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Desai Lab Lab Members

Ridi began her interest in scientific research during her undergraduate study at University of Toronto, where she used yeast cells to identify non-essential genes that increase the frequency of spontaneous direct-repeat recombination. During her graduate research in the lab of Dr. Ulrich Tepass, she became fascinated with epithelial biology where she used Drosophila genetics to discover a role for how alpha-catenin mediates connections between cell adhesion molecules and actin cytoskeleton during morphogenesis. After finishing her PhD. at University of Toronto, she transitioned to mammalian biology with a focus on epithelial-derived cancers. During her postdoc in the lab of Senthil Muthuswamy Lab (BIDMC, Harvard Medical School) using human stem cell derived organoid models of pancreatic ductal and acini cells, she identified a cell-type specific role for oncogene activity in precancerous lesions of pancreatic cancer.


  • BSc.(Honors) – Molecular Biology and Genetics, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON Canada
  • PhD - University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada
  • Postdoctoral Fellow - Beth Israel Deaconess Medical School, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Awards and Honors

  • NIH-NCI Transition Career Development Award (2023)
  • Ruth L. Kirschstein Postdoctoral National Research Award (F32) NIH-NIGMS (2015-2018)
  • Young Canadian Cell biologist of the Year, ASCB (2013)
  • Yoshio Masui Prize-Development, Molecular & Cellular biology, University of Toronto (2010)
  • Ontario Graduate Scholarship ($12000), Government of Ontario, Canada (2009)
  • Golden Key Honour Society, University of Toronto (top 10% of University (2001-2005)
  • Dean’s List, University of Toronto (top 5-10% of University (2001-2003)
  • Queen Elizabeth II Aiming for the top scholarship, Govt of Canada (2001-2003)

View Ridi's profile.

Ridhdhi Desai, PhD
Ridhdhi Desai, PhD

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