Chairs & Scholars
Our community of Chairs, scholars and researchers identifies and addresses the health care needs of women and aims to advance policy-relevant research, knowledge, mentorship and service in women's health and population health
Chairs in Women's Health
Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, endowed Chairs in Women’s Health have been established at four universities in Ontario. The Chairs focus on identifying and addressing the health care needs of women and aim to advance policy relevant research, knowledge, mentorship and service in women’s health and population health.
Dr. Angel Foster
Chair in Women's Health
University of Ottawa
Angel Foster, DPhil, MD, AM
Dr. Angel M. Foster holds an Endowed Chair in Women’s Health at the University of Ottawa, where she is an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Health Sciences. She received her DPhil in Middle Eastern studies from the University of Oxford, attending as a Rhodes Scholar, her MD from Harvard Medical School, and both an AM in international policy studies and a BAS in international relations and biology from Stanford University. Prior to joining the University of Ottawa she was a Senior Associate at Ibis Reproductive Health, where she remains an Affiliated Scholar.
Dr. Foster has conducted multi-methods research on women’s health in Canada, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, the Thailand/Burma border, Tunisia, and the US. Her policy relevant, and action- and intervention-oriented research portfolio focuses on emergency contraception, abortion, young women’s sexual behaviors and practices, and health professions education. She speaks English, French, and Arabic and has authored and co-authored more than thirty articles, book chapters, and reports on women’s health. Her first book, co-edited with Dr. L.L. Wynn, is entitled, Emergency contraception: The story of a global reproductive health technology and was published by Palgrave MacMillan in 2012.
Dr. Foster currently serves on the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Maghrib Studies, on the Board of Directors of Backline, and as Chair-Elect of the Population, Reproductive, and Sexual Health Section (PRSH) of the American Public Health Association (APHA). She previously served on the Steering Committee of the International Consortium for Emergency Contraception, on the Board of Directors of Physicians for Reproductive Choice and Health, and as President of the Board of Directors of Medical Students for Choice. In 2004 Dr. Foster was named one of Choice USA’s 30 Under-30 Activists for Reproductive Freedom and in 2009 she received the APHA PSRH Section’s Outstanding Young Professional Award.
Dr. Marilyn Ford-Gilboe
Chair in Women's Health
Marilyn Ford-Gilboe, BScN, MScN, PhD
For the past 2 decades, Dr. Marilyn Ford-Gilboe’s research and scholarship have focused on developing knowledge aimed at reducing health inequities and promoting the health of women and their families who are in transition or and/or living in marginalized conditions. She has been particularly interested in the health and life course of women who have experienced violence from an intimate partner, including those who have separated from an abusive partner.
In her continuously funded research program, she has generated and tested theory, analyzed policy, and tested nursing and health care interventions using diverse methodological and analytic approaches (ranging from feminist grounded theory to structural equation modeling). As the Principal Investigator of a CIHR-IGH New Emerging Team (NET) Grant funded in 2003), she led an interdisciplinary team spanning 3 provinces in conducting a program of research focused on intimate partner violence and health. Within this team, she mentored numerous graduate students and new investigators and led several large, cutting edge projects, including the Women’s Health Effects Study (WHES), a unique, longitudinal investigation of the health and economic costs of IPV post-leaving, and the development and testing an innovative primary health care intervention (iHEAL) designed to support the health and quality of life of women who have recently separated from an abusive partner. She has been a co-investigator on studies focused on the health of single mothers, immigrant and Aboriginal women’s experiences of IPV, and the effectiveness of primary health care interventions for vulnerable populations, including women and young families, who are at risk of IPV.
In her role as the Chair in Women’s Health, her research has expanded to include the particular experiences of rural women and their families. She is currently Co-PI on a CIHR funded programmatic grant focused on enhancing the capacity of primary health care setting serving located in rural and urban settings to deliver equity-oriented care to marginalized populations. She is also leading a newly funded CIHR study which will test the effectiveness of an internet-based safety decision aid enhancing safety planning, social support and mental health of women who are living with an abusive partner, particularly those who may not access formal services.
Dr. Nazilla Khanlou
Chair in Women's Health
Nazilla Khanlou, RN, BScN, MSc, PhD
Professor Nazilla Khanlou holds an endowed Chair in Women’s Health at York University, where she is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. She is the Academic Lead of Lillian Wright Maternal Child Health Student Scholars Program and the Founder of International Network on Youth Integration (INYI).Professor Khanlou is the Co-Director of the Ontario Multicultural Health Applied Research Network (2011-2013). Professor Khanlou’s clinical background is in psychiatric nursing. Her overall program of research is situated in the interdisciplinary field of community-based mental health promotion in general, and mental health promotion among youth and women in multicultural and immigrant-receiving settings in particular. She has published articles, books, book chapters, and reports on immigrant youth and women, and mental health. Professor Khanlou’s research is funded by peer-reviewed federal and provincial research funding agencies including CIHR , SSHRC, Provincial Centre of Excellence for Child and Youth Mental Health at CHEO, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, CERIS – The Ontario Metropolis Centre, and Wellesley Institute.
Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis
Chair in Women's Health
University of Toronto
Cindy-Lee Dennis, PhD
Dr. Cindy-Lee Dennis is a Professor in the Lawrence S. Bloomberg Faculty of Nursing and the Faculty of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Perinatal Community Health and was recently appointed the Women’s Health Research Chair at St. Michael’s Hospital. Dr. Dennis has a simple maxim: “Healthy babies start with healthy moms.” This belief has lead Dr. Dennis to focus her overall program of research on the rigorous evaluation of interventions to directly improve maternal health, which indirectly enhances infant outcomes. Using her methodological expertise in randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews, and psychometric assessments, her specific areas of research focus include: (1) improving breastfeeding outcomes; (2) detecting, preventing and treating perinatal depression and anxiety; (3) examining the health of immigrant mothers and infants; and (4) developing perinatal interventions that include fathers. She is currently the principal investigator of six large, multi-site studies and is a co-investigator on twenty-one other research projects concerning maternal, paternal, and infant health outcomes. She collaborates with researchers worldwide including those in Australia, Bangladesh, India, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, and the UK. She holds over $6 million in funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) and has over 160 peer-review publications. She is the lead author on eight Cochrane systematic reviews and has provided over 150 invited presentations. Further, she developed the Breastfeeding Self-Efficacy Scale, the most widely used breastfeeding measure in the world that has been translated into over 20 different languages. Lastly, Dr. Dennis works closely the Ontario Ministry of Children and Youth Services, the Provincial Council for Maternal and Child Health, and Public Health Ontario to influence policy and improve the care provided to women and their families across the perinatal period.
Women’s Health Scholars
Funded by the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, a Scholar Awards Program in Women's Health has been established to ensure that Ontario attracts and retains renowned women's health scholars. The community of women's health scholars fostered by this Awards program will excel, according to internationally accepted standards of scientific excellence, in the creation of new knowledge about women's health and its translation into improved health for women, more effective health services and products for women, and a strengthened heath care system.
Find out more about the Scholar Awards Program in Women’s Health on the Council of Ontario Universities website.
2016-17 University of Toronto
Postdoctoral Fellow at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto
Ph.D., Gender, Feminist and Women’s Studies
Alisa Grigorovich begins as a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto in September. She is currently a Senior Research Associate at AGE-WELL NCE – a national research network in technology and aging at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute-University Health Network. For her postdoctoral research, Alisa will investigate female workers’ experiences and responses to sexual harassment from clients in Ontario residential long-term care facilities. These experiences have been linked to job dissatisfaction.
Research areas of interest: politics of care; health equity, public policy and ethics; cultural imaginaries of sexuality and gender; critical social science
Amanda D. Timmers
Amanda D. Timmers
PhD Candidate in the clinical psychology program at Queen’s University
MSc, Clinical Psychology – Queen’s University
Amanda Timmers is a PhD candidate in the clinical psychology program at Queen’s University. Her research looks at variations between, and within, genders in sexual response. The aim is to develop gender-specific models of sexual arousal that will inform treatments of sexual dysfunction. It is estimated that more than one third of women suffer from at least one sexual problem – desire and arousal ranking highest when it comes to women’s primary sexual complaints. Yet traditional models of sexual arousal and desire used to inform treatments for female sexual dysfunction have been largely based on data describing men’s sexuality, despite emerging research that has found important gender differences in men and women’s sexual arousal patterns. Factors that are important determinants for men’s sexual responses have generally not been found to clearly correspond to women’s sexual arousal patterns. Amanda’s research aims to understand gender differences in sexual response and develop gender-specific models that identify important factors that determine women’s sexual response processes across the menstrual cycle.
Research areas of interest: Sexual psychophysiology; evolutionary psychology; mating strategies; sexual preferences; menstrual cycle; hormones; sexual disgust; sexual arousal; gender differences; sexual orientation; sexual health
2016-17 McMaster University
PhD in Medical Sciences (Physiology and Pharmacology)
Postdoctoral Fellow in the McMaster Immunology Research Centre at McMaster University
Jocelyn Wessels has been a Postdoctoral Fellow in the McMaster Immunology Research Centre at McMaster University since August 2015. Her research focuses on the effects of the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone on vaginal health, and how hormones affect a woman’s risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections, such as HIV. There are an estimated 75 500 Canadians living with HIV, and women are at a higher risk of infection than men. Recent studies found women using an injectable progestin contraceptive – Depo-Provera – have twice the risk of acquiring and transmitting HIV than women who are not taking hormonal contraceptives. Jocelyn’s research will investigate how Depo-Provera affects the bacteria that live in the vaginal tract which protect against infections, and whether these changes are making women more susceptible to HIV.
