Current Team Members

Post Doctoral Researchers

Yanjie Liu 







Yanjie was born and brought up in China. He went to Nankai University and got his B.Sc. in Chemistry in 2008. In the same year, he entered UBC Chemistry Dept. and joined Dr. Tanner’s Group. In 2015, Yanjie completed his doctoral studies in the field of Chemistry and he focused on the mechanisms of gastritis and peptic ulcer. He discovered the structure of a new protein important for the survival of the bacteria, Helicobacter pylori, which triggers ulcers. His findings identified a new target for gastrointestinal drugs development.


Graduate Students


Walid Abdelmagid


Walid is a PhD candidate who joined the group in April 2014. His project is concerned with the design, synthesis and in vitro evaluation of inhibitors for prenyltransferase enzymes, which are responsible for the post-translational modification of oncogenic proteins. He obtained his MChem degree from University of Liverpool, U.K. (2011), his thesis work focused on designing and synthesizing Antimalarial Agents. He also obtained a diploma in Clinical Science at Oxford College, U.K. (2013). He worked at Evotec. Ltd. as a medicinal chemist (2012), gaining an invaluable experience in variety of therapeutics (for CNS disorders, Malaria, Cancer) and controlled drug release.

Arvind Soni






Arvind joined the group as a PhD student in September 2015 and since then he has been working on synthesizing substrates and inhibitors for Csd6 enzymes which are necessary for maintaining helical shape of helicobacter pylori. He completed both B.Sc. and M.Sc. degree from University in Mumbai, India (2011). Then he joined companies like Kemtree, TCS and S.H. Kelkar in India where he gained wide experience ranging from synthesizing drug like Imatinib, creating MSDS to synthesizing aromatic compounds for perfumery and flavor industry.

Taniya Adak







Taniya joined the group as a PhD student in September 2015 and since then she has been working on synthesis and evaluation of inhibitors for Prenyltransferase class of enzymes. She completed integrated M.Sc. in Chemistry at Pondicherry University, India (2015). Her M.Sc. thesis work focused on developing β-Cyclodextrin based Sensors for early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.  As a Summer Research Fellow, she also worked at IISc. (2012), IISER – Kolkata (2013), and JNCASR (2014), gaining wide experience in both bio-inorganic and bio-organic chemistry. She can also be found exploring nature, hiking and camping at her leisure.

Master Students

Wenxuan Zhang


Wen joined the group a master student in September 2016. She got her bachelor degree in the chemistry department at The University of Tokyo, where she was in Prof. Shionoya’s group and did her research on metallo-DNA. She loves playing guitar, everything about music, travelling and she is interested in studying languages.

Matei Condurache 


Matei joined the group a master student in September 2016. BSc was attained from UBC; his Undergraduate Thesis entitled “Investigating Sulfonium-Mediated Cascade Cyclization Methodology” was written in the Winter term of 2016 under the supervision of Marco Ciufolini. He has spent a total of two years in the Ciufolini labs investigating iodonium metathesis and sulfonium-mediated arylation reactions amongst other minor projects. He has a background in synthetic organic chemistry; the domain of Dr. Ciufolini. He’s taken most Chemistry courses that UBC has to offer at the 400 level with the exception of 400-level courses pertaining to analytical chemistry and quantum chemistry.


Micheal Howlett







He worked in the Tanner group for two months (July – August 2016) as a summer exchange student after being awarded funding from Imperial College London, where he is studying MSci in Chemistry. His work in the group focused on the synthesis of peptide targets for use in aptamer testing. In his spare time he enjoys badminton and exploring new places and foods (both of which are easily done in Vancouver!).