Lab Personnel



Maydianne Andrade
Principal Investigator

BSc SFU, MSc U Toronto, PhD Cornell
ORCID Professional Profile: 0000-0002-2931-5378CV Sept. 2016

Lab Management


Undergraduate Researchers & Research Assistants


Lab Assistants


lab management anchor

  Lab Management

Dr. Luciana Baruffaldi (PhD 2015)

Dr. Luciana Baruffaldi
(PhD 2015)

Lab Director

Dr. Baruffaldi is our Lab Director, in charge of overseeing all lab operations and research. She will use her vast knowledge of large-scale invertebrate rearing and her management skills to ensure equitable balancing of research needs, population maintenance, and personnel development and morale, all of which are essential to the ongoing success of the lab. Luciana also provides advice on experimental design for new projects. Overall then, Luciana is responsible for all high-level management of lab rearing operations and reports directly to Maydianne.

Yousef Safar

Lab Manager

Yousef is our lab manager and in this role, oversees, trains, and schedules all laboratory assistants. He also manages laboratory supplies and ensures we all have what we need to get out work done! Yousef has been in the lab for two years. He started as a volunteer in the lab and quickly distinguished himself through his excellent ‘hands’, outstanding work ethic, and excellent eye for collecting spiders in the field. He helped with local field research, completed a one-term project with Luciana, and quickly emerged as our top pick for lab manager last year. This summer, in addition to being lab manager, Yousef is one of three researchers working with Luciana to complete an ambitious project on fitness effects of plasticity in a Japanese population of redback spiders (L. hasselti)


  Undergraduate Researchers & Research Assistants

Vighnesh Sukhu

Vighnesh Sukhu

Vighnesh has been in the lab for a year, starting as a research assistant. He completed a one-term research course (BIOD95) this summer, examining development and performance in widow spiders, and is now engaged in a continuation of this project, in a collaborative effort with Yousef and Laini, led by Luciana.


Laini Taylor

Laini has been in the lab for over two years, she started as a lab assistant, then acted as a research assistant to PhD student Catherine Scott (working with one of three L. hesperus populations).  Last year, Laini completed a full-year independent research project, BIOD98, examining how sperm load of male Phidippus clarus jumping spiders is related to morphological traits, and performance. She presented her work in an outstanding talk at the Animal Behavior meeting, held summer 2017 at UTSC. Laini has now graduated, but continues to do research in the lab (collaboration with Yousef and Vighnesh, led by Luciana).

Alexandra Dorison

Alexandra Dorison

Alexandra completed a BioB98 project, ‘shadowing’ PhD student Monica Mowery, during which she learned how female redback spiders show repeateable behaviours. This year she is continued to act as Monica’s research assistant, and completed a research project with Monica, examining how cool temperatures affect spider development and behaviour. She presented her work in a poster at the Animal behaviour Conference in 2017 and was awarded an honourable mention in the student poster competition. Congrats Alexandra!

Lynn Bui

 Research Assistant/ BIOB98 student

Lynn has been in the lab for over two years, acting as a lab assistant, and most recently as a research assistant for Monica and Nishant, and completing a BIOB98 course, aiding in data extraction and recording, among other things.

Justin Andrew

Research Assistant/BIOB98 student

Justin has been in the lab for over a year, acting as a lab assistant. Along with Lynn, Justin acted as a research assistant for Monica and Nishant last term, and completed a BIOB98 course, aiding in data extraction and recording, among other things.

Lab assistants

Undergraduate Lab Assistants:

A HUGE thank you to this summer’s OUTSTANDING lab crew. This has been the most efficient and accurate crew I have had in 17 years of working at UTSC!

Amira Abozaid

Ridda Ahmed

Shabitha Arumugarajah

Aneesah Bari

Aneesah Bari

Emmanuel Chan

Emmanuel Chan

Abel Delbalkew

Abel Delbalkew

Ravin Dyal

Ravin Dyal

Mariaelena Guarrasi

Noor Hussain

Azeezah Jafry

Christopher Mahler

Ishara Mudiyansela

Mecheala Pienczykowski

Sharunan Ragunathan

Mahak Rajawat


Allison Rupnaraine

Heba Saleh

Vishal Sharma

Mohammad Sohawan

Mohammad Sohawan


High School Coop Students

  check back in late September…