Current members


Ahelee Noor

MSc Student

Ahelee is originally from Dhaka, Bangladesh, where she completed her BSc in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at North South University. Her interest in developmental biology motivated her to join Dr. Huang's group as an MSc student. Ahelee focuses on studying the molecular mechanisms controlling tenocyte regeneration in zebrafish. Apart from her research, Ahelee enjoys painting and art, watching interesting shows and documentaries, and reading fun storybooks.

Peng Huang

Associate Professor

Peng received his BSc degree in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from Peking University, China. He then obtained his PhD in Genetics in Michael Stern's lab at Yale University, where he studied FGF signaling in C. elegans. For his postdoctoral studies, he joined Alex Schier's lab at the Skirball Institute at New York University and later Harvard University, studying Hedgehog signaling in spinal cord patterning in zebrafish. In 2013, Peng started his independent group in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary. The Huang lab uses zebrafish as a model system to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying tissue patterning, development, and regeneration.

Katrinka (Tika) Kocha

Research Technician

Tika is originally from Dorchester, Ontario. She completed her BSc (Hons) and MSc degrees at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario. Tika was the first official member of the Huang Lab, joining in November 2013. She now happily watches over the lab's trainees and zebrafish colony, and is particularly adept at whole-mount staining, cloning, genotyping, and finding lab consumables at cheaper prices. When not in the lab or fish facility, Tika can most often be found spinning and sweating on her stationary bike or lounging at home with her lazy dog, Stanley.

Emilio Méndez Olivos

Postdoctoral Associate

Emilio is a Chilean biochemist with a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. He has experience with multiple model organisms, from cell cultures to non-mammalian models. Motivated by work in developmental biology, Emilio decided to study spinal cord regeneration in Xenopus laevis for his PhD. To better understand non-neural developmental processes and organ development, he took the challenge of immigrating to Canada to join Dr. Huang's group. His work explores the role of PDGF signalling in fibroblast diversification in zebrafish. In his free time, he likes to read science fiction/fiction, garden, play video games, and watch sports, particularly football (Premier League).

Arsheen Rajan

PhD Student

Originally from Mumbai, India, Arsheen moved to Lubbock, Texas, to pursue her BSc degree in Biochemistry at Texas Tech University. Her interest in developmental biology led her across the border to Calgary to join Dr. Huang's group in 2018. In the Huang lab, Arsheen characterized a novel population of blood vessel-associated cells called perivascular fibroblasts, which are critical for maintaining blood vessel stability during early development. Currently, she is working to resolve the role of perivascular fibroblasts in tendon regeneration, using a combination of live imaging and single cell RNA sequencing.  Apart from research, she is also passionate about politics, history, and art, and loves to sketch in her free time.

Aarti Kejriwal

PhD Student

Aarti completed her BS-MS dual degree in Biological Sciences from the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, India in 2020. Soon after, she moved to Canada to pursue her PhD in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University of Calgary. She studies the role of Notch and Sonic Hedgehog (Shh) signaling pathways during early spinal cord development using cool imaging tools and zebrafish transgenics. When she is not in the lab, she is either involved in organizing events in the Departmental Graduate Association (DGA), working out at the gym, doing some art and crafts, or watching cute animal videos.

Linjun Xie

PhD Student

Linjun completed her BSc and MSc degrees in Clinical Medicine and Pediatrics from Chongqing Medical University, China. Her MSc research project focused on the molecular mechanisms of vitamin A in obesity. She joined Dr. Huang's group as a PhD student in 2020. Linjun's project focuses on the regulation of sclerotome development by BMP signaling in zebrafish. Outside of the research, she is a fan of yoga, squash ball, and hot pot.

Nicholas Lim

MSc Student

Prior to joining the Huang lab, Nick pursued a BSc degree at the University of Waterloo. He conducted research on the ecological effects of pollution in freshwater systems in Ontario. Nick is currently characterizing a novel gene using a zebrafish model that may provide insights into tendon development. Outside of the research, he spends most of his free time in the outdoors, hiking and rock climbing.

Sarah Curtis

Administrative Assistant