Shawna Hiley, PhD

Editorial Experience

Independent Scientific Editor (2014-present)

Editing projects include various technical and academic scientific documents, fiction novels (Myth, by Terri Todosey), and contributions to “Loon Call”, the annual magazine publication of the Lake Weslemkoon Conservation Association. Contributing writer and editor for CurioCity online science magazine.

Professional and Academic Experience

Expatriate Assignment – Santiago, Chile (2011-2014)

Relocated to Santiago and acquired fluency in Spanish. Became a certified “Destination Imagination Team Leader” and helped to launch a “Destination Imagination” extra-curricular program at the International School Nido de Aguilas. Made significant contributions to a wide variety of charities through volunteer work.

Professor (2006-2011)

Centennial College School of Engineering Technology and Applied Science, Department of Applied Biology and Environmental Science

  • Taught second- and third-year courses in biotechnology, genetics and microbiology
  • Contributed to curriculum development and course delivery in the Biotechnology Technologist program
  • Supervised students in molecular and microbiology laboratories
  • Evaluated students’ progress towards achieving vocationally-relevant technical and theoretical learning objectives
  • Led and participated in applied research projects with industry partners
  • Prepared and edited funding proposals and other technical document

Sessional Lecturer (2007-2010)

University of Toronto at Scarborough, Department of Biological Sciences

Post-doctoral Associate (2003-2005)

University of Toronto, Principal Investigator: Dr. Tim Hughes

  • Developed and completed an independent research project based on microarray analysis of yeast RNA that resulted in over 10 peer-reviewed publications.
  • Supervised and coached graduate and undergraduate students in the laboratory.
  • Delivered lectures to colleagues locally and internationally.
  • Initiated and sustained collaborations with a number of international colleagues.
  • Secured funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Ph.D. (2003)

University of Toronto, Department of Molecular Genetics. Principal Investigator: Dr. Richard Collins

Dissertation: Structure and Folding of the Neurospora VS Ribozyme: Hydroxyl Radical Footprinting and Photocrosslinking Analyses.”

  • Demonstrated technical proficiency with advanced molecular biology techniques as well as superb critical thinking, problem solving and project management skills while publishing a nearly 200-page thesis in less than 5 years.
  • Proved proficiency in written and oral communication via the publication of two first author papers and the presentation of invited lectures at four international scientific conferences.

B.Sc. (Honours Biochemistry) (1994-1998)

Faculty of Sciences, University of Waterloo, Canada

Community Involvement

  • Volunteer Official, Swim Alberta (November 2014-present)
  • Member, Sweet Grass School Council, Edmonton AB (2014-2016)
  • Vice-President, Sweet Grass School Parent Association, Edmonton AB (2014-2016)

Personal Interests

  • Endurance Sports
  • Youth Athletics
  • Animal Rescue


  1. Hughes TR, Hiley SL, Saltzman AL, Babak T, Blencowe BJ. (2006) Microarray analysis of RNA processing and modification, Methods in Enzymology, 410:300-16.
  2. Leeds NB, Small EC, Hiley SL, Hughes TR and Staley JP. (2006) The Splicing Factor Prp43p, a DEAH box ATPase, Functions in Ribosome Biogenesis, Molecular and Cellular Biology 26(2):513-
  3. Alexandrov A, Chernyakov I, Gu W, Hiley SL, Hughes TR, Grayhack J and EM Phizicky. (2006) Rapid tRNA decay can result from lack of non-essential modifications, Molecular Cell 21(1):87-96
  4. Hoang T, Peng WT, Vanrobays E, Krogan N, Hiley SL, Beyer AL, Osheim YN, Greenblatt J, Hughes TR, Lafontaine DL. (2005) Esf2p, a U3-associated factor required for small-subunit
    processome assembly and compaction, Molecular and Cellular Biology, 25(13):5523-34
  5. Henras AK, Sam M, Hiley SL, Wu H, Hughes TR, Feigon J, Chanfreau GF. (2005) Biochemical and genomic analysis of substrate recognition by the double-stranded RNA binding domain of yeast RNase III. RNA, 11(8):1225-37
  6. Hiley SL, Babak, T and Hughes TR (2005) Global analysis of yeast RNA processing identifies new targets of RnaseIII and uncovers a link between tRNA 5′ end processing and tRNA splicing, Nucleic Acids Research, 33(9):3048-56
  7. Hiley SL, Jackman J, Babak T, Trochesset M, Morris QD, Phizicky E, Hughes TR. (2005) Detection and discovery of RNA modifications using microarrays, Nucleic Acids Research
  8. S. Mnaimneh, A.P. Davierwala, J. Haynes, J. Moffat, W.-T. Peng, W. Zhang, X. Yang, J. Pootoolal, G. Chua, A. Lopez, M. Trochesset, D. Morse, N.J. Krogan, SL Hiley, Z. Li, Q. Morris, J.
    Grigull, N. Mitsakakis, C.J. Roberts, J.F. Greenblatt, C. Boone, C.A. Kaiser, B.J. Andrews, and T.R. Hughes (2004) Exploration of Essential Gene Functions via Titratable Promoter Alleles, Cell 113:21-44
  9. Xing F, Hiley SL, Hughes TR, Phizicky EM. (2004) The specificities of four yeast dihydrouridine synthases for cytoplasmic tRNAs. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 279: 17850 – 17860
  10. Hiley SL, Sood VD, Fan J and Collins RA. (2002) 4-thio-U crosslinking identifies the active site of the VS ribozyme, EMBO Journal, 21:4691-4698.
  11. Hiley SL and Collins RA. (2001) Rapid formation of a solvent-inaccessible core in the Neurospora VS ribozyme, EMBO Journal, 20:5461-5469

Invited Lectures

  1. C3 Chemistry Conference, Toronto, Ontario, May 27-29, 2009 Hiley SL Introduction to Microarray Technology: Chemistry and Applications
  2. RNA Society Meeting, Madison, Wisconsin, June 1-6, 2004 Hiley SL, Trochesset M, Morris Q, Babak T and Hughes TR. Yeast noncoding RNA: a global view.
  3. RNA Society Meeting, Madison, Wisconsin, May 28-June 2, 2002. Hiley SL and Collins, R. A. 4-Thio-U crosslinking pinpoints the active site of the VS ribozyme.

Conference Presentations

  1. EMBO workshop on ribozymes and RNA catalysis. Dundee, Scotland, Aug 23-27, 2002 Hiley SL, Sood, V.D., Fan, J and Collins, R.A. 4-thio-U crosslinking identifies the active site of the VS ribozyme.
  2. RNA Society Meeting. Banff, Alberta, May 29-June 3, 2001 Hiley SL and Collins, R.A. Hydroxyl radical footprinting reveals rapid folding of the VS ribozyme and identifies ribozyme-substrate interactions in the tertiary structure.
  3. Johns Hopkins Folding Meeting, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia, March 17-20, 2001 Hiley SL, Sood, V.D. and Collins, R.A. Folding of the Neurospora VS Ribozyme.