Get To Know Us: 

The Santos Lab is an enthusiastic group of researchers studying the epigenetic regulation of stem cell pluripotency using the latest techniques in stem cell biology, embryology, molecular biology, functional genomics and bioinformatics. 


Dr. Miguel Ramalho-Santos, PhD, MSc

Principal Investigator

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Miguel was born in New Haven, CT, in 1972 and went back to Portugal with his family when he was four months old. He grew up in Coimbra, Portugal, and attended the University of Coimbra for an undergraduate degree in Biology and a Masters’ degree in Cell Biology, under the supervision of Carlos Faro. He moved to the US in 1997 for his PhD at the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology of Harvard University, where he was co-advised by Doug Melton and Andy McMahon. He received his PhD in 2002 and in 2003 moved to San Francisco to become a UCSF Fellow, an independent research position designed as an alternative to a traditional postdoc. In 2007 he became an Assistant Professor at UCSF, and he was promoted to Associate Professor in 2013. He is the recipient of a 2008 NIH New Innovator Award and a 2016 Royan International Research Award in Reproductive Genetics. In 2018 he moved to Canada to become the Canada 150 Research Chair in Developmental Epigenetics, Senior Investigator at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute and Full Professor in the Department of Molecular Genetics, University of Toronto.

In his spare time Miguel was a member of two theater companies in Coimbra, Portugal: the University’s students’ theater group, TEUC, and the professional company A Escola da Noite He was also a drummer and composer of the rock bands Los e o Mito, in Coimbra, U Dig’em Trilobites, in Cambridge, MA, and Long Dark Hallway, in San Francisco, CA. He published two books of creative writing in Portuguese, “Cabo Norte” and “Auto”, and is slowly working on a third one. In the little time outside of his scientific and teaching activities he enjoys bike riding, swimming, reading, writing, playing drums, following European soccer, traveling, scuba diving and cooking. He lives with his family in Toronto.

Lab Members


Kirti Mittal, PhD

Lab Manager

Kirti received her PhD from the University of Delhi and post-doctoral training at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. She is interested in new approaches to understand pluripotent stem cell genomics.


Evelyne Collignon, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Evelyne received her PhD from the University of Brussels (ULB), Belgium. She is interested in the RNA biology of pluripotent cells.

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Juan Zhang, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Juan received her PhD from the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin after carrying out the thesis work at the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin, Germany. She is interested in repetitive elements for their potential roles in chromatin organization during early embryonic development. 

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Tania Sultana, PhD

Postdoctoral Scholar

Tania completed her bachelor and masters studies in University of Dhaka, Bangladesh and received her doctoral degree from University of Cote D'Azur, France. She is interested in understanding the contribution of human transposons to genome dynamics during development. Apart from research, she enjoys reading and writing. 


Trisha Macrae

Graduate Student

Trisha received her BA from the University of Chicago and is pursuing an MD/PhD degree at UCSF while carrying out her thesis work in Toronto. She is interested in the interplay between the chromatin state and the proteome in embryonic stem cells and during early development. When she’s not in lab, Trisha eats all the baked goods she can and dabbles in being an outdoorswoman/runner. 


Lamisa Mizan

Graduate Student

Lamisa received her BSc from University of Toronto and is currently pursuing her PhD from the Department of Molecular Genetics. She is interested in studying the role of transposon interaction networks during early embryonic development. Outside of the lab, Lamisa enjoys baking, binge watching TV shows and drinking as much coffee as humanly possible.


Brandon Cho

Graduate Student

Brandon was born and raised in Vancouver, BC, where he received his BSc from the University of British Columbia. He is now pursuing his graduate studies in the Department of Molecular Genetics at the University of Toronto. Brandon is interested in using mouse models to investigate hypertranscription during embryonic development. Outside of the lab he enjoys playing various sports, exploring the outdoors and trying new recipes with his sous-vide.