Dr. Lara Mahal

Canada Excellence Research Chair in Glycomics

Lara K. Mahal is an expert in glycomics and systems-based approaches to understanding glycan regulation and function. She developed lectin microarray technology, a high-throughput method for glycomics that is now widely applied to understand a multitude of systems, from clinical cancer research to host-pathogen interactions. Lara is also known for her groundbreaking work on microRNA regulation of glycosylation.


As an undergraduate, Professor Mahal studied with Professor Rebecca Braslau, working in the area of pro-chiral carbon radical chemistry. She was a University of California Regents Scholar, and graduated with Highest Honors and a B.A in Chemistry from the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) in 1995.

She obtained her Ph.D. in Chemistry with Professor Carolyn Bertozzi at the University of California, Berkeley in 2000. Her work with Professor Bertozzi established the area of metabolic labeling using bio-orthogonal handles, demonstrating that ketones could be incorporated into cell surface sugars, e.g., sialic acids, through metabolic pathways. She was awarded an American Chemical Society (ACS) Predoctoral Medicinal Chemistry Fellowship for this work.

She then moved to New York City where she was a Jane Coffin Childs Postdoctoral Fellow with Professor James Rothman at Sloan-Kettering Institute (2000-2003) studying the role of synaptotagmin I in calcium-dependent membrane fusion.

In 2003, she started her first independent position as an Assistant Professor in Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin. Post-tenure in 2009, Professor Mahal moved to NYU, where she helped found the Biomedical Chemistry Institute. In 2016, she was promoted to Full Professor.

As of Fall 2019, she joins the faculty of the University of Alberta as the Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) in Glycomics.


Goldstein Lectureship in Glycobiology (2021)
Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation Fellowship (2004)
NSF Career Award (2007)
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Fellowship (2008)
National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award (2008)
Horace Isbell Award for Carbohydrate Chemistry from the American Chemical Society (2017)

Lab Members

Tigist Batu

PhD Student
Tigist is originally from Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She graduated from Addis Ababa University (AAU) in Applied Chemistry (BSc) and received her Master’s degree (MSc) in Medical Biochemistry from the same university. Out of passion for one of the most exciting frontiers of cutting-edge science and technology, Tigist joined Dr. Mahal's perceptive & vibrant research group at the U of A in 2020 to make her long-lived dream in the field come true. Her current research focuses on studying the role of glycans in immunity and the identification of enzymes involved in glycan binding to lectins via CRISPER/cas9 Editing.

Duong Bui

PhD Student
Duong joined the Klassen group and Mahal lab on a joint project in 2020. Duong received her BSc with honors in Chemistry from Belgorod State National Research University, Russia in 2016 and MSc Analytical Chemistry from Tartu University, Estonia and Uppsala University, Sweden in 2018. Duong is working on developing mass spectrometry methods for detection and quantification of protein-glycan/ glycan conjugate interactions.
Thu Chu

Thu Chu

PhD Student
Thu Chu joined the Mahal Lab as a PhD candidate in 2015. She earned a Bachelor of Chemistry with honors from Vietnam National University. She is currently working on miRNA regulation. In her spare time, she likes to hike, read, and explore new hobbies such as origami, embroidery, and cross-stitch to keep herself staying curious.

Helia Dehghan Harati

PhD Student
Helia is a PhD student who joined the Mahal Lab in September 2019. She received her Bachelor of Science in Applied Chemistry from Khajeh Nasir University of Technology, Tehran, Iran. She also received a Master of Science in Phytochemistry (semisynthesis of natural products) from Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran. She is currently working on the regulation of O-glycans.

Nethmi Harindra

PhD Student
Nethmi joined the Klassen Group and Mahal Lab on a joint project in 2022. She received her BSc with honours in Chemistry from the University of Ruhuna, Sri Lanka in 2020. She is currently working on tissue MS imaging and cancer diagnosis. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music and dancing.

