The Weinberg Lab


Lab Managers Research Associates Post Docs Graduate Students Undergraduates

Lab Managers

Linda Ellis & Wayne Yu








Linda and Wayne have both been in the lab for over 20 years each (!) and share lab administration and day-to-day running of the lab. Wayne has developed several protocols and assays for measuring hormones and cytokines, and is kept busy running his assays for both the lab and other research labs across North America, while Linda develops protocols to measure messenger RNA and proteins in tissue. They both enjoy the variety of challenges that is part of a busy lab, and the fun that is being part of the Weinberg Lab family.

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Research Associates

Ni Lan, PhD

Dr. Ni Lan trained as a Medical Doctor at China Medical University, Shenyang, China. Following her graduation, however, Ni chose a research rather than a clinical career path, and was appointed Researcher/Lecturer in the Neuroendocrine Research Laboratory at China Medical University. During her tenure there, Ni also completed a Masters degree in Physiology.

Ni joined the Weinberg laboratory in 2002, where she completed her PhD. Her research examined gonadal hormone influences on stress system regulation, with the aim of unmasking mechanisms underlying sex differences in stress hyperresponsiveness observed following prenatal alcohol exposure. Ni was recruited back to the lab in September 2012 as a Research Associate. Currently, Ni’s research focuses on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on placenta function, as well stress-responsive neurocircuitry in the developing brain.

Charlis Raineki, PhD

Charlis Raineki

Dr. Charlis Raineki has more than 15 years of experience using animal models of early-life experiences, beginning with his graduate studies in Brazil (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul) and continuing as a postdoctoral fellow in the United States (University of Oklahoma and Nathan S. Kline Institute/New York University). Dr. Raineki’s work focuses on understanding how early-life experiences can positively or negatively influence development and produce long-term changes in neural, hormonal and behavioral systems. For the last 8 years, he has specifically focused on the relationship between adverse early-life experiences and increased predispositions for developing psychopathologies such as depression and anxiety.

Charlis joined Dr. Weinberg’s laboratory in 2011 with the goal of characterizing how stressful experiences during infancy and adolescence can enhance the vulnerability to later mental illness within an animal model of prenatal alcohol exposure. (Click here to see Charlis’s publications on Google Scholar).

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Post Docs

Tamara Bodnar, PhD


I’m currently a postdoc in the Weinberg lab. My research examines the role of the immune system in shaping early brain development, as well as the effects of adverse early-life environments on immune function in later life. Specifically, I am examining whether changes in the early environment, such as prenatal exposure to ethanol, results in a pro-inflammatory bias that alters normal development and leaves the organism vulnerable to immune disorders in adulthood.

Prior to joining the lab I completed a B.Sc. in Cell Biology and Genetics and a B.A. in French from the University of British Columbia.


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Graduate Students

Samantha Baglot, BA

Sam Baglot

I am a second-year MSc candidate in the Weinberg lab and am co-supervised by Dr. Liisa Galea. I am interested in a possible role for oxytocin in attenuating the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on adult stress functioning, hippocampal neurogenesis and anxiety-like behaviour.

Prior to joining the lab as a graduate student, I completed a B.A. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. During this time, I volunteered in the Weinberg lab for 2 years, and also completed a directed studies project; my undergraduate research projects in the lab included investigating the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on adolescent social play behaviour, as well as the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and early-life adversity on maternal behaviour, maternal and offspring stress functioning, and offspring anxiety-like behaviour.

Vivian Lam, BSc

VLamI am currently a PhD candidate in the lab. My research interests are in the interactive effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, stress, and sex on mental health outcome, with a particular focus on depression and anxiety. I want to understand how programming of the neuroendocrine stress system by alcohol prenatally may influence, in a sexually dimorphic manner, susceptibility to the depressogenic and anxiogenic effects of stress in adulthood.

Prior to joining the lab, I completed a B.Sc (Honours) in Genetics with a focus on GABAergic synaptogenesis from the University of British Columbia.