Research areas of interest: Interaction between the vaginal microbiome, female sex hormones, and immune susceptibility to HIV transmission
2016-17 University of Toronto
M.D. – University of British Columbia
Master’s student in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the University of Toronto
Denise Jaworsky is a medical resident who is currently pursuing a Master’s in Clinical Epidemiology and Health Care Research at the University of Toronto. Her research focuses on the way in which living in rural and Northern areas of Canada affects the ability of women living with HIV to access care. Factors such as stigma associated with living with HIV and experiences of violence, along with difficulties in arranging travel to health facilities, affect women’s ability to access high-quality HIV care and treatment. Denise’s research will use data from the Canadian HIV Women’s Sexual & Reproductive Health Cohort Study (CHIWOS) and interviews with community members, including Indigenous community partners, to compare the health outcomes of women living with HIV in rural and northern parts of Ontario and British Columbia with those living in the non-rural and southern regions. Jaworsky hopes her research will identify gaps in care and help guide health interventions that are targeted to the additional needs of women living with HIV in rural and Northern Canada.
Research areas of interest: Impact of rural areas in Canada on the ability of women living with HIV to access care
Western University 2016-17
BEng – Guelph University
Masters student in biomedical engineering at Western University
Justin Michael is a Master’s student in biomedical engineering at Western University. His research looks at developing alternative radiation-based treatment options for women with breast cancer who live far from treatment facilities. Early stage breast cancer is often treated by surgically removing the tumor and then administering X-ray radiation through frequent visits over a six to seven week time period to the affected breast. For women who live far from treatment facilities, the frequency of visits and length of the treatment may cause them to choose a mastectomy even if this treatment option is not their first choice. Justin’s research aims to develop tools for an alternative, single-visit radiation treatment that implants radioactive “seeds” directly into the breast. He intends to develop an imaging system using ultrasound to provide 3D image guidance during the surgery to ensure reliable seed placement. Justin hopes his research will make this relatively new, single-visit procedure available for wide-spread use, and increase access to care, especially in rural areas.
Research areas of interest: Alternative radiation-based treatment options for women with breast cancer
2015-16 Laurentian University 2016-17
M.A.; PhD Candidate, School of Rural and Northern Health, Laurentian University; PHARE Trainee
Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in Sport Psychology; Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Human Development
CAMH Student Spotlight highlighting my previous research on families raising children with FASD:
Kelly Coons is a doctoral candidate in the School of Rural and Northern Health at Laurentian University. Her research focuses on Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD), an umbrella term used to describe a range of effects associated with prenatal exposure to alcohol. Current Canadian research suggests health care professionals are not adequately prepared to care for pregnant women who use or are dependent on alcohol.. Additional research findings show that health care professionals lack knowledge in areas such as FASD identification, long-term outcomes of prenatal exposure to alcohol, diagnostic criteria, and alcohol-use screening tools. Because health care professionals play a key role in the prevention of FASD through their guidance on alcohol use during pregnancy, Kelly hopes her research findings will improve future health care professionals’ confidence, perceived competence and knowledge of FASD and their ability to appropriately counsel pregnant women about drinking alcohol during pregnancy.
Research areas of interest: fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD); developmental disabilities; rural health; Northern Ontario; health care; families
York University 2016-17
PhD student in the Clinical Neuropsychology program at York University
MSc in Neuroscience at Western University
Komal Shaikh is a PhD student in the Clinical Neuropsychology program at York University. Her research focuses on cancer-related cognitive dysfunction – cognitive difficulties, such as memory loss and lower attention span, experienced by some patients after cancer treatment. These cognitive difficulties are disproportionately felt in those cancers which mainly affect women, such as breast cancer and gynecologic cancers. Due to cognitive decline, women with these cognitive impairments often report difficulties returning to work and maintaining their relationships, which affect them economically, emotionally and interpersonally. Women with these difficulties also often report a lack of compassion from the medical community and a desire to have their cognitive symptoms validated. Komal’s research will look at the effect of education-based therapy for cancer survivors with cognitive dysfunction to help treat and rehabilitate them. In a group setting, female participants with cognitive disorders following cancer treatment will learn more about the causes as well as cognitive and relaxation strategies to help manage the long-term effects of cancer treatment. Komal’s proposed intervention is the first group program combining rehabilitation techniques, strategies, homework and exercises with stress training for this condition.
Research areas of interest: Cancer-related cognitive dysfunction
McMaster University 2016-17
Masters in Social Work from the University of Toronto; Post Graduate Associate Certificate, Narrative Research – University of East London
PhD Candidate in the School of Social Work at McMaster University
Lori Chambers is a PhD student in the School of Social Work at McMaster University. Her doctoral research explores the experiences of African immigrant women living with HIV in Ontario. Her study – “Because She Cares” – examines why these women choose work related to HIV and the challenges they face. She incorporates poetry and prose to illustrate how African women narrate and make meaning of their work as formal and informal practices of self, familial, community, social and transnational care. Lori hopes her research will inform policy and practices related to HIV and episodic illness, employment, and immigrant health, and contribute to culturally-responsive, arts-informed research.
Research areas of interest: HIV and employment, and the transition of grassroots activism into labor market participation.