Faezeh Jame-Chenarboo

PhD Student
A native of Iran, Faezeh Jame-Chenarboo received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the Alzahra University of Tehran and a Master’s degree in Chemistry from the Medicinal Plants and Drugs Research Institute at Shahid Beheshti University. She joined the Mahal Lab in September 2019 and is currently working on the regulation of sialylation. In addition to being passionate about science, Faezeh likes playing music and reading.

Asad Khan

Postdoctoral Fellow
Asad received his MS degree in Computer Science from COMSATS University Islamabad in 2017, and obtained his first-class honour degree in Computer Science (with distinction) from Abdul Wali Khan University, Mardan, Pakistan in 2014. He worked as a PhD research fellow in the Department of Computer Science at the National University of Computer & Emerging Sciences in Peshawar, Pakistan before joining the Mahal Lab. His research interests include machine learning as applied to bioinformatics.

Jung Ah Kim

PhD Student
Jung Ah (Kim) joined the Mahal lab as a PhD student in February 2023. She received her BSc in chemistry from Angelo State University, Texas, U.S. Then she received her master’s degree in organic synthesis in Chemical and Biochemical engineering from Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea. She is currently working on lectin microarray analysis. In her spare time, she enjoys listening to music and working out.

Xinghai Liu

PhD Student
Xinghai is a PhD student who joined the Mahal Lab in September 2020. He received his Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from the University of Alberta. He is currently working on the mechanism study of regulating miRNA.

Xuan-Lan Mai

Postdoctoral Fellow
Xuan has been a joint postdoctoral fellow with the Klassen Lab and Mahal Lab since May 2022. She obtained her BSc degree in Pharmacy from the University of Medicine & Pharmacy HCMC in Vietnam in 2015, and completed her PhD in Pharmacy at the Kangwon National University in South Korea in 2020.

Niloufar Mir Fallah

PhD Student
Niloufar joined Mahal lab as a PhD student in September 2022. She received her BSc with honours in Chemistry and Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran. She is currently working on lectin microarray analysis. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading and travelling.

Ifthiha Mohideen

Postdoctoral Member
Ifthiha is a postdoctoral fellow who joined the Mahal Lab in October 2021. She completed her PhD in Biology at Concordia University, Montreal in the summer of 2021. During her PhD, she worked in the lab of Dr. David Kwan, where she focused on researching and harnessing the substrate flexibility of enzymes involved in natural product glycosylation towards better therapeutics. Before joining Concordia, she obtained her BSc (Honors) in Plant Biotechnology from the University of Colombo, Sri Lanka. She is currently working on lectin microarray analysis. Outside of the lab, she enjoys baking and traveling.

Joseph Reyes

Undergraduate Student
Description coming soon.

Kathryn Robinson

Undergraduate Student
Description coming soon.

Sumona Sarker

Master's Student
Description coming soon
masters student

Fatema Tuz Zohora

Master's Student
Fatema Tuz Zohora was born and raised in Chittagong, a beautiful coastal city in Bangladesh, which is famous for having the largest port in the country. She received her Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy from the University of Science & Technology Chittagong (USTC). She is currently working as a Master’s student in the Mahal Lab and joined in September 2019. Her research interest focuses on the miRNA regulation of glycogenes associated with N-linked branching pathway. Outside of the lab, Fatema has a profound interest in music, and in her spare time plays the ukulele, watches movies and loves to cook (a newfound interest during the global pandemic).

Thusini Uggalla Arachchige

Master's Student
Thusini joined Mahal Lab as a Master's student in 2022. Her research focuses on miRNAs. She received her BSc special degree in Chemistry from the University of Peradeniya, Sri Lanka in 2020.

Syeda Zainab Ali

Postdoctoral Member
Dr. Ali is a molecular biologist by profession. She served as an assistant professor in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology in Pakistan, from 2021-2023. Dr. Ali secured a full scholarship and got her PhD in 2020 from Soonchunhyang University, South Korea. Based on her PhD research, she won ‘Young Investigators Award’ from Korean Society of Cancer Prevention in 2019. Dr. Ali did her MPhil in Molecular Biology from The University of Punjab in 2014. She joined the Mahal Lab in 2023 as a postdoctoral fellow.

