About Us

Lab Photo 2021

Our lab represents a collaborative team of unique individuals who support and respect others and their work.

Contact Us

BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute
Robinson Lab, Rm 2071
950 West 28th Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V5Z 4H4


Location and Affiliation

Our lab is part of the Department of Medical Genetics at The University of British Columbia. We are located in the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute at the Children’s and Women’s Health Centre of British Columbia. (Corner of 28th and Oak Street.) Click map to enlarge.

lost photo

Our Lab

Current staff and trainees (2024)

Wendy Robinson PhD. (PI) 
Wendy completed her PhD. in Population Genetics at U.C. Berkeley and a post-doctoral fellowship in Zurich, Switzerland. She enjoys blueberries, walking/running, and connecting with nature! If she could have a superpower, it would be the ability to bring calm to others and restore the earth to a more balanced state.

Profile on ResearchGate

E-Mail: Wendy P. Robinson

Maria Peñaherrera (PhD. 2003- Lab and Project Manager) 
Maria completed her PhD in Medical Genetics at UBC in 2003 in this very lab studying X chromosome inactivation in human placenta. She is originally from Quito, Ecuador, and returned there after her degree where she set up the country’s most modern forensic and paternity genetics lab for the Ecuadorian Red Cross. However, she missed us too much and had to come back! She has a special interest in understanding the developmental origin of different tissues, as well as genomic imprinting in the human placenta. Maria coordinates all research projects and lab collaborations, as well as protocol standardization and training of students and staff. Her ideal superpower would be to have the ability to heal people.

E-Mail: Maria Peñaherrera

Amy Inkster (PhD Candidate, Medical Genetics) 
Amy completed a PhD and is now a Postdoc studying sex differences in placentation and development, with a special interest in X chromosome inactivation and how male and female placentas differ even in healthy, low-risk pregnancies. Amy received her BSc in Chemistry from the University of Calgary in 2016, and despite thinking she could never learn to code, has enjoyed her time in the Robinson lab analyzing “big” data and is officially a convert; the more data the better. When not thinking about placentas, Amy loves most forms of working out or exploring the great outdoors, and is a fan of really good coffee. If Amy could visit any time or place in history, she would go back to the origin of life to understand how it happened (metabolism-first? RNA world? something else entirely…?).

E-Mail: Amy Inkster

Nikita Telkar (PhD Candidate, Medical Genetics) 
Nikita (co-supervised by Dr. Wan Lam and Dr. Wendy Robinson) is interested in how genetics varies across the stages of human development, and is affected by ancestry. She is working on making a catalogue of small non-coding RNA (sncRNA) in the human placenta. She loves making colourful plots in R, and that moment of accomplishment when the code that is executed works. She earned her BSc in Biomedical Genetics (2017) from Newcastle University, and her MSc in Genetics of Human Disease (2018) from University College London (UCL). When not in front of the computer, she enjoys reading, photography, expanding her repertoire of cooking recipes and music taste, and drinking Italian Roast coffee. If she could have a superpower it would be telekinesis, and would want to time-travel back to Ancient Greece.

E-Mail: Nikita Telkar

Icíar Fernández (PhD Candidate, Genome Sciences & Technology) 
Icíar is a graduate student studying sex-influenced DNA methylation and gene expression patterns in placentas complicated by pre-eclampsia, a maternal hypertensive disorder. From early gestation, male and female babies develop differently – what she didn’t know before joining the Robinson lab is that the human placenta has a sex too, which plays a huge role in how it responds to its environment! She received her BSc. in Biomedical Science from the University of Kent in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys doing yoga, running, reading, and indulging in her love of cheese. If she could time-travel, she would go to a Fleetwood Mac concert in the 70s.

E-Mail: Icíar Fernández

Jiyoung Han (PhD Candidate, Genome Sciences & Technology) 
Jiyoung is a PhD candidate studying placental epigenomes including DNA methylation and histone post-translational modifications associated with the sex and cell origin. She is also interested in cross-talk between DNA methylation and histone post-translational modifications in the placenta. She received her BSc in Life Science in 2018 at the University of Seoul. In her free time, she enjoys taking photographs of city streets and buildings and editing them. If she can have a superpower, she would want a power that decomposes any garbage immediately.