2016-17 McMaster University
Doctoral Student, Kinesiology and Exercise Science at McMaster University; BSc in Kinesiology
HOPP Study and CATCH Study and McMaster University
Sara King-Dowling is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Kinesiology at McMaster University. Her research focuses on Developmental Co-ordination Disorder (DCD), a disorder characterized by problems with motor co-ordination. With girls receiving less encouragement to pursue sports and having lower rates of concurrent disorders such as ADHD, girls with DCD may be less likely to be identified than male peers and have less confidence in their ability to participate in physical activity. As part of the Co-ordination and Activity Tracking in Children (CATCH) study, Sara will look at the motor co-ordination, physical activity, fitness and health of young children with and without DCD to see how the development of girls’ motor skills affects their overall health and activity levels over time as compared to boys. Sara’s research has the potential to inform early intervention strategies that will help keep girls with developmental disorders involved in physical activity and reduce their risk of becoming overweight and unfit as they grow older.
York University 2016-17
Masters of Arts in Clinical Psychology – York University
Shira Yufe is a Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program at York University. Her research will examine healthy lifestyle and weight management interventions for breast cancer survivors — a rapidly growing group in Canada. Breast cancer survivors who are overweight or obese are shown to have a lower quality of life and an increased risk of cancer recurrence. Shira’s research will examine the factors influencing women’s participation in a healthy lifestyle and weight management program at the Odette Cancer Centre at the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. Through interviews with the participants, Shira will investigate why some women are – or are not – successful in adopting healthier habits following breast cancer treatment. She hopes this research will inform the design and delivery of similar programs offered to women at Canadian breast cancer support facilities.
Research areas of interest: Healthy lifestyle and weight management interventions for breast cancer survivors
Christina van den Brink
York University 2015-16
Christina van den Brink
MA candidate, Clinical Psychology, Faculty of Health, York University
Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Psychology, University of British Columbia
Christina van den Brink is a Master’s Student in the Clinical Psychology program at York University under the supervision of Dr. Gary Turner. Christina completed her BA (Honours) degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia in 2014. During her undergraduate degree she conducted research under the supervision of Dr. Liisa Galea investigating sex differences in susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease and the role of estrogens in mediating cognitive decline.
Integrating her earlier research experiences in higher-order cognition, aging, and neurogenesis, Christina is currently investigating mechanisms of neuroplasticity in aging. Her thesis investigates the neural bases of lifestyle-induced cognitive vitality, specifically focusing on how factors such as nutrition and physical activity mediate brain changes in a sex-dependent manner. Her aim is to identify mechanisms of enhanced neuroplasticity that can be used to augment neurointervention outcome in the future.
Christina’s research was funded by a CIHR Master’s Award in 2014-2015 and the Ontario Women’s Health Scholar Award in 2015-2016
Research areas of interest: Neuroplasticity, neurocognitive aging, sex differences in brain health, lifestyle behaviours and neuroimaging
McGill University 2015-16
PhD Candidate, Clinical Developmental Psychology, York University
BA Honours, McGill University, MA, York University, PhD Candidate, York University
Ami Tint is a Ph.D. student in the Clinical Developmental Psychology program at York University. Under the supervision of Dr. Jonathan Weiss, Ami’s dissertation focuses on the service needs of women with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Based on her work with children and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders in a variety of community and private mental health settings, Ami aims to provide clinically informed research to improve policies and services for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families.
Ami is currently a Canadian Institute of Health Research Strategic Training Fellow in Autism Research. She has held several scholarships and awards, including the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship, York University Lillian Wright Maternal Child Health Scholarship and York University Sammy Graduate Scholarship in Autism Research. Ami’s research is currently funded by an Ontario Women’s Health Scholar Award.
Research areas of interest: Service needs of individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders and their families
Carley J. Pope
2015-16 Lakehead University
Carley J. Pope
PhD Student, Clinical Psychology, Lakehead University
M.A. Clinical Psychology
Carley Pope is a first year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Lakehead University. Much of her research and clinical interests are in the area of women’s mental health and her published scholarly work has largely focused on improving our understanding of perinatal mood disorders. In addition, Carley is also interested in investigating how all reproductive events contribute to women’s physical and psychological wellbeing. Her Master’s thesis examined the relationship between breastfeeding and postpartum depression. Her doctoral research seeks to determine if Mindfulness Based Therapy (MBT) is effective in reducing affective symptoms during pregnancy and the postpartum period. As depression and anxiety have been found to negatively affect the daily functioning of mothers and can adversely affect infant development it is critical to establish effective preventive interventions for postpartum affective disorders. Currently, there is a lack of maternal mental health services in many areas of Canada. MBT is a short-term group format program for which a wide range of mental health care professionals can be trained as facilitators. It is hoped that this research will find that MBT is an efficacious, economical, and practical intervention for perinatal affective disorders. Upon obtainment of her degree Carley hopes to continue empirical and clinical work aimed at improving women’s mental health and wellbeing.
Research areas of interest: Women’s Health, Mood Disorderes, Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period
2015-16 University of Guelph
University of Guelph
MSc Candidate, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Developmental Biology, Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Western University.
