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University of Guelph


Bovey Bldg
601 Gordon St, Guelph, ON
N1G 1Y2 Canada

Undergraduate and Graduate Students

GRIPP supports undergraduate and graduate students as well as post-doctoral researchers in interdisciplinary areas of research on plant conservation.

GRIPP Delaney Bray-Stone

Delaney Bray-Stone

MSc Student

Prior to my graduate studies, I completed a BSc in Agricultural Science at the University of Guelph. I became fascinated with plant tissue culture during this period, and conducted thesis-based projects ranging from micropropagation to protoplast regeneration. My current research pertains to the use of cell-penetrating peptides for biomolecule delivery into plant cells, and aims to deliver morphogenic cargo.


My objective is to develop a novel method for induction of morphogenesis and embryogenesis which can be used in conjunction with conventional methods. Many plant genotypes or species are recalcitrant to plant growth regulator-based approaches that are common in tissue culture, and my hope is that my research will advance our ability to culture plants in vitro. In my personal life, I like to participate in outdoor activities such as rock climbing, running, hiking, camping, and going for evening strolls in the forest.

GRIPP Joshua Callaghan

Joshua Callaghan

MSc Student

Graduating from the University of Guelph I obtained a Bachelors of Bio-Resource Management majoring in Environmental Management in 2017. Throughout my undergraduate program, I developed a keen interest in plant science when working in a plant pathology lab investigating management techniques for “Take-all Patch” in Creeping Bentgrass.


My current focus is on my graduate studies analyzing methods of improving the production rate of Daylilies through both vegetative propagation and tissue culture. While my investigations are underway my enthusiasm for conservation and environmental management continue to be expressed through outdoor recreation, fishing, horticulture, and educating friends and family.

GRIPP Lauren Erland

Lauren Erland

PhD Student

I received my BSc in Microbiology at the University of British Columbia, Okanagan during which time I had the opportunity to work on several research projects with researchers at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada’s Pacific Agri-Food Research Center in Summerland, BC as a summer student & at UBC as an honours student. It was here that I discovered my passion for plant research and phytochemistry.


After completing my undergraduate work I continued on at UBC, Okanagan, to complete my MSc research in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology working to produce improved essential oil cultivars of lavender through non-GMO technologies. I joined GRIPP in January 2015 as a PhD student, and have a keen interest in studying the physiology and phytochemistry of plant species. In particular the impact interactions between primary and specialized metabolites can have on fundamental processes such as plant growth, development and stress responses. When I am not in the lab I enjoy rock climbing, cooking & going on adventures with my dog Piper.

GRIPP Yasmine Hezema

Yasmine Hezema

PhD Student

I am a PhD. student at Plant Agriculture Department and one of the member of GRIPP lab who is working under the supervision of Prof. Praveen Saxena. My areas of interest are plant physiology and plant molecular biology. My primary research focuses on studying the transport of mRNA over long-distance in grafted plants especially under osmotic stress conditions and how that can affect the growth and development of the scion.


Before starting my doctoral studies in 2015, I graduated from Horticulture Department, Faculty of Agriculture, Alexandria University, Egypt in 2008. Then I got my M.Sc. in Pomology in 2012 from Damanhour University, Egypt. In my master research, I have studied the effect of some phenolic compounds on the coloration and quality of “Crimson Seedless” grape berries. I enjoy spending my spare time with my family, cooking and watching documentary movies.

GRIPP Zhuoya Liu

Zhuoya Liu

MSc Student

I completed my B.Sc. in Honours Agriculture from the University of Guelph in 2017. I am currently pursuing my MSc at GRIPP studying American chestnut (Castanea dentata), an endangered species limited to Eastern North American, in terms of micropropagation and preservation. In my spare time, I enjoy watching movies, cooking, doing exercise (such as Zumba and Yuga) to relax.

GRIPP James Nicholson

James Nicholson

MSc Student

I completed my BSc at the University of Guelph in 2016, majoring in Plant Science. Shortly after graduating I joined GRIPP as a laboratory technician where I had the opportunity to learn the fundamental principles of plant tissue culture and expand my knowledge in micropropagation, cryopreservation and transplanting of various plant species.


In 2017 I began my MSc working on improving the ex vitro acclimatization efficiency of Hazelnuts (Corylus avellana L) produced in vitro through micropropagation. My passion for plant science goes beyond the lab, as in my free time I like to admire the beauty of plants through hiking and up-keeping a garden of my own. Other interests of mine include spending time with family and friends, as well as traveling to new places.

GRIPP Akansha Saxena

Akansha Saxena

PhD Student

I completed my BSc. (Agriculture) from Acharya N.G. Ranga Agricultural University Hyderabad, India in 2013 and my M.Sc. (Genetics and Plant Breeding) from Junagarh Agricultural University, India in 2015. I joined GRIPP in 2016 to pursue my PhD. My research focuses on micropropagation of Yukon Draba- an endangered plant species native to Yukon, Canada.


My research also focuses on studying the molecular and physiological aspects of cold tolerance in Yukon Draba as it can sustain and grow in frost covered areas. In my spare time I like to read novels, coloring and listening music.

GRIPP Bita Sheikholeslami

Bita Sheikholeslami

MSc Student

I am currently in the process of completing my MSc. In Plant Agriculture at GRIPP. I came to the University of Guelph to complete my undergraduate degree in the College of Biological Sciences. The program allowed me to gain knowledge in various fields such as plant and mammalian biology, conservation biology and population genetics.


I started my masters in a project that incorporated what I am passionate about: plant biology and wildlife/habitat conservation. I have been working on developing a protocol to micropropagate Hill’s Thistle (Cirsium hillii.), a plant that is threatened by habitat loss in Canada. In addition to working in the lab to establish plants, I was part of the research team that reintroduced Hill’s Thistle plants to their natural habitat at Bruce Peninsula National Park. I am trained in cryopreservation using droplet vitrification, having successful regeneration of healthy plants for a few different species. My main project has been micropropagation using shoot tips, however I am also researching the capacity of Hill’s Thistle leaves and roots to regenerate into healthy and vigorous plants using tissue culture techniques. On the weekends when I’m outdoors, I like to explore nature with my dog and create videos with my drone.