Post-doctoral fellows

Name Position Research area

Luis Bettio (PhD)

Post doctoral fellow (Christie Lab)

I am currently investigating the effects of adiponectin, an adipocyte-derived hormone that has a role in the regulation of synaptic transmission and hippocampal plasticity. The focus of my research is to elucidate whether this protein can minimize the deficits in synaptic plasticity that occur in the hippocampus of Fmr1 KO mice, a genetic model of Fragile X Syndrome. The results of this study may stimulate new therapeutic strategies for the treatment of this neurodevelopmental disorder.

Craig Hutton (PhD)

Post doctoral fellow (Christie Lab) My research is focused on how environmental factors (e.g. diet, exercise, stress, sleep, traumatic brain injury) influence brain plasticity, learning and memory, and the development of neurodegenerative diseases.  I am particularly interested in using animal models to examine interactions between the innate immune system, the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal stress axis, brain neuroplasticity mechanisms (e.g. neurogenesis, synaptic modifications), and behaviour to determine how an animal's lifestyle and environment influence the rate of healthy brain aging or deterioration in neurodegenerative diseases.  As a postdoc in the Christie lab, I am currently investigating these relationships in a rat model of mild traumatic brain injury (concussion). This work may lead to novel therapeutic approaches to improve recovery and preserve brain function after traumatic injury.

Jon Thacker (PhD)

Post doctoral fellow (Christie Lab)

 I have an intense fascination with the way in which neurons alter their molecular structure and function in response to acquired brain injury, and how pharmacological or behavioural interventions can promote rehabilitation. My previous research focused on the identity of mechanisms that allow single session aerobic exercise to affect learning processes. Specifically, I assessed the biochemical signature that results from a single event of aerobic exercise in order to prime regions of brain to be more receptive of current therapeutics. My current research explores the role repeated mild head injuries (concussion) has on precipitating Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), an Alzheimer’s-like disease. More importantly, my work aims to reveal the underlying biochemical correlates that result from these injuries, with the expectation of progressing the field through identification of novel prognostic markers and potential treatment vectors.

PhD Students

Name Position Research area

Juan Sanchez-Arias

PhD (Swayne Lab)

The incidence of Neurodevelopmental Disorders has increased all over the globe in the last decade, with perinatal hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy accounting for at least 21% of them. My research aims to investigate the role of Pannexin-1 during cortical development and brain repair using a conditional knockout mouse model, confocal microscopy and bright field microscopy.

Cristina Pinar

2016 - 

PhD (Christie Lab) My research focuses on investigating the effects of repeat mild traumatic brain injury on learning and memory. I am specifically interested on assessing  the effects of concussions on neuronal communication (synaptic plasticity)  and the molecular pathways underlying these effects.

Juan Trivino-Paredes

2015 - 

PhD (Christie Lab)

Geoff deRosenroll

2016 -

PhD (Awatramani Lab) My research is focused on dendritic computations in the inner retina, particularly in the direction-selective circuit. I make use of 2-photon functional calcium imaging, whole-cell electrophysiology and compartmental modelling to study how retinal ganglion cells calculate their outputs from the various excitatory and inhibitory inputs they receive on their dendritic arbours. Of particular interest to me is the fine balance of excitatory and inhibitory inputs across space and time required for these cells to exhibit such well-tuned spiking responses to visual stimuli. 

Eslam Mehina

2016 -

PhD (Brown Lab)

My project aims to decipher the role of microglia in responding to damaged microvessels in the brain, and in contributing to their repair and ultimate fate after hemorrhagic insults. Diabetic patients are at increased risk of suffering from cerebrovascular disease, so I am studying whether microglial dynamics and responses are disturbed in mice with a model of insulin-dependent diabetes. If I find that they are, I will also be investigating means by which these changes can be reversed to prospectively reduce the risk of developing these pathologies. 

Farnoosh Farhoomand

2015 -

PhD (Delaney Lab)

Christine Fontaine

2013 -

PhD (Christie Lab) Christine is interested in evaluating the effects of prenatal ethanol exposure (PNEE) on neural plasticity in the hippocampus, an important structure for learning and memory. 

Alicia Meconi

2013 -

PhD (Christie Lab) My research aims to investigate how oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfuntion in the hippocampus contribute to learning and memory impairment after a concussion. It will also determine whether antioxidant administration can rescue these learning and memory deficits.

Gregory Pearcey


PhD (Zehr Lab) How mechanisms underlying communicative pathways in the brain and spinal cord can assist in the enhancement of performance or rehabilitation of voluntary motor output.