(Honours) BSc with distinction (Biomedical Science), University of Guelph
Catherine Nevin completed an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree with distinction at the University of Guelph in Biomedical Science. She continued her studies by becoming a Master’s student at Western University under the supervision of Dr. Bryan Richardson in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology in collaboration with Developmental Biology. Her research focuses on brain development in a fetal growth restricted guinea pig model. Fetal Growth Restriction (FGR) with infants small for their gestational age is a known risk factor for cerebral palsy, attention deficit hyperactive disorder, autism and schizophrenia, with risk directly proportional to the extent of FGR. To date there is no test to reliably and safely predict which FGR newborns will develop these adverse outcomes. Catherine is using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to measure changes in brain morphometry and metabolite levels to help determine which FGR infants will be at risk for later cognitive abnormalities. This research is important to better understand the developmental processes of the fetal brain in utero and to underlie the risk for cognitive impairment later in life. She hopes that this will provide a basis for future clinical interventions, as well as better prepare and provide counseling to parents of FGR infants in the event of potential cognitive developmental abnormalities.
Research areas of interest: Brain Development, Fetal Growth Restriction, Brain Morphometry, Brain Metabolites, Magnetic Resonance Imaging
McMaster University 2015-16
Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Offord Centre for Child Studies (as of September 1st, 2015), Department of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences, McMaster University
B.A. (English, Minor in Women’s Studies), McMaster University
B.S.W. (Clinical Practice), McMaster University
M.S.W. (Research), York University
Grad. Dip. (Health Services and Policy Research), York University
PhD (ABD) (Health Research Methodology, Population and Public Health Specialization), McMaster University
As of September 1st, 2015, Melissa Kimber will be a Post-Doctoral Fellow within the Offord Centre for Child Studies (Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurosciences) at McMaster University. She is a registered Social Worker with the Ontario College of Social Workers and Social Service Workers, identifies as a psychiatric epidemiologist and is the Founder and Co-Director of the Researching Adolescent Lives (ReAL) lab (www.reallab.ca). She has a particular interest in investigating and understanding the putative risk and protective factors for eating disorders and family violence among children and adolescents and the extent to which evidence-based interventions to address these concerns can be implemented with fidelity in everyday clinical practice. Her post-doctoral research is funded by a Women’s Health Scholar Post-Doctoral Fellowship Award and will investigate the links between eating disorders and two types of childhood maltreatment that are difficult to detect and assess: emotional abuse and exposure to inter-parental violence. Melissa hopes that evidence from her work will inform how to adapt family-based interventions to reduce eating disorders among adolescents who have experienced childhood maltreatment.
Research areas of interest:
- Risk and protective factors for body image concerns, eating disorders and family violence among children and adolescents; with a special interest in these experiences among immigrant children, adolescents and their families.
- Examining the contextual influences (e.g. family, neighbourhoods and schools) of mental health and well-being among children and adolescents and the extent to which these influences differ between males and females.
- The translation of evidence-based interventions to community-based and tertiary mental health care providers working with adolescents who are living with mental health concerns; with a particular emphasis on those with eating disorders
Dr. Nafisa Jadavji
2015-16 Carleton University
Dr. Nafisa Jadavji
Post-doctoral fellow and Instructor, Carleton University
Dr. Nafisa M. Jadavji is a post-doctoral fellow and instructor at Carleton University in Ottawa Canada. Her post-doctoral research focuses on understanding how dietary and genetic deficiencies in folate metabolism affect the course of stroke and neurodegeneration using a mouse model. Her research has been published in Behavioural Brain Research, Biochemical Journal, Neuroendocrinology, European Journal of Neuroscience, and Neuroscience. She completed her doctoral training at McGill University in Montréal, Canada and post-doctoral training at the Charité Medical University in Berlin, Germany. Dr. Jadavji has been funded by the Federation of European Neuroscience Society (Europe), NeuroWIND (Germany), Canadian Association for Neuroscience, Canadian Institutes of Health Research, National Science & Engineering Research Council (Canada), International Brain Research Organization, Parkinson's disease Foundation (US) and Fonds de la recherché en santé Québec (Canada). She is a regular reviewer for the Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism, Neurotoxicity Research, Journal of Molecular Medicine and Neuroscience. Currently, Dr. Jadavji is the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Journal of Young Investigators (JYI) and Executive Committee member of the Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars (CAPS).
Research areas of interest: Neuroscience, Folate, Choline, Homocysteine, Rodent Behaviour, Stroke, Neurodegeneration
2015-16 Queen’s University
Master’s Student, Clinical Psychology, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario.
BA, Psychology – University of British Columbia
Robyn Jackowich is a Master’s student in the Clinical Psychology program at Queen’s University. She completed her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, BC. Her research interests include psychosocial and biological issues relating to sexual health and dysfunction, such as vulvar pain conditions, persistent genital arousal disorder, and sexual difficulties following cancer treatments. During the course of her clinical and research training she hopes to further our understanding of female sexual dysfunctions, communicate this knowledge to members of the public, and assist in the development and delivery of interventions for women and their partners experiencing these conditions.
