Joel Watts Joel Watts, PhD (Principal Investigator)
Joel is a Principal Investigator at the Tanz Centre for Research in Neurodegenerative Diseases and an Assistant Professor within the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Toronto. He obtained his BSc from the University of Western Ontario, received a PhD from the University of Toronto, and was a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF. Email:
Erica Stuart Erica Stuart, BSc, RVT, RLAT (Research Technician)
Erica obtained her BSc from the University of Waterloo in Honours Science & Psychology and then received her Veterinary Technician (RVT) diploma from Seneca College. Erica is responsible for maintaining the Watts lab animal colony and participates in the development and characterization of mouse models of human neurodegenerative diseases. Email:
Alex Ruiz Riquelme Alejandro Ruiz Riquelme, PhD (Postdoctoral Fellow)
Alex obtained his BSc and MSc from the University of Murcia and his PhD from the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain. He is working on understanding the biology of self-propagating Aβ aggregates and their relevance to the biology of Alzheimer’s disease. Email:
Matthew Bourkas Matthew Bourkas, BSc (Graduate Student)
Matthew obtained his BSc from McGill University in Anatomy & Cell Biology with a minor in Economics. He is working on his PhD degree in the lab and is using the unique properties of bank vole PrP to develop better cell models of the prion diseases. Email:
Heather Lau Heather Lau, BSc (Graduate Student)
Heather obtained her BSc from York University in Honours Biology. For her PhD degree, Heather is assessing the existence of distinct strains of protein aggregates in neurodegenerative diseases. Email:
Angus Lau Angus Lau, BSc (Graduate Student)
Angus obtained his BSc from the University of Toronto in Biochemistry and Physiology. For his MSc degree, Angus is working on developing methods for distinguishing distinct strains of α-synuclein aggregates. Email:
Hamza Arshad Hamza Arshad, BSc (Graduate Student)
Hamza obtained his BSc from the University of Toronto in Neuroscience and Biochemistry. For his PhD degree, Hamza is trying to determine the molecular features that encode bank vole PrP’s unique properties. Email:

Lab Alumni

  • Adrienn Goczi (summer student, 2016); Present position: graduate student in the Department of Biochemistry at UofT
  • Stefan Jevtic (NSERC summer student, 2016); Present position: medical student at McMaster University
  • Rania Faidi (project student, 2016); Present position: undergraduate student at UofT
  • Peiran Su (project student, 2015-2016); Present position: graduate student in the Department of Medical Biophysics at UofT