Principal Investigator


Housheng (Hansen) He, PhD

Dr. He is an experimental and computational biologist at Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. His research focuses on cancer epigenetics and noncoding RNA.

Dr. He received his B.S. degree in physics from Beijing Normal University in the year of 2003, and then transitioned to the genomics and noncoding RNA fields for his Ph.D training in the Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences. He then received his postdoctoral training in cancer genomics and epigenomics at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. After completing his postdoctoral training in 2011, Dr. He worked as an instructor at Harvard Medical School and was recruited as a scientist at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre in 2013.

Dr. He has led seminal work in the fields of noncoding RNA and epigenetics, resulted in many peer-reviewed publications in high-impact journals including Nature, Nature Genetics, Nature Methods, Cancer Cell and Genome Research. His excellence was recognized through a series of awards including the Rising Star Award from Prostate Cancer Canada and the K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from US National Cancer Institute.

Funding support: CIHR, CCSRI, CFI/ORF, NSERC, PCC/Movember Foundation, PMCF.

Administrative Assistant

Julie Relatado

Toronto Medical Discovery Tower (TMDT)
101 College Street, 11th floor, Rm 11-701
Toronto, ON M5G 1L7
Tel: 416-634-8789

Current Members

Yi Liang, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Yi Liang earned his PhD in Molecular Medicine, with graduate specialization in cancer biology, at Sun Yat-Sen University Cancer Centre in Guangzhou, China. His research focused on the origin of cancer stem cells and relevant targeted therapy. Prior to his PhD, Yi won the First Class Award for undergraduate students at Sun Yat-Sen University, where he pursued a Bachelor of Science in Biotechnology. Combining his previous experiences, Dr. Liang is currently pursuing his postdoctoral fellowship, focusing on epigenetic regulation in prostate cancer progression. His main project is to characterize the role of LSD1, an important epigenetic regulator, in epigenetic reprogramming in castration-resistant prostate cancer, determine the functional interaction between LSD1 and AR, and evaluate the antitumor effects of small molecular inhibitors against LSD1.

Musa Ahmed, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

After completing his PhD degree in Cell and Molecular Biology from Brock University, ON, Dr. Ahmed joined He lab in March, 2014. His PhD thesis focused on comparative analyses of whole genome sequences of individuals across all populations from the 1000 Genome Project to study evolutionary role of transposable elements. As a postdoctoral fellow in He lab, Dr. Ahmed is working on computational genetic and epigenetic analyses of role of long non-coding RNAs in Cancer. Furthermore, he is interested to explore the role of differentally expressed or activated repeat elements in cancer. Dr. Ahmed completed his MSc and BSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Outside the lab, his interests lie in aliens, paranormal activities, tech innovations, chess, ping pong and cricket.

Haiyang Guo, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr. Haiyang Guo received his PhD in Genetics from Shandong University. During his PhD, he studied the transcriptional regulation of CXCR2 in cellular senescence as well as lncRNA transcriptome in uterine leiomyomas. Currently, he is working on lncRNA function in prostate cancer. His study is focusing on lncRNA expression modulation by SNP or somatic mutation and detection of lncRNA-protein interaction.

Junjie (Tony) Hua
M. Sc. candidate

Junjie has completed an Honours Bachelor of Science Degree at the University of Toronto with a focus on Cellular and Molecular Biology. He is currently a Master’s student in the Department of Medical Biophysics at the University of Toronto.  His research interest lies in the molecular mechanisms of epigenetic regulation. His current project focuses on the regulation and function of long noncoding RNA PCAT19 in prostate cancer. Junjie is also co-supervised by Dr. Ming Tsao to work on functional long noncoding RNAs in lung cancer.

Yuzhe Zhang
PhD candidate

Yuzhe Zhang is doing his PhD in epigenetics structural biology as a joint-education students, at the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto. He is also appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Biochemical and Molecular Biology, University of Dali. His research focused on the long non-coding RNA in Prostate Cancer, and explore the key protein and LncRNA. Prior to his PhD, Yuzhe acted as a research fellow at the Lab of Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics, Beijing Institute of Microbiology and Epidemiology, Beijing, P.R.China where he pursued a Master of Research(MRes) in Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics via LC/MS/MS, ICP-MS and other methods.

Fraser Soares, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Fraser obtained his PhD. at the University of Toronto in the Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology. His PhD. work examined the role of cytosolic innate immune receptors (NOD-like receptors) in cell death and tumorigenesis.  His current research aims to identify driver long non-coding RNAs(lncRNAs) in cancer malignancies, by performing genetic screens using the CRISPR/Cas9 genome-editing system. This project will provide a platform to rapidly identify functional lncRNAs in cancer, which may lead to the advancement of biomarker discovery and new therapeutic intervention. Fraser is also a part-time Lecturer at the local College where he teaches Biology & Chemistry related courses.

Shiyan Wang, PhD
Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Shiyan got her PhD degree at Medical Sciences at Department of Medicine, Chinese University of Hongkong in 2011. After that she worked as a lecturer in University of Science & Technology Beijing for about two years and then became a postdoctoral fellow at Research Laboratory of Institute of Digestive Disease, The Chinese University of Hongkong since 2014. She have been focusing on identifying novel tumor suppressor genes epigenetically down-regulated in gastrointestinal cancer progression and elucidating the function of these genes and its clinical significance. In 2016 she joined Prof. Hansen He’s lab, at the Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto. Her current goal is to elucidate the transcriptome disorder caused by m6A RNA modification in human cancers by m6A profiling analysis and identify novel oncogenes/tumor suppressor genes dysregulated by m6A RNA modification.


Jennifer Lu
Research Student

Jennifer is in her second year of BSc in the department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology at the University of Toronto. She is acting as a volunteer research student at the He Lab working in molecular charaterization and functional analysis of lncRNAs.


Christine Sarah Poon

Summer student, 2014

Current position: BMSc at University of Western Ontario

Jens Langstein

Exchange student, Sept-Dec 2014

Current position: Graduate student, German Cancer Research Centre and National Center for Tumor Diseases, Heidelberg Germany


Urooj Sheikh

Summer student, 2015

Current position: BSc student in University of Toronto-Mississauga

Yuchen Li

Summer student, 2015

Current position: Medical student, University of Toronto

Catherine Lu

Summer student, 2015

Parasvi Patel

Rotation student, 2015
Current position: Graduate Student, Princess Margaret Cancer Centre, Department of Medical Biophysics, University of Toronto