Research areas of interest: Sexual health, sexual dysfunctions, female sexual pain disorders
Western University 2013-14
Department of Sociology, Western University
Doctoral student, BA
Nicole is a doctoral student at Western University who is interested in issues pertaining to gender and health equity. She aspires to a career in health and aging research that contributes to knowledge surrounding women’s health. Nicole is using longitudinal data from the Panel Survey of Income Dynamics to examine the effects of childhood exposure to poverty on women’s health over the course of their lives. She hopes her research will contribute to the development of evidence-based social and health policy aimed at reducing health disparities among older adults. In 2013, Nicole was awarded an Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award.
University of Ottawa 2013-14
Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Ottawa
Jilllian, a master’s student in the interdisciplinary health sciences program at the University of Ottawa, is interested in women’s reproductive and sexual health, specifically in refugee and migrant populations on the Thailand-Burma border in regards to the post-abortion care and family planning.
She hopes to inform contraceptive service delivery at a high volume clinic operating on the border, and contribute to a better understanding of women’s abortion experiences in this long-term refugee and conflict setting.
She also plans to disseminate the results in Ontario with the aim of improving reproductive health services for refugee women in the province.
During her studies, she has been part of a variety of initiatives, including the Aboriginal Mentorship Program, Science Travels, the Student Academic Success Service’s Graduate Mentorship Program, and the Canadian Society of Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She looks forward to her final year in her masters and will continue to stay involved in these organizations throughout her degree.
York University 2013-14 2014-15
PhD Candidate, York University, School of Kinesiology and Health Science, Faculty of Health, Neuroscience Graduate Diploma Program, Centre for Vision Research
MSc (Kinesiology and Health Science), Neuroscience Graduate Diploma, Honours BA (Psychology)
Kara Hawkins is a PhD candidate at York University under the supervision of Dr. Lauren Sergio. She earned her undergraduate degree in Psychology after two years of study at Western and two years at York. She then worked in the Neuropsychology department’s Cognitive and Behavioural Health program at Baycrest in Toronto. She later returned to York, earning a Master’s of Science degree in Kinesiology and a Neuroscience Graduate Diploma. For her doctoral dissertation she is studying the effects of aging and Alzheimer’s disease on the brain’s ability to control complex movements. Due to the higher prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in women, she is currently using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to study structural and functional connectivity in the brains of women at increased AD risk who show impaired visuomotor control, as well as changes associated with normal aging in the female brain. Her research will provide insight into the neural networks underlying complex motor control and the impact of both normal aging and AD pathology on these networks. Furthermore, her work will inform the development of novel clinical assessment tools for early disease detection, leading to more effective treatment and prevention strategies. Her research funding has come from NSERC, CIHR, the Canadian Federation of University Women, and now, the Ontario Women’s Health Scholarship.
Research areas of interest: Neural control of movement, aging and dementia, early detection, sex differences, sensorimotor integration, brain imaging, neurological rehabilitation
Krystal Kehoe MacLeod
2013-14 Carleton University
Krystal Kehoe MacLeod
School of Public Policy and Administration, Carleton University
Krystal is a doctoral candidate with the School of Public Policy and Administration at Carleton University. Krystal has an MPPA from Ryerson University (2007), a BA in Development Studies (2005) and Honour’s BSc in Life Sciences (2004) from Queens University. Prior to commencing doctoral studies, Krystal held positions with both the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care and the Cabinet Office in Ontario and the Department of Health in New South Wales, Australia.
Krystal’s primary research interests include health and social care, gender, aging and public policy. She has presented her research at several conferences and has collaborated on multiple research projects. She is currently collaborating on the SSHRC-funded study “Re-imagining Long-Term Residential Care: An International Study of Promising Practices”. Krystal has earned numerous awards and scholarships including the Ontario Graduate Scholarship and she has received funding for her graduate research from the Canadian Policy Research Network.
Krystal lives in rural Ottawa where she satisfies her secondary interests in food security and sustainable agriculture by operating a small hobby farm, orchard and apiary.
University of Guelph 2013-14
Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition, University of Guelph
Andrea is a Masters student in the Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition at the University of Guelph. She is conducting her research under the supervision of Dr. Carla Rice, a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Care, Gender, and Relationships. Her research focuses on the experiences of young women in recovery from eating disorders, using innovative qualitative research methods including digital storytelling to explore the ways in which these individuals story their experiences. She is particularly interested in expanding societal conceptions of what it means to have and to recover from an eating disorder. Additionally, Andrea conducts research in collaboration with community organizations, including the Wellington-Guelph Drug Strategy, as an intern at the Institute for Community-Engaged Scholarship. She is a member of a qualitative research lab and a discourse analysis group, where she has had the opportunity to explore various topics related to women’s mental health, including mothers’ experiences of treatment for a child’s eating disorder, the representation of eating disorders in mass media, and the construction of hope in news media. She is also actively engaged with the Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Eating Disorder Coalition and manages the group’s social media. Andrea graduated with a BA in Sociology from the University of Guelph in 2012 at the top of her class and received an Ontario Graduate Scholarship for the first year of her graduate studies. She holds an Ontario Women’s Health Scholar’s Award for the 2013-2014 academic year.