Alexandre Lussier, BSc

I am a PhD student co-supervised by Joanne Weinberg and Michael Kobor, who is located at the Centre For Molecular Medicine and Therapeutics. My work examines the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on epigenetic regulation and gene expression. More specifically, I am investigating the DNA methylation profile of the rat hypothalamus across a span of developmental ages, ranging from birth to weaning. Moreover, I am also studying the correlation of DNA methylation between the hypothalamus and white blood cells, a commonly available tissue in clinical settings, to identify an easily measurable profile of prenatal alcohol exposure.

Prior to joining the lab, I completed a B.Sc Honours in Biochemistry at McGill University, where I studied the mTOR Complex I in Dr. Nahum Sonenberg’s lab.


Parker Holman, MS, MSEd

Parker Holman

I’m currently a PhD candidate in the lab. My research focuses on investigating social behavior and its underlying neurobiology during the key developmental period of adolescence. Specifically, I’m interested in understanding the role of oxytocin and vasopressin – two proteins produced in the hypothalamus – in mediating social behavior development, especially in the context of prenatal alcohol exposure.

I previously completed a MS in Zoology – Behavioral Neuroscience from the University of Oklahoma and a MSEd in Secondary Science Education from Lehman College at the City University of New York. Prior to starting in the lab, I taught high school science in NYC for several years, and I’m still very interested in science education.


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Amanda Chao

I am a 3rd-year Integrated Sciences student, integrating Pathophysiology and Behavioural Neuroscience. I began volunteering in the Weinberg Lab in March 2016. During the summer of 2016, I did a Directed Studies project that involved investigating the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and early-life adversity on the adolescent development of social behaviour in rats.  I am now working for the lab (WorkLearn), helping out with various tasks including brain image analysis.  

Some of my hobbies include listening to music, photography, hiking, and watching tv/movies!

Cecilia Fung

Cecilia FungI am currently in the 2nd year of my BKIN degree in the Kinesiology
and Health Sciences Stream.  I started volunteering at Weinberg Lab in
November 2015, and I am currently helping everyone out with lab tasks
and learning all about the research being conducted here.

In my spare time I enjoy rock climbing, eating yummy foods, and
watching every TV show there is to watch.




Erin Morgan


I recently graduated with an Arts Psychology degree here at UBC.

I started in the lab as a volunteer in October 2013 and then went on to complete a Directed Studies project analyzing the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on social behaviour of female adolescent rats. Since then, I have been working (Work Learn) for the lab assisting in various tasks and completing many other research projects which include microscopic analysis of various measures of immune function in alcohol exposed rats as well as the slicing and mounting of brain tissue for further analysis. Outside of academics and research, I enjoy Olympic Weightlifting, reading, yoga, hiking, and travelling around the beautiful province of BC!

Phoebe Ng


I am currently in my 4th year of an Honours BSc in Biology at UBC. I started in the Weinberg lab in the summer of 2016 as a recipient of a Fisher Scientific Summer Studentship. Currently, my project involves studying the link between prenatal alcohol exposure, neuroinflammation, and mental health.

Outside of class, I enjoy cooking, experiencing stories in any format, and spending slightly worrying amounts of time on the Internet.

Lily Takeuchi

LilyI am in my 4th and final year of my undergraduate degree in Medical Laboratory Science. I started in the lab during my first year at UBC in 2013 as a volunteer, working primarily on analyzing social behaviour in the rat model of FASD. In September 2014 I started a WorkLearn term with the lab where I began to focus on studying anxiety and depressive-like symptoms in FASD. Finally, in September 2016 I began my directed studies thesis on the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure and the neuroimmune system. 

When I’m not in the lab or studying for exams I enjoy graphic design, painting, and cycling.

Kiran Ubi


I am a 4th year student in Integrated Sciences, doing a degree in Developmental Biology and Neuroscience.

I started in the Weinberg Lab in December 2014 as a volunteer. My past work has included behavioural scoring for the Light/Dark Test, a measure of anxiety in rats. Currently, I am working on a Directed Studies project that analyzes the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure on neurogenesis in adolescent rats.

My hobbies include kayaking, biking, travelling, and watching movies!

Lisa Wang

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I am a second-year PharmD student at UBC. I started in the Weinberg Lab in January 2015 and continued as a Canada Summer Jobs student and Work Learn student. Over the past couple of years, I have been working on analysis of depressive-like behaviour in rats as well as histology.
My hobbies include playing at gigs with my string quartet, ultimate frisbee, and board games.




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