E-Mail: Jiyoung Han

Ella Beraldo (MSc Student, Genome Sciences & Technology) 
Ella is graduate student at UBC interested in studying how in utero exposures, such as maternal stress, can influence placental DNA methylation. Placental epigenetic variation is influenced by both genetic and environmental factors and can impact placental function, which thereby can affect health outcomes for both mother and baby. Coming from an entirely wet-lab background, if you told her before joining the Robinson Lab she would be loving creating and running her own code she wouldn’t have believed you! Before moving to Vancouver, she received her Honours BSc. in Biology from McMaster University in 2021. In her free time, she is enjoying the BC beaches, hiking and skiing, as well as reading and painting. If she could have any superpower, she would choose the ability to fly (both for coolness and no-traffic-commute factors) and would want to time travel back to Ancient Egypt to see the pyramids be built.

E-Mail: Ella Beraldo

Hannah Illing (MSc Studnent, Medical Genetics) 

Hannah is a Masters student studying DNA methylation in placentas with inflammation and malperfusion pathologies. She is also interested in exploring environmental and genetic factors that can influence variability in DNA methylation on the sex chromosomes. She received her BSc in Biochemistry and Forensic Science from UBC and BCIT in 2023. In her free time, she enjoys biking, hiking, dancing, and cuddling up with a good murder mystery novel or puzzle. If she could have any super power, it would be the ability to shapeshift into any animal and would want to time travel to when dinosaurs were still roaming earth.

E-Mail: Hannah Illing

Evie Au (Lab Technician) 

Evie earned her BSc in Combined Major in Science from UBC. Her diverse laboratory experiences range from studying cherry fruit genomes to detecting chromosomal abnormalities in pregnancy using cffDNA, ultimately leading her to the Robinson lab where she continues to pursue her passion for clinical genetics. When not hands deep in a placenta, she likes to go outdoors hiking and camping in the mountains surrounding Vancouver or biking around the city eating all the food and petting all the animals. If she can have a superpower, she’d like to be able to fly granting her the freedom to travel the world without transportation constraints.?

E-Mail: Evie Au


Li Qing Wang (MD/PhD Reproduction& Developmental Sciences) 
Li Qing is medical student at UBC, where she previously earned an honours degree in Cellular, Anatomical and Physiological Sciences. She has worked with us on and off since 2016 studying both preeclampsia and chorioamnionitis. Li Qing enjoys being immersed in genetics research and is interested in studying congenital defects in the future. In her free time, she plays the piano and has performed at Carnegie Hall and at the Ehrbarsaal at the Prayner Conservatory in Vienna.

E-Mail: LiQing Wang

Victor Yuan (PhD, 2022 Genome Sciences & Technology) investigated placental epigenomics. He also has an interest in data visualization and R programming. He received his BSc from Concordia University in Montreal . Victor likes coffee, rock climbing, and video gaming in his spare time. His ideal superpower would be for him to be at a comfortable body temperature at all times, regardless of external environment or physical activity (including sickness). He is currently working as a research scientist at a biotech company in San Francisco.

Almas Khan (MSc, 2022,  Bioinformatics) studied placental epigenetics with an interest in integrative analysis and immunity as well as statistical analysis and programming (R, python). She received her BSc in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of British Columbia in 2018. Outside of the lab, she likes baking, making ice cream, tea, yoga, and reading longform journalism articles. If she could have a superpower she would want to have time control (freeze, rewind and future sight) or flight. She is currently a PhD student at U. of Toronto.

Emilie Theberge (MSc, 2022, Medical Genetics): Emilie was supervised by Dr. Jessica Dennis and co-supervised by Dr. Wendy Robinson. She studied sex differences underlying depression and shared associations with cardiovascular disease in large population data sets. Outside of research, Emilie enjoys running in forest trails, dance classes, learning new languages, and spending time with friends and family. She is currently a research coordinator at UBC.

Giulia Del Gobbo Lab website 2018Giulia Del Gobbo (PhD, 2021 Medical Genetics) Giulia studied the role that placental genetic variation plays in pregnancy complications and birth outcomes, investigating everything from confined placental mosaicism of aneuploidies to copy number variation and single nucleotide variants. She received her BSc. Honours degree in Biology from Queen’s University in 2015. Outside of the lab, Giulia enjoys hiking, running, and indulging in her love of food and a good cup of coffee or tea. If she could have a superpower, she would love to be able to fly or control the weather! She is currently working as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Ottawa.

