Carl de Boer, PhD, PLEng

Carl is the founding member of the lab. He did his PhD in the lab of Tim Hughes at the University of Toronto, and a post-doc at the Broad Institute in Aviv Regev’s group. He is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Biomedical Engineering at UBC. You can reach Carl here.


Najmeh Nikpour, PhD


While completing my PhD in Molecular and Biochemical Parasitology at the Institute of Parasitology (McGill University) I became interested in understanding strategies involve in gene regulation of Eukaryotes. Therefore, I decided to join de Boer lab as a post-doctoral fellow to understand how transcription factors use various grammatical rules in regulatory elements in cell. My current project uses a novel quantitative model to gather cell-type specific gene regulatory programs via large-scale decoding of regulatory sequences in hESCs.   

Cassandra Jensen, PhD

Cassandra is a post-doctoral fellow in the de Boer lab. She completed her PhD in the UK at the John Innes Centre, studying the genetics of fungal plant pathogens. She became interested in synthetic biology during her PhD when she successfully recapitulated the transcription profile of a gene from a basidiomycete fungus into an ascomycete (≥400 MY phylogenetic divergence!). Her current project involves engineering synthetic chromosomes to improve models of gene regulation and to study mechanisms of de novo gene birth.

Graduate Students

Ishika Luthra

Ishika is a Masters in Bioinformatics student co-supervised by Dr. Sara Mostafavi. She graduated from Simon Fraser University with a Bachelors of Applied Science in Biomedical Engineering in 2018. She is currently working on using CNN models to predict cell type specific motifs using single cell ATAC sequencing data. Her interests include yoga, baking and hiking.

Syed Asfar Lathif Salaudeen

Asfar is pursuing his MSc in Genome Science and Technology at UBC. He received his B.Tech degree in Biotechnology in 2020 at Crescent University, Chennai, India. Besides being a huge biology enthusiast, he is also interested and curious in expanding his knowledge in Programming and Statistics, which drove him to join our team! He is also highly passionate about teaching and communicating science. In his leisure time, Asfar loves to make tea and enjoy having a good cup for any excuse! When not learning something new or indulging in his love for tea, he likes to spend time watching Netflix and walking along shores.

Omar Tariq

Omar is a masters student at the School of Biomedical Engineering. He graduated in 2020 from the University of Ottawa with a degree in Biomedical Science where he developed an interest in computational biology research. He is investigating how mutations in cancer-associated Transcription Factors affect their function.  

George Wang

Hello, my name is George, I am pursuing a Ph.D in Genome Science and Technology at UBC. What attracted me to our team is that we all have very diverse skillsets, as outside of biology, and I am also very passionate about programming and machine learning. In my free time, I love playing sports, making youtube videos, and learning about storytelling. My favourite book is called Harry Potter Methods of Rationality, a fan fiction that rewrites the rules of the wizarding world using science, authored by an AI researcher.

Abdul Muntakim Rafi (Rafi)

Hello, I am Rafi, and I am from Bangladesh. I finished my Bachelor’s there (BSc in EEE) and came to Canada to pursue my Master’s at the University of Windsor. After my Master’s, I joined UBC for my Ph.D. in BME. Here, I will utilize machine learning and signal processing to decipher gene regulation.

My interests lie primarily in my research. I listen to music a lot. I also love making memes. I enjoy cooking very much (I wouldn’t say I like to cook often) and I love to travel. I love dogs (I don’t own one right now). I also find new hobbies every few months. For example, playing chess, playing video games, and analyzing the economy.

Hadis Kamali Dehghan

I am pursuing a master’s degree in the Genome Science and Technology Program. My primary area of focus has been Biomedical Engineering, and I have worked on designing scaffolds for regenerative medicine. The role and importance of genetic changes in the occurrence of diseases has made me interested in conducting research in the field of genome and gene regulation; that’s why I joined Dr. de Boer’s group. Currently, I am trying to find drugs to treat gene regulation changes in diseases.


Undergraduate Students

Chris-Andra McIntosh

Chris-Andra investigated regulation of the TNFAIP3 gene as part of the CBR-SBME Undergraduate Research Program in the Summer of 2020.