Bridget Ryan

2012 -

PhD (Chow Lab) PAX6, a gene encoding a dosage-sensitive transcription factor essential for eye, brain and pancreas development, is mutated in the haploinsufficiency disease aniridia.  Though PAX6 is known to be regulated transcriptionally, additional regulation is likely required to maintain precise control of PAX6 protein levels. MicroRNAs (miRNAs), small non-coding RNAs, negatively regulate protein expression via complementary pairing to messengerRNA (mRNA) 3’ untranslated regions (3’UTRs), can function cooperatively through multiple target sites, and present a mechanism to achieve this regulation.  Previous work has implicated the highly conserved microRNA, miR-7, in the post-transcriptional regulation of PAX6 in the postnatal subventricular zone of the brain and in the alpha and beta cells of the endocrine pancreas.  Since aniridia is the result of insufficient PAX6 protein, understanding how miR-7 negatively regulates PAX6 may enable the development of therapies to block this interaction and de-repress PAX6.

Laura Hanson

2016 -

PhD (Awatramani Lab)

Catherine Choi

2016 -

PhD (Swayne Lab) The aim of my project is to understand the role of Ankyrin B in neurons.  My focus will be on discovering new protein interactions and their functional relevance for neuronal differentiation and channel trafficking.

Chad Williams

2018 -

PhD (Krigolson Lab)

My research interests include learning and decision making in a medical context.  Specifically, I am interested in evaluating the efficacy of using a reinforcement learning approach when teaching medical education, and in assessing the types of decisions (e.g., System I and System II) that are made by physicians when diagnosing clinical cases.

Joshua Allen

2018 -

PhD (Caruncho Lab)

Sima Abbasi-Habashi

2018 -

 PhD (Brown Lab)


MSc Students

Name Position Research area

Scott Sawchuk

2015 -

MSc (Christie Lab)

Anna Epp

2016 -

MSc (Swayne Lab)

My research focuses on pannexins, a species of large, non-selective ion channels expressed all throughout the body and which are involved in a variety of neurological processes. Specifically, I’m investigating the mechanisms underlying the subcellular trafficking of these channels within neural cells, through the use of molecular biology, advanced imaging techniques, and biochemical assays.

Mohammad Motaharinia

2016 -

MSc (Brown Lab)

Chelsea Kaupp

2013 -

MSc (Zehr Lab)

Katie Neale

2017 -

MSc (Christie Lab)

Ben Schager

2017 -

MSc (Brown Lab)

Keyrian LeGratiet

2018 -

MSc (Nashmi Lab)

Gregory Gill

2018 -

MSc (Krigolson Lab)

Carla Sanchez-Lafuente

2018 -

MSc (Caruncho/Kalynchuk Lab)

Erin Grafe

2018 -

MSc (Christie Lab)

Jenessa Johnston

2018 -

MSc (Caruncho/Kalynchuk Lab)

Division of Medical Sciences Undergraduate Research Supervision

Currently, undergraduate students are involved in a variety of research opportunities in the Division of Medical Sciences.

Name                                Award/
Program Type       
James Choi Honours Brian Christie/2018-19
Erin McDonagh Honours Brian Christie/2018-19
Samantha Perreault Honours Brian Christie/2018-19
Konrad Suesser Honours Brian Christie/2018-19
Aaron Truesdell Honours Brian Christie/2014-15
Karthik Gopalakrishan
JCURA Brian Christie/2014-15
Laila Drabkin
JCURA Brian Christie/2014-15
Adrianna Gunton Honours Leigh Anne Swayne/2015
Natalie Pollack NSERC USRA Craig Brown/2015
Meagan Kelleway Co-op, Volunteer Leigh Anne Swayne/2014-15
Sarah Henry Directed Studies Leigh Anne Swayne/2014-15
Natasha Roblesky Workstudy Leigh Anne Swayne/2015
Anita Weng Workstudy Leigh Anne Swayne/2015

Former Students



Program Type       

Anastasia Litke M.Sc. (neuroscience) Bob Chow/2016-18
Melissa Clarkson M.Sc. (neuroscience) Brian Christie/2016-18
Lena Chen M.Sc. (neuroscience) Leigh Anne Swayne/2015-18
Patrick Reeson Ph.D. (neuroscience) Craig Brown/2012-18
Amanda McLaughlin Ph.D. (neuroscience) John Taylor/2012-18
Stephanie Taylor M.Sc. (neuroscience)

Craig Brown/2014-17

Jasem Estakhr M.Sc. (neuroscience)

Raad Nashmi/ 2014-17

Ryan Wortman M.Sc. (neuroscience) Brian Christie/2014-17
Andrew Boyce Ph.D. (neuroscience) Leigh Anne Swayne/2012-17
Andrew Agbay M.Sc. (neuroscience) Stephanie Willerth/2014-17
Kelly Tennant Ph.D. Post-Doctoral Fellow Craig Brown/2011-17
Harvey Howse M.Sc. (neuroscience) Olav Krigolson/2015-17
Simen Hagen Ph.D. (neuroscience) Jim Tanaka/2014-17
Steven Noble M.Sc. (neuroscience) Paul Zehr/2015-17
Leigh Wicki-Stordeur Ph.D. (neuroscience)

