Benjamin Matthews, PhD
Lab Head and Assistant Professor
Ben received a BS in Biology from the California Institute of Technology in 2004 and completed his graduate research at Columbia University in the Laboratory of Wes Grueber where he worked on the phenomenon of ‘self-avoidance’ during the development of sensory neuron dendritic arbors in Drosophila melanogaster. He then completed his postdoctoral training with Leslie Vosshall at Rockefeller University/HHMI, where he focused on genetics, genomics, and behavior in the mosquito Aedes aegypti, a deadly vector of arbivoral pathogens that cause Zika, Dengue fever, Yellow fever, and Chikungunya. He received postdoctoral fellowships from the Jane Coffin Childs Memorial Fund for Medical Research and The Rockefeller University, as well as a predoctoral NRSA F31 from the NIH.
At UBC, Ben is an Assistant Professor in the Comparative Physiology Group of the Department of Zoology. He is also a member of the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health, the Biodiversity Research Centre and the Genome Science and Technology training program.
Postdoctoral researchers and graduate students
Dan Peach, PhD
Dan completed his BSc (with Distinction) and PhD (in the lab of Gerhard Gries) at Simon Fraser University. His PhD work focused on the ecology and sensory ecology of mosquitoes and their interactions with plants, during which he discovered that mosquitoes use the same cues to locate floral nectar that they use to locate vertebrate hosts, shedding light on the evolutionary origin of mosquito blood-feeding. He received an NSERC doctoral postgraduate scholarship, an SFU Provost’s Prize of Distinction, an ESC John Borden award, and was a Canadian national finalist in the Three Minute Thesis Competition.
The research Dan is pursuing in the (Ben) Matthews lab will initially involve investigating egg-deposition in mosquitoes at different biological levels, including the genomic, molecular, physiological, and ecological, to determine what makes some mosquitoes so good at exploiting novel habitat and becoming widespread invasive organisms.
M.Sc. Student, Zoology
Leisl received her B.Sc. in Zoology at University College London (UCL) in the UK where she completed a research project looking at the evolution of biomineralization in molluscs. Leisl now continues her work in invertebrate zoology, looking at the genomic and molecular mechanisms behind sensory behaviour in the Aedes aegypti mosquito.
Nicholas Tochor (half time lab manager)
Baskhar Yechuri (part time electronics technician)
USRAs and Honours students
Aleksandra Anoshina (NSERC USRA, 2020 and UBC Biology Honours student, 2020-2021)
Ivan Lo (UBC Biology Honours student, 2020-2021)
Ana Parra (UBC BIology Honours student, 2020-2021)
Ana is currently part of a dual degree program at the University of British Columbia comprised of a Bachelor of Science with Honors in Animal Biology and a Master of Management. On top of that, she’s the Vice-President of the UBC Biological Sciences Society. She recently completed a 12-month co-op placement at the Vancouver Prostate Centre, where she focused on androgen receptor mutants transcriptional responses to anti-androgen drugs, in the attempt to allow cancer treatments to be more patient-specific. Outside the lab you will find her hiking or learning how to use her camera to capture the beauty of animals.
Her research at the (Ben) Matthews Lab involves understanding the molecular differences between the larval stages of mosquitos Aedes togoi and Aedes aegypti that allows them to survive at distinct environmental conditions.
Nicole Cheng (IRES448 Directed Studies student, 2020-present)
Nicole is currently working towards her dual degree of a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science with a Master of Management at UBC. She completed a 16 month co-op placement with Environment and Climate Change Canada based in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories where she worked on the Alberta Oil Sands Monitoring program, which extends to the north. Through field work Nicole has become well-acquainted with some northern mosquito species and is looking forward to working under Dr. Dan Peach in his project focusing on mosquitoes in the north!
Atbeen Rezazadah (BIOL448 Directed Studies student and member, team togoi, 2019-present)
Atbeen is a fourth year student at the University of British Columbia, and is expecting to receive his BSc in Biology in 2021. His work in the Matthews lab is focused on the behavioral studies in larval development of mosquitoes under varying abiotic conditions with a focus in determining which physiological factors are playing a significant role in making some mosquitoes widespread invasive organisms. Outside of the lab, Atbeen loves to bike, kayak and hike the extensive trails all over Vancouver, and during the winter, take advantage of the local ski slopes.
- Jonathan Chiang
- Ioana Fronea
- Quinn Kelley
- Ravneet Tiwana
- Annie Zeng
- Britya Ghosh, M.Sc. Student, CELL Program. Lab of Dr. Mike Gordon, UBC Zoology
- Weison Chu (BIOL448 Directed Studies student and member, team feeding)
- Kevin Poon (BIOL448 Directed Studies student and member, team feeding)
- Kunwar Puri (BIOL448 Directed Studies student and member, team togoi)
- Madhurya Sekhar (BIOL448 Directed Studies student and member, team feeding)