McMaster University 2013-14
School of Rehabilitation Science, McMaster University
Amanda received her BSc in Human Kinetics from the University of Guelph (2007) and her MSc in Kinesiology from the University of Saskatchewan (2010). Her doctoral research, supervised by Dr. Norma MacIntyre, is focused on non-invasively imaging the musculoskeletal system (MRI and pQCT) to understand the relationships between tissue structure and physical function. Amanda’s PhD research aims to assess whether MRI-based skeletal muscle structure and fat infiltration in the lower leg are associated with pQCT-based bone geometry and performance-based physical function. In particular, she is investigating postmenopausal women with and without osteoporosis. She has presented her research at international, national, and regional scientific meetings. Moving forward, Amanda is interested in continuing her research in a multidisciplinary setting to better understand what type of exercise can prevent fractures and optimize mobility in older adults. Aside from her studies, Amanda volunteers as a public educator with Osteoporosis Canada Hamilton/Burlington Chapter and is the secretary for the XIV Latvian Song Festival in Canada Organizing Committee. She enjoys playing and refereeing volleyball, cooking up a storm in the kitchen, laughing with friends, and a sitting on a patio with a good glass of wine.
Wilfred Laurier University 2013-14
Faculty of Social Work, Wilfred Laurier University
Bharati is currently completing her PhD in Community, Planning, Policy, and Organization at the Faculty of Social Work, Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario, Canada. In 2013 she was awarded the ‘Citizens Award’ from the Member of Provincial Parliament for her research and community work. In 2012 she was nominated for the ‘Top 25 immigrants to Canada’ and was honored as Laurier’s 100 Alumni of Achievement. She is also the recipient of several other prestigious scholarships including the Primary Health Care Fellowship, the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship (PhD), and the Inaugural Hilary M. Weston Scholarship (MSW). She came to Canada as a migrant from Mumbai, India. She entered social work out of commitment to social justice and to bring about social change. Her passion is researching issues affecting immigrants and refugees in Canada today especially those residing in small and mid-sized urban-rural regions of Canada. She is also interested in community-based participatory research, arts-based methods and intersectionality theory. Her dream is to advocate for more policy, programs and actions that reduce social inequality and sustain the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. In the future she hopes to continue to build academic-community partnerships.
University of Toronto 2013-14
Department of Immunology, University of Toronto
Angela received her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology and immunology from the University of British Columbia. She moved to Toronto in 2009 to pursue a direct-entry PhD in the Department of Immunology at the University of Toronto. She has been working on her PhD thesis under the mentorship of Dr. Shannon Dunn. She is very interested in why women develop certain autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis (MS) more often than men, an intriguing observation without sufficient explanation. She has been working on dissecting how a molecule called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-alpha (PPARα) mediates sex differences in immune responses in humans. She found that, as compared to men, healthy women are more prone to develop a specific inflammatory immune response called T helper 1 (Th1) response, which correlates with a lower amount of the Th1 suppressor PPARα. This and other exciting findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences in 2012. She has been supported by the CIHR Master’s award, the MS Society of Canada doctoral studentship, and the Harvard Baden Endowment fund. She has presented her research findings at many national and international conferences such as the CIHR Gender and Health conference, the Federation of Clinical Immunology Societies meeting, and the upcoming European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ECTRIMS). She also trains younger students and manages the lab in addition to her own academic work. In her spare time, she volunteers for the Immunology Graduate Students’ Association by organizing seminar series and networking events. She also volunteers for the MS Society by participating in the end MS bike ride and helping with organizing the upcoming neuroinflammation symposium.
Concordia University 2014-15
Master’s Student, Psychology Clinical Science, University of Toronto
Bachelor of Arts (Honours), Psychology, Concordia University
Tara Gralnick is a Master’s student in the Department of Psychological Clinical Science at the University of Toronto under the supervision of Drs. R. Michael Bagby and Lena C. Quilty. She received her Bachelor of Arts (Honours) at Concordia University and previously worked as a Research Coordinator at Dalhousie University. Her primary research goal involves improving sustained treatment outcomes for individuals suffering from depressive and anxiety disorders. In this regard, she is particularly focused on examining the role of personality, thinking styles, and gender in the expression, maintenance, and treatment of depression. Tara is the recipient of the CIHR Master’s Award, and was granted the 2014 Ontario Women’s Health Scholars Award for her research examining the influence of different forms of rumination on the treatment and recurrence of depression in women undergoing cognitive-behavioural therapy or receiving antidepressant medication. With consideration to the heightened prevalence of depression and rumination in women, it is hoped that this work may ultimately guide clinicians in selecting a treatment type with the highest chance of immediate and long-term success for women suffering from depression.