Leigh Anne Swayne/2011-16

Geoff deRosenroll M.Sc. (neuroscience)

Kerry Delaney/2011-2016

Alex Hoggarth M.Sc. (neuroscience)

Gautam Awatramani/2012-16

Joana Gil-Mohapel Ph.D. (neuroscience)

post doctoral fellow,
current Adjunct Professor,
Division of Medical Sciences

Sonata Yau Ph.D. Post-Doctoral Fellow

Brian Christie/2012-15

Emily White M.Sc. (neuroscience)

Brian Christie/2011-15

Jessica Bilkey M.Sc. (neuroscience)

Patrick Nahirney/
Kerry Delaney 2010-15

Mohamed Ghilan Ph.D. (neuroscience)

Brian Christie/2010-15

Sammy Weiser-Novak M.Sc. (neuroscience)

Patrick Nahirney/2012-15

Pragya Komal Ph.D. (neuroscience)

Raad Nashmi/2011-14

Crystal Bostrom M.Sc. Brian Christie/2010-13
Namat Majaess M.Sc. Brian Christie/2010-13
Joshua Wang Post Doctoral Fellow Craig Brown/2010-13
Angela Seto M.Sc (neuroscience) Craig Brown/2011-13
Andrew Sweetnam-Holmes M.Sc. (neuroscience) Craig Brown/2011-13
Anthony Renda M.Sc. (neuroscience) Raad Nashmi/2011-13
Kara Ronellenfitch M.Sc. (neuroscience) Robert Chow/2011-13
Anna Patten Ph.D. (neuroscience),
Post Doctoral Fellow             
Brian Christie/2009-13
Jennifer Helfer Ph.D. Brian Christie/2009-12
Danielle Sweetnam M.Sc. Craig Brown/2010-12
Leslie Reitveld M.Sc. Kerry Delaney/
Patrick Nahirney/2009-12
Timal Kannangara Ph.D. (UBC) Brian Christie/2006-12
Jessica Simpson M.Sc. Brian Christie/2009-11
Matthew Grey M.Sc. Patrick Nahirney/2009-11
Fanny Boehme M.Sc. Brian Christie/2008-10
James Shin M.Sc Brian Christie/2007-09
Ross Peterson M.Sc Brian Christie/2008-09



Name                                Award/
Program Type       
Ross Prager Honours Leigh Anne Swayne/2013-14
Jeremy Christensen Honours Leigh Anne Swayne/
Laura Arbour/2013-14
Scott Bell Honours Leigh Anne Swayne/2013-14
Dustin Allison Honours Brian Christie/2013-14
Sasha Visona Honours Brian Christie/2013-14
Scott Sawchuk Honours Brian Christie/2013-14
Christian Levesque Honours G. Van Gyn/
Brian Christie/2013-14
Brendan Arnold Honours Craig Brown/2012-13
Brianne Lindsay Honours Patrick Nahirney/2012-13
Rob MacKenzie Honours Brian Christie/2012-13
Brett Hryciw Honours Brian Christie/2012-13
Eric McGinnis Honours Brian Christie/2012-13
Andrew Agbay Honours Stephanie Willerth/
Leigh Anne Swayne/2012-13
Gaurav Sekhon Honours Leigh Anne Swayne/2012-13
Ana Clara Cazales Honours Brian Christie/2011-12
Kevin Bushell Honours Brian Christie/2011-12
Will Choquette Honours Brian Christie/2011-12
Tessa Kucharsky Honours Brian Christie/2011-12
Cam Clayton Honours Brian Christie/2011-12
Mark Sanderson Honours Craig Brown/2010-11
Emily White Honours Brian Christie/2010-11
Kristin Morch Honours Brian Christie/2010-11
Russ Gothard Honours Brian Christie/2010-11
Aimee Kernick Honours Brian Christie/
Patrick Nahirney/2010-11
Mohamed Ghilan Honours Brian Christie/2009-10
Namat Majaess Honours Brian Christie/2009-10
Elysia Turner Honours Brian Christie/2009-10
Larissa Szlavik Honours Brian Christie/2009-10
Crystal Bostrom Honours Brian Christie/2009-10
Jason Prescott Honours Patrick Nahirney/
Sandra Hundza/2009-10
Caitlin King Honours Patrick Nahirney/2009-10
Jace Anderson Honours Patrick Nahirney/
Brian Christie/2009-10
Thomas Watson Honours Craig Brown/2009-10
Paul Jones Honours Craig Brown/2009-10