Chaini Konwar Lab Website 2018 Chaini Konwar (PhD,  Medical Genetics) studied epigenetic, genetic, and transcriptomic changes associated with inflammation of the placenta and associated membranes, known as chorioamnionitis (CA). She did her first MSc. in Medical Biotechnology in India and pursued her second MSc. in Animal Genetics from Dalhousie University, Nova Scotia. She is currently working as a bioinformatician at UBC.

Desmond Hui BSc. (Lab Technician 2018-2019) earned his BSc in Microbiology & Immunology from UBC. Following graduation he worked in prostate cancer research. Interested in the similarities between cancer biology and placenta biology, he further enhanced his learning experience by working in the Robinson Lab. Outside the lab Desmond volunteers for UBC’s Let’s Talk Science, BC Crisis Centre, and Special Olympics of BC. Desmond is currently a Junior Medical Doctor at Lismore Base Hospital, Australia.

Johanna Schuetz Lab website 2018 Johanna Schuetz PhD. (Research Coordinator 2015-2016/NIH Project Data Manager 2018) received her BSc (First class Honours) from Simon Fraser University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry. In 2012 she finished her PhD in Medical Genetics from UBC in the Brooks-Wilson lab, studying genetic susceptibility to non-Hodgkin lymphoma. 

Sam Wilson Lab WebsiteSam Wilson (PhD. 2017) completed her BSc. Honours Specialization in Genetics from the University of Western Ontario. and for her PhD. studied the DNA methylation profiles  of placentas from pregnancies complicated by preeclampsia (a maternal hypertensive disorder) and intrauterine growth restriction (poor fetal growth);  with a particular interest in identifying novel biomarkers capable of detecting women at high risk of these complications. Sam is currently an Assistant Professor at McMaster University.

Magda Price Lab WebsiteMagda Price (PhD. 2016/PDF-Data Manager 2017) studied changes in DNA Methylation in congenital diseases that affect the spinal cord. As a Post-Doc, Magda moved on to examining placental small non-coding RNAs across gestation, which are important regulators of gene expression. She developed an interest in the processing and analysis of “big data” and founded a working group at the BC Children’s Hospital Research Institute to foster collaboration amongst big data scientists. 

Irina Manokhina MD PhD. (Post doctoral) graduated from the Moscow Medical Academy in 2003 as a Doctor of Medicine and then in 2009 received her PhD. in Genetics from the Research Institute for Medical Genetics (Russia). She was awarded the CFRI- Mining for Miracles Postdoctoral Fellowship. She developed approaches to non-invasive prenatal diagnostics with cell-free fetal DNA in maternal plasma. Irina is an avid photographer, an accomplished painter/artist and enjoys winter sports, gardening and travelling. 

Olivia De Goede (MSc. 2016) received her BSc. Honours in Biology from the University of Victoria in 2013.  In our lab she studied the DNA methylation profiles of immune cells in cord blood and their relationship to neonatal immunity. In her spare time, Olivia was a goalie for the UBC soccer team! Olivia went on to complete a PhD from Stanford and is currently a data scientist at a private company.

  • Ruby Jiang MSc. (Lab Technician)
  • Kristal Louie MSc. GC  (Research Coordinator)
  • Kirsten Hogg PhD. (PDF)
  • Joanna Mendell (Research Coordinator)
  • John Blair (MSc.) 2013
  • Courtney Hanna (PhD.) 2013
  • Gina Teodosio (Lab Assistant)
  • Dan Diego Alvarez (PDF) 2011
  • Ryan Yuen (PhD.) 2011
  • Danielle Bourque (MSc.) 2010
  • Luana Avila (BSc.)
  • Jennifer Sloan (Research Coordinator)
  • Karla Bretherick (PhD.) 2008
  • Sara Harbord (MSc.) 2007
  • Paul Yong (M.D./PhD.) 2006
  • Jane Gair (PhD.) 2005
  • Lauren Currie (Directed studies student) 2005
  • Maria Peñaherrera (PhD.) 2003
  • Cathy Anderson (PDF) Ph.D. 2002
  • Christy Beever (MSc.)  2002
  • Michael Wang (MSc.)  1999
  • Helene Bruyere (PDF) 1998-99

Prior lab photos







1 thought on “About Us

Comments are closed.