gunawardena, Anna Elliott, Shayla McIssac



Mom's Lab

By Anisha Rajaselvam


Mom works on Lace Plant

by Anisha

Sama Subeh

Sama graduated from Dalhousie in 2008 with a Bilogy degree. She did her two special topics projects studying the effect of CSA and the calcium chelator EGTA on PCD in the lace plant. Her work helped elucidate the role calcium plays in the molecular pathway of PCD in the lace plant. Sama hopes to be able to use this research and experience for her graduate studies in the future.

Anna Elliott

Anna graduated with a Biology Honours degree in May 2008 and her work in the following summer focused on continuing her 4th year honours research. Her thesis involved the use of a calcium channel blocker in preventing programmed cell death (PCD) and ultimately perforation formation from occurring in the lace plant. The identification of calcium as a vital player in lace plant PCD provided knowledge as to the mechanisms of plant PCD and established a molecular link to animal PCD. Before starting her thesis, Anna received the Sarah Lawson Botanical Research Scholarship to study the lace plant summer 2007. Her research involved using immunochemistry techniques to try and document the changes to the cytoskeleton of lace plant cells that underwent PCD.

Chris LeFort

Chris is a born and raised Nova Scotian who has always had an interest in plants. His work was concerned with determining differentially expressed genes in the areas which undergo programmed cell death in Lace plants, a rare aquatic plant native to Madagascar. He used his summer work (which has been funded by a Sarah Lawson scholarship) for his honours.

Joel Slade


Joel is a marine biology science co-op student on his second work term. Joel is mainly interested in fish biology, but his experience in aquariums and aquatic botany compelled him to join the Gunawardena Lab. Joel researched how corm placement of Aponogeton madagascariensis determined the phenotype of the plant (oblong, or grassy leaves), and he also tried to determine the optimal pH value for growing lace plants.

Kyle Creamer

Kyle was a first year science student at Dalhousie who was selected to work in the Gunawardena lab for his DISP (Dalhousie Integrated Science Program) research project. He plans on majoring in neuroscience but has a very strong interest in biology and was especially excited to have the opportunity to work on inducing callus in the lace plant with the help of senior student Christina Lord.

Shayla McIssac

Shayla McIsaac was a first-year student in Dalhousie's Integrated Science Program (DISP). As part of her DISP research project, she worked alongside senior student Anna Elliott and investigated the role of calcium in the signaling pathway responsible for triggering PCD in the lace plant. Specifically, Shayla is used the calcium inhibitor, ruthenium red in an attempt to halt PCD. Shayla contributed to the work being undertaken at the Gundawardena lab and expanded her knowledge of PCD and scientific research methods. She was very enthusiastic about this project, especially because it is rare for first year students to be able to obtain real research experience. She believes this unique experience will be very beneficial as she continues her studies in science; potentially molecular biology.




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