Bożena Szulc

Postdoctoral Member
Dr. Bożena Szulc, coming from Poland, received her BEng in Biotechnology at the Wroclaw University of Science and Technology in 2014. She then obtained an MSc and Ph.D. in Science and Natural Science from the University of Wroclaw in 2021. Her Ph.D. studies focused on characterizing nucleotide-sugars transporters (NST) and mechanisms of congenital disorders of glycosylation caused by mutations in NST. She has been a joing postdoctoral fellow with the Plemel and Mahal Laboratories since September 2023. Her research project is focused on the role of central nercous system cell glycans and glycosylation in a cuprizone mouse model of Multiple Sclerosis. Outside the lab, Bożena is a big fan of fantasy books, hiking, and learning new things.


Raegan Ladd

Raegan obtained her BSc in Biology and Psychology from the University of Alberta in June 2023. She joined the Mahal Lab in September 2023.

Ayodeji Kulepa

Lab Assistant
Description coming soon.

Dr. Dawn Macdonald

Senior Lab Technologist (Lab Manager)
Dawn joined the Mahal Lab in September 2019 and is a molecular biologist/cell biologist with extensive experience working with mouse models. Her research interests have focused on bacterial pathogenesis, atherosclerosis, the mitotic checkpoint and tumor hypoxia and now glycobiology. She completed her Bachelor of Science in Microbiology (Honors) at the University of Guelph in 1987 and obtained her PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta in 1994.

Hoi Hei (Hallie) Ng

Lab Technician
Hallie received her BSc specialization in Biochemistry from the University of Alberta in 2019 and joined the Mahal Lab as a laboratory technician in September 2021. She is currently working on cloning. Outside of work, she enjoys watching documentaries and reading manga.

Simon Pojasok

Junior Lab Assistant
Simon is currently an undergraduate student studying immunology at the University of Alberta and joined the Mahal Lab in August of 2021. In his spare time, he enjoys watching Sunday football and working on his Swedish car, a Saab, during the summer months.

Dr. Angela Sacher

Angie obtained her PhD in Translation Studies from the University of Alberta and joined the Mahal Lab in August 2019. She has many years of experience in business administration and finance and is the Administrator for the Mahal Lab Group. Outside of work, Angie loves spending time with her family and pursuing her passion for photography.

Stephanie Stitt

Lab Assistant
Stephanie obtained her Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences from the University of Alberta in 2020. She joined the Mahal Lab in February of 2021 and fills a role as laboratory support staff. Outside of the workplace, she plays softball year-round, enjoys crochet, and spending time with her dogs.

Nicholas Twells

Lab Technician
Nicholas received his BSc from the University of Alberta and joined the Mahal Lab in March of 2021. He is currently working on lectin microarray analysis. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, playing badminton, and cooking.

CK Wong

Research Assistant
A former brewer, beekeeper, biochemist, battery researcher and now bioinformatician, CK joined the Mahal group in April 2023. Prior to this, he got his BSc from UBC in 2019 and worked for two and a half years for the Buriak Lab, also of the U of A, where he researched battery nanomaterials. In his free time he enjoys photographing animals and writing poor forms of alliteration. One day, he plans to own a Miata.


Affiliate Researchers

Dr. Praveen Agrawal (joint with Laboratory of Prof. Eva Hernando, NYU Langone Medical School)

Dr. Mohamed Elaish (joint with Laboratory of Prof. Tom Hobman, Dept of Cell Biology, Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry, UAlberta)

Postdoctoral Fellows

Dr. Joao Ribeiro – Scientist, Valneva Austria GmbH

Dr. John Rakus – Assistant Professor, Biochemistry, Marshall College

Dr. Aditya Sanki – Senior Principal Investigator at Syngene International Limited

Dr. Claudia Acevedo-Morantes – Research Associate, Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry

Dr. Praveen Agarwal – Assistant Professor, Department of Molecular Pharmacology, Albert Einstein College of Medicine

Dr. Dimitra Lamprinaki – Research Scientist, Quadram Institute, Norwich, England

Graduate Students

Ms. Jennifer Rummpe

Mr. Alexander Preston (MA 2008)