Directed Studies

Name                                Award/
Program Type       
Delaney Anderson Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
James Choi Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Jai Cunningham Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Cheyenne Lang Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Erin McDonagh Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Lynne McDonald Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Shauna Nedelec Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Samantha Perreault Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Hannah Reid Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Taylor Snowden-Richardson Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Konrad Suesser Directed Studies Brian Christie/2018-19
Erica Belanger Directed Studies Patrick Nahirney/2013-14
DJ Olay Directed Studies Patrick Nahirney/2013-14
Ryan Wortman Directed Studies Brian Christie/2013-14
Sean Kennedy Directed Studies Brian Christie/2013-14
Julie Munich Directed Studies Brian Christie/2013-14
James Dunbar Directed Studies Brian Christie/2013-14
Emily White Directed Studies Brian Christie/2013-14
Ross Prager Directed Studies Leigh Anne Swayne/2012-13
Athena Noonan Directed Studies Brian Christie/2012-13
Kayla Feragen Directed Studies Brian Christie/2012-13
Shaun Monty Directed Studies Brian Christie/2012-13
Andrea Ratzlaff Directed Studies Brian Christie/2012-13
Briana Bandet Directed Studies Brian Christie/2012-13
Claire Sakiyama Directed Studies Brian Christie/2012-13
Daniel Moller Directed Studies Brian Christie/2011-12
Andrea Flamank Directed Studies Brian Christie/2011-12
Kristin Morch Directed Studies Brian Christie/2011-12
Jennifer Bloomfield Directed Studies Patrick Nahirney/2008

NSERC -USRA - Undergraduate Student Research Assistant

Name                                Award/
Program Type       
Amanda McQuarrie USRA Brian Christie/2017
Caroline Spaner USRA Brian Christie/2017
Samantha Kennedy USRA Brian Christie/2016
Savannah Lightfoot USRA Brian Christie/2016
Natasha Roblesky USRA Leigh Anne Swayne/2016
Matt Noseworthy USRA Brian Christie/2015
Natalie Pollock USRA Craig Brown/2015
Julie Munich USRA Brian Christie/2014
Michelle Kim USRA Leigh Anne Swayne/2014
Ryan Wortman USRA Brian Christie/2013
Ross Prager USRA Leigh Anne Swayne/2012
Brendan Arnold USRA Craig Brown/2012
Eric McGinnis USRA Brian Christie/2012
Dustin Trudeau USRA Craig Brown/2011
Kieren Summerfeldt USRA Craig Brown/2011
Emily White USRA Brian Christie/2011

SURA - Science Undergraduate Research Assistant

Name                                Award/
Program Type       
Waisley Yang SURA Brian Christie/2017
Maria Weaver SURA Leigh Anne Swayne/2017
Nina Radisavljevic SURA Leigh Anne Swayne/2016
Waisley Yang SURA Brian Christie/2016
Christine Chiu SURA Brian Christie/2015
Luke Neufeld SURA Brian Christie/2015
Yuebo Yang SURA Brian Christie/2015
Adrianna Gunton SURA Leigh Anne Swayne/2014
Jason Chiu SURA Brian Christie/2014
Dustin Allison SURA Brian Christie/2013
Brett Hryciw SURA Brian Christie/2013
Daniel Moller SURA Brian Christie/2011
Robyn Cater SURA Brian Christie/2011

JCURA, Co-op, Workstudy & Volunteers

Name                                Award/
Program Type       
Adam Pistawka Volunteer Leigh Anne Swayne/2014
Chris Calvin Volunteer Leigh Anne Swayne/2014
Michelle S. Kim Co-op Leigh Anne Swayne/2014
Sam Polacek Volunteer Leigh Anne Swayne/2014
Adrianna Gunton Workstudy Leigh Anne Swayne/2013
Esther Carmona-Wagner Co-op Leigh Anne Swayne/2013
Emma Jones Co-op Leigh Anne Swayne/2013
Barbara Gauthier JCURA Laura Arbour/2012-13
Brianne Lindsay Workstudy Patrick Nahirney/2012
Emma Boyce Workstudy Leigh Anne Swayne/2012
Ross Prager Co-op Leigh Anne Swayne/2012
Rose Swansburg Workstudy, Co-op Leigh Anne Swayne/2011-12
Adrian Dzugalo Co-op Leigh Anne Swayne/2011-12
Zoe Cocker Volunteer Brian Chrisite/2011-12
Athena Noonan Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Sean Kennedy Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Breanna Bandet Voluteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Ryan Wortman Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Scott Sawchuk Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
James Dunbar Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Brett Hryciew Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Chelsie Kadgein Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Rob MacKenzie Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Sean Jacklin Volunteer Brian Christie/2011-12
Kellie Brown Workstudy Brian Chrisite/2011-12
Aimee Kernick JCURA Brian Christie/2010-11