Research areas of interest:
- Personality and cognitive styles in the maintenance, treatment, and recurrence of depressive and anxiety disorders
- The role of gender in the expression of various manifestations of psychopathology
- Techniques and processes responsible for change in cognitive-behavioural interventions
- The dimensional assessment of personality psychopathology
University of Toronto 2014-15
PhD Postdoctoral Fellow in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto
I received my PhD from the University of Waterloo in September 2013 with a thesis focused on the effects of gender, sex hormones, and pregnancy on the metabolism of DHA, an omega-3 fatty acid essential for brain growth and cognition. I found that DHA levels and production go up during pregnancy, which is believed to provide DHA for the developing fetal brain. However, some questions remain: is this enough DHA for the fetus? Are mothers at risk of DHA deficiency by serving as the sole source of DHA for the fetus? How much DHA should a mother eat during pregnancy to ensure a healthy mother and baby? I began my postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Toronto shortly thereafter, where I have an excellent opportunity to take some of the ideas from my PhD thesis to exciting new places. Using state-of-the-art analysis equipment and sophisticated metabolic modelling procedures in rats, we can measure precisely how much DHA is being produced by a mother during pregnancy, and determine whether this production is enough to meet the mother’s and the fetus’ DHA requirements. Importantly, by altering how much dietary DHA we use in our experiments, we can estimate how much DHA a mother should eat to ensure that her needs and the needs of her fetus are being met. Moving forward, I hope to continue my research career with a focus on maximizing infant-maternal health by continuing to examine factors that regulate delivery of DHA and other important fatty acids from mother to fetus and neonate.
Research areas of interest: Maternal and fetal omega-3 fatty acid status and metabolism
University of Toronto 2014-15
PhD Candidate, University of Toronto Mississauga, Department of Chemical and Physical Sciences, University of Toronto Department of Chemistry
Bachelor of Science, Molecular Biology Specialist, Chemistry Minor; PhD Candidate Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Recognition
Dziyana immigrated to Canada from Belarus to attain her bachelor degree in molecular biology from the University of Toronto. Having obtained broad research experience in molecular biology during her undergraduate studies, she sought out to gain expertise in a different area of science and pursued her PhD degree in organic chemistry under supervision of Professor Patrick Gunning. Following two years of experience in organic synthesis she initiated a highly promising multidisciplinary project aimed at developing fluorescent agents that would enhance our understanding of cancer onset and progression. In addition to her PhD studies, Dziyana is highly involved in advocating fair access to post-secondary education through her work in the not-for-profit sector. She is determined to pursue a career which would allow practicing innovative science to grow the available technological toolbox for fighting devastating diseases.
Research areas of interest: Medicinal Chemistry, Molecular Recognition, Fluorescent Sensors, Molecular Cancer Markers, Molecular Disease Markers, Disease Diagnostics, In Vitro Diagnostics, Detection of Post-Translational Protein Modifications, Proteome Characterization.
University of Waterloo 2014-15
PhD Candidate, Department of Kinesiology, University of Waterloo
I grew up in Brantford, Ontario, and previously completed my BSc (2010) and MSc (2012) at the University of Waterloo. I am currently working on my PhD under the supervision of Dr. Ken Stark and Dr. Robin Duncan. Previous work reports sex differences in tissue fatty acid composition and enzyme expression, but it’s unclear what mediates these effects, and what role this may play in contributing to sex differences in disease risk. These tissue differences may be due to differences in estrogen concentrations, as estrogen is a potent signaling hormone involved in metabolism, but it remains unclear if this is the case. I am currently addressing this question by examining possible effects of estrogen through one of its major receptors, estrogen receptor alpha, on gene expression in the genes responsible for fatty acid biosynthesis, using MCF7 cells. I am particularly focused on saturated and monounsaturated fatty acids. I have shown a clear link between estrogen and one enzyme in particular, elongase 6. This enzyme converts a fatty acid linked to cardiovascular disease and obesity (palmitic acid, 16:0) to a healthier saturated fatty acid (stearic acid, 18:0). I hope to also examine how estrogen may influence gene expression and fatty acid composition in both an animal and human model. I hope this work will help provide more specific guidelines for dietary fat intake during the lifespan (e.g. premenopausal, menopausal and pregnant women). When I’m not in the lab, I enjoy running, reading, drinking lattes and spending time with my family and friends.
Research areas of interest: Nutrition, the effects of sex/estrogen on fatty acid metabolism
University of Toronto 2014-15 2015-16
Masters Candidate; affiliated with the Sunnybrook Health Sciences Center.
Bachelor of Science with honors from the University of Toronto; specialist degree in Lab Medicine and Pathobiology, minor degree in Human Biology
Maurice Pasternak is a master’s student in the interdisciplinary lab medicine and pathobiology program at the University of Toronto. His research focuses on the characterization and quantification of breast cancer cell death, using a novel and non-invasive technology – high-frequency ultrasound (HFUS) – to achieve this. His project will correlate intracellular changes of dying breast cancer cells with shifts in acoustic parameters, thereby attempting to identify the agent(s) that allow HFUS to detect cancer cell death. Through this methodology, he hopes to provide substantial evidence that HFUS may be utilized as a fast, non-invasive, and accurate technique to determine the efficacy of breast cancer treatment. His project would also hope to expand the current scientific understanding of how biological mechanisms may be reflected through the physics of sound waves.
Research areas of interest:
- Oncology (Breast and Brain in particular)
- Ultrasound Biophysics