Ms. Lisa Alexander (MA 2009)

Ms. Susan Anderson-Dixon (MA 2009)

Ms. Megan Brown (MA 2009)

Dr. Ken (Ku-Lung) Hsu (PhD 2009) – Associate Professor of Chemistry, University of Virginia

Dr. Lakshmi Krishnamoorthy (PhD 2009) – Postdoctoral Fellow, Prof. Chris Chang, U.C. Berkeley

Dr. Luz Carrillo (PhD 2010) – Assistant Professor of Chemistry-Palomar College

Dr. Kanoelani Pilobello (PhD 2011) – Research Associate, Wyss Institute, Harvard

Dr. Daniel Propheter (PhD 2011) – Postdoctoral Fellow, Prof. Laura Hooper, U.T. Southwestern

Dr. Bianca Batista (PhD 2011) – Professor of Practice, Southern Methodist University

Dr. Yaxuan Liang (PhD 2015) – Investigator, iCarbonX/Shenzen Digital Life Institute, Shenzen, Guangdong, China

Dr. Linlin Wang (PhD 2015) – Research Scientist, Y-mAbs Therapeutics, Inc.

Dr. Tomasz Kurcon (PhD 2016) – Scientist, Cellectis. Mr. Zhongyin Liu (M.Sc. 2016)– SynBio Tech

Dr. Christopher Vaiana (PhD 2016) – Postdoctoral Fellow, Prof. Christopher Voight, MIT

Dr. Lawrence Meche (PhD 2017)

Dr. Sujeethraj Koppolu (PhD 2018) – Bioinformatics Scientist, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals

Dr. Lauren Zhang (PhD 2018) – Senior Project Manager, Protheragen

Dr. Daniel Heindel (PhD 2020) – Postdoctoral Fellow, Prof. Catarina Hioe, Icahn School of Medicine (Mount Sinai)

Ms. Amaani Patel (2022)

Dr. Shuhui Chen (PhD 2022)

Dr. Ric (Rui) Qin (PhD 2022) – Senior R&D Scientist (Bioinformatics), Nova Medical Testing

Undergraduate Students

Carolin Aizouki, Sarah Abbassi, Tommy Cai, Chris Leija, Andersen Lee, Louis Lee, Abdullah Jeroudi, Sasir Mallela, Natalie Ramirez, Deepika Slawek, Lisa Thoyakulathu, Brooke Todd, Domini Maddox, Prathiba Pandian, Luat Pham, Zafar Syed, Joshua Froemming, Monika Abramczuk, Rui Yang, Lauren Lashua, Aaron Barnett, Lisa Shah, Anika Paradkhar, William Pau, Zain Javaid, Vittoria Boni, Farzana Mohamed, Jay Nigam, Kimberley Chen, Salankara Bandyopadhyay, Meagan McDermot, Ayushi Mathur, David Christian.

Research Staff

Parisa Raeisimakiani, Tanya de Silva, Guanmin Meng

Get in Touch


What is the Canada Excellence Research Chair?

The Canada Excellence Research Chairs (CERC) Program awards universities up to $10 million over seven years to support world‑renowned researchers and their teams to establish ambitious research programs at Canadian universities.

Where is the University of Alberta?

Located in beautiful Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, the Chemistry Department at the UofA is renown for its active research. It is one of the best equipped and well funded departments in Canada.

What is lectin microarray technology?

It is a glycomic technology developed in the Mahal Lab, provide a rapid analysis of the glycome (1-3). These microarrays utilize immobilized carbohydrate-binding proteins at high spatial density to give specific information on the repertoire of glycans present.

Why study microRNA regulation of glycosylation?

miRNA can be used to identify glycosylation enzymes and their corresponding glycans that drive disease states.

How do I apply for grad school?

At the UofA, you do not have to find a supervisor in order to apply. The department has a process in place for students to find a supervisor and join a research group once they arrive to start their program. However, it is recommended for applicants to contact chemistry faculty members whose areas of research are of interest to you. Information about requirements and how to apply